Many supporters incorrectly believe that Liverpool Football Club was the first team in
history to adopt commercial sponsorship across their shirts but it was actually
Kettering Town that started this trend three whole years before Liverpool. In January
1976 they had 'Kettering Tyres' emblazoned on their chests for a game verses Bath.
The FA initially ordered the club to remove the logo but sponsorship was officially
permitted from 1977 onwards. Derby County started the 1977/78 with 'SAAB' across
their shirts and all the players also drove the Swedish car. Hibernian were yet another
club that beat Liverpool to the chase when they agreed a deal with 'Bukta' later that
Hitachi, a Japanese electronics company, sponsored Liverpool FC during the 1979/80
and 1980/81 seasons. The body of the home shirt was identical to the jersey used in the
two previous seasons, with the Hitachi logo simply added on top of the existing kit.
This shirt was worn by Graeme Souness in the English Division One.
(above) Not Graeme Souness - but fellow tashed hero,Terry Mac
(below) Graeme Souness and his perm.
It is worth noting that there were two different types of red Hitachi shirts used for
Liverpool matches. By the end of the 1979/80 season, Hitachi decided that the initial
logo was too small, and insisted on a larger logo for the 1980/81 season. I personally do
not differentiate between the Hitachi sizes for the purposes of valuation, however
certain collectors consider those jerseys with the larger Hitachi logo to be the rarer,
and therefore more valuable, shirts. Genuine player shirts have embroidered logos and
worded neck collars. Both short sleeve and long sleeve replicas were produced for
sale to the general public.
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