THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Notable kits of yesteryear

hartlepool971507 June ~ Before the days of glossy Nike kits and multi-national sponsors we had this – a fabulously no-nonsense design at the end of tumultuous decade for Hartlepool. With the simplistic appearance of an off-the-shelf Sunday league strip, it was released without a manufacturer's logo and was one of the last in a long line to carry the name of the local Camerons brewery.

Having safely negotiated two takeovers, along with a series of horrendous mid-1990s kit designs, the return to solid royal blue-and-white did not initially mark an upturn in fortunes for the club. Pools ended the 1997-98 season in the relative security of 17th place, but an eight-game winless run the following year saw Mick Tait's side sliding towards the Conference.

By mid-January Tait was sacked and Chris Turner was brought in to replace him. Despite being bottom at Easter, Turner's men recovered to finish in 22nd place, three points clear of Scarborough who were famously relegated by goalkeeper Jimmy Glass's injury-time winner for Carlisle. The revival was to continue the following season, with Pools rising all the way to the play-offs before missing out to arch rivals Darlington.

With its unfussy trim and supermarket-carrier-bag material, the shirt is a timely reminder of the club's brush with demotion from the Football League prior to the boom years of the new millennium. When Pools take to the field in League Two next season, they are sure to be wearing something much more elegant, if not quite so endearing. Tom Acey

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