Posts Tagged ‘ Aston Villa ’

Claret and Blue


(pic courtesy of Castleberry Hill AC)

While interviewing members of the Castleberry Hill Athletic Club for the SoccerNomad podcast, I asked, “What was the inspiration of your colors?” I assumed they had fans of Aston Villa or West Ham in their numbers (didn’t figure there were too many Burnley fans running around Atlanta), but was told, “We just liked the colors.” This led to a discussion about teams who wore claret and blue which caused me to start researching the history of that color combination.

Based on my research, I found four English teams that use claret and blue for their home strips and another one that used the combination in their past. I also discovered several Irish teams and even a Turkish team that wear these colors.


According to the sources I used, Aston Villa were the original wearers of this color combination. The Villains wore several different colors ahead of their adoption of claret and blue in the late 1880s. John Chandler author of the wonderful book Picking up the Threads, chimes in with: “The style of having contrasting body and sleeves was introduced in the late 19th century by Ollie Whateley.  The distinctive design became very successful and it was often referred to as the Villa style.”


(image courtesy of Historical Football Kits, Aston Villa 1890/91)


(image courtesy of Historical Football Kits, Aston Villa 2016/17)


West Ham United started their history as Thames Ironworks in navy blue (released as a special shirt for the 16/17 season). The club even used a royal blue shirt for a couple of seasons but at the turn of century the team adopted their current name. The new color scheme for the team may have arisen from a bet or the company’s colors or a little bit of both. The original shirt for 1900 was sky blue and a claret band was added across the middle of the shirt the following year. In 1903 a claret shirt with light blue sleeves was introduced (as well was the sky blue yoke similar to Aston Villa) and has been used in some form to this day for the Hammers.


(image courtesy of Historical Football Kits, West Ham United 1901-1903)


(image courtesy of Historical Football Kits, West Ham United 2016/17)


Burnley’s color palette and shirt design was all over the place for about twenty years, including a white/sky blue horizontal half and half top, a white shirt with a navy blue sash, and shirts with black and amber vertical stripes, pink and white vertical stripes and even a red jersey. In 1900 the club switched to a green shirt, which they used for almost a decade. One of the first yo yo teams of English football, Burnley chose claret and blue sometime between 1910 and 1911, inspired by the success of Aston Villa or possibly because, as John Chandler notes, “green was once considered an unlucky color.” Something happened because the club won their first FA Cup in 1914.


(image courtesy of Historical Football Kits, Burnley 1910-1915)


(image courtesy of Historical Football Kits, Burnley 2016/17)


The story of the Scunthorpe United is a little confusing. A combination of two teams created Scunthorpe United in 1899, then that team merged with North Lindsey United in 1910 to form Scunthorpe and Lindsey United. With me so far? Eventually the club became Scunthorpe United in 1958.

North Lindsey United had been wearing a claret body/light blue sleeved/light blue yoke shirt similar to West Ham and Aston Villa in the early 1900s and the newly formed club used this for the first couple of years before switching to vertical stripes of claret and sky blue from 1913-1923. The club nicknamed The Iron reverted to their original design and this took them to 1959 when the team switched to a white shirt with blue or white shorts and white socks for a decade before changing to an all red strip until 1982. Normal service was resumed in the 82/83 season.


(image courtesy of Historical Football Kits, Scunthrope and Lindsey United 1911-1913)


(image courtesy of Historical Football Kits, Scunthorpe United 2016/17)


John Devlin, author/illustrator of the True Colours books on football kits, reminded me that Crystal Palace have also used claret and blue in their kits. This was news to me so I did a little research. The London based club was formed by workers of the Crystal Palace Exhibition and the Eagles have explored all four divisions of English Football during their history and have finished as FA Cup Runners Up twice (1990 and 2016). Turns out Aston Villa helped sort out the club in terms of their kit in the early days. Based on images at Historical Kits, the kits of the two teams were identical from 1905, when Palace was founded, until 1908, when Palace starting tweaking their strip, something that remains to this day.

