1977 home shirt by Umbro – ‘hybrid’ prototype

It seems like 1970s Wolves shirts are like buses here – a third one to look at in the space of a week although hopefully you will excuse us because this is the rarest to date and a shirt many Wolves fans will never have actually seen as only two were ever made. You know it’s going to be a good day when you see a vintage Umbro shirt still in the original packaging… but first some key facts:

  • Season(s): 1976-1977
  • Finished: Second Division, 1st (champions).
  • Style: 9/10
  • Popularity: 8/10
  • Quality: 9/10
  • Collectability: 8/10
  • Estimated price: £3k+ pre covid. Now – who knows?

Wolves had just returned to the top tier triumphantly while wearing the 1975-1977 shirt we featured not long ago. Towards the close of the season they were preparing for the then bi-annual refresh of the shirt. The finished version would include two ‘W’s, one above the other (as opposed to alongside), the addition of iconic umbro diamonds on the arms and most pertinently the new, now-iconic “double-diamond” logo which had been born recently – in our case, there are two bold black rhombuses placed on a gold shirt – the rhombuses were placed one inside the other. But first, the directors were to choose from some proof of concept prototypes that had been mocked up for them. These arrived in factory-supplied Umbro bags and looked like this when Umbro reps arrived at Molineux:

Umbro bagged 1977 home shirt prototype

I was reluctant to take it out of the bag as it was still ironed, presumably in readiness for the demonstration but it looks amazing – think a cross or hybrid between the 75-77 and the 77-79.

1977 prototype shirt

Note that it retains the collar of the older style but has the updated ‘WW’ initials.

New Wolves badge on 1977 prototype shirt
Printed double diamond umbro logo

It has the new logo but they obviously hadn’t tooled up for it yet so it’s printed as opposed to the rest which are embroidered and…

Umbro prototype label

… they hadn’t yet updated the labels with the new logo, which would have been perfectly permissible for a proof of concept.

Underside of label

I am not kidding, this shirt is better ironed now, 40+ years after it was prepared, than most of my clothes are now.

The original sellotape is even still on the bag!

Bagged wolves prototype

The material is of the same style, feel and weave and, it sounds ridiculous, I quickly put it back in the bag before I removed any of the perfect creases.

This got us a excited as the 1908 shirt we blogged about recently and to actually look at it ‘in the flash’ was amazing. It begs the question – what other forgotten artifacts of b Wolves’s past are out there?? Let us know – sharing them is what this blog is all about. Leave a comment below.

The unnamed owner has steadfastly refused to sell this shirt in the past and we can’t blame them!

Author: Mark M

10 thoughts on “1977 home shirt by Umbro – ‘hybrid’ prototype

  1. Incredible piece of memorabilia. The holy grail for me would be the ‘73 warm weather ‘open neck’ diamond collar shirt worn in the FA Cup playoff final at Highbury but not too many times afterwards as far as I’m aware. Was surprised to see a picture recently of some players wearing the warm weather shirt and others the normal one. Always thought it was all or nothing. Never seen a copy of this shirt anywhere.

    1. Some believe that one is a standard shirt with the black collar bit cut out. Would be good to see one to confirm. There must be one out there somewhere!

  2. This is ridicukously cool. Does the club know of its existence. They need to remake “the shirt that never was”!

  3. Did Umbro actually create the WW logo?
    Thus cheekily creating a Umbro diamond in the process??

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