In Stoke City’sÂ 1220th anniversaryÂ year of 1983Â the club decided on a radical change of kit design and disposed of the traditional red and white striped shirts that had served them so well since the resumption of League football after the First World War. The Umbro-made kit gave a nod to the past by retaining pin stripes on the main body but added solid red sleeves, shorts and socks. Japanese electronics firm Ricoh maintained their sponsorship deal with the Victoria Ground club that began in 1981.
83-84 was poor – manager Ritchie Barker lost his job – with an 18th place finish in the First Division. His successor, Bill Asprey fared even worse during the following campaign, winning just three of their fourty-two league fixtures, accruing a meagre 17 points – a record low that stood for 21 years -Â scoring only 24 times whilst conceding 91 at the other end. Relegation was a formality.
During these disastrous times for The Potters, players such as Sammy McIlroy, Mickey Thomas, Steve Bould and Mark Chamberlain (father of current Arsenal and England star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain) were part of Stoke’s slide into oblivion.
One of Stoke’s rareÂ highlights in that terrible 84-85 season came at home to Arsenal when a paltry 7,371 spectators witnessed a 2-0 victory, courtesy of goals by Ian Painter and Paul Dyson.
Classic retro shirts now available from Campo www.camporetro.com