historyoftffc'scolours

IT WAS ALWAYS the intention of co-founders Nigel and Peter Kyte to give the Temple Fortune Football Club an identity regarding the choice of football kit colours. Many teams wear their traditional colours with pride and TFFC were to be no exception, they felt.

For example, Arsenal have their famous red with white sleeves, Blackburn always wear blue and white halves and Celtic traditionally adorn green and white hoops, to name just three. So, in an early TFFC publication dated 1973, a one-off handbook for the benefit of players, Nigel wrote that he wanted to adopt yellow and red as the Club's colours. Sometime at the beginning of that year, he bought a set of yellow shirts from Pullens, a school uniform outfitters, in Temple Fortune for just £14, reduced as clearance stock. Later, as mentioned in the handbook, he hoped to add red shorts when funds permitted, and his idea was illustrated on the front cover by a drawing of a footballer adorning a yellow shirt and red shorts.

However, his concept did not materialise until September 1985 when a Temple Fortune team wore yellow shirts and red shorts for the first time. Prior to that, the choice of yellow and red was never approved by the various Committees which he chaired, much to his disappointment. When the Club was revived in February 1976 following two years in decline, the newly-formed Committee decided that sky blue would be the first choice colours for the 1976/77 season, Temple Fortune's first in the MSFL. Yet oddly enough, the Club's first full kit was emerald and white stripes and emerald shorts, purchased by mail order from a company called Soccertogs. Presumably, sky blue was out of stock!

The beginning of the 1978/79 season brought the arrival of three new members, namely Richard Cohen, Andrew Jaye and Martin Leigh, who represented the 'Stephen Bourne' team which was to put the Club on the Maccabi football map over the ensuing five years (reaching the Premier Division and the Peter Morrison Trophy Southern Area Final on the way). Again Nigel's yellow-red idea was shelved as an all-royal blue kit was ordered from Coffer Sports in Camden Town by Martin Leigh, the newly elected Treasurer. A year later, the inaugural Second Team were given a new sky blue kit, also sold by Coffer, followed by the purchase of an all-red kit for the First Team prior to the 1980/81 season from the same manufacturer.

Until Steve Feiger bought the then Liverpool 'away' kit from Umbro (all-yellow with red pinstripes) in August 1983 (worn, incidently, by the Second XI), Temple Fortune had played in red, blue, yellow, green, sky blue plus the white and black in two separate striped shirt designs! This mixture of different colours was certainly not what the Kyte brothers had in mind back in 1973 – a real rainbowish identity! The 1983 yellow shirts were 'promoted' to the First XI before the 1985/86 season, and, at long last, red shorts were added to fulfil the original concept. This is the only time a 2nd XI kit was passed on to the Firsts – on three occasions it was the other way around! The introduction of Temple Fortune's first-ever yellow-red kit coincided with the winning of the M(S)FL Second Division championship in May 1986 – as if to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of the Club's 'rightful' colours!



Since then, Temple Fortune's adopted colours have been officially yellow and red. The sequence was broken briefly prior to the 1987/88 season when a hairdressing firm called Kersens agreed to sponsor a Second Team strip. Kersens insisted on maroon/sky blue and the Club had to reluctantly go along with it or lose what was the Second XI's first kit sponsorship! Temple Fortune's first sponsors had been Pollard Sports, run by former player Clive Pollard, who kindly supplied two separate yellow and red strips in successive seasons. In return players were invited to Pollard Sports Open Evenings to purchase new boots and shinpads!

In later years, the Club enjoyed sponsorship from Alan Mattey's Ultratown and Nigel Conway's Zoo Systems, with suppliers New Olympic making two strikingly original versions of the yellow-red theme, namely yellow shirts with red sleeves. The next kit to arrive came about because of an accident involving First XI player Mark Abrahams who managed to destroy several shirts due to ill-advisedly using a hot tumbledrier. Faced with a large bill to replace the garments, he was able to arrange sponsorship via Salmons Brothers (changed to "Boys" when printed on the new replacement shirts!)

