How the clothes of footballers changed from century to century: From tunics and bast to cylinders and haute couture shirts
Since the advent of football – and this game, as we know, has a rich history – not only the sport itself has changed, but also the clothes of the athletes playing it. Perhaps by modern standards, the footballers of the past or the last century looked ridiculous. But they certainly played with no less passion than modern athletes. And dressed in what in those days was considered the most practical and fashionable. Who knows, perhaps the football form of modern football players will also seem strange to our descendants …
What were the ancestors of football players
Before football appeared on Foggy Albion, our distant ancestors in all corners of the planet tried to play something similar – only in their variations. And the ancient Indians, and the ancient Egyptians, and even the Chinese. In Europe, competitions resembling modern football were organized by the Celts even before our era, and more than a hundred people could simultaneously participate in such games.
In ancient times, competitors were dressed in their usual clothes – tunics, loincloths, but also used protection – for example, something like leather shields. The ancient Indians during such competitions often wore the heads of animals – apparently, to intimidate the enemy. In more northern countries, of course, they used everyday warm clothes. For example, the Chinese and Japanese played kimono.
In Russia, they began to drive the ball much later, but also before the official birth of football. The players also did not try to invent any special clothes – they played directly in felt boots or sandals.
When football appeared in England, at first “sportsmen”, if you can call them that, played in long raincoats and short pants. This is evidenced by ancient paintings and prints.
The first professional football club “Sheffield” was created in 1857, and closer to the end of the century they started talking that it would be nice to bring players’ clothes to a certain standard.
The very first officially documented version of the form of football players consisted of four mandatory components. These are pants, socks (they were supposed to fill the leg), a headdress (at first it was a cylinder, and later – a cap) and a shirt.
First, the players used ordinary high boots or boots as shoes. They were heavy and rough and often led to injuries. When boots were replaced by boots, they were no less massive, and the spikes on them were made of metal, and the number of injuries that footballers received from opponent’s shoes did not decrease. Only at the beginning of the twentieth century appeared lighter shoes with spikes made of leather – specially modeled for playing football.
Fads of the XX century
Gradually, the pants of the players began to shorten and shorts replaced the long pants. At the beginning of the last century, the football association took care of the fact that the shorts were obscenely short, and established rules by which they should not open the player’s knees.
However, this rule did not stick because the length of the shorts negatively affected the athlete’s speed (organic cotton, from which they sewed cloth, got wet from sweat, and clothes became heavier), and from the middle of the 20th century they became short again.
By the way, the numbering of the uniform on the players began only in the late 1930s. Moreover, there were no uniform rules that would determine where exactly to put the number, and therefore some teams showed off numbers only on shorts. For example, the Scottish Celtic team played with numbers on sports shorts in the 1960s.
The appearance of synthetic materials in the second half of the last century made it much easier for athletes. And the creativity of designers has also given players a greater individuality, which sometimes bordered on shocking.