A Change Of Kit – But Was It Accidental?

Fan Reveals How Club Closed Ranks

Wolves’ Jimmy Dunn does battle with Stoke in April, 1951 – in those famous hooped socks.

Here’s an offering with a difference from us – and one with which we suspect we are pushing our luck in wondering whether any of our readers can shed some new light.

Don Noble, whose name may be familiar following the valuable help he has given us in the past, kindly emailed once more to bring to our attention a distant recollection from his memory bank.

It concerns a post-war Wolves trip to Manchester City and a kit variation that must remain unexplained for at least a bit longer. Let us explain…..

Coventry-based Don was prompted to contact us about a 1951-52 FA Cup third-round tie that became a personal triumph for right-back Jack Short when he was used at centre-forward in the replay and scored twice.

But it was neither that 4-1 Wolves victory, nor the 2-2 scoreline at Maine Road four days earlier, that are the main justification for publishing this story.

Instead, the reason this lifelong supporter got in touch was to tell us about the strip Stan Cullis’s side wore in the first of those Cup meetings.

Don wrote: “Wolves played in Hull City’s pale, plain socks and just didn’t look right in them. They over-ran City for most of the match but finished up level pegging.

“Kits were not used as advertising hoardings in those days and Hull, who were playing at Old Trafford that day, had kit identical to Wolves except that they had plain socks instead of hooped.

“The pictures in that evening’s Manchester football paper showed Hull wearing Wolves hooped socks. Whether the clubs had mixed up the entire kit or just the socks was never revealed. However, because Hull beat United that afternoon, I am tempted to say they must have been wearing the whole of Wolves’ kit!

“There was nothing very odd about discovering the kit swap. I was at the match and, like most other visiting supporters, was astonished when Wolves appeared in pale gold socks instead of their usual gold and black hoops.

“I assumed that the two teams had been staying in or using the same hotel and a couple of baskets of kit got mixed up. The shirts and shorts were identical, so that didn’t matter – maybe they were swapped too, maybe not.

Stan Cullis……possible embarrassment.

“Several months later, the matter was mentioned in the Sporting Star and someone denied that it had happened. But everyone who had been at Maine Road that day – and those at Old Trafford, too – saw it for themselves.”

The story did not strike a chord with our good friend, Steve Gordos, when we referred it to him, so he and other historian types will be delighted if any of our readers can offer an explanation.

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