The most comprehensive book ever produced on the famous ‘gold and black shirt’ will be officially launched at Molineux this evening and is on course to raise over £20,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
‘They Wore The Shirt’ is the brainchild of die-hard fan Steve Plant and chronicles the 140 year-history of Wolverhampton Wanderers shirts in a spectacular 255-page book featuring up-to-date photos of iconic strips including John Richards’ 1974 League Cup Final top and Roy Swinbourne’s shirt worn in the famous victory over Budapest Honved FC.
More than 280 guests will receive a first glimpse of the publication, which also features a foreword from current club captain Danny Batth and lots of facts, memories and anecdotes of local events that took place during the years.
“When I first set out on this project I wasn’t sure the dream would ever become reality, let alone culminate in such a fantastic book,” explained Steve, who first got into football memorabilia to provide an interest for his terminally ill father.
“As supporters, the strip, shirt or top…whatever you want to call it…is what unites us and Wolverhampton Wanderers happens to boast some of the most iconic colours and designs ever produced. Some good and, admittedly, some not so good.”
He continued: “I was amazed that nobody had ever tried to piece all this of this together and set about creating a publication that would celebrate our great club and educate people on our history.
“With this in mind, ‘the project was born and we marked the launch by agreeing to donate all profits to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. A total of £20,000 was set and the first £5,000 will be presented this evening.”
1877 copies of ‘They Wore The Shirt’ have been printed to mark the year the club was founded and will be available to purchase online, at the Wolves Club Shop and at a number of local organisations.
Walter Zenga, the current manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers, was the first person to purchase the book, with the 500th copy expected to be sold tonight.
113 shirts were found and photographed in total, with supporters voting the Umbro 1977-79 home top as their favourite design.
The oldest replica shirt featured is from 1908 after it was discovered in a bric-a-brac shop in Alberta in Canada by its owner, who at first thought it was an old ice hockey shirt.
“The support I’ve received has been overwhelming, from everyone at Wolves, local businesses, fellow supporters and a host of current and former players,” added Steve.
“It shows the unique fabric that makes following Wolverhampton Wanderers so special and hopefully people will love ‘They Wore The Shirt’ as much as I’ve loved putting it together.”
Danny Batth concluded: “The Wolves shirt is iconic in all its different versions and I think fans will enjoy taking a trip down memory lane and seeing some of the famous kits from the club’s illustrious history.”
‘They Wore The Shirt’ will be available from Thursday 6th October, priced £25. For further information, please visit www.theyworetheshirt.co.uk