So, here’s a question – football shirts

Yes, yes, I know, people want the latest designs which is why every club issues three or four new strips every year. And they’re all copyright too.


But when were strips not copyright? How far back does one need to go for them to be free for all?

Subsidiary question, what’s the date for that in American sports teams?

33 thoughts on “So, here’s a question – football shirts”

  1. Copyright exists without registration and lasts until 70 years from the death of the designer.

    Whether the nominal rights holder cares or not is another question.

  2. Bloke no Longer in Austria


    I don’t think so. Even in the 70s I wore a replica shirt (no team, no pack drill).

    Before that everyone wore suits to the footie. At least according to the newsreels. Buying a replica didn’t matter then cos everything was in black and white.

  3. @ BnLiA
    I don’t remember anyone doing that in the 50s/60s – vague idea that some guys wore scarves in team colours but replica kit? – no way.
    We wore, very proudly, shirts/ties/blazers that we had *earned* but I never heard of a Bobby Moore or Bobby Charlton or Fred Trueman replica shirt.

  4. I think Leeds United under Revie were one of the early teams in the UK. I remember their new badge design and the yellow kit they wore in the 72? FA cup final.

  5. ‘people want the latest designs which is why every club issues three or four new strips every year.’

    But when were strips not copyright?’

    Pls translate to ‘Merican English. What’s ‘strips?’

  6. @Gamecock


    A football strip.

    The shirt (primarily) shorts and socks a football ram wears.

    In the olden days (up to some time in the 70s) teams were one shirt (say a red one) and had a different coloured shirt just in case they played another team in red.

    Then it got commercial. A home kit. An away kit (even if your home kit would not have clashed). A kit for cup competitions, a kit for European competitions. Actually home and away kits for those games. And each kit changed every season. Soon, if you were a real fan, you had to buy 15 shirts every two seasons.

  7. NHL sensibly has rules limiting the changes that can be made to team jerseys to avoid the fans being ripped off every year

  8. Pcar said:
    “when I was a child/teen none wore football strips”

    It was starting when I was a child (probably early ’80s rather than late ’70s), but it was a minority thing for the ones who wanted to look rich.

  9. If the creator is a corporate entity instead of a human, the copyright period is from the date of creation, not the date of the death of the creator.

  10. Bloke in Cyprus: Can I just say that anybody that wears a football shirt while not actually playing football should be hung…?

    or even

    Can I just say that anybody that wears a football shirt while not actually playing football should be hanged…?

  11. Can I just say that anybody that wears a football shirt while not actually playing football should be hung…?

    “And quite often is!” (Thank you Mel Brooks!)

  12. I’m always bemused by the notion of fans being ripped off or ‘had to buy fifteen shirts’ as if it were like school uniforms and somehow compulsory. Not only are these fans laughably easy to exploit, they actually dress in a way that screams easy to exploit at anyone who sees them.

  13. I knew I should have typed ‘hanged’ as soon as I clicked ‘Post Comment’… 🙁

    Can I add people that talk about their team as if they’ve actually played the match and not in fact watched it on the big screen down the pub…?

  14. Thx, Andrew C.

    “Can I add people that talk about their team as if they’ve actually played”

    That’s one of the big appeals of college football in the U.S.

    “My school, my team, I’m part of it.”

  15. @Stonyground.
    Depends on doing the buying. If you’ve a lad who’s obsessive about the obnoxious form of entertainment. (Professional football having nothing whatsoever to do with sport) you come under enormous pressure to pay for marketing product connected with it. And the industry’s quite cynical about manipulating it.
    I can only appeal to the worthy Chinese to pirate the fvck out of the stuff & bring the whole shoddy business to its knees.

  16. Although, incidentally, I do think it serves a valuable purpose in adult men & should be encouraged. Any grown man wearing a replica football shirt has effectively hung a large sign on his body reads “Here be cvnt” Saves time & expense finding out the hard way.

  17. As a kid I can remember my mother’s response when I wanted to do something just because everyone else seemed to be doing it. “If they all stuck their heads in a fire would you do that as well?” This enormous pressure to conform has never really applied to me since.

  18. @Stonyground
    I think most of us had similar childhoods. I know I bought my first pair of jeans with my own money because my father believed ‘people like us don’t wear dungarees’.
    But the marketing is done directly at peer pressure. Making kids feel they’re an outsider if they haven’t got the product. And the product itself is mostly just the label.
    I’m not sure if this isn’t coming out in other things. Kids habituated to this are not good at making independent choices. Maybe it explains the Climate Change” religion. You’re now one of the in-crowd unless you’re on board with the project. It’s certainly been marketed like that

  19. @john77 August 16, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    Scarves – yes, that’s about all I saw in 60, 70, 80s – many Rangers ones left in Hotel’s pub bar on Sat nights, and bizarrely never claimed crash helmets too (East Coasters and Nomads MC venue)

    @Stonyground August 17, 2019 at 9:42 am


    I’ve supported/liked many car/bike pilots, Conservatives, etc all I’ve ever bought is a Conservatives tie in 80s and Silverstone 19xx/20xx British GP T-shirts when there as a souvenir/talking point.

    I’m not an advertisement billboard

  20. If you do running or triathlon events you usually get a tee shirt thrown in with the entry fee. For these the cred that you get among your peers is more about the difficulty of the event than what it cost. Ironman distance event shirts score both ways as it costs about £300 to enter one.

  21. @ Stonyground
    Never done an Ironman because I hate swimming (50 yards to pass Scout Second class test and never again) but any guy who does *definitely* deserves street cred. [I’ve never even done a biathlon].
    I didn’t notice any difference in street cred relating to the difficulty of the marathon, but that may just be me not noticing.

  22. @john77

    I hate swimming

    + 0.6

    I don’t hate, but don’t enjoy. I had to swim 50m (2 lengths) in Xmin Ysec to be allowed to do diff PE at Grammar School – as low fat, I sank and teacher insisted 2 x 25m underwater not a pass. He relented after I continually debated/wound him up by demanding written rules etc. So much effort/energy spent trying to stay on surface rather than move forward is not pleasurable; crawl is only stroke that works but 50% was going up not forward.

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