How the Stone Roses and the Madchester scene inspired the football fashion community.

From the very first day I walked into my beloved Bootham Crescent, I’ve been fascinated by football and terrace fashion. For me the two have always gone hand in hand. I would spend just as much time looking at what people were wearing as to watching the action unfold on the pitch. I first started watching York City way back in 1988. Before long I was at college and along came the Stone Roses. From then it seemed that music had changed forever, as had the terrace fashion.

Terrace fashion in the late eighties

For me it was a golden time, one I hark back to often. Baggy flares, flowery shirts, colourful t-shirts, chord jackets, Kickers, and of course, bucket hats. I remember a lively away game at Maidstone United where the York fans were all sporting the ‘Madchester’ look and the home fans, clearly uneducated on such matters, were calling us all hippies! From that time, right through to the present day, if you name a label then I will have worn it at a football match. 

"I'm one of these people who can remember what I wore at certain games when even the score has long faded from the memory".

l used to love the build up to a big away game where you’d ensure you sported a new jacket, or even a full outfit if you were flush. Fans took pride in their appearance and they looked smart. The internet makes it easy for you to order your clothes now of course, but back then you had to often travel a good distance to get your desirable gear. The effort required for this made it all the more special for that moment when you would stand on the terraces knowing you looked the bollocks.

I’m one of these people who can remember what I wore at certain games when even the score has long faded from the memory. However, I have certainly not forgotten the score at Old Trafford when I saw York City beat Manchester United 3-0 on a famous League Cup night. That evening I had on a lovely French Connection brown chord shirt and can still pick myself out in the crowd celebrating the third goal from Tony Barras. 

Obviously dressing a certain way at football can be linked to the so-called hooligan element. This was highlighted when York played away at Aldershot in the club’s first ever game in The Conference. Clashes took place before, during and after the match. On that day it seemed that one out of every two Aldershot fans were sporting the old Burberry cap. 

Terrace fashion, fooball and music Fritidsklader

“1989: Madchester Rules” flickr photo by Gene Hunt shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Football away day fashions

With York being one of the best away days in the country, it tends to see large followings of fans coming into the city to sample the many pubs and bars that it has to offer. Whilst out and about, these groups stand out a mile with how they are dressed. It was always good to see what fans were wearing from different parts of the country and I used to always try and pick out the ‘Ace Face‘, the fan who was dressed the best.

 I remember Stoke City coming to York in the mid 90’s and they looked the business, as did Manchester City fans on the day when they reached their lowest point in their history, beaten 2-1 by little old York City! Carlisle United fans always looked good, as did the Bradford City lot.  Back in the day it was the Younger York Nomad Society members, along with the Knaresborough Barmy Army (KBA) who led the way in the fashion stakes.

Independent football fashion labels

So over the years, I’ve been a walking advert for Stone Island, Prada and Paul & Shark to name just a few, but now I tend to go for the independent labels you find on Twitter such as Newells, and Humblegents. 

I don’t want to dress like everyone else and, frankly, as I’m getting older, I have had to change style to fit the weight gain. But also, I seem to be more daring these days, as where it used to be all navy blues and kahki greens, I tend to go back to my early days. So thanks to Pretty Green, I’m wearing all sorts of flowery jackets and bright pink ones too!

FDR Clothing Shop

Modern day terrace fashion

In the modern day, kids from as young as 12 years old are wearing CP Company to games bought by their parents, complimented by the obligatory skinny jeans. How I yearn for flares to come back just to have a different look on the terraces. However, as older readers will remember, they are great in dry weather but in rain they soak the wet up like a sponge and you end up being damp just below the knees.

Oh such happy days! 

Finally, trainers have always been part of the football scene but, again, sadly for me this has been ruined by resellers ramping up the prices on the exclusives and taking them away from the buyers in the first place. Size has a lot to answer for. They just seem to be flogging a dead horse with all the colour ways and remakes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still great to see quality footwear on the terraces but now for me I would more likely wear a pair of Clarkes! 

Football and terrace wear moves on with the times and because this is a massive thing for me, even when I hopefully hit old age, I will always dress up nice and smart to go to the match.


Article by Y Front Fanzine

Featured image attribution: “Ian Brown And John Squire” flickr photo by Man Alive! shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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