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Before the Irish Cup Final of 1952 a strange thing happened. Glentoran commissioned for the first time a predominantly red playing shirt which was to be worn for the final and during the subsequent seasons. Glentoran were set to play Ards in the spectacle which took place on 26th April 1952. As the kits was being laid out in the Windsor Park dressing room the referee and his linesmen made the decision that the mainly red shirt clashed with the red and blue hoops of Ards. At short notice Glentoran officials were dispatched from Windsor to Solitude to utilise Cliftonville’s white change strip for the final. However the Glens were so indignant about being forced to play in an alien kit that they insisted that Ards do the same. Much to the dismay of the thousands who watched the game Glentoran took to the field in this kit whilst Ards would go on to win the final in Linfield’s colours of blue shirts white shorts and blue socks. Colour cine footage exists of this remarkable game.
I952/53 was the nearly year in East Belfast, Glentoran finished as runners up in the Irish League to Linfield, lost out to Derry City in a marathon Irish Cup final (watched by a total of 93,000 supporters over three games), came second in the City Cup, and the Ulster Cup section and were knocked out of the County Antrim Shield and the Gold Cup at the semi-final stage. This fly collar shirt would appear regularly over a two year period. It was one of the last Glentoran shirts to bear a similarity to rugby style tops as shirt material began to change. In 1953 Bolton Wanderers played in the FA Cup Final in a novel kit manufactured from a shiny man made fabric. This breakthrough, along with some new European influences was beginning to change football shirt styles forever.