Following on from the Everything’s Gone Green article and Fraser’s reminiscences I’ve uncovered additional information about the green kit and further evidence of its unpopularity, this time with the players.
I mentioned that the introduction of the green and gold shirts coincided with Stan Pearson’s appointment as player-manager in March 1959 and I have now learnt that the colours were chosen by Stan’s wife. While it’s easy to appreciate the new manager wanting to create an impression it seems astonishing that the move away from the long established blue and white should happen in this way. Perhaps understandably this information was not publicised at the time and there is little doubt that a similar move today would be met with a massive outcry.
I was speaking to Ronnie Hughes at a charity game in Mold on Sunday and he described the shirts as terrible. Ronnie, who played more than 400 times for Chester between 1951 and 1962 said that the switch from blue and white did not go down well with the players and the dressing room was very quiet for two or three weeks after the announcement.
Full back John Evans was a regular in the Cheshire County League side until he made his full league debut in 1961. According to John the reserves used to inherit the first team’s shirt at the end of the season which were then passed down to the A team the following year and eventually used in training. He thought the shirts were awful and because the material was a mix of wool and cotton they didn’t feel good or wear well. In addition the colours were a dull green and faded in the wash so never looked smart. With such a negative feeling towards the colours it’s perhaps unsurprising that performances on the pitch also suffered. It’s easy to see why supporters should associate the green with bad luck and why they were hastily dropped after Pearson was sacked.
The green shirts were provided by Hack’s who had a shop in the arcade, on the right hand side as you enter from Bridge Street, and were regular kit suppliers for many years.
In the earlier article I included a photograph of a scarf which is on display at the Exacta and was donated by an old supporter. Both Ronnie and John remember that they were given similar scarves by the club one Christmas. John recalls that the players were always well looked after by the board of directors and received ties and scarves which were supplied by Bradley’s, an outfitters on Foregate Street. Meanwhile chairman Reg Rowlands always presented the players with a bowl of hyacinths from his florist’s shop at the festive period. Clearly a different era and difficult to imagine Manchester City handing similar gifts to Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli.
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