Beauties and beasts: (1) a 1990s home winner among SAFC shirts

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Fancy writing about a Sunderland top that brings back memories good or bad, beautiful or ugly, or amusing? Have a look at the possibilities at the Classic Football Shirts site. You may worn some of them. Or sworn at them. If you can put your impressions or recollections into words, anything from 200 to 600-700, contact us at Salut! Sunderland

Salut! Sunderland introduces a new series to which all readers are invited to offer contributions.

We all have our favourite SAFC shirts from the seasons we have supported the club, or even from seasons before we were born.

I still wear the 1937 FA Cup final replica top occasionally and I solemnly promise I was not there, though we did once have a Who are You? interviewee whose dad was in the crowd to see us beat PNE, who had to make do without Jordan Pickford, 3-1.

Most of us can also nominate tops we despised at the time and never warmed to; our love for Sunderland AFC may be unconditional, but our feelings towards what the players wear are not.

But the series, developed from an idea mooted by Danny Taylor at Classic Football Shirts, needs to get off on a positive note. I will get to the ghastly top our team wore at Wembley in the 1992 FA Cup final all in good time.

So there will be beasts. First, however, I offer you this beauty …


I would not go as far as to say it is the best home shirt Sunderland players have ever pulled on. But it ticks all the right boxes for me. Five bold vertical red stripes, with slivers of another visible at each side, that wonderful old ship-on-the-Wear badge, the name of the makers (Hummel) tucked discreetly above the much more prominent local sponsor, Vaux.

Did we really play in this shirt from 1991 to 1994, which naturally includes that Johnny Byrne-inspired run to the disappointing FA Cup final in 1992, won 2-0 by Liverpool? That’s how Classic Football Shirts have it.

They’re selling it, of course, and £29.99 does not seem a lot to part for such an item with these days.

That said, I wanted to check out the provenance of the items marketed by Classic Football Shirts.

Using the example I have chosen, they describe it as a “rare home shirt with great vintage design”, in good condition with bright colours but slight fading to the crest. The Hummel logo and sponsor (Vaux) are “great for age” and it comes with the names of (Paul) Bracewell, (Johnny) Byrne, (Anton) Rogan, (Peter) Davenport or (David) Rush on the back.

That suggests second-hand replicas (they also do match worn originals) and this extract from the FAQs at the website gives you an idea of how they work:

Q: Are your shirts original and genuine from the dates listed?

A: ‘Yes, we pride ourselves in selling 100% genuine and original shirts and if you believe otherwise when you receive your item we will happily give a full refund. None of the shirts we stock are recently remade reproductions and we hope this is what makes our site unique.’

Are the shirts pre-worn?

As the shirts originate from the seasons they were sold, many are pre-worn, however we will only sell shirts that we believe to be of good enough quality to be worn with pride or fit into your collection. Each shirt has its own individual condition details which will state if there are any flaws, we try to be as honest and accurate as possible with these. Shirts listed as “mint”, “as new”, “w/Tags”, or “BNIB” will be in unworn condition, however all other shirts will be fully cleaned with any flaws removed perfect for wearing or collecting.

So, over to the vast Salut! Sunderland audience. If you do email us, tell us which shirt you want to write about and why. If someone has already grabbed that one, your reason for writing about it anyway might me enough to show second piece for the same shirt is justified.

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M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake
M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake
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