After that the Club had to wait several years before another sponsor agreed to finance a new kit. Kingsleys Estates, a Golders Green-based estate agents, wanted blue in the design because of their house colours. As a compromise, Peter Kyte, who arranged the sponsorship deal with Kingsleys, suggested including navy which would compliment the existing yellow-red theme. An attractive kit was purchased from Kellys of Liverpool comprising of yellow shirts with large navy 'star' designs on the sleeves, plus red piping, and navy shorts – ideal to keep Kingsleys happy yet just about retaining the yellow-red concept. The shirts carried large red numerals on the reverse to further maintain the colour red in the design!

In 1998, long serving member Tony Espinoza (pictured below, left) of Haltons the Jewellers sponsored a new kit for the reformed Second Team who were rejoining the M(S)FL after a 6-year absence. Pendle Sportswear made a continental-style yellow shirt with narrow red and navy stripes on the left side of the shirt front, worn with red shorts.



A year later, the Honorary Members of the Club generously contributed towards sponsoring a new strip for the First Team and an attractively designed kit was purchased from Premier UK of Warrington. The yellow-red theme was splendidly displayed in broad stripes curving down from the shoulders. On the back featured white TFFC lettering on an original arch design. As with the Haltons shirt, navy was again utilised through the printing on the shirt front. For the first time, a large prominent TFFC banner replaced the usual sponsor's logotype.

During the 2002/03 season, both the First Team and Second Team received the same yellow and navy shirts apart from the sponsors' logos, thanks to sponsorship by Turnhold Properties (1st XI) and Winckworth Sherwood Solicitors (2nd XI). The two Club members who were responsible for arranging the sponsorship were Garry Simpson and Robert Botkai. Not to be outdone, the Old Boys Team benefitted from welcomed sponsorship for the 2004/05 season, Gary Bekhor kindly paying for a smart all-yellow, navy and red strip.

A season later, Gary Bekhor sponsored two excellent green and white kits to commemorate the Club's 30th year of Maccabi football. So both the First XI and Old Boys XI started the 2006/07 season adorning a lovely adaptation of Temple Fortune's first league colours worn back in 1976! Pictured above right is an original green and white shirt worn by Co-Founder Peter Kyte together with the new version worn by his son Bennie.

With the 30-year celebration out of the way, for season 2007/08, the Old Boys received a striking version of the yellow/red theme, but this time a contrasting kit never worn by Temple Fortune previously – red shirts with yellow flashes, red shorts and socks. Although an all-red strip appeared in 1980, this attractively new and modern adaptation of the Club's traditional colours was sponsored by James Ryan of Ellis & Co.

The Club completed the return to yellow shirts by purchasing another splendid modern kit for season 2008/08, again sponsored by Ellis & Co, carrying the figure 40 to mark the Club's 40th anniversary. It was the first shirt to carry TFFC's badge in full colour. Worn with the red shorts of the previous kit, this kit was given to the Old Boys 'B' team whilst the new 'A' Masters side took the red shirts with new yellow shorts – basically the 'B' team's colours in reverse!

For season 2010/11, Club member Paul Walker arranged sponsorship through his company Daniel Stewart and Company for the First Team; an attractive yellow and red kit from Italian manufacturers Errea was purchased and again featured the full colour badge, albeit this time commemorating the 35th season in the Maccabi (Southern) Football League.

In October 2013, James Ryan of Ellis & Co agreed to sponsor a new playing kit for the Old Boys team (shown below) to commemorate the Club's 45th Anniversay in December 2013. The colours approved were red shirts with a yellow curved band, red shorts with yellow sidestripes and yellow socks, an attractive kit in keeping with TFFC's traditional colours. James sponsored another splendid kit in the same design and colours for the First Team's use during season 2016/17, a campaign that saw Temple Fortune gain promotion to the MGBSFL First Division as Second Division runners-up.

Whilst long-existing professional teams wear their familiar colours season after season, Temple Fortune's identity continues to be predominantly yellow and red, with navy added as a vibrant complementary colour – a proud tradition which has existed for the majority of the Club's many seasons in Maccabi football.

Below are pages showing the various playing kits for the First Team, Second Team and Old Boys Team over the years.





TFFC'S KIT LENDING: The stories behind the Club's kit lending exploits