Everton Foot Bill for One-Off Kits for Fifth-Division FA Cup Opponents

Over the years, English football’s FA Cup has been full of Cinderella stories. This year, though, one Cinderella team didn’t have the right gown. Thankfully, their opponents became their fairy godmother.

On Thursday, March 3, Boreham Wood FC — a club based in Hertfordshire, just north of London, that plays in the Vanarama National League, the fifth tier of the English football pyramid — played in the last 16 of the FA Cup for the first time in club history.

Their opponents, however, were Premier League side Everton, creating quite the mismatch on paper, especially with Everton drawn to play at home at Goodison Park in Liverpool.

On the pitch, though, the two teams’ kits would have been too similar. So, in quite the classy gesture, Everton paid for a new set of all-black Puma kits for Boreham Wood.

Courtesy BorehamWoodFootballClub.co.uk

Boreham Wood’s first choice kit is all white, so the shorts and socks would have been too similar to what Everton wears at home. Their secondary shirt is light blue, which again would have been too similar to Everton’s blue home shirt.

Boreham Wood sport their all-white 2021-22 home kit as they take on National League rivals Eastleigh on Saturday, Feb. 26. (Courtesy BorehamWoodFootballClub.co.uk)
Boreham Wood’s 2021-22 away kit. (Courtesy BWFCClubShop.co.uk)

Given Boreham Wood’s limited resources, Everton covered the cost of the new all-black kits, with commemorative printing on the chest, and some of Boreham Wood’s travel expenses, including an overnight stay in a Liverpool hotel.

“Without any prompting from ourselves, Everton FC’s Secretary approached our Club Secretary Dell Ward this week to tell him that they have decided to pay for the cost of our new kit themselves,” reads a post on Boreham Wood’s website. “We are so very humble and grateful that a sporting institution as big as Everton Football Club still recognises the issues and costs that the smaller clubs like ourselves experience, who try our very best to compete as high up the English football pyramid as we possibly can despite challenges.”

Courtesy @Everton / Twitter

Boreham Wood and other National League clubs cannot wear black kits in their league games, as referees at that level only wear black.

Boreham Wood were also able to sell a limited number of the commemorative shirts to supporters. Most were snapped up through pre-orders, but some were available earlier in the week on a first-come, first-served basis through the club’s onsite ticket office.

Everton won the match 2-0 to advance to the FA Cup quarterfinals. But they also won the admiration of Boreham Wood FC supporters and football fans around the world with their gesture.

Feature photo courtesy BorehamWoodFootballClub.co.uk