Leeds United’s centenary kit unveiled, 100 years in the making
09 Jul 2019 05:45 pm, by YorkshireSquare
Leeds United unveiled their new home kit for the 2019-2020 centenary season this evening. An all-white shirt with platinum trim and sponsors badges and the new centenary badge. A conservative choice perhaps, the blue and yellow of the 80s and 90s would have maybe been a more welcome option. But as Leeds shirts go it is perfectly fine, it’s white, clean and crisp. It’s a kit which has a strong lineage through our history and is steeped in Leeds United tradition.
Leeds haven’t always played in the brilliant all white kits they do today of course. When the club was founded in 1919 by former Huddersfield Town chairman Hilton Crowther the kit looked awfully familiar to our West Yorkshire rivals with light blue and white stripes. In 1934 Leeds switched to play in the colours of the Leeds city crest adopting blue and gold halved shirt with white shorts. Major Frank Buckley later adapted the shirt into all gold with blue arms.
When Don Revie became manager of Leeds United in 1961 the club was reinvented with the most obvious aesthetic change being the switch to an all-white kit. Revie's famous decision showed the touch of a man with a dream, an ideal that his debt-ridden, down-at-heel club might one day emulate the feats of one of Europe's richest and most brilliantly successful team, Real Madrid. Here are some of the classics shirts from that lineage which lead to the centenary design.
All White, Owl Badge (1964-1971)
Manufacturer: Various | Sponsor: None | Badge: Owl | Looked Good On: Johnny Giles
Leeds United switched to an all white shirt in 1961, replicating the greatest football team in the world, Real Madrid. The first badge to appear on the all white shirts was the owl, despite Don Revie’s superstitions about birds. This stalwart was worn for most of the early Revie era from 1964 until 1971, it is one of the most decorated Leeds shirts in history and was worn as Leeds United won the league in 1970, the League Cup in 1968, Charity Shield in 1969 and Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1968 and 1971. Don Revie built his great team during this period featuring the likes of Peter Lorimer and Johnny Giles. Other great players to wear the shirt early on in this period were Jim Storrie, Albert Johanneson and Alan Peacock.
All White, LUFC Script (1971-1973)
Manufacturer: Various | Sponsor: None | Badge: LUFC Script | Looked Good On: Allan Clarke
The LUFC script kit worn from 1971-1973 was only worn for a couple of seasons but it will go down in history as the kit in which we won our only FA Cup in 1972 against Arsenal at Wembley in the Centenary FA Cup final. We were also runners up in 1973, the same year we were Cup Winners Cup runners-up. Peter Lorimer and Allan Clarke top scored in the shirt but it was also worn by greats such as Jack Charlton and Paul Reaney. Accompanied by a pair of blue sock tags it is perhaps the most classic of all Leeds United kits. The kit was also rejuvenated as a ‘retro’ design for the 1995-1996 season when it was worn by Tony Yeboah as he thundered in his famous volleys against Liverpool and Wimbledon.
All White, Smiley Badge (1973-1976)
Manufacturer: Umbro/Admiral | Sponsor: None | Badge: Smiley | Looked Good On: Billy Bremner
The smiley badge only featured on Leeds shirts for seven years and only for three in its original form between 1973-1976, manufactured by Umbro and Admiral at various stages, it has gone down as a design classic. A plain white kit with a modern, quirky badge, quintessentially 1970s, it’s not surprising that this was the favourite when we ran a poll of favourite Leeds United shirts. We won the league in 1973-1974 in this shirt and it featured in perhaps one of the most famous days in the clubs history, the 1975 Champions League final. The smiley marked the pinnacle and the end of the Revie era, worn by some of the the greatest players to play for Leeds including Billy Bremner. It was Allan Clarke, Mick Jones and Duncan McKenzie who bagged the goals.
Yorkshire Evening Post (1991-1992)
Manufacturer: Umbro | Sponsor: Evening Post | Badge: Yorkshire Rose | Looked Good On: Eric Cantona
The Yorkshire Evening Post shirt was only worn for the 1991-1992 season, but what a shirt, what a season! A variation on the previous seasons Top Man shirt. It featured the football in a Yorkshire rose badge and blue and yellow trim on the sleeves. Howard Wilkinson’s team lifted the First Division Championship, the last true champions before the dawn of the Premier League, with Lee Chapman leading the goal scoring tables. Chris Fairclough and Mel Sterland also wore the shirt along with that memorable midfield quartet of Gary McAllister, Gordon Strachan, David Batty and Gary Speed. Best accompanied with a didge Leeds United flat scare and the first division trophy.
Manufacturer: Nike | Sponsor: Strongbow | Badge: Shield | Looked Good On: Mark Viduka
Worn at the peak of the O’Leary years the Strongbow shirt from the Champions League days embodies the most successful and entertaining football Leeds played in the modern era. Always the bridesmaids finishing 4th and 5th in the Premier League and reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League that young team moulded by David O'Leary was always great to watch. The kit featured the ‘Euro Shield’ badge and along with it’s all yellow counterpart set the Champions League alive in 2000-2001. Mark Viduka and Robbie Fowler top scored in the kit also worn by Alan Smith, Rio Ferdinand and Olivier Dacourt. The end of the Strongbow era marked the start of Leeds United’s decline.
Check out the range of Leeds United Retro Shirts available on Amazon.