Getting Shirty


The Hartlepool United Remembrance Day kit caused a bit of a stir all round when it was first released, didn't it. Some fans were rightly querying the decision that the poppy was omitted from this season's commemorative shirt. It would seem from reading in the press that the Irish manufacturer of Pools' shirts, O'Neill's, were a little uncomfortable about supplying a shirt adorned with a poppy in case they might understandably upset some sensitive quarters in Ireland.

When approached by the media about the absence of the poppy, both Pools and the manufacturer refused to comment. No smoke without fire, especially as O'Neill's had supplied the club with a poppy shirt for 2019/20 season. A compromise (another word for cop-out or fudge) was agreed between the club, the fans and the shirt manufacturer. it seems. Martin Jesper, the club's (then) acting executive director, announced: "After initial consultation with supporter group representatives it was agreed that this year the club should recognise the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and it seemed appropriate that an RAF fighter jet was represented front and centre of this year’s kit”.
(Sportsbyte, Sunderland)

At St. Pete's Sec Mod, I was tipped to get a grade one for my history project in my GCE exams on my chosen topic, The Battle of Britain. I was devastated however, when the results came through and I had been awarded a grade 2.

Despite much counselling and many sleepless nights waking up in a cold sweat, I could not understand how I failed to obtain the top grade. I initially put it down to being unable to spell Measuresmith correctly, but once I read that Martin Jesper had said that the Spitfire was an RAF fighter jet it all became clear to me, as all along I was under the impression that the Spitfire was a propeller driven aircraft and not jet powered. How could I have missed that.
"If indeed the Spitfire had been jet powered, the Battle of Britain would have only lasted a matter of hours"

If indeed the Spitfire had been jet powered, the Battle of Britain would have only lasted a matter of hours. I often wondered why it took so long to drive the Luftwaffe from our skies in the summer of 1940; now I know. A big heartfelt thank you, Mr. Jesper.

When the shirts were unveiled, without the Poppy emblem, two left-wing Republican groups in Ireland (think Monty Python's "People's Front of Judea") made their feelings known to O'Neill's that they were not happy bunnies as by producing and supplying these shirts, even without the Poppy, that they were promoting War and British Imperialism.

I might add that worse was to follow, much, much worse. Upon closer inspection the Spitfire that is featured on the shirt is not the variant that fought in the Battle of Britain. I stand to be corrected but it could be a Mark 5b or a 6 or even a Mark 9 as it has a four bladed propeller and cannons are sited within the wings whereas the Spitfire that fought in the Battle of Britain was a mark 1 with a three bladed propeller and machine guns in the wings in lieu of cannons.

This was a major faux pas by all quarters of those involved in producing the shirt. Surely this should have been researched beforehand and checked before going to print. Still let's be thankful for small mercies as the aircraft featured on the front of the shirt could have been the Red Baron's Fokker DR1 Triplane which, for the record, was also not a jet.

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