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ROD THOMAS

Away versus Czechoslovakia 1977

Rod Thomas's rare yellow away match worn shirt from the one nil defeat in Prague against Czechoslovakia during November 1977. Wales final Argentina 78 World Cup Qualifying game was a pretty tame affair, especially after the controversy of Anfield a month earlier. The game was notable for one thing, the first outing of the Admiral daffodil yellow away tramlines stripe, one of only two occasions when the kit saw action- the other being the 7-0 home European Championship qualifying win against Malta 11 months later.

Because of its lack of use there are not many of these yellow reverse of the popular home tramlines shirts about, making it a rare shirt. The shirt carries all the differences from the replica shirts of the same style. Even these original Admiral replica's are a rare item, but did us Welsh kids really desire them that much? The replica's were made from horrible nylon with plastic heat applied Crest and Admiral logo's on the collar, which invariably peeled off after a few washes, yuk!! But hey that was the height of 70's football shirt fashion, wasn't it? The players shirts were of course made from cotton, had the tramlines applied onto the shirt, -instead of incorporated in the material like the replica's- both the nation Crest and Admiral logo's were cloth stitch applied, as were the red numbers to the reverse, a superior and completely different garment. Because of their rarity and because the Admiral kits are my personal favourites, this style of players shirt became a bit of a holy grail for me. This shirt came up at auction along with a number of items from Rod Thomas's personal collection, were it was secured by my good friend Neville Evans, from whom i was lucky enough to obtain it. Don't know if i'll ever see many more, if any, in the future.

Rod Thomas was an accomplished defender, considered by many the best full back outside the first division, when he played Swindon Town, winning the first of his Welsh Caps in 1967. Whilst at the Robins he played 30 times for his country, making him Swindon Town's most capped international player. His move to footballs top flight eventually came, when he signed for Derby County in 1973 and added a further 20 caps, along with a First Division Championship medal. His total appearances for his country, make him one of less than 30 players who have reached the 50 Cap landmarked and awarded a Gold Cap in 2004 to mark the feat. This shirt is in fact Thomas's shirt from his last appearance for his country.