We’re not just about foxy chicks wearing shorts on this site; every now and then we like to chuck in an informative article about some short-related subject or other. So today this is an article about football and how the style of shorts has progressed (or regressed) throughout the decades.
Football, or soccer, is a game which dates back hundreds of years in various forms; have a look at this article about Shrovetide Football. No-one wore shorts back then though and even when less chaotic rules were formalised in Cambridge in 1848 there were no references to what players should be wearing. Uniforms came along shortly so that spectators could tell the teams apart and it’s notable that in the early days headgear was also worn.
The first team to wear something approximating shorts appears to have been Darwen, a northern team comprised of mill workers who reached the FA Cup semi-final against the professional Old Etonians in 1879. These shorts were essentially cut-off trousers held up by braces and were scoffed at by spectators.
By the late 1880s a number of teams had begun to appropriate this fashion. The photo below features Burnley FC from the 1889/90 season.
So we now had something approximating shorts which replaced the ‘stockings’ – the full length leggings – which were worn previously. However the word ‘shorts’ was not one that seems to have been in common usage or in fact any type of usage. Players were also unable to show any of their pale skin, the long shorts which they wore – ‘knickerbockers’ – were designed to cover their knees and overlapped the long socks below. This was not by choice – league rules specified this measure.
Anyway, by this point at the end of the 19th century we had something that looked like a pretty standard football kit which features shorts, socks and jersey which was designed as a team uniform. It wasn’t until the beginning of the next century that the requirement to cover up the knees was relaxed but that’s for Part Two…….