Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

 

 

Life is looking wunderbar for a celebrated Tyneside company that makes replica football strips from yesteryear for nostalgic fans.

A blockbusting German film celebrating the country's World Cup win nearly half a century ago means big business for Team Valley-based TOFFS - (The Old Fashioned Football Shirt Company). When TOFFS negotiated a licence with the German football authorities to reproduce the white shirt worn by the squad that lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy, in Bern, Switzerland, in 1954, it seemed like little more than a routine piece of business for the company.

But that was to reckon without the German cinema sensation: Das Wunder von Bern (The Miracle of Bern). And when the film set box office receipts rolling, phones (and tills) were also ringing loudly hundreds of miles away at TOFFS, where staff had to pull out the stops to ensure prompt shipment of almost 1,000 replica shirts to German fans over Christmas 2003 and New Year.

"We worked hard to acquire a licence with the DFB in 2000," said German-speaking Bob Malone, who looked after international sales at TOFFS at the time. "But we had no idea just how popular the shirts were going to go on to be."

TOFFS's 30 employees, together with other factories in the North East, turn out thousands of replica strips monthly, but now the company had to put external suppliers on standby to help meet demand for the German super-shirt. That was because German companies had started to use the shirts for their own promotions, in the run-up to Euro 2004 and the 50th anniversary of the Bern success.

"The film tells how the football team helped rebuild a sense of pride after the end of the Second World War," explains Bob. "It follows members of the team returning from the armed forces to their families and then creating a football team from the ruins and winning the World Cup less than a decade later. "It's steeped in German mythology just like 1966 is for England.And just for good measure, TOFFS - founded by Arsenal fan Alan Finch more than ten years ago - also holds licences with many football clubs and associations from all around the world.

Alan got into replica shirts after his mum threw out his original signed Arsenal shirt, given to him by 50s legend Vic Groves. He sourced a local dressmaker and managed to reproduce a shirt in the style of the Arsenal Cup-winning team of 1950. Little did he imagine, when he quit the music business to go into replica football shirt production on a more serious basis, that TOFFS would end up with a catalogue of more than 1,000 items of authentic football nostalgia sold throughout the world. Many sales are achieved via the company's award winning web-site.

And with TOFFS shirts already worn in films such as Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch and Best - the Movie, Das Wunder von Bern is only following a proud TOFFS tradition. At a time when the textile industry has been in decline in the North East, TOFFS shirts - which retail at around £30 - are individually hand produced at Team Valley and other suppliers in the North East.

Now, thanks to the company's emphasis on communicating with its overseas customers, TOFFS has also formed an alliance with German sports retailer Eckball and is negotiating rights deals with football clubs across Germany.

 "Being able to communicate with partners and customers in Germany has helped give our business a real boost," said Bob, whose plans for further internationalisation of TOFFS sales systems is praised by the Regional Language Network North East.

Zélie Guérin, Manager of the Network, said: "TOFFS initiative and the success it has brought them provide a great example for other small companies across the region." For TOFFS, it seems that football really is coming home - or Fussball kommt heim, as they might say in Deutschland.

 

Comments (2)

  1. fsc
  1. fsc
There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Type the text presented in the image below

LATEST FOOTBALL KITS

Forest Green Rovers 2018-19 PlayerLayer Home Kit

Forest Green Rovers 2018-19 PlayerLayer Home Kit

Forest Green Rovers have unveiled the club’s brand new 18/19 home kit. The kit is the first in a new partnership with the British sportswear brand…
Mansfield Town 2018-19 Surridge Third Kit

Mansfield Town 2018-19 Surridge Third Kit

Mansfield Town revealed their brand new, limited edition third kit, to be worn in the 18/19 season. The green and gold shirt is made by Surridse…
Napoli 2018-19 Kappa Europe Away Kit

Napoli 2018-19 Kappa Europe Away Kit

This is the SSC Napoli 18/19 away match shirt for UEFA competitions. Ultra light fabrics and nylon stretch seams for increased elasticity,…
Napoli 2018-19 Kappa Europe Home Kit

