Players customising their kit and wearing accessories is by no means a new thing, consider Steve Terry’s headband or Theodore Whitmore’s cycling shorts from years past. There has definitely been an exponential increase in accoutrement use since our promotion to the Premier League, however. From compression jerseys to branded gloves, we look at the optional extras worn by Tigers players and staff during 2008/2009.
City branded gloves
‘Mercurial’ Frenchman Bernard Mendy started the trend of wearing these £4.99 from Tiger Leisure, 100% acrylic HCAFC knitted gloves, an act soon copied by Geovanni, Kamil Zayatte, Marlon King and George Boateng.
Mendy wore unbranded plain black gloves at home to West Brom, but soon went back to City gloves. Kamil Zayatte continued wearing them well into March, when it wasn’t even remotely cold. Ian Ashbee doesn’t appear to be a fan.
Socks pulled up over the knee
A look popularised by Thierry Henry, who perhaps wanted to pay tribute to the trademark hosiery of Tokyo school girls. When you’re a World Cup and European Championship winner, twice a Premier League champion and considered one of the finest talents to have played the game, you can get away with such legwear frivolity. When you play for City and have a chronic inability to stay onside or display a fear of taking on and beating a man, you just look a bit of a ponce.
Black shirts and black moods
For every cup game of 2008/09, Phil Brown wore a black shirt. It started at Swansea in the League Cup and continued during the FA Cup campaign, in which we played Newcastle (twice), Millwall, Sheffield United (twice) and Arsenal.
Some of the boss’ maddest moments came while he was black shirted, rutting on the sidelines with ‘Heart Attack Jack’ Joe Kinnear at St. James’ Park and becoming the Setanta Ranter at the Emirates, accusing Cesc Fabregas of gozzing at Brian Horton and Arsene Wenger of *horror* not shaking his hand, on live TV.
Borrowed shorts and socks at Newcastle
There were messageboard murmurings about the slate grey away kit as early as June, “it looks ok” said some, “but what will we wear at Newcastle?” noting that neither black and amber stripes or grey would sufficiently distinguish us from the black and white striped Geordie hoons. They were right, but City’s kit man was oblivious, taking just the all grey away kit to St. James’ Park. The ref was having none of it, and ordered City to don Newcastle’s white away shorts and socks.
Now I’ve wanted City to wear the three stripes of adidas for many a year, but this wasn’t quite what I had in mind. When a 3rd round draw at the KC Stadium meant we’d be heading Toonward again, this time for an FA Cup tie, Phil Brown told KCFM “We have got a massive problem – we don’t have a third-choice strip, we can’t wear our home kit and we can’t wear our away. Hopefully Umbro can come up with something.”
Despite the suggestion that Umbro would supply an all new kit for a one-off appearance, we sported last season’s away kit for the replay. Perhaps we should have retained that as a 3rd shirt anyway, given the flinty nature of this years change kit.
A tip of the hat to the flags of their homelands perhaps, both Daniel Cousin (Gabonese) and Peter Halmosi (Hungarian) have sported green boots during 2008/2009. Cousin’s headed goals at The Emirates and Old Trafford were both scored while the former Lens and Rangers man sported metallic green Nikes. Halmosi began the season wearing red boots but switched early on to green and has stuck with them ever since. Not the best colour to pair with amber and black, really
Phil Brown’s headset
City’s manager can’t bear to be out of touch, so patrols the touchline during games wearing an unnecessarily conspicuous earpiece. Who he’s in touch with who we don’t know, it could be right hand man Brian Horton suggesting substitutions, then again it could be his estate agent giving him real-time updates on the plummeting price of his Lancashire property.
In the wake of ‘Spit-gate’, Mike Norrish of the Telegraph wrote: “Research has suggested that hands-free kits help users avoid the potentially mind-frying affects of mobile phone radiation. And if that’s true, then we’ll have to find another reason for Phil Brown’s post-match performance at the Emirates.”
We might not have initially planned for a clash of away shorts and socks, but we were well prepared for any clashing with our home socks when used away. At Tottenham, Portsmouth and Manchester United, City wore these hi-vis amber stockings (especially in Halmosi’s case) with our first choice black and amber striped kit. I can’t help but think we should wear these at home as well, black stripes on the shirt significantly darken the kit as a whole and these amber jobbies certainly brighten it up.
A League-wide fad this one, adopted notably by Wayne Rooney, Robinho and Nicolas Anelka. City players followed suit, Bernard Mendy, Geovanni, Marlon King, George Boateng and Kamil Zayatte all joined in the form-fitting black compression jersey fun, wearing them regularly throughout the winter months.
Even Andy Dawson and Deano succumbed to the fad (no gloves for these lads though), Daws wore a slate grey undershirt that matched the away kit at Sheffield United in the FA Cup 4th Round tie and the old man sported a black compression jersey at Anfield but switched to startling amber for the trip to Fratton Park, Portsmouth. An utterly pointless practise. Stop it.
Phil Brown’s Aztec scarf
Fashionista Phil broke out the warming neckwear for three games during winter, sporting a zig zag design scarf that appeared to be made from the discarded ponchos of dead pan-pipe playing Mexicans. Worn against Aston Villa, during the FA Cup 3rd round tie against Newcastle (paired with the black shirt) and at Everton.
Our record breaking signing wore an implausibly long City scarf while auditioning for the role of Doctor Who. No, hang on, that’s not right. The £5M man used the neckwear as a prop, posing with it before the Millwall cup game as he was paraded before the fans and assembled camera wielding media types.
He quite possibly held that scarf up for longer than he appeared in a City kit in 2008/2009, he succumbed to a season ending knee injury after playing just 37 minutes for City at West Ham. Rumour has it that fibres from the scarf were later used by renowned Colorado knee surgeon Dr. Richard Steadman to tie the snapped ends of Bullard’s cruciate ligament together. Lies. All lies.
Sadly we couldn’t source images to support allegations that Ryan France trains wearing a tam o’ shanter, that Geovanni protects his testes with an elephant hide codpiece or that Matt Duke’s gloves have retractable Wolverine-esque claws. Soz and that.