By Phil Hecken
While soliciting column ideas from readers, one of the first to approach me was Jeremy Brahm, who is probably familiar to all of you as our “Pacific Rim Correspondent,” and who finds odd and unique uniforms from all over the world, but the Asian Pacific is his specialty. So when Jeremy reached out with the following, I was intrigued. Here’s what he said to me:
This will be a strange idea, but I have gathered info on this already.
In the UK, there was a sports drama called “Dream Team” which lasted 10 years on SkySports and has recently finished broadcasting on Fox Soccer Channel. I was a fan of the show, but sometimes the storylines were a little strange, such as players getting sick from Turkey dinner on Christmas and cannot play on Boxing day. Also, the numerous plane and bus crashes, etc. I always called it “Team Chaos” but in reality of the show it was called Harchester United.
The show’s premise was to show the life of the team, on and off the pitch. Players not playing well, managers trying to improve the team and the player’s lives (meeting women, drinking, fighting with teammates, etc.).
What was different about this show was that the production team with the help of SkySports who happened to have Premier League TV rights was to use actual game footage and then place the team inside of it. How do they do that? With video editing and choosing a color that is not prevalent in sports, PURPLE. Now they would use white and orange as road colors, but the teams uniforms did change over the years and even had different sponsors as well.
So with that, I said, “OK, sounds pretty interesting.” I also knew that with a certain shade of dark blue/red being the primary team color, running something like this during Paul’s sabbatical was probably for the best. Here’s Jeremy:
Flying Purple Dream Teamers
By Jeremy Brahm
As Uni Watch readers have found over the past five years, I have diverse interests in International sports but also culture as well. In today’s article, we are even going to go a little off the beaten path and look at a British television show called “Dream Team”. For those of you who have never heard of the show, it is about a fictitious soccer team called Harchester United and the show was broadcast from 1997 to 2007 on SkySports in the United Kingdom. Even though the show is no longer being produced, it is still being broadcast in the UK, but also on Fox Soccer Channel, for those of you who can get that channel. However, FSC just finished the 10th season of the show this spring so I do not know if it will be rebroadcast in the future or not.
When I first saw the show on Fox Soccer Channel, it was in 2004, which was broadcasting the end of season 2 from 1998. Originally each episode was only 30 minutes long, probably to make it easier to fit in the sports television time schedule. Eventually it reverted to an hour long show. The plot of the show is to follow Harchester United, or the Dragons, through an entire season of matches, week to week and even showing the politics of team ownership, player movement, and players off the field lives. Some of the stories have car accidents, plane crashes, bankruptcy, divorces, cheating, and even murder.
But the main reason I am writing about this show is that it did have some uniform issues throughout the run of the show. Due to the team being of a fictional nature, the choice of team colors was obvious, make them a color that no one uses. So, the home uniform was purple, road games were usually white, but sometimes special road matches had orange uniforms.
Now you may ask, why would a television show need these colors for the uniforms? Well, this is where computers come in. In order to reduce production costs for the show, in this case not travelling to every ground in the Premier League to film the players running around, the producers worked with SkySports to utilize their old film or video of the opposing team that they would play. So if Harchester were playing a road game, the opponents would be in their home uniform. Computer animation engineers would then delete the uniform color of the visiting team, say wearing yellow, and make them white to match Harchester’s colors.
Even when Harchester would be playing a home game at the Dragon’s Lair (actually Millwall FC’s the Den), the sign boards around the field would change every episode. If you knew the sponsors or layout of the stadium, you could guess which stadium the match was played in.
I can only find most of the home uniforms because many of the shots for the show are based on home games of course.
Season 1. The show started following the youth team of Harchester United. Solid purple, with white trim on sleeves and shorts. Dream Team logo in black on chest. Made by Pony.
Season 2. The show shifted from the boys to the first team and even a run to the FA Cup Final in which the Dragons win, but the captain of the team is killed after taking the trophy. The owner suspected his wife was having an affair with a player (not the captain), but he was in the line of fire. Solid purple, with white collar, white sleeve and white side stripe on shorts. Le Coq Sportif came in as the sponsor of the team.
Season 3. Star player Luis Amor Rodgriguez leaves the club and after a win in Amsterdam, a plane carrying two players crashes on the way home. Add white shorts and white socks. But the goalkeeper in the middle is in Adidas gear.
The man on the left of the front row is Andy Ansah a former professional player with teams below the Premier League. You may not recognize him, but if you saw any of the Nike ads for the World Cup last year, he was the “choreographer” of the soccer scenes.
Season 4. A fight for the club between Prashant Datani and Lynda Block eventually turns to murder while the club tries to get back into European competition. Add big white collars to the uniform and go to purple socks.
Do you recognize this man?
That is Eddie Moliano, I mean Ed Saunders of ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition and formerly of National Bingo Night.
He studied carpentry in the UK as a fall back career if acting did not work out.
Season 6. Another new owner of the team. Jamie Oliver the star goalkeeper has completely lost his mind and holds his team hostage during the final match of the season. Notice the official Premier League fonts for the uniforms and the changed Dream Inc. font.
Season 7. Another new owner who won ownership of the team with a lottery ticket. Added Chinese characters to the Dream Team for Chinese market and to go with it a Chinese player. The Dragons get relegated to the Championship. Flaired collar design. Plus the multiple lines, but not seen in this shot.
Season 8. The Dragons win promotion back to the Premier League after a playoff. However, the manager accidentally kills the club’s greatest player Karl Fletcher. He then crashes into the team coach when the cops are after him, killing much of the team. Changed to Valsport from Le Coq Sportif.
