“League Champions 2002” – a commemorative one-off match shirt package
Celebrating “The League Champions 2002” – a commemorative one-off match shirt package
As you get older time just seems to fly bye even quicker and remarkably this April marks the twentieth anniversary of our First Division title win.
To mark the season and achievement we will wear a one-off commemorative shirt in a league game in April. These shirts are available to supporters to purchase.
David Hunter, who has been working hard behind the scenes on this latest project, writes; “It’s hard to believe that’s it is twenty years since we won the league title in our final game of the season against Armagh City here at New Grosvenor on 27th April 2002. Stephen Uprichard was the City manager back then and we were recalling the years on his recent visit to us with Dollingstown.
It was a roller-coaster of a season – we had missed out on promotion the previous season after an agonising play-off loss to Crusaders (3-4). But we started the season exceptionally well and at the end of November were 15 points clear in the league before a worrying slump saw us give that advantage away and Institute drew level. It was nip and tuck between us for the last three months of the season but we went to the Riverside Stadium, Drumahoe and had a great 4-2 victory thanks to goals from Brian Strain, Gary Clifford, Tony McShane and Mark Holland – I remember taking a photograph of them afterwards – on 09th March. It would prove a hugely important win looking back on the season.
The shirt, white with navy trim, commemorates the season in an additional two ways – it will have an embroidered club badge with the added inscription of “First Division Winners 2002”, and it will also have “League Champions 2002” on the back.
Now if you know your football history here at Distillery, we were the first club in the Irish League to introduce squad numbers and names on the back of shirts on 12 January 2002. Whilst, for obvious reasons we cannot put names on the one-off shirt, the details of the players and their respective shirt numbers are set out in an accompanying image.
The shirt is sublimation-printed and will be similar to the computer-aided designs shown. It will be unique; it will not be reproduced and 20 shirts will be available – a green/black goalkeeper’s shirt and 19 outfield shirts all matching the squad numbers that season apart from number 19 (which was goalkeeper David Henry’s number that season).
Each shirt costs £76 which is the number of points we finished the season with back in 2002, and the shirt is part of a package that includes;
– an exclusive colour photo-print (archival quality) with a picture of the Irish league champions and the league trophy on the last day of the season (print size 9×6 in)
– a colour A4 poster print with unique images of the season, and
– a souvenir metal button pin badge (56 mm/2in) marking the “20th” anniversary
The badge (see illustration) is based on one of my photographs back then, skipper Jim McCloskey holding the trophy aloft. Around the circumference it has every player listed who appeared for the club over the entire season – all but one made at least one league appearance. They are listed in order of total appearances – the poster print will include names, numbers and total appearances.
A small number of print and button packs will be available at £15 (excluding postage if relevant)
My thanks to Terry Thompson, Dawson Simpson and Gary Cressey for their support and input. It’s great to be able to recognise one of our more recent successes this way and again help to support the club financially.”
To apply for the shirt package please email David Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that applications for shirts will close at this stage on 15th April – we will announce the actual game the shirts will be worn in when we know more regarding the post-season split – and whilst we will do our best to accommodate requests for specific shirt numbers or sizes that unfortunately cannot be guaranteed. Once all applications have been received the club reserves the right to determine actual shirt allocation in the most appropriate manner.