I have to say that few clubs that I have encountered have undergone as many changes as Crystal Palace. The claret body and pale blue sleeve/white shorts scheme was used until 1937 when claret and pale blue vertical stripes were introduced. That look lasted one season and then the club switched to some sort of white shirt and black shorts until 1963 except for a brief return to the standard from 1949-1954. After that the kit design and color palette was all over the place and I’ll just leave it right there.


(image courtesy of Historical Football Kits, Crystal Palace 1905-1907)


(image courtesy of Historical Football Kits, Crystal Palace 2016/17)


Drogheda United FC are another team wearing the claret and blue. The club play in the League of Ireland and were originally founded in 1919 as Drogheda United. In 1962 another team was founded called Drogheda FC and eventually the two teams merged in 1975 to create Drogheda United FC. The Drogs have had recent success winning the FAI Cup in 2005 and the League of Ireland in 2007.


(pic courtesy of Drogheda United FC)


Twitter follower Sean Dwyer (@Doug_Groovy) brought the Cobh Ramblers to my attention. Formed in 1922, not much to highlight in the club’s history except a run to the FAI Cup Semi-Finals in 1983.  Cobh finally got to the top division of Irish football in 1988 and have enjoyed four seasons in the top flight. Manchester United legend Roy Keane played for the club during the 1989/90 season before his move to Nottingham Forrest.

16/7/2016. EE Sport. Action from the SSE Airtricity League in the Markets Field between Limerick FC and Cobh Ramblers. Our photograph shows Cobh’s Anthony O’Donnell in action with Limerick’sStephen Kenny. (With Compliments) Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

(pic courtesy of Limerick Post, Cobh Ramblers 2016/17)

roy keane

(pic of Roy Keane courtesy of Daily Mail)


Sean also mentioned Galway United. The club started in the 1930s as Galway Rovers and joined the League of Ireland in 1977. The mid 80s and early 90s were a time of great success for the club. Renamed Galway United FC in 1981, the club were Runners Up to double winners Shamrock Rovers in 1985 and qualified for their first European competition, the 1985/86 Cup Winners Cup, falling in the opening round to Lyngby of Denmark. Galway United almost won the League of Ireland title the following season but fell just short, making it into the 1986/87 UEFA Cup where they hammered by Dutch side Groningen. The team finally won a major trophy, winning the 1991 FAI Cup. Their European adventure only lasted one round as Odense knocked them out in the First Round of the Cup Winners Cup.  Financial problems caused the club to lose League of Ireland status in 2011. However, efforts were made to reform the team and Galway United returned to the League of Ireland in 2014.

galway united

(image of 2016/17 home shirt courtesy of Galway United)

From what I could find, both Irish teams use the colors of claret and blue but in different styles. Sometimes one color dominates the body with the opposite color being used a trim. Full kit histories were hard to come by but if readers have resources, please let me know.


Moving outside Britain, Trabzonspor are one of the most successful Turkish teams outside of the big three Istanbul teams—Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş. Trabzonspor were formed in 1966 after three amateur teams came together in the city of Trabzon, and their original colors were red and white. After a dispute with İdmanocağı, a new club was formed in 1967 and used the claret and blue. After several years in the second division, the club achieved promotion to the top flight and in 1976 became the first club outside Istanbul to win the league title. From there the team enjoyed a decade of success winning five more league titles, finishing runners up three times plus celebrating three Turkish Cup wins. 1984 saw their cycle capped with a domestic double and since then they have won the Turkish Cup five more times.

Trabzonspor are another team that chose their colors in honor of Aston Villa. “TS” is the short name for the club and these letters are creatively incorporated into the club crest along with a ball and the club’s year formation.