Napoli 2018-19 Kappa Europe Home Kit

This is the SSC Napoli 18/19 home match shirt for UEFA competitions. Ultra light fabrics and nylon stretch seams for increased elasticity,…
Newcastle Jets 2018-19 Viva Global Football Kits

Newcastle Jets 2018-19 Viva Global Football Kits

The Newcastle Jets have unveiled their playing kits for the Hyundai A-League 18/19 season in partnership with the Club’s official apparel provider,…
Brisbane Roar 2018-19 Umbro Away Kit

Brisbane Roar 2018-19 Umbro Away Kit

Brisbane Roar have revealed the new away kit by Umbro for the upcoming Hyundai A-League 18/19 campaign. Roar have released an alternative grey kit to…
Brisbane Roar 2018-19 Umbro Home Kit

Brisbane Roar 2018-19 Umbro Home Kit

Brisbane Roar have revealed the new home kit by Umbro for the upcoming Hyundai A-League 18/19 campaign. Roar have returned to a predominately orange…
Mansfield Town 2018-19 Surridge Away Kit

Mansfield Town 2018-19 Surridge Away Kit

This the Mansfield Town 18/19 away football kit by Surridge Sport. Manufactured by Surridge and sponsored by OCL Solicitors, the eye-catching new…
Hibernian 18/19 Macron Third Kit

Hibernian 18/19 Macron Third Kit

Hibernian revealed the club’s new third kit for the 18/19 season. The fluo yellow and graphite grey 3rd shirt is made from Evertex fabric is designed…
Red Bull Salzburg 2018-19 Nike Third Kit

Red Bull Salzburg 2018-19 Nike Third Kit

This is the new Red Bull Salzburg home kit by Nike for the 18/19 season. The new third kit will be used during the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League season.
Al Ahli 2018-19 Umbro Away Kit

Al Ahli 2018-19 Umbro Away Kit

This is the new 18/19 away kit for Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia, made by Umbro. The new away kit will be used during the 2018–19 Saudi Professional…
Al Ahli 2018-19 Umbro Home Kit

Al Ahli 2018-19 Umbro Home Kit

This is the new 18/19 home kit for Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia, made by Umbro. The new home kit will be used during the 2018–19 Saudi Professional…
Gremio 2018 Umbro Third Kit

Gremio 2018 Umbro Third Kit

Inspired by its historic sequence of achievements, Gremio launched the new Umbro third shirt of the 2018 season. The new third kit will be used…
Galatasaray 2018-19 Nike Third Kit

Galatasaray 2018-19 Nike Third Kit

This is the new Galatasaray 18/19 third football shirt by Nike. The new third kit will be worn during the 2018–19 Süper Lig, which is the 61st season…
River Plate 2018-19 Adidas Away Kit

River Plate 2018-19 Adidas Away Kit

River Plate and Adidas Argentina revealed the club's new 18/19 away football shirt. This season, violet returns to the Millionario’s jersey. This…
Real Betis 2018-19 Kappa Third Kit

Real Betis 2018-19 Kappa Third Kit

Real Betis revealed the new Kappa third shirt for the 18/19 season. The new shirt, which is predominantly a light shade of green, features Seville's…
Wellington Phoenix 2018-19 Adidas Home Kit

Wellington Phoenix 2018-19 Adidas Home Kit

Wellington Phoenix has unveiled their brand new home kit for the Hyundai A-League 18/19 Season. The new Adidas strip has a few stylistic updates,…
Crystal Palace 2018-19 Puma Third Kit

Crystal Palace 2018-19 Puma Third Kit

Crystal Palace revealed their new all yellow 18/19 third strip by Puma. Kept under wraps until the very last moment before the teams emerged for…
Paris Saint-Germain 2018-19 Jordan Fourth Kit

Paris Saint-Germain 2018-19 Jordan Fourth Kit

Two iconic brands in sport have collided. Jordan and Paris Saint-Germain have teamed up in a world-first collaboration between football and…
Paris Saint-Germain 2018-19 Jordan Third Kit

Paris Saint-Germain 2018-19 Jordan Third Kit

Two iconic brands in sport have collided. Jordan and Paris Saint-Germain have teamed up in a world-first collaboration between football and…