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The story of the mystic Celtic shirt

The evolution of one of the last historical bastions of football

The story of the mystic Celtic shirt The evolution of one of the last historical bastions of football

There are no things in football that last forever. Almost everything has changed since the historic October 26, 1863 - the date on which the birth of football by Ebenezer Cobb Morley coincides. You can count on the fingers of one hand the things that have remained intact since that day and are the same that make this game unique. Among these things - even if you have to wait for November 6, 1887 - there is certainly the Celtic shirt of Glasgow.



Those who will initially be called "Kel-tik" by Brother Walfrid and who soon (given the large presence of Irish Gaelics in Scotland) will become "Sel-tik", represent a not indifferent piece of football culture. Beyond the trophies, beyond the exploits that went on stage at Celtic Park - even if for all it is simply The Paradise - and beyond a story that exceeds 130 years, it remains a unique and unmistakable style, one of those that modern football has not managed to take away from a mentality that does not bend to any will except that of "The Bhoys".



The shirt of one of the two factions of what is called Old Firm in Scotland - that is the rivalry between the Celtics representing the Catholic community of Glasgow and the Rangers, which instead represent the Protestant one - has remained practically unchanged over the years, maintaining a beauty and a mystical charm that has become one of a kind. Its legendary immutability makes it in all respects a historic bulwark of modern football. The team's race suit only in the first decade has undergone some changes. The debut game shirt was completely white with a green collar and black shorts, while the following year the uniform was white-green vertical stripes. Since 1903, Celtic players have worn practically the same suit. The Hoops - that is, both the green stripes - became horizontal in 1903 and made the Glasgow team jersey a true identifying symbol. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the uniforms of the football teams were very Spartan, simple, all the same, and having stripes was equivalent to being recognizable at any latitude.



Another not insignificant detail is represented by the numbering: the numbers of the players were shown on both sides of the shorts rather than on the back of the shirts. This peculiarity was eliminated by the Scottish Football League at the beginning of the 1994-95 season after a diplomatic incident with a referee. The Celtics, therefore, were the forerunners of the numbers on the shorts, a tradition that still follow teams like Betis Sevilla, Roma or the Belgian national team. 



In 1984, the Celtic entered, for the first time in their history, a shirt sponsor (CR Smith, a company that produces double glazing). sponsorship of the shirt for the first time, with the double glazing company CR Smith based in Fife with the logo engraved on the front of the team jersey. In 1991 it fell to Peoples (brand that operates in the automotive sector), before the "fast" that lasted the whole 92-93 season. It did not happen since the early 80s, yet marketing was not affected: an incredible sales boom arrives, testifying to the fact that the Celtic fan prefers the jersey in its more fundamentalist version. In 1993, however, CR Smith returned to the white-green striped shirt. Umbro, NTL, Carling, Tennent's, Magners and Dafabet will follow in the following years.



As for the technical sponsors, however, Celtic has always been connected to Umbro, considering the supply that lasted from 1976 until 2004. In 2004, however, Nike's offer arrived and it would become the official supplier for the next 6 years. The first timid stylistic changes, small attempts to move the style, composition and design of the hoops that have always been on the shirt of the Catholics of Glasgow have to be attributed to the American company. In 2012, the year in which the Scottish club turned 125, Nike reproduced a modern version of the first shirt dressed by the "The Bhoys": completely white with a green collar. New change in 2015, where New Balance enters the scene with a £ 30 million contract. New Balance also created a special collection: in the 2017-2018 season, the uniform was transformed into a tribute to the Lions of Lisbon. A few hours after the rumors of the beginning of the month, the new partnership with adidas was made official, which will become the technical sponsor for the next 5 years starting from June 1, 2020. The contract will be the richest ever signed for the Scottish championship. The figures have not yet been disclosed, but they will certainly be higher than the 30 million of the Boston brand.