INSIGHTS: Lucy Osborne on the search for the perfect costume
Dedication. Commitment. Perseverance.
As a Nottingham Forest fan, these are the words that might spring to mind if I reflected on the great European Cup Triumphs of 1979 and 1980. Or the attributes that might define such Forest giants as John Robertson, Peter Withe or Stuart Pearce.
But this week at PP HQ we have been awestruck by the passion and enthusiasm of the fans themselves: the amazingly generous and passionate fans of Hull City AFC.
Jumpers for Goalposts tells the story of a 5-a-side football team in Hull. This is the world of scrappy Saturday afternoon football in the park. Our team don’t have proper kits, but instead attempt team unity based around a “theme of red”. Our costume supervisor Mark Jones had a moment of inspiration, and discovered that Hull City abandoned their archetypal amber and black kits for just two seasons and amazingly had a dark red change kit for the 1995-97 season. This was brilliant news, one of our characters, Joe, would look brilliant playing in a Hull City shirt. Now we wanted one of these shirts really badly….
But a bit more research revealed that this is an ultra-rare collectors item. Only 1000 were ever produced, and when they do very occasionally come up for sale they can fetch close to £70. We love a challenge, but how on earth were we going to track one down?
Time to call my mate Matt who is a Hull City fan. Did he have one stashed away in the attic? No, but his Dad might know someone who’s got one. He’ll call his Dad in Hull.
Matt’s Dad gets involved. He’s called Mike. Best bet, Mike reckons after a bit of research, is via hullcitykits.co.uk. He’ll email the guy who runs it for us.
hullcitykits.co.uk is a website entirely devoted to “an aesthetic critique of Tigers apparel”. It describes the shirt we are after as being in “an unfamiliar although nonetheless lovely maroon with amber trim…memorably first used in a League Cup tie at Coventry.”. This website leads us to Les Motherby. Les runs ambernectar.org, widely thought to be the finest independent Hull City website, with a legendary fans forum. Within four hours of me calling my mate, our plea for a red Hull City Away Shirt from 1995-97 is on Twitter and every Hull City fans forum that counts, and someone has been in touch to say that they might have one that we could have.
Four days after the first phone call, our rare, supposedly impossible-to-find shirt arrives in the post.
So thank you Matt, Mike, Les and everyone on the Hull City forums who has helped us. Nottingham Forest may have beaten you 2-1 at the weekend, but you have my gratitude and deep respect. We’ll look after that shirt very, very carefully…