Do you remember the 1999 National Football Festival in St. Kitts? – No!?
When Bradford City FC beat St. Kitts and subsequently lost against the eventual champion, Canada’s U21 team? – Doesn’t ring a bell?
What sounds like a mix of three randomly picked football teams, was an actual football tournament that took place in 1999 on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts & Nevis.
Thank goodness, the event that shook up the world of football in 1999 was well documented by a film team and is available to watch on YouTube. So, if you are into half-naked Brits exposed to the sun and to loads of alcohol or like to watch particularly old-looking professional football players complaining about the heat and doing pushups next to a swimming pool, waste no time and click the link here. If you are more interested in learning a bit about Kittitian/Nevisian football and beer-bellied rodents, continue reading.
As you might imagine, a country of 50,000 probably isn’t a contender for the next World Cup, yet, the tiny islands have managed to reach a respectable 73rd place in the FIFA rankings in 2017. Premier League fans might also remember Ces Podd, who made a whopping 565 appearances for Bradford City and who probably is the reason, why a bunch of Premier League players suddenly found themselves in the middle of the Caribbean playing an obscure football tournament. While Podd managed the St. Kitts national team from 1999-2001, Keith Gumbs, who would later play for clubs like Sturm Graz, Hull City or Palmeiras, did also participate at the tournament and even managed to score a goal against Bradford City.
There is not much information about this shirt. In fact, the aforementioned documentary about the 1999 National Football Festival is the only evidence I could find of the team wearing this particular design. Strangely, a few replicas of this shirt seem to exist, presumably, in order to cash in on the Bradford City fans that made the trip to St. Kitts and wanted to bring home a souvenir to prove that they have seen the sun for once (besides the mandatory sunburn). Whether the St. Kitts FA used the marketing slogan “Kids love St. Kitts kits!”, is unrecorded, unfortunately.
The shirt boasts St. Kitts national colors and comes with a typical 90s cut, an oversized collar and a lovely embroidered FA badge. The highlight is probably the manufacturer logo by Beaver, featuring, well… a Beaver. This certainly ticks all the right boxes for a fantastic manufacturer logo:
• completely unrelated to sports ✓
• entirely unimposing choice of animal ✓
• potbelly ✓
• possible sexual innuendo ✓
• Disney copyright claim impending ✓
Naturally, I’m extremely happy to induct a jersey with such a rich backstory into my collection.