As you might gather from my pointers elsewhere I run a small T-shirt label called Daft Laddie. Long before Daft Laddie was even thought of though, I’ve been producing Motherwell related T-shirt designs as a hobby. Here I delve into the archives to showcase my designs from day one. Usually I thought of an idea in reaction to a special Motherwell moment, definitely the first inspiration came from the most unusual event of Motherwell rising to the top of the table following the signings of Bobby Russell, Davie Cooper & Nick Cusack to add to an already fairly solid base. So here for your delectation are the contents of my Pre-Daft Laddie gallery in its entirety, even those which never quite made it to full release.
I was working on a newspaper stall in 1989 when Motherwell beat Rangers 1-0 to go top of the league in a midweek game at Fir Park. Significance of this being we hadn’t been top for 15 years or something so it was considered worth celebrating. Next morning I was a bit fragile looking through the papers on the stall and this back page headline caught my eye. I found a screen printer in Windmillhill Street called Screever Screencraft where a girl I knew called Susan worked so I think I got a bit of a deal. Owner wouldn’t proceed without signed permission from the paper though so I had to phone them and request permission. After some discussion they authorised 100 of them to be printed, all of which sold pretty quickly. With more orders I had to go back to request more, this time they were a bit more stubborn saying they could have printed them themselves and kept the profits to which I pointed out they weren’t interested in small clubs like Motherwell enough to be doing that. Surprisingly they agreed to another 50 being printed. They also sold out but I was told in no uncertain terms I was at my limit so I made do with what I had. Irony was Aberdeen won their game the following night to overtake us at the top so we were only on top for 24 hours, but still a feat worth celebrating in print.
Buoyed by the success of that first foray into the T-shirt market my mind was working overtime and before long I hit on the idea of producing a Davie Cooper design. Coop had become a huge favourite in a short space of time among the fans. This design wasn’t the intended choice as it happens. I found a photo in a programme with his arms in the air and I asked the designer to draw a cape on his back and make him look like Superman. Instead he opted for this drawing which I liked but not as much as my intended one. I went with his instinct and they did sell well but I always felt my original plan would have looked better. One of the few times where I felt my designer got it wrong but it turned out well, just not the way I intended.
Actually done this for my Amateur team Colville Park. We had a half decent side but it was more a social club team, once the game finished they came into their own. Compost Corner was a name given to the corner of the Burns’ Tavern we frequented on Saturday evenings and as you can imagine the patter was, well, a bit shite to be honest hence the name. Could be changed to suit any team if I’m completely honest.
At the beginning of our victorious Cup run in 1991 I produced this design for those who travelled around the country following the Mighty Dossers. Just in time for the Aberdeen trip, it became the lucky T-shirt for some, my mate Miff wore his to every game in the run to Hampden. This was the first design by Jim at Bruce Ltd, wonderful attention to detail and imagination. Like the Compost Corner one he came up with the figures, obviously inspired by the characters in The Viz comic.
Another classic from Jim following our semi-final victory over Celtic, with the details on the back. Obviously a play on Ghostbusters with Paul Elliott as the villain of the piece.
Hurriedly issued for the Cup Final, again Jim at Bruce came up trumps with the design on the front, and the Cup on the back with ribbons on it was a nice wee extra. I was forced to trawl round all the pubs the night before the game flogging these. Dirty job but someone had to do it. Obviously the second issue featured the Cup Winners text. The printer actually stole a march by printing up that back design on its own and planned to sell them down Fir Park after the game. They started printing when we went 3-1 up, paused when Utd hit back, then went hammer and tongs after Kirkie’s winner. I didnae see any of the extra profit mind you but I was past caring by then. One cracking story sticks in my mind from then. One guy, friend of mine still, asked how much and baulked when I said a tenner. He opted for the guy across the road selling his for a fiver. No problem to me, I sold out anyway but I did warn him he would get what he paid for. I met him a week or two later and laughed when he told me he was now the proud owner of a plain black T-shirt as all the print had washed off after just one wear. The autographed one was the one I wore on the day of the Final itself, I managed to complete the signatures when I met Ally Maxwell and Tom Boyd at the 10th Anniversary celebrations. Not in the greatest condition to be honest as I was too scared to wash it after having it signed initially. I doubt that will be worth much.
