White-knuckle ride for white-shirted Bolton, Fulham and Derby

March 28, 2008

Derby owners poseOne of the greatest things about Subbuteo, besides giving generations of kids endless table-topping fun, was the chance of studying the team colours chart.

Where else could you learn at a glance that your claret and blue squad could be either West Ham, Burnley or Aston Villa, or that Plymouth Argyle were the only team in the Football League to play in green shirts (as did amateur giants Hendon) and that Blackpool were unique for being the only team to play in tangerine.

I thought of that old chart for the first time in years this week as Bolton, Fulham and Derby County edged closer to relegation from the Premier League.

Forget about logos and sponsors names, as far as my generation is concerned all three teams play in identical kits — white shirts and black shorts — and they are on the brink of becoming the subject of a future pub quiz trivia question.

Q: What was unique about the relegation of Bolton, Fulham and Derby in 2008?

A: It was the first time three teams wearing identical colours were relegated together.

Derby are already doomed but if Bolton and Fulham join them — and that is far from certain as yet — it will be because they haven’t played well enough, not because of the colour of their shirts.

But is there anything in a club’s colours that determines its success rate? Bill Shankly certainly thought so, changing Liverpool’s kit from red shirts and white shorts to all-red in the early Sixties. He believed that it made Liverpool look more intimidating and perhaps he had a point, perhaps not.

Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal, the three most successful clubs in English soccer all wear red, but Real Madrid, nine times European champions, play in all-white.

You can argue it until you are blue in the face, of course. Or in the case of Bolton, Fulham and Derby, white with fear as the prospect of Championship football edges closer.

PHOTO: New Derby owners pose with manager Paul Jewell in January 2008. REUTERS/Darren Staples


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Im sure Ive told you this story before Mike but as a young Blackpool fan I once wrote to Subbuteo to complain that we had to share our team set with Holland, whose shirts had a black trim that Blackpool never had.
Expecting a subbuteo set just for Blackpool the next season, the makers then put out a Holland/Blackpool/Luton Town away box set!! I was furious.

Posted by Mark Meadows | Report as abusive

And didn´t Don Revie change the Leeds United strip to all-white in imitation of Real Madrid so they would have an aura of invincibility about them.

Then again England wear white too.

Posted by Simon Baskett | Report as abusive

There’s probably something in the red being intimidating idea – witness backmarkers jumping out of the way of (red) Ferraris quicker than other cars in the past in Formula One. Mind, my hockey team plays in red and we recorded a 100% record of losing all year so…

Posted by John Pennington | Report as abusive

[…] Do white shirts = relegation? (Reuters Soccer Blog) […]

Posted by Daily Dose 3.28.08 – Daily Dose – The Offside – Soccer News and Opinion from leagues around the world | Report as abusive

Thanks for the Hendon namecheck. No longer amateur or, sadly, giants but still plugging away in the Ryman (Isthmian) League. Been watching them for nearly 40 years through thin and thinner. If you’d like to know more about the club and how we’re doing in our centenary season, visit www.hendonfc.net or email me on simon.henon@btinternet.com

Posted by Simon Lawrence | Report as abusive

[…] na to, ze po raz pierwszy w historii angileskiej pierwszej ligii spadna trzy druzyny grajace w takich samych strojach. […]

Posted by Derby 2 – 2 Fulham | Fulham.pl | Polska strona fanow Fulham FC | Report as abusive