(image courtesy of Trabzonspor)

trab 2016

(image of 2016/17 home shirt courtesy of Trabzonspor)


So Castleberry Hill AC join a long and storied group of clubs wearing claret and blue. Let me know what I got right, what I got wrong and who I forgot. And if your team (Sunday league, semi pro, lower league, whatever) wears claret and blue, give me a shout and maybe we’ll get you on the list.

Follow me on twitter (@austinlong1974) and check out the rest of my Strip Club posts here and check out my SoccerNomad podcast.

Many, many thanks to Wikipedia, Historical Football Kits and Picking up the Threads as well as a special thank you to Sam Long, John Devlin and Chris Oakley for their feedback.


Old Futbol Buffet–Ponytail, Dive, Ghost Goal, Dramatic Finish

As I’ve mentioned previously, I really haven’t been following the FA Cup. Watched United win a weird game against City before watching them crash against Liverpool and saw snippets of Spurs road to the semis, including the unsettling abandoned game against Bolton. However, due to the teams involved and my recent part in organizing watch parties at the local pub, I was excited about the Semi-Final lineup.

We had been building up towards the Merseyside Derby, which was the early game on Saturday. We have a strong Liverpool contingent so emotions and interest were running high, but I got a text late Friday night that our venue was in question. I made calls and confirmed that we could not get in, so I tried another site and that was a no go as well. So I went to bed and didn’t set the alarm. I followed the game on twitter and when the Toffees went up 1-0, I was like ok, here we go. But then Suarez equalized and then with minutes remaining, Andy Carroll saved King Kenny’s bacon again to put the Scousers in another cup final.

In talking to a Liverpool supporter that afternoon, I asked, What now for Andy Carroll? Do they, in my opinion, waste another year on him or move on? The two goals this week cannot turn the tide can they? Liverpool are a mess and I don’t think the big Englishman is any part of the answer, but what do I know?

Sunday saw Chelsea against Tottenham, with both teams fielding pretty strong line-ups. The first half was eye gougingly bad, with loose passes and sloppy play in general. The last ten minutes were fantastic as Spurs nearly scored twice before Drogba produced a filthy finish to give the Blues the lead. A controversial second goal early in the second half seemed to have finished the game but Adebayor sliced open Chelsea and was taken down. Instead of giving the PK and sending off Cech, Bale tapped in the loose ball.  Cue the talking points graphic.  Spurs were unable to seize the initiative and Chelsea then scored two more, one sublime and the other simply amazing. Malouda added a fifth and that was that. Instead of a potentially fun final of Everton and Tottenham, we get Liverpool against Chelsea. Ugh. Guess I’ll have to start drinking at 10am to get through that match.

Spooky feels that Spurs are underachieving and points to the moment Fabio resigned as the moment it all went wrong.  After Sunday’s performance, not sure that they can save what was going to be an amazing season.

Zonal Marking reviewed the changing shape of Chelsea this year from AVB’s pressing 4-3-3 to his revised 4-2-1-3 to Di Matteo’s 4-2-3-1/4-4-1-1, using more disciplined, tactical players in the wide roles.  This clearly was on show in the game against Barca as Ramires played wide left to keep track of Alves and it his awareness that led to the goal as well.

As for the chase for league honors, United’s slip against Wigan opened the door a crack for City, who bravely kicked it in with 6-1 thrashing of Norwich, putting the pressure back on United at home to Villa. Young went down pretty easily, Rooney converted the spot kick and from there it was relatively smooth sailing for the Red Devils. Have to say that set piece defending needs to be addressed as that was Villa’s only way of scoring and they nearly did several times.

Scott at The Republik of Mancunia enjoyed the Red Devils response against Villa, highlighting Valencia’s performance on the day.  The end of his post is optimistic yet realistic: We look good for the title but I won’t be getting any “20″ banners out just yet.

Miguel Delaney wrote an interesting piece on Soccernet comparing first and second forms of each teams (Fulham most improved; Spurs in the worst form) while relating this year’s campaign to the dramatic seasons of 92-93, 95-96 and 2010-11.

