My Wild Life

Boro FC Tales from the Riverside


More than shirts.......


I just love my football team and all that it stands for. The shirt represents my club, my town, its part of what we are, proud Teessiders, Men of Steel. You wear the red shirt, you feel the elation, some glory, lots of pain but you always feel proud to wear the Red Shirt.


A long time ago when I was a lad.....50 years ago to be honest, I got my first Boro home shirt for Christmas. It was plain red along with the red shorts and socks. I remember sewing on some white stripes down the sides of the shorts. In those days replica kits didn't really exist as they do now. I also sewed on a white number "7". I was Derek Downing.

In 1968 Boro played York City in the 3rd round of the FA Cup at Aryesome Park. Boro wore their away kit (yes for a home match) which was Blue and Black stripes. That was it I wanted one. My parents managed to get me one from Jack Hatfields and did I just love that kit. The smell, the feel, the originality, I still treasure the moment my parents gave it to me (or was it santa?) I also appreciate the value and the effort my parents must have put in to get me that kit. I had very humble parents who raised 5 kids as best they could, and they did a great job. Life was hard then. I've never forgotten that kit or the effort that went in to providing it.

In 1974, Boro, under Jackie Charlton introduced a new iconic kit. The shirt was the first to have the white chestband. I absolutely loved that strip. I had saved some money myself and was straight down to Jack Hatfields. Kit marketing was nowhere near as it is now. If Jack Hatfield didn't have it, you wouldn't be getting one.

I remember going to the shop. A big wooden counter, the staff were always great. I asked if they had a new Boro shirt and the answer was "not many". They used to look at you to judge your size and usually got the size you needed dead right. Now at the time I was what you would call Bantam Weight so no XXL sizes required. Unfortunately the one I tried on was probably a size too small and they had no others in stock. I had to have it and bought it. Jack Hatfields always knocked something off the price......Its £x but you can have it for £y.

First PE lessons at school the following week.......did I just look the part, Boro socks, shorts and the new shirt. I still have the shirt along with every Boro shirt I have bought which is most of them every season since the 80's. Home and away.

50 years later I still wear my Boro shirt with pride. Its more than a shirt!

For some reason my shirts have got bigger............don't know why. My gallery has pictures of my shirts, the one on a coat hanger seems to have shrunk in the cupboard as it just wont fit any more although it is very old.


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