Objet d’art – Wembley anthem jackets
Never seen before, never seen since, and sadly not available to buy, the black Umbro jackets worn by City’s first XI before kick off in the 2008 Championship play off final added a real touch of class to proceedings.
If the enormity of a first appearance at Wembley hadn’t sufficiently hit home, the sight of the lads lining up for the national anthem nailed it, inspiring widespread tearful blubbing among Tiger Nationals.
Scheduled entreaties for the safety of our monarch are very rare at City games, the last time the national anthem was played ahead of a Tigers’ fixture was probably back in 1984 when City entertained the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the first leg of the Arrow Air Anglo-American Trophy double header. Also witnessed that day was chairman Don Robinson, dressed as a cowboy, circumnavigating the pitch on horseback while majorettes twirled batons in the centre-circle. Crikey.
This time the anthem was a much more dignified affair, and as Opera singer Katherine Sayles asked God to confound the knavish tricks of foreigners, City looked utterly resplendent in their anthem jackets, a garb more readily associated with World Cups (think Argentina’s navy blue trackies in 1978) and European Cup finals (think Franz Beckenbaur in a red adidas Europa jacket shaking Billy Bremner’s hand ahead of Leeds v. Bayern Munich in Paris, 1975)
That the jackets never went on sale is both admirable and annoying, admirable in the sense that it keeps them special, a reward for a deserving few, annoying as surely every City fan would love to pull on such a unique piece of our promotion campaign.
Objet d’arse – Thriller at the Villa hats
As if their ill-conceived Tigers on Tyneside caps from 1997 weren’t bad enough, the Hull Daily Mail decided to follow up on them two years later when City, bottom of the Football League, faced top of the Premiership Aston Villa in the third round of the FA Cup.
Match of the Day estimated that 7000 travelled from Hull to cheer on City at a time when they were drawing crowds of 4000-6000 in Division Three. Day-trippers and fair weather types were easily distinguishable from those who went every week, they were the only ones* wearing the HDM’s free ‘Thriller at the Villa’ caps, handed out at service stations between Hull and Birmingham.
The craps, sorry caps, were clearly yellow rather than amber (though to be fair, City’s shirts that year weren’t amber either, rather an abominable orange that gradiated into white, like a can of Tango spilt on a white tablecloth) and featured the head of a tiger that seemed to be yowling in pain, as if a suppository had be unexpectedly and forcefully jammed up it’s bum (this logo appeared on the club kit in 1998/1999 too, the only season it was used).
Also featured was the Hull Daily Mail logo. Given that the relationship between the local paper and the club and fans was openly hostile at the time, most die-hard Tiger Nationals would rather have worn a turd covered in burnt hair on their heads than any HDM promotional millinery. The Aston Villa fanzine ‘Heroes and Villans’ later noted that scores of people wearing identical yellow caps made them look a bit remedial, and they weren’t wrong (the young lad to the right of the picture sums it up nicely).
As it happens, the game wasn’t a ‘thriller’ at all, ‘Three-Niller at the Villa’ would have been more appropriate in light of the home side’s comfortable Stan Collymore inspired win.
*This may not be entirely true, but for the sake of a simple throwaway narrative, we’re running with it…