There was tragedy in Italy over the weekend as Piermario Morosini died Saturday after suffering cardiac arrest during Livorno’s Serie B match at Pescara. The entire slate of games was postponed and put a damper on what has turned out to be an exciting finish for the scudetto and European places.

In Holland, a tight finish could be blown open if Ajax win their game in hand.












Feyenoord Rotterdam





Twente Enschede














Wrapped up the weekend with an indoor doubleheader. In the first game we played poorly and were down 4-2 with about 4 or 5 minutes to go, but we stepped up the intensity and ran out 5-4 winners. Love my team. The second game was a walk, especially the last 10 minutes or so when we literally walked. The outdoor season starts in two weeks and should be another fun season.

Old Futbol Buffet–Red Devils Masked as 70’s Gunners

This weekend was quite busy so I didn’t get to see as much footy as I would have liked.  Saturday morning I was pretty hung over so got off to a very slow start.  The previous night I had drunk myself silly because I went with my wife to a surprise 40th birthday party for the husband of someone she used to work with.  Let me set the scene: sitting at a Fraternal Order of Eagles with a cover band and couples dancing who were in their early 80’s, drinking Budweiser and Rum and Cokes, and feeling awkward.  Thank God for social lubrication.

Anyway, I managed to get myself up and chores done to head for a double header of Aston Villa v Manchester United and FCB v Levante.  I did stay up for the a pretty good inaugural Big 10 Championship game as MSU came up a little bit short.  Sunday was spent doing church related stuff: putting up fliers for an upcoming community event, church business meeting and church itself.  Juventus won, which puts them back at the top of the table and sets up an epic game against Udinese in a couple of weeks.   Here is the recap from, who summarized the game thusly:

Conte’s team was perfectly set up to break Cesena down. There was no danger to Juve’s goal, we dominated possession, it was just poor from an attacking standpoint as we put a stunning 29 shots on Cesena, the most of anyone in the league this season. The only complaint I had was this game seemed perfect for some rotation and yet he largely opted not to.

Aston Villa 0  Manchester United 1

Fergie seemed to be responding to criticism about the use of Rooney, moving him farther forward with Chicharito.  To accommodate this, he played Jones in midfield with Carrick, Nani and Young.  The first fifteen minutes were poor as United controlled possession but had no final product.  To make things worse, Hernandez went down with what looked like a sprained ankle.  (Soccernet reported that he may miss a month with ligament damage.)  Then, out of nowhere, the Reds combined crisply and quickly, with Nani crossing in for Jones to side foot home.  The game descended back into dreck, with further injuries to Bent and Given (who had to subbed) leading to eight minutes of injury time.

The second half was more of the same—nap inducing.  Villa saw more of the ball and surprisingly the introduction of Heskey added to their efforts.  The game continued to be disjointed with more stoppages due to injuries to Jenas and Ferdinand.  Rooney continued to struggle in front of goal, missing a half volley from just a couple of yards out and waiting too long to play in Welbeck.

So no further goals and 1-0 to the Arsenal, I mean United.  History tells us the narrow victories before the turn of the year will set up a surge in the second half of the season, but the narrowness of the margins and the success of City make that possibility less and less likely.

And for what it’s worth, I’m ready for the Patrice Evra Era to be over at United. Since the 2010 World Cup, his form has been awful.  Gets forward but doesn’t create much; gets caught out of position; and makes rash challenges with puts pressure on the defense.  I don’t know what his contract situation is (note: signed four  year deal earlier this year) but Fergie needs to move him on in the summer.

I have started reading The Republik of Mancunia blog.  Scott the Red had these comments after the game.  He was surprisingly complimentary of Carrick.  Might have to give him a second look.

As for the FCB game, more to come on my Morbo Minute post.


