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British Club Tops

The Prem is Back 22/23

As the English Premier League season begins again for a new dramatic season, The Kit Rail are going to be looking back at some premier league greats and their match worn tops. A big thanks again to Graham Alexander for a loan of his collection.

Starting us off is a probably one of the best midfielders to have played in the Premier League without ever winning it. Steven Gerrard made over 500 league appearances for Liverpool, scoring 120 league goals and recorded 92 assists. Unfortunately the closest he would get to the title would be in the 13/14 campaign where Liverpool finished 2nd, 2 points behind eventual winners Manchester City.

Now inducted into the hall of fame, Gerrard would carry Liverpool through a lot of tough times and will unfortunately be remembered for slipping at the last hurdle against Chelsea and letting Man City leapfrog Liverpool in the league on the second last game of the season after the red’s drew 3-3 with Crystal Palace.

The next midfielder and Gerrard’s long time rival is none other than Hall of Fame graduate, Frank Lampard. The Premier leagues highest scoring midfielder comes in with 609 Premier League appearances with the majority coming from his time at Chelsea but many forget about his time at West Ham and his single season at Manchester City.

Winning the Premier League a total of three times, once in the 09/10 season under Don Carlo Ancelotti and back to back under the management of “the special one” Jose Mourinho in 04/05 and 05/06. Defending a Premier League title an impressive feat not many players have achieved in their careers unless it is with the current Man City team or the dominant Sir Alex Ferguson Man Utd that wrecked havoc in the Prem.

Speaking of the dominance of Sir Alex’s Manchester United, you cannot speak about the talent of both Steven Gerard and Frank Lampard without mentioning Paul Scholes. The ELEVEN time Premier League winner made 499 appearances in the league for Manchester United and won 321 of those games, giving him a 64% win rate when he was involved in the team, in comparison Gerrard’s win rate was 50% and Lampard’s was 57% which is still a very impressive achievement for all three men when you think about some of the players they have played alongside, both all time greats and absolute stinkers.

Originally retiring in 2011, Scholes showed his interest in coming out of retirement for a season after training with Man Utd’s reserves. He would be offered a contract due to the current injury crisis that plagued Old Trafford. The January of 2012 would see Scholes return to play in his 18th Premier League season before fully committing to his retirement at the end of the 12/13 campaign where he finished his 19th and final season in the league, an achievement that only fellow teammate Ryan Giggs has surpassed due to his 21 consecutive seasons in the EPL.

Each English midfielder has had an extraordinary career in football, winning lots of trophies in England and in Europe such as League Cups, FA Cups, Europa League’s and the almighty Champions League. Two of the three also making over 100 appearances for their country with the latter still respectively making 66 appearances.

The question will always remain though, who was the best England midfielder of their generation?

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British Club Tops

Motherwell – PONY – 1997/98 Away

On a previous post, we spoke about the home jersey of the 97/98 campaign and the disappointing season that came with it but we had to make a separate post on this gem of a top.

The 90’s were a time of experimentation with tops and Motherwell were no exception to that, starting the decade off with Admiral’s great home and away jerseys which will always be remembered for a certain cup final, then moving forward to Hummel and the jerseys get more unusual with the 92′ white and claret tram track kit. Pony’s first few jerseys were normal enough with the candy stripe (which was remade in 15/16), their black 95/96 and white 96/97 away jerseys were solid additions as well but what even was this top.

We’ll start off with the elephant in the room, the colour. Probably the most un-Motherwell jersey to ever exist (some would say this seasons black away top). When you think of Motherwell you think claret and amber, if you are a fan you could even go as far as white or petrol blue but never neon yellow.

This was also the first and last season Motherwell featured player numbers on the front of the jersey. This obviously wasn’t as popular as once thought but I actually quite like the number on the front as it is so rare.

The top uses almost the exact same template as the white away jersey from the season previous which is mental considering that jersey is a solid 8/10 and this one I would probably rank a 3/10 as a Motherwell top. I’m not surprised Motherwell decided to move forward with XARA instead of sticking with PONY.

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British Club Tops

Motherwell – Pony 96/98 – Home Jersey

The 96/98 home strip is the last home top in Motherwell’s time with Pony and they certainly left with a bang. Still seen as quite controversial as it isn’t your average home kit but I love this top as the design is just so different from any other home top produced by Motherwell down to the “jester” style of the kit with the half and half colour scheme.

Obviously there is a reason this hasn’t been repeated as fans don’t have the best of memories as the 96/97 season almost ended in relegation after finishing 8th in the league but a strong end to the season, beating Rangers and Raith Rovers, who would end up relegated. A poor cup run also saw the well fired out the league cup early by Alloa Athletic and thrashed 4-1 in the Scottish Cup Quarter Final by Dundee United.

The next season Motherwell were even worse, finishing 9th and again reaching as far as the Quarter finals again in the Scottish Cup. This would be the season Alex McLeish would depart on the 10th of February with Finnish manager Harri Kampman taking over for the rest of the season.