Season 9. New team logo and another new owner with a twist. The owner is not known, but he is one of the player’s on the team, Casper Rose and he has put together a team with his half-brother as the team manager (who does not know that he is related to him) and his adopted brother Eugene (who is also his half-brother). He is again accidentally murdered, by the manager in the hotel. This is the only shot that I can find for Season 9 and Casper is the man in the shot.
Dropped the uniform manufacturer though.
Season 10. The team has a new coach and owner, plus they have brought in the “Tire Boy” who was in the Harchester youth squad and was put in the game by the manager who had killed his half-brother. Back to an all purple look. But here they are in white socks.
It is not often that a television show lasts 10 years, let alone a sport focused television show. Even as the stories and the players changed over the years, so did the uniforms.
Thanks Jeremy! That’s probably the last time for a long time we feature a team with that particular shade on Uni Watch.
Ricko’s Mea Culpa…
Ricko was *pretty upset* (TPFIC) about inadvertently omitting the San Francisco Giants from yesterday’s White Shoe article, he wanted to make up for it today. Here’s The Rick:
Uh-oh. In the course of putting together yesterday’s piece on white shoes in MLB, I totally forget to include the Giants.
When that omission was pointed out yesterday in the comments it opened a proverbial can of bait. In the year or so the Giants wore white cleats, did they wear them only on road? Only with orange sanitaries? Only with orange jerseys?
Okay, near as I can figure the white shoes WERE worn only with orange sanitaries. But in the course of digging in the Ricko Files I found more than I remembered.
Yes, the combo of white shoes, orange sanis and orange jerseys was primarily a road uni, as seen on Vida Blue and Jack Clark while the homes were white over white with white sanis and black cleats.
A black jersey was added to the mix in ’78, and by golly the white shoes showed up at home, too. This 1978 photo clearly is a home game. Even if we didn’t recognize Candlestick, we can be certain the Astros didn’t play at home outdoors. And there they are…orange sanis with white shoes. At home. But with the black jersey.
In the years after that, the combos apparently were varied, but the white shoes were gone. Here are Blue somewhere on the road, Clark at Shea in ’80, and Chili Davis in ’82 in black with in black jerseys with black shoes, and Chili again, this time at Wrigley, also in ’82 in orange jersey with black shoes.
What can we conclude from this? Tracking unis on both sides of the Bay in the late ”˜70s-early ”˜80s must have been an adventure.
Indeed — thanks for the update Ricko!
By Brinke Guthrie
* Ditch Flying Elvis. This is the classic Pats look on this bobble feller here.
* Nice photo for sale of the 60’s NFL logos.
* Here’s a terrific 1987 Giants World Series sweater. Problem? They never made it to the Series. Oops.
* Lookit these 70’s suede (of course) NBA sneakers. Are these Pony? No branding.
* Remember the NBA Buffalo Braves from the 70’s? Here’s a real practice jersey for just 1.5K.
* I’m including this 40’s-50’s baseball jersey solely because the team is the “Moosejaw Mallards.”
* And finally, from PL, this curious auction- described by Paul as a “Giant f*cking sneaker.” That about says it all.
Seen something on eBay that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
Benchies from the Beginning
By Rick Pearson
For nearly three years, “Benchies” has been appearing most weekends at Uni Watch. While Bench Coach Phil fills in for Paul Monday through Friday during August, we present a retrospective. New strips will continue to appear on weekends. For further background, here’s the “Benchies” backstory and bios on the regular Boys of “Benchies.” This week, more or less, we focus on Ol’ Eddie.
And here is the full-size version.
Uni Watch News Ticker (compiled by John Ekdahl): USA Today had an interesting article on what players have to do to retain their numbers after switching teams (Dan Cichalski). … Dan Cichalski: “Lehigh Valley IronPigs held a Halloween night promotion on Sunday (July 31, so three months until Halloween) and wore black jerseys with white skeleton designs on them.” … Rafael Furcal still has his Dodgers bat knob decal on his bat (David Sulecki). … New Miami Dolphin Reggie Bush is wearing #8 in training camp (Stu Kushner). … Here’s a preview of Oregon’s new Pro Combat uniform. … Northwestern is asking fans to help them choose their new basketball court design (Russ Chibe). … Kerry Petit: “I was thumbing through some books over the weekend at a local bookstore, and I happened across the attached color photo of the infamous LSU purple pants worn in 1995 vs Kentucky. The picture can be found in Scott Rabalais’ book The Fighting Tigers 1993-2008 and is copyrighted by LSU Sports Information.” … Forman: “I visited some friends in Chicago last week and stumbled upon a store near Wrigleyville showcasing multiple helmets, including what looks like a Jaguars prototype helmet.” … The Chicago Bears will be the first NFL team to use Riddell’s new RipKord™ Shoulder Pad Technology. The new pads aim to reduce the amount of time it takes emergency personnel to remove the equipment after spine, neck or head injuries. (Christie Shein). … Who’s up for a lingerie basketball league? (Ronnie Poore) … The WNBA will be wearing pink uniforms for Breast Health Awareness Week August 2-9 (Kevin Brown). … Kosuke Fukudome wore the wrong batting helmet in the 1st inning, but had swapped it out for the correct one in the 4th inning (Jim BC). … 27.19% of Uni Watch visitors have something in common. Can you guess what it is?
“To a certain degree, much of the criticism of the Pro Combat line is unfair. We tend to judge the Pro Combat uniforms in terms of design, and judged thusly Nike comes off not merely as failures, but as the absolute stupidest people in the industry.” — R. Scott Rogers