Club Classics: Le Coq & The Cockerel 1980-82

We’re delighted to bring you a sneak peak at the The Spurs Shirt, the incredible new book charting the history of Tottenham Hotspur through the evolution of the club’s iconic kits. 

In the book, Spurs’ story is told through a unique collection of historic match-worn shirts from club legends including Danny Blanchflower, Jimmy Greaves, Ricky Villa, Glenn Hoddle, Gareth Bale and Harry Kane

The shirt we can show you is Scotland forward Steve Archibald’s long-sleeved Le Coq Sportif shirt from the 1981-82 season

Following the demise of Admiral in 1980, Le Coq Sportif stepped forward to take over kit design responsibilities, returning to a clean, minimalist look and one of Spurs’ most iconic lillywhite shirts. 

After a feeling among players and fans alike that Admiral had taken branding too far, Le Coq Sportif’s stripped-back return to traditional basics was incredibly well received, with its fans’ favourite status cemented by its association with Spurs’ success between 1980-82.

The simplicity of Le Coq Sportif’s crisp design, coupled with the very fabric of the shirt, allowed Tottenham’s famous lillywhite colours to shine. 

Such was the manufacturer’s modesty, Le Coq Sportif’s logo moved to the sleeves, as the resplendent cockerel stepped forward to the centre of the chest. 

Meanwhile, the polyamide acetate mix fabric (none of your 100% polyester nonsense here!) produced a shiny, continental style shirt, quietly revolutionary for its time. 

Spurs fans will remember Steve Archibald for his languid style of atire, preferring a long-sleeved, untucked shirt that almost covered his shorts. 

Archibald wore Tottenham Hotspur’s number 8 shirt in both the 1981 FA Cup final and the triumphant replay 5 days later, but the style of printing was different for each encounter. 

For the first Wembley showcase, 3D style shadow flock block numbering (or schatten beflocken” to be precise) as shown on Archibald’s shirt from the following season, was introduced before being replaced by plain cloth numbers for the replay. 

We don’t want to give away too many secrets from the book which challenges the myths, half-truths and urban legends associated with the development of Spurs’ colours across more than 300 pages of glossy match-worn shirts; but The Spurs Shirt tells the full story as to why those numbers changed between the two games. 

The book also tells the story of why Ricky Villa wore number 6 in the first match, before weaving his way through the Manchester City defence to score possibly the most legendary goal in FA Cup Final history in Tottenham’s number 5 shirt. 

Altogether more than 200 individual shirt variations from 110 players are covered in The Spurs Shirt, along with every Tottenham Hotspur home shirt since 1961 and every away kit since 1971. 

Whether you’re a Spurs fan or not, this meticulously researched Tottenham Hotspur tome has something for all football fans, history buffs and kit connoisseurs alike. 

The Spurs Shirt by Simon “Shakey” Shakeshaft, Darren Burney and Neville Evans can only be bought through the club’s official outlets and online shop and is available now. 

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