Replica shirts

Newcastle United fans’ passion for collecting club shirts is captured in a new book

Newcastle United fan Gavin Haigh’s new book Black and White Stripes: The Greatest Collection of Matchworn Shirts is out soon

Some people collect classic cars. Others collect stamps. Gavin Haigh collects Newcastle United shirts – and he has hundreds of them.

His 30-year obsession is the subject of a new book, Black and white stripes: the largest collection of matching shirts, which will be released next month. The longtime Newcastle fan and season ticket holder, who lives in County Durham, said: “The book is basically an exhibition of my collection which I started in the early 1990s.”

And what a collection it is – the 53-year-old has managed to rack up over 1,000 Newcastle United replicas and shirts over the years. “I chose the first one in 1992,” says Gavin. “It was a number 17 shirt from the 1989-90 season, and it was given to me by Newcastle center forward Micky Quinn. My oldest shirt was from the late 1950s, probably 1959.”

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If the Magpies’ infamous 1974 FA Cup final was anything to forget for Newcastle fans, Gavin’s favorite shirt from his collection was originally worn by United midfielder Tommy Cassidy at Wembley that day. The shirt itself was a simple classic black and white Bukta, with the club badge in the middle, and without the sponsor logos fitting that would arrive in the next decade.

Gavin took part in his first march of the 1976-77 season – a 3-2 win over Birmingham City at St James’ Park. “Malcolm Macdonald had just left the club, he recalls, and my first heroes were Alan Gowling and Micky Burns. Interestingly, this was a time when fans wearing replica club shirts for the game really weren’t the thing to do.

“Most of us kids would just wear a black and white scarf – and sometimes even wrap it around our wrist,” he says. “You couldn’t buy replica club shirts from a giant club supermarket like you do now. Those that were available were from a sports shop, like Stan Seymour’s in Newcastle city centre.”

At Newcastle United, Gavin believes, fans didn’t start wearing replica shirts in large numbers until the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the so-called “barcode” strip became a big favourite. With the advent of the Premier League, replicas would become a huge lucrative business. Anyone who watched Newcastle United at St James’ Park in the mid-1990s will remember row after row of fans dressed in replica black and white Asics shirts.

These days, the unveiling of a new kit every season or two has become a favorite ritual for many fans with each new design widely discussed and debated on social media – and you can add stripes and thirds to the equation. kits. The latest black-and-white iteration of Castore, incidentally, enjoyed a generally positive response.

Gavin’s book, with a foreword by Magpies legend David Kelly, is a fascinating slice of Newcastle United history. Telling the story of the famous black and white stripes, it features photographs of 101 shirts worn by people like Kelly himself, Paul Gascoigne, Peter Beardsley, Alan Shearer, Gary Speed, Jonjo Shelvey and many more.

Black and white stripes: the largest collection of matching shirts by Gavin Haigh, is published August 10 by Conker Editions, price £16.00.