Other Stuff

The Men in Blazers podcast is really growing on me.  The last episode recapped the previous week’s action, which included Hotspur Tottenham’s great form and the possibility of City being found (Norwichdidn’t get the memo).  They also talked about the nature of fandom, about being totally committed heart and soul.  I used to be a true supporter of certain teams and sports, but not so much these days.  More to come on that in the future.  Finally they interviewed Stu Holden, who gave his comments on his rehab, the USMNT and his future as a player.  Again, strongly encourage this podcast for humor, commentary and soccer culture.

Paolo Bandini examined Luis Enrique’s tough start to Serie A management.  Not sure if he will last the season, with a heavy defeat next Monday against Juventus possibly being the last straw.

I listened to the latest World Football Phone In on Monday’s drive.  The panel hit the following topics:

  • Quick thoughts on Euro 2012 and future expansion of the tournament.
  • Quality Youth Acadamies around the world (Santos, Sporting Lisbon, Ajax).
  • The Colombian side of 1994 and the fall out from their failure.
  • The set up of the Brazilian Championship (State League in the first half of the year; National Championship in the second half of the year).

EURO 2012 stuff

Jonathan Wilson gave his view on the Euro 2012 draw, stating that the Group B (Holland,Germany,Portugal,Denmark) may be the toughest group ever.  Hard to argue that. Spain’s group will be tricky is well, with all three teams (Italy,CroatiaandIreland) posing credible threats to the European and World Champions. Englandwill fail.  Sorry.  They barely made it out of a relatively group at the World Cup and with Rooney gone until the knockout, they will probably heroically bow out in the third group game.

Speaking of each group’s difficultly, someone I follow on twitter re-tweeted this post using statistics to determine how tough each group is.  Not sure I completely understand it, but you will get the idea.

Little light this week and will probably continue to be so as life is taking over.

Old Futbool Buffet–Opening Day Snoozer

The EPL kicked off this weekend and I was planning on watching Spurs (my second team in England) and Everton, but the London riots caused the game to be postponed. Scanning the rest of the English fixtures, nothing really caught my eye so I moved on to options in the Bundesliga. My original choice was Bayern Munich v Wolfsburg, because I wanted to see if Bayern could avoid an 0-2 start to the season. A follower on twitter suggested Hoffenheim v Dortmund, which would pit an up and coming challenger versus the current champions.

In the end, I missed all of the Saturday morning kickoffs. I hosted a poker game on Friday night was suffering in the morning. I ended up sleeping and lazying around most of the morning before pulling up my boot straps and cleaning the house. Bayern scored late to secure three points and Hoffenheim beat the champs. In England, Manchester United B pegged back Liverpool and Arsenal were held by Newcastle, where it sounds like there were incidents aplenty.

After getting some housework done and running some errands, I logged on to ESPN3 to see what replays were on. Fulham v Aston Villa was the only English game to I gave that a go. Figure I could see a little Clint Dempsey and the beginning of the Alex McLeish era at Villa.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the Fulham GK jersey, which was bright neon green and had Kappa logos all the way down the arms. Then I had a Phillip Senderos signing. Wow, he’s still terrible. I spent most of the match trying to decide who was worse, him or Andy Johnson. What is it that Johnson does? He runs around, sometimes into dangerous areas; he receives the ball, which almost always results in a turnover; when he finally gets a chance, he misses it.

Villa had a good spell for most of the first half, knocking the ball around, asking a few questions, before Fulham rebounded towards half time. They continued their momentum into the second stanza, with Zamora very dangerous, calling new keeper Given into action several times. In the end, neither team could break the deadlock.

Didn’t see much from Dempsey, who mostly played on the left but moved centrally from time to time, and, with the introduction of Dembele, played more of an attacking role. Heskey and Petrov committed potentially dangerous fouls in the second half that would have had Klinsi holding his breath. Thought Murphy had a decent game, picking passes to give Fulham an attacking edge. Agbonlahor disappeared in the second half and seems as if his time has gone.