Notable kits of yesteryear

southendsht15011 April ~ I was full of hope for the season ahead as I went to the Southend United club shop in August 1996 to buy our new kit. The Shrimpers were about to embark on their sixth season in the second tier after spending the previous 70-odd years yo-yoing between the third and fourth divisions of English football.

What I purchased can only be described as a sartorial monstrosity, a giant dollop of yellow splashed onto our traditional blue which became known to all Southend supporters as the "custard splat". Some fans pointed out it looked like Bart Simpson's hair peeking out from the players' shorts. Shirt bought, we headed up for our first away game at Oxford and were promptly thrashed 5-0.

The horrific kit was synonymous with two seasons of abject failure on the field, the first including a 4-0 hiding at Loftus Road I travelled down from university in Edinburgh for, and culminating in relegation from the second tier in 1997 under the tenure of Ronnie Whelan. To add insult to injury the kit was not replaced the following year, and once again this harbinger of gloom brought a second successive drop from the third tier under the hapless Alvin Martin. Ed Beavan

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