Sheffield United: Blades launch anniversary shirt

John Brayford (right) and Ryan Flynn model the replica shirts � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
John Brayford (right) and Ryan Flynn model the replica shirts � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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Sheffield United have launched a range of merchandise, including a replica of the club’s first recognisable shirt, to commemorate their 125th anniversary, writes James Shield.

The jersey, featuring thin red stripes and copy of an early badge, mimics those worn by players, including former England captain Ernest ‘Nudger’ Needham, during the 1890’s.

John Brayford, the United defender, was among several members of Nigel Clough’s first team squad to model the retro kit ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Charlton Athletic.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “We really enjoyed not only wearing the kit but also looking the part.

“I had no problem with the beard and ‘tache although I’m not sure how some of the others suddenly acquired the same look.”

A limited number of the tops will be available to pre-order online (www.sufc.co.uk) or from the Bramall Lane Superstore ahead of the League One fixture with Wolverhampton Wanderers, on March 22, which marks the start of United’s anniversary celebrations.

John Garrett, historian and club liaison officer, said: “The club had this style until season 1894-95 when we switched to the type of stripes we have now. The badge is a copy of the oldest surviving example worn on the shirt of legendary Blades and England Captain Ernest ‘Nudger’ Needham.”

Lisa Crossland, manager of the Superstore, said: “Judging by the players’ reaction to the shirts, we think they will be very popular.”