A history of the Glentoran shirt from 1882 to the present day
’’In Bergen I will never forget the players in the dressing room at half time, flooding the floor with rain water, as they squeezed their shirts and shorts. No moans, just the will to get the job finished.’’
George Eastham Glentoran manager, speaking to the Glentoran Gazette after the first leg of the Cup Winners Cup tie (second round), in the rain-lashed Norwegian city. November 1973. You hear the saying all the time. “He isn't playing for the shirt.” For true football supporters that's what it's all about. The shirt denotes your tribe; the colours set your team apart from others. The club colours give you an identity. In the first formative years of Glentoran Football Club players paid for their own shirts, shorts and boots. A certain kudos came with being selected to carry the colours into battle. If ever a player looked like he wasn't giving his all, undoubtedly he would be labelled as having failed to “play for the shirt”
Glentoran colours are special, chosen at a gathering in the Hatfield Bar on the Ormeau Road in late summer 1882; they were taken from the colours of the blazers of Phoenix Cricket Club in Dublin who were in Belfast as part of the Na Shulers touring side. Na Shulers or “The Rovers” were a combination XI of cricketers from Dublin who travelled to Belfast and Ballywalter Park (amongst other venues across Ireland) on a regular basis to participate in matches against teams from the North. The red, green and black of the Phoenix blazers caught the eye and the imagination of our fledgling side. Glentoran registered those three playing colours and so the story began.
The link with Phoenix is appropriate. In the wake of the Belfast Blitz of May 4th 1941, Glentoran's very playing strip was lost as the German Luftwaffe decimated both the Club and the City. Glentoran with the help of the supporters and other Irish League teams “rose from the ashes” though and on August 20th 1949, the red, green and black took to the Oval pitch once more as the Glens returned home to the East. The inclusion in this website of the shirts of the teams who helped us out when all was lost, is a small tribute to their generosity. Glentoran shirts changed with the times, from lace up collars to hoops, stripes and every variation in between, through this unique combination of colours though, Glentoran FC has managed to retain a certain individuality throughout a century and a quarter of rich history. This website has been a labour of love for both of us attempting to chronicle every single shirt associated with Glentoran over the last 127 years. There have been many late nights and bizarre phone calls. Undoubtedly we will have missed some kits but not that many we hope. Some shirts were never worn at all; some were worn only by the Second XI and others worn just once. No matter what age you are, the Glentoran shirts in this collection will bring back a host of memories.
Le Jeu Avant Tout.