Tommy Coyne was Motherwell’s league top scorer for both seasons, bagging 11 goals in 96/97 and 14 goals in 97/98. The Cobra really was Motherwell’s standout player during his 132 games for the club as shown by his 57 goals for The Steelmen.

A fun top that is good to look back on as it does a lot different such as adding a number onto the front of the top and on the sleeve, which also hasn’t been seen since. My respect goes to PONY for trying to do something different and change the look of football tops but unfortunately this was their last attempt with Motherwell.

With PONY gone, Motherwell looked to XARA who also made some fantastic strips, with some already featured on here and there’s more to come.

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British Club Tops

Motherwell 94/95 PONY

The 94/95 season was definitely one to remember as it was the first season to introduce the new league structure of a ten team league in Scotland’s top flight and was also the first season where three points were awarded for a win. Rangers won their seventh league title in a row and First Division side Raith Rovers won the league cup while Celtic finished fourth but still managed to win the Scottish Cup but as usual we’re looking into Motherwell’s performance that season and showing off a famous Pony made away top.

Motherwell finished second in the league, 15 points behind champions Rangers, after an impressive first campaign from Alex Mcleish after legendary manager Tommy McLean left in the summer of 94′. Mixed league form saw Motherwell beat Rangers twice, once at home and the other at Ibrox, but also lose games against Partick Thistle and lose 6-1 to an eventually relegated Dundee United.

League top goalscorer was given to Motherwell’s Tommy Coyne after his 16 league goals during the campaign, beating the likes of Billy Dodds (15) of Aberdeen, Mark Hately (13) of Rangers and Motherwell teammate Dougie Arnott (10).

This away top is first of many from the range of jerseys Pony produced between 1994 to 1998. Taking over from Hummel who made the infamous white and claret tram track away top the season before which is probably my favourite Motherwell top of all time and deserves more credit than it’s due as it is not like any other design that I’ve seen on a football top never mind Motherwell.

As for Pony tops this is far superior than any the other one they produced as the bright amber candy stripes jump right out at you while the pattern of chevrons is subtle yet noticeable the closer you look.

Absolute belter of top and not a bad signature on the back either.

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British International Tops

SOD – Scotland’s Right WingBack

What a run Stephen O’Donnell has had over the past year or so, starting off all the way back to November 2020 where he was part of the Scotland team to defeat Israel and Serbia, on penalties, to progress to an international tournament for the first time since 1998.

As 2020 ended and 2021 began, the right wingback position was up for constant debate between the Motherwell man and Nathan Patterson who looks to be the future for the position but hadn’t exactly done much at club level, only playing 7 games in the league for Rangers all season. Some thought this was enough to merit a start for young Patterson as Motherwell had an underwhelming season themselves.

As we know SOD played against the Czech Republic in the first game of Euro 2020 and was used as a scapegoat for what was a poor overall team performance. The draw with England must have been his highlight of 2021 as he managed to pocket “generational talent” Phil Foden and One Hundred Million pound left winger Jack Grealish for the full 90 minutes and giving the latter a few nippy challenges in the process.

We all know how the Croatia game went and we tumbled out of the tournament only scoring one goal but our chances of qualifying for the World Cup this year should make and Scot excited. After an eventful end to the group qualifying saw Scotland be drawn against Euro 2020 quarterfinalists Ukraine then either Austria or Wales if we progress.

This jersey comes from Scotland’s clash with Israel where Manchester United’s Scott McTominay scored a last minute winner to send Hampden into a frenzy. O’Donnell was dropped from this game but I would still expect Steve Clarke to continue putting his faith into the Motherwell captain’s ability and hopefully get him a trip to Qatar.

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Club Tops European

Fiorentina Christmas Jumper

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a tacky Christmas jumper and here at The Kit Rail we’ve scoped out the best one from Classic Football Shirts.

Their take on the 1999/2000 is a winner in my eyes as it features the print of Batistuta in the pattern along with Buon Natale (Merry Christmas in Italian) just goes together brilliantly along with the famous ‘Viola’ colour that Fiorentina have made so famous over the years. The Nintendo logo featured in the middle of the jersey has also been replaced with a festive Ho Ho Ho.

On the back we’ve obviously got none other than ‘Batistuta 9’ who was Fiorentina’s talisman for the 99/00 season as he bagged 23 goals in the Serie A and 5 goals in 10 appearances in the Champions league, scoring in games against both Arsenal and Manchester United.

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British

Scotland vs Israel WC Qualifier 09/10/21

This post today comes from the hangover after a hard fought game from Scotland yesterday which gave a nation Hope to be able to qualify for the World Cup next year in Qatar.

My experience from the game started by getting the train to Mount Florida from Glasgow Central and what better way to hype yourself up for a Scotland game by listening to bagpipes and singing songs about John McGinn.

The buzz in the stadium was ripped out the hearts of the fans within the first five minutes which left me with the dread that it was going to be one of those games. A super strike from the main man John McGinn brought some hope back but some shocking defending was frustrating to watch as we conceded another making it a higher mountain to climb especially with our Aussie lad Lyndon Dykes missing a crucial penalty.

