1996-1997 away shirt by Puma

It’s difficult to please all the people, all the time and when it comes to away shirts for Wolves there are three types – which are you? The ‘traditionalists‘ like mainly white shirts, the ‘perpendiculars‘ veer towards primarily black with good trim (in a reverse of our home colours)… and then there’s there are the ‘saft in the yeds’ who like the lilacs, neons, teals and (shudder) blue that we sometimes get saddled with. This shirt falls into that third category.

Seasons: 1996-1997
Finished: Football League First Division, 3rd (lost in Play-offs).

Style: 7/10
Popularity: 8/10
Quality: 9/10
Collectability: 8/10

Estimated price: £50-£75 replica, player issue circa £250.

1996-1997 teal away shirt by Puma front
1996-1997 away shirt by Puma front

The funny thing is, I’m definitely in type 1, yet I love this shirt. The reason it’s a little worn is because this is the one I bought in 1996 in the Mander Centre and I’ve worn it a million times for football, jogging and going to the gym. Never to a match though, weirdly. I’ve covered the home version previously and like that underrated shirt it’s pretty much bulletproof.

1996-1997 away shirt by Puma badge
1996-1997 away shirt by Puma badge

As with the home shirt, it boasts the brash americanised logo and again, replica shirts were patches as opposed to spot embroidery.

1996-1997 away shirt by Puma Good Year
1996-1997 away shirt by Puma Good Year

The iconic Good Year sponsorship is there, but in a natty white for a change and the tessellation of the Wolves badge is again a feature. Puma did a great job here and even though it’s ‘teal’, this has become one of the most sought after shirts of late. To be fair, I’m not sure it would look that great in white anyway.

1996-1997 away shirt by Puma label
1996-1997 away shirt by Puma label

This one is a size Large and it’s slightly baggy on me… and I take XL normally. This may give you an indication of just how baggy shirts were in the 90s.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1877 logo
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1877 logo

Heartache in teal

Which leads us to what was happening on the pitch. Do I have to do this?

OK it was a painful near-miss season. We finished in third position in the league, our highest position in the pyramid since our relegation from the top flight in 1983–84.

The season ended in crushing disappointment – we lost in the semi-finals of the play-offs to Crystal Palace, thereby failing to reach the Premier League.
Sir Jack Hayward made an emotional outburst days after the campaign in which he accused manager Mark McGhee and the chairman, his son Jonathan, of “blackmailing” him into funding their high transfer spending and he promised that there would be an end to Wolves being a “sloppily-run club”. Things didn’t get better quickly but at least we had a decent away shirt, which got even better the following season…

Author: Mark M

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