Stoke City is known around the world for their red and white striped jerseys. The club has not always worn the iconic look and surprisingly even once lost the battle to call the look their own to another English club.
Stoke City Football Club was formed as the Stoke Ramblers in 1863 making them the 2nd oldest football club in the world and one of the founding members of the Football League. The club did not adopt the red and white colors or the vertical stripes at this time, however.
Navy and cardinal hoops were the colors of their first jersey used during the 1860’s and then changed to black and blue hoops for the 1870’s and 1880’s. It was not until 1883 that the club changed their way of thinking and went with the red and white vertical stripes.
With the game becoming professional and a need for supporters to be able to pick out their team, the Football League passed a rule in 1891 that required all teams to register their colors and that NO teams could have the same colors.
Stoke was slow to act waiting to see what colors other clubs would select and apparently were not as well-known for the look as Burnley Express listed the team as playing in ‘we believe, jerseys half red. The team with red and white stripes was Sunderland and so the Black Cats were allowed to keep that look.
The Potters moved forward using a variety of jersey colors between 1891 and 1908 from red and blue stripes to gold and black stripes but the most common look was a solid maroon jersey. Relegation came calling in 1908 which allowed Stoke to return to their red and white stripes.
In 1919 Stoke rejoined the Football League but by that time the old jersey rule had been abolished so the team kept the red and white stripes a look they have used every season with the exception of a short spell in the mid 1980’s when they used a white jersey with red pinstripes and red sleeves.
Stoke City was one of the inaugural teams in the Football League and was one of the first to sign with a Technical Sponsor. Stoke City was signed their first deal with Admiral in 1974. In doing so they were a trailblazer helping to develop the $1 billion replica jersey market that we know today.
New Balance is the latest Technical Sponsor for the club after announcing a deal in February 2015.
“Stoke City is one of the oldest professional football teams in the world, and this history is part of everything the Club does,” Richard Wright, General Manager of New Balance Football, said. “Its fans are incredibly passionate and proud of the Club’s traditions. We’re looking forward to working closely with Stoke City and providing them and their fans with a range of innovative and high-performance kits that a Club of their stature deserves.”
New Balance is expected to unveil the Stoke City home jersey in the coming months and the World Soccer Shop blog will have all the latest as soon as it is officially released.