I can happily say the second half was a much better watch with Scotland pushing much higher up the pitch and playing much better football with Dykes redeeming himself and getting his goal. It was certainly an experience seeing VAR in use for the first time in the flesh. It was over after the longest two minutes of our lives and of course the goal was given as Israel were just seen to be cheating, again.

An 88th minute miss from McGinn made it seem that all was over but an added six minute of injury time was seen as a massive boost and our favourite Manc McTominay had us all chanting his name after his added time winner.

Suppose I can’t finish a blog without talking about what tops me and Lauren had on. I went with the new away top as I had just bought it in Edinburgh airport last Thursday and it is a belter but Lauren went a bit classier with JD’s Score Draw 96’ replica home top.

I think I can speak for everyone when I say we all had a boogie after full time and I hope everyone in the tartan army enjoy their night last night. Roll on the Faroe Islands Tuesday.

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British Club Tops

James Tavernier

Signing from Wigan in 2015 for £200,000, with teammate Martyn Waghorn, Tavernier would start his Rangers career in the Scottish Championship. Scoring a free kick on his debut in a 6-2 victory against Hibernian in the first round of the Scottish Challenge Cup, Tav would also score his first league goal against Alloa Athletic in a 3-0 victory.

A free scoring right back who has racked up a very impressive 18 goals in 46 games while also assisting 11 last season (20/21). Not only an attacking threat but also a defensively sound player as he was part of the defence who conceded 13 goals in the league last season.

Also worth noting that he was the man to captain Rangers to their first league title since 2010/11 and stopping city rivals Celtic from winning the coveted 10 in a row.

This is the first kit made by British manufacturer Castore who signed a five year deal with the club. The first thing you notice is badge that features the five stars to symbolise their fifty league titles. The league badges on the sleeves also match up with the tops colours red, white and blue. A small message reading “follow follow” can be found behind the collar.

There is also faint diagonal lines running through the top in a darker blue to the royal blue that is used for the main body of the top.

It is also worth noting that Rangers re-released a special edition to mark their historic league win that featured a golden badge and Castore badge with some embroidery reading “Champions 55, 20/21”.

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British Club Tops

Artur Boruc

Polish goalkeeper Artur Boruc started his career with Pogoń Siedlce before moving to Legia Warsaw. In 2005 Boruc was loaned out to Scottish side Celtic who quickly made the move permanent after noticing his quality. He made his debut in a Champions League Qualifier against Slovakian side Artmedia Bratislava after replacing David Marshall for the second leg of the tie. Quickly establishing himself as number one between the sticks due to his shot stopping, self belief and arrogance which would get him into bother at times with opposing fans.

Keeping 17 clean sheets in his first season helped Celtic win the 05/06 League title and the League cup. He would go on to lift the next two titles and another League cup while adding a Scottish Cup.

His most memorable moments for the hoops consist of keeping clean sheets against the likes of Manchester United and Benfica in the Champions League. He also saved many of crucial penalties such as in the penalty shootout against Spartak Moscow to help Celtic move into the Champions League group stage.

He would make his final appearance for Celtic against Old Firm rivals Rangers in a 2-1 victory although he was subbed off due to breaking his finger. He would move to Italian side Fiorentina where he would spend two seasons before moving to England with Southampton and Bournemouth before moving back to Poland with Legia Warsaw who he currently plays with at the age of 41.

This top comes from the 09/10 season, his final season at Celtic where he was unable to win any major honours to cap off his time at with the bhoys.

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British Club Tops

Fulham – 02/03

For this post we are throwing it back to the early 2000’s with a Fulham top from their time in the FA Barclaycard Premiership. This season would be a regular season for the lily whites as they finished the season in 14th position, one place lower than the season previous.

Looking at that team now you would probably have placed them a lot higher as they had brilliant players such as Edwin Van Der Sar, Louis Saha and Steed Malbranque. This poor season would see manager Jean Tigana sacked in the April of 2003 with recently retired Welsh Defender Chris Coleman taking over who would guide the team into the top half of the division in 9th in the 03/04 season.

This jersey is from Scotland midfielder John Collins who played 65 games for Fulham before retiring in 2004. Before playing for Fulham, Collins would play in the Premier League with Everton and also played in France with Monaco. He is mainly remembered for his time at Celtic where he won the Scottish Cup in 1995.

Collins played 58 times for Scotland, scoring 12 goals with one of them coming on the opening day of the 98′ World Cup in France with a penalty against Brazil. Unfortunately Scotland never made it past the groups and still never have made it past the groups in any major tournament.

Made by Adidas, this Fulham top uses their famous lily white as the main body with the contrasting black used for the thick collar, side of the top and inside of the arms. The red in the badge is also used at the front of the neck. This was Adidas’ last kit with Fulham from that deal but Fulham brought back Adidas strips and have been with them since 2013 after moving from Puma, Airness, Nike and Kappa.