Of course it followed on that a Europe design was called for and again Jim didn’t disappoint with his Viz inspired artwork once more and the tagline “See yi at Katowice Cross” and the match details on the back. His designs had so much content you would still be noticing things after 4, maybe 5 views. I had people laugh out loud when looking through all the details.
Opting for black & white seemed the best approach for a photograph like this one but I can’t help wondering if I should have had it coloured in. It went down fairly well considering not many of our fans were that aware of the Ancell Babes at the time. A simple design for a simpler time, no need for fancy kit design then, just change the collar now and then and keep the Claret hoop.
As you will no doubt notice, the first run of this didn’t quite turn out the way I expected it. The Claret was too pinkish but it was rectified in the second run. By that time I had bumped into Sieb down at Spennymoor and got him to sign mine so that remains in pride of place but I also kept one of the darker prints for posterity. Once more the little details make it. The bird saying ‘Christ’, the clogs on his feet, the Flying Dutchman description. Jim really was a master.
Once again celebrating that rare feat of going top of the league, this time with even fewer games but it gave me the chance to use Kirky’s popular quote after the Cup Final in 91, ‘Ya Beezer’ deserved a wider audience than it received at the time. Wee change in style, more of a lifelike drawing marked a change in designer as Jim had moved on sadly. But to be honest that was the way I intended this design. Stevie signed one for me as you can see.
Another lifelike drawing featuring Tommy Coyne after he scored against Rangers, utilising the words of his song. Again I just made the suggestion to the designer to use a judge somewhere in the design perhaps so I could include Tommy Coyne M’Lord and this was the result of that quick conversation.
“Ee ay ee ay ee ay O, off to Europe we will go” as the song goes, I love this design, not just because it paid for my bus to Dortmund. It was inspired by, believe it or not, a Highlanders crisp packet design. I gave the designer the crisp packet and a photo of Big Eck and this was the result. Outstanding work.
This was inspired by an Arthur Montford commentary quote on Scotsport about 1974. Pettigrew took a pass from Bobby Graham and bore down on goal with the score tied at 2-2. Montford described it just as it says on the back, “Chance of a lifetime for Pettigrew…And it is there” I couldn’t find a suitable photo of Wullie to use so I used an old bubblegum card picture of him in his Scotland kit and got the designer to change it to this and featured it in an older cigarette card style format.
By now I was editor of the no’ too bad Motherwell fanzine One Step Beyond so I produced this design to mark my tenure. Being a member of the Madness fan club meant I have loads of graphics that could be tweaked. I made this my headline graphic.
I produced this long sleeved tee to mark the introduction of the original dosserdom website. The figures are actually the first ever Subbuteo card version of Motherwell, listed in the catalogues as number 46. The figures pressed out and were inserted into bases in order to play but these were never pressed out. This is the original format so I used the rear view on the back of the tee to show both sides as they were. The dosserdom.com font was one I chanced upon and have never been able to find again.
Not for sale, single item issue for myself. This drawing was made in Blackpool when I was 18, I was looking at making smaller runs using vinyl transfer so I did this as a trial. Never took it any further to be honest as I didn’t really like the way it looked after a few washes as you can no doubt see.
Another sample, this time using digital transfer. Turned out not too bad although the badge was too faint.
Copy of the 1991 Final design reworked for the 2005 League Cup Final. Another transfer and autographed by all the squad. Not really for general sale.
Designed in protest at the decision to hand the Cooper Stand over to Rangers & Celtic fans a few years back, again never went on general sale as I’m not keen on transfers.
Extended Highlights, one off transfer from a mate who ran A Healthy Obsession label to celebrate the release of my book of the same name.
Produced as it says to mark the 100th and final issue of One Step Beyond.
A reworking of the original Compost Corner design but changed to suit a Motherwelly audience.
The end of the beginning. No Barrier To Style design was the last one before changing to Daft Laddie. In fact it was the first one under Daft Laddie as well because I had another updated one offered to me by the designer, Andy Lewis. But that’s for daftladdie to tell the story.