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Classic and Retro West Ham Football ShirtsLegend has it that West Ham actually obtained their familiar football shirts of claret yokes and sky blue sleeves back in 1899 due to a bet lost by players from fellow claret and blue clad team, Aston Villa. The Hammers had already dabbled with claret and blue due to the colours being the corporate palette of the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company from where the club first emerged. Prior to their adoption though, the club, (then simply known as Thames Ironworks) had originally sported an all-navy blue kit followed by white and then sky blue outfits. The memory of the club’s early kits still live on at Upton Park though, and today the side regularly rotate a sequence of away strips in the colours worn by the team in their formative years; navy blue, sky blue and white. One of the most popular away strip designs in recent years was the sky blue shirt with two claret hoops made popular in the 1960s and 1970s, and resurrected in the 1990s by kit manufacturer Pony. The club’s first sponsor was Avco Trust, a financial investment company, in a deal that ran from 1983 to 1989. Since then, the side have embarked on a whole array of sponsor deals including Dr Martens, BAC Windows and Dagenham Motors - although none long term. In 2008, when West Ham’s then shirt sponsors XL Holidays went into liquidation, the club came up with several innovative ways to deal with the problem of how to mask their logo on the jerseys. Initially they simply added a large claret patch to the jerseys before deciding to cover the XL logo with large squad numbers. Eventually the online betting company Sbobet signed a sponsorship deal with the club and replaced the XL logo with their own.