The Kit Room 1877-1949

Back In the embryonic days of football, the only shirts worn were plain or hooped as technology hadn’t yet developed a way of making stripes. Saints first team colours in these days were purple and blue in the style of thin hoops replicated in the 2012 third kit for the 135th anniversary of the club, however it was discovered in 2022 through a long lost 1878 newspaper clipping, that black and white hoops were worn by Saints second XI from 1877 and the colours therefore always associated with Saints.

In 1883, Saints first team moved to black and white hoops after a vote of club members, nobody knows for definite why these colours were chosen for St Mirren, but there has always been much speculation that it was due to the fact that the black and white cart rivers run through the town and form the River Cart as it reaches the Clyde, however it has never been satisfactorily explained.

1884 witnessed the black and white stripes for the first time on a shirt, which exactly what it was of course at that time, complete with buttons all the way down the front and at the cuff, but was accompanied by blue shorts and socks until 1901, giving the kit more of a jockey look than footballer.

At this point, Saints broke from the stripes for six years to play in a cream top, white shorts and blue socks. Thankfully, by 1907 someone on Saints board obviously developed a fashion sense, and for the very first time a black and white striped shirt with white shorts and black socks was produced, a formula that remained unbroken until 1944 when black shorts were used for the very first time, a shirt replicated by retro manufacturers Toffs.

The black shorts lasted until the summer of 1950 when white shorts returned.

The first five known Saints kits, taken from the website
Forward John Paton sporting the 1907 Saints kit, the first with black and white stripes and white shorts.

An uncompromising looking William Duncan during 1912 in the first kit with a black and white collar, just before his transfer back to Airdrie.

William Lavery in the 1919/20 season wearing a plain white or cream shirt, which looks like the 1901-07 kit, perhaps used in emergencies as materials were short after World War I.

Dunky Walker in a traditional classy looking Saints shirt in 1922, which officially was not the home shirt that campaign. His tally of 56 goals in the 1920/21 season, including 45 in the league was a European record at the time. Walker was transferred to Nottingham Forest in 1923.
Denis Lawson in has last season at Saints in 1922 with a tie up collar shirt. He was transferred to Cardiff City the following campaign after 164 appearances for the club.

A forgotten club legend, Alan Gebbie won the Scottish Cup in 1926 and made almost 400 appearances for the club scoring 55 times.
Jimmy McGregor in the full 1935 classic Saints kit. McGregor would score 41 goals that season after Saints first ever relegation the previous campaign.

Patrick McCamon in the very smart kit from 1936/37, just before he moved to English football.
Robert Rankin during his second spell at Saints in 1938 with a tie up collar shirt. Rankin is one of only five players to score over a hundred goals for Saints, and also served as a director, before dying after a long illness in 1954 when he was in his ninth year as official club manager. Robert was only 49 years of age at the time and had spent 30 years at Saints.

Long serving Willie Kelly in 1938, he would leave the club at the end of WWII after 11 years at Paisley and almost 300 appearances, winning the Summer Cup in 1943.

Legendary Saints captain Willie Telfer wearing the widely used kit first introduced in 1944 before being replaced in 1958, the year Telfer left for Rangers after 17 years at the club.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s