COVENTRY City’s new 2-Tone strip was on show for a home game at St Andrew’s on Sunday (October 13) in front of the TV cameras – and they have already sold out.
Coventry is marking 40 years as the home of the 2-Tone music label, which launched ska legends The Specials, Madness and The Selecter.
The club has celebrated Coventry’s Ska heritage with the third kit, using 2-Tone’s black and white chequer, and the ‘Nutty Dancer’ character on the back of the shirt.
The image featured on the cover of Madness’ first album. ‘Nutty Dancer’ was designed by John Sims, the man behind much of the 2 Tone artwork.
It was a dancing version of the Walt Jabsco silhouette figure who featured on the 2-Tone record labels – as named by The Specials’ Jerry Dammers.
Designed by shirt manufacturer Hummel, the kit was worn in front of a Sky television audience and 5,658 attendance at St Andrew’s, where Coventry City lost 0-1 to Tranmere.
The matchday programme was also styled in the 2-Tone theme, with players Liam Kelly, Mark Robins and Brandon Mason pictured posed in 1980s sunglasses.
The game against Tranmere also celebrated the Kick it Out campaign, with details on anti-racism on the big screens and in the programme.
The logo of Kick It Out features on a panel of the shirt.
Reaching its peak in the early 80s, the 2-Tone genre pioneered a message of racial unity against a backdrop of social tensions.
Commemorations of the label continue at Coventry’s 2-Tone village in Ball Hill. A 40 years celebration gig was held by The Selecter at this year’s Godiva Festival.
Ska pioneers join Sky Blues at launch
The kit was launched at an evening with team boss Mark Robins on Friday October 11, at Coombe Abbey Hotel. The manager was joined by Ska legends Neville and Sugary Staple, along with The Selecter’s Neol Davies.
Donning the new black and white strip were skipper Liam Kelly, defenders Fankaty Dabo and Brandon Mason, plus striker Matty Godden.
Tynan Scope, head of commercial at Coventry City, said: “Our inspiration for this kit came from a conversation we had with a Sky Blues fan, Roger Smith.
“We were at the launch of the Bedworth and Nuneaton Supporters Club last year when Roger approached me saying it would be great if the club could do a football shirt to celebrate 40 years of 2-Tone.
“If we can make things happen that fans request, and we think they are viable, we will do it. The agreement we have with Hummel means we are able to do just that”
The Coventry City club shop had sold out of the adult shirts by Saturday evening, after a rapturous reception by fans.
Sales of the shirt are raising money for football’s anti-racism charity ‘Kick it Out’.
Dave Boddy, Coventry City chief executive, said: “2-Tone music was iconic locally and nationally, and is an important part of Coventry’s history.
“As another important part of our City’s history, we are proud to pay tribute to 2-Tone and its impact with this new kit.”
He added: “We are proud to support Kick It Out, and have a number of activities lined up to show our support for the campaign.
“We are committed to making football safe and inclusive of everybody – no one should be subject to racism or discrimination of any form at our games or in wider society.
“We hope that our fans will help us to support this campaign on Sunday, and by reporting any offensive behaviour to club staff and steward, whether that is home or away, or by using the Kick It Out app.”
The design was also celebrated by main shirt sponsor Allsopp & Allsopp. chief operating operator Carl Allsopp said: “What a fantastic shirt, and idea to celebrate such an important period. Kudos to everyone at the club, I am sure this will be a best seller for many reasons, and we are delighted to have our family name and logo on it.”
The shirts are still available for pre-order from ccfc.com/shop, at £47. Junior shirts are £42.