Collectors Club: My Coventry City Shirt Collection

Mark’s classic Coventry City football shirt collection started about 5 years ago and he has picked up some Sky Blues gems over the years.

Why collect Coventry City shirts?

I grew up a stone’s throw away from Coventry City and the Ricoh Arena. My dad supports Coventry and therefore there wasn’t much chance of anything else happening.

My dad has been fortunate enough to see the rise of the club to the old first division in the 60’s and 70’s under Jimmy Hill and I too have been lucky enough to go to the cup final in ’87. Not so much luck for the younger fans!

I hope the club can find its way back to better times as recent years have been tough being a Coventry fan. The shirts in my collection are fond memories of better days gone by.

How many shirts do you have in your collection?

I think I have around 120 shirts, all Coventry bar two which are both the Admiral England 1982 home and away classics. The collection started with mainly replica shirts and to date I’ve got most home and away shirts from 1975 to present, missing only a couple. I’ll tell you about those later!

The match worn bug then hit, as it does for most shirt collectors. I have managed, to the detriment of my bank balance, to collect most match worn home shirts from 1975-2017, missing 4, but the away’s and third’s are more difficult. I’m missing about 20 of these.

What was the first shirt in your collection?

Actually, my first two shirts were from Classic Football Shirts, so I have CFS to thank for starting my collection. They were purchased about 5 years ago. They were the 1983 home by Umbro and the 1977 Admiral home. Both were replica versions but it was fantastic to be able to pick up these shirts in 2012!

Which is your favourite shirt?

My favourite shirt has to be the 1981 red away Talbot shirt. It was the holy grail shirt for me as I never thought I’d find one. I’m pretty sure they didn’t make them in adult sizes as replicas so the only way to own an adult shirt was to find a match worn one. I’ve never seen another anywhere for sale so I know it’s pretty rare.

It’s tough to choose an outright favourite and therefore it’s worth mentioning the match worn home shirt from the same season. Its design is well known because of the blatantly large Talbot logo at a time when sponsorship was a new phenomenon. Jimmy Hill even tried to change the name of the club to Coventry Talbot at one point! The shirts were banned when the TV cameras were rolling, I have an un-sponsored version of the kit which I showed to Andy Harvey the club kit man. He confirmed it was created and worn as an alternative kit to play in on TV. The BBC were still unhappy as the kit still has the large T logo so another alternative shirt had to be created.

Do you have any other rare shirts in your collection?

I’d say the rarest shirt in my collection is the classic Admiral tramline design brown shirt with the additional Talbot logo embroidery. A great shirt and only worn for one season, 1980-81, so there aren’t many about. The shirt design is most famous for regularly being voted the worst kit of all time! I’m not sure I agree.

If we are talking rare shirts then it’s worth mentioning the 1987 David Speedie Hummel shirt worn in the charity shield. A one off shirt signed by the player and auctioned by the club for charity after the game. Speedie wore number 9 that day as Regis the regular number 9 was injured.

Is there a shirt you’d like to add to your collection?

I’m still looking for a match worn shirt from the 1986-87 season by Triple S. It’s the FA cup winning season, so the shirts will have a special place in all fans hearts. I’d love a cup final or semi-final shirt, but to be honest I’d be happy with anything as they just don’t come up anywhere! The away shirts from this season are even rarer, as once again, they didn’t make a replica version. Any help finding them would be greatly appreciated!

Follow Mark and his Coventry City collection here

Shop classic and clearance Coventry City shirts here