Thursday, 20 September 2012

Al Gordon's Top 5 Patrick Kits

Regular Football Attic contributor Al Gordon of God, Charlton & Punk Rock has come up with another cracking article on French kit manufacturers...this time it's Patrick in the spotlight...

Those purveyors of nostalgic footballing memories, Got Not Got, posted an article recently about another French kit manufacturer from the 1980’s, Patrick. With imported French kit design still at the forefront of my mind after my Le Coq Sportif piece, I thought I’d ‘treat’ you all to my five favourite Patrick kits.

I’ve avoided one common template used by the likes of Derby County, Birmingham, Wrexham, Rotherham and Newport County although with its use of fine pinstriping it’s very elegant in its own right. Instead I’ve chosen not just from that golden period, but from designs across the years.

1. Swansea City, 1981-84

It’s not hard to see where the inspiration for this kit came from, fellow French firm Le Coq were already making something similar for Spurs. A classic plain white affair, it shared both manufacturers motif positioning on the sleeve and a central club crest with their counterparts. The difference between the two designs came in the style of the collar. Patrick used a round neck with a slight overlap at the front, very much in a style Adidas used in the Eighties with the likes of Arsenal and QPR.

As wonderful as the shirt is, what really sets this kit apart from the competition is the two black stripes on the bottom right corner of the shorts, a feature Patrick used for many clubs. The two lines were very much a Patrick logo borrowed directly from the boots they were famous for during the period. It was very understated yet just enough to give the whole ensemble a touch of class.

I always remember this as Swansea’s heyday kit from the old Division One, worn by the likes of Bob Latchford and Alan Curtis. Ironically, modern day Swansea back in the top flight of English football once again can lay claim to being the best dressed team in the land with wonderfully  simple centenary designs both home and away supplied by Adidas.

Sandwiched between classically simple designs by other favourite sportswear firms of mine, Bukta, Hummel and Admiral, fans of The Swans really were spoilt for over a decade with some of the cleanest football kits on the market.

2. Southampton, 1980-85

Kevin Keegan. We all remember being surprised by news that the European Footballer of the Year was returning from West Germany to ply his trade on the south coast with Southampton.

The pictures of that pristine perm in a red and white Patrick shirt were beamed around the world ensuring a kit some Saints fans weren’t too keen on would become iconic. In contrast it’s the bald head of David Armstrong that I always recall wearing it.

Deviating from the traditional stripes seems to anger all fans whose sides play in a shirt of that configuration. Patrick went for an ‘Ajax negative’ idea with the bold white panel down the chest and red sides, separated by fine black pinstripes. They were always going to be facing the pressure trying to follow Admirals previous shirt worn through the end of the seventies. In fact Patrick failed to take on board any concerns of the fans as after five years they followed this design with a predominantly red shirt with white and black shoulders (a template which Birmingham City also adopted).

There are many different versions of this shirt as the design ran for far longer than sponsor’s contracts and both Rank Xerox and Draper Tools, the two names you associate the most with the club, can both lay a claim to this famous design.

3. Wimbledon, 2002-04

With striking yellow sides which continued down the shorts, a bold yellow V-neck and simple sock detailing, you’d think there is nothing particularly astonishing about this tasteful Wimbledon kit. Two things draw me to it though, first, it’s the last kit worn under the old Wimbledon name, and second just look at the sponsors logo!

AFC Wimbledon had already been formed at this point and Wimbledon the league club were planning the logistics of migrating north to Milton Keynes. This strip was worn in the last season at Selhurst Park and was retained for the first year (the clubs final season) at the hockey stadium.
With the GO-MK logo in black white and red, the colours of the rebranding, this really is in my opinion one of the saddest football kits ever worn.

The likes of Warren Barton and Dean Holdsworth were among the final Wimbledon squad to wear this shirt although they were sold by the clubs administrator before the name change. A young Dean Lewington, son of Fulham legend Ray, also wore it and still wears the white shirt of MK Dons today.

4. Stockport County, 1999-2001

Stockport County are a club that have never been afraid to boldly try something different. If a kits good enough for the world champions, then it’s good enough for them. Following Argentina’s success on home soil in 1978, County adopted the light blue and white stripes with black shorts for three seasons, right up to the outbreak of war in the Falklands. They finished the last couple of months of that campaign in a black and white number straight out of the Adidas (or perhaps Kay’s) catalogue.

County were market leaders in some of the horror stories from the early Nineties, before getting a little too carried away with shadow striping by 1995 on a predominantly white kit. Adidas brought a short interlude of sanity back to the club for three years before Patrick embarked on resuming normal service with this delight.

Taking its roots from the Southampton kit of fifteen years earlier, the winged collar and a bold white chest panel are delightful, yet Patrick weren’t content with the tried-and-tested formula and had to add symmetrical pinstriping, very reminiscent of my own ‘telephone doodling’.

5. Port Vale, 2001-03

Number five was a hard choice. Patrick produced a fine quartered shirt for Cambridge United but that missed out as it looked a little too much like a rugby design. There was also a white number made for Plymouth Argyle with fine green pinstripes that was definitely in the mix, but I’ve plumped for a bizarre design that I believe could be unique. If you know of other clubs with these unmistakeable sleeves then please send pictures!

What is in essence, a simple design with its neat v-neck collar and famous sponsor logo, Patrick went one step further than Hummel did with the chevrons and put a whole pedestrian crossing up the sleeve. The availability of a flashing orange light epaulette would have made those who like to accessorize very happy! This design also continued up the side of the shirts, my ‘telephone doodling’ here would probably consist of a famous pop group crossing Abbey Road.

My memories of the shirt are a little thin on the ground nearly a decade on, but judging by the picture, Patrick only made them in a very limited range of sizes! A very distinctive and dynamic design to end on.

Once again, our thanks go to Al for this great post. If you'd like to write an article for The Football Attic, contact us at admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com or catch us on Twitter or Facebook.


  1. Have to say I was never a fan of Patrick kits. My first experience of them was Southampton's 85-87 outfit, which was just awful.

    Having said that, the Swansea one above is class!

  2. That Southampton kit really has become something of a legend, Al. I remember loving it when it first came out, plus the fact that all the Saints kits that followed it somehow didn't match it for quality (IMO).

    I should also add that I was a big fan of that Swansea kit back in the day too! It really stood out amid the stuff being put out by companies like Adidas and Umbro... :)

  3. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Keegan thought the boots were awful but he was paid so handsomely to wear them that he persevered.

  4. My club Tranmere had a one-year dalliance with Patrick, but sadly this co-incided with possibly our maximum national exposure, coming as it did in 1999-2000, the year we reached the League Cup Final.

    I say sadly because a) the kit had some RED in it (argh!) b) it had pinstripes on it (argh again!) and c) my version was a size too large so I looked like I was wearing some kind of migraine-inducing tarpaulin.

    Cheers, Tristan Browning