Hi if you are reading this guide then you must have been searching ebay for FAPL (FA Premier League) or EPL (English Premier League) Lextra patches to augment one of your football shirts - good you have come to the right place. Reading this short guide will save you a) money and b) hassle as unfortunately there are several sellers who just want to rip you off.
The sleeve patch is not new the old football league used them for a number of years, however this guide is dedicated to the Premier League sleeve patch and will cover the period of the creation of the premier league in 1992 right through to the current day. Since 1992 all match shirts have been adorned with triangular sleeve patches, worn in pairs the are affixed to the sleeves of shirts.. The patches initially served as a way of promoting the brand image of the Premier League but since then they have become a pivotal part of football culture with any fan worth his salt keen to ensure that his replica shirt has the appropriate patches.
Originally the patches were made by two different companies one called FUSE ON and the other called SPORTING-ID the two companies have since merged and the only company making offical EPL patches is SPORTING-ID
(Note there are some re-issue patches made by Chris Kay these are very good copies, made from the original materials however they are not original issued stock.)
The official patches come in two sorts these days although for a short period three types were available (i will cover that later on). The two main types are:
- Fan Size
- Player Size
It is important when you are reviewing listings to check what size is being sold, both types are offical products however the Fan Size patches are ever so slightly smaller than the player size ones.
If you are going for the authentic look then you will want Player Size.
Between 1992 and 2007 ALL FAPL and EPL patches were made of a felt like material called Lextra(TM). Since 2007 the patches have been made of an alternate felt like material called Senscilla(TM).
NOTE - during the 2003 season a plastic fan sized variant was introduced. This coincided with the name change to the Barclaycard Premiership. However due to issues in the application process these were withdrawn. You are able to buy Lextra patches for this season but these were never offically offered.
FAKE WARNING NUMBER 1:
If anybody tries to sell you embroidered patches then they are fake. Nearly all of the pre-1996 patches for sale on ebay are cheap woven copies.
There are one or two sellers who have originals but they are exceptionally rare.
Please check the picture gallery below before buying its easy to get ripped off especially if the patches are on a shirt and the pictures arent clear.
All patches have the same basic design on them namely:
- FAPL or EPL Lion Logo(TM)
- Year of issue
- League banner text eg FA Premier League
However the patches are avaiable each season in two differing variants (with the exception of the 1992 season where all teams wore the same style) The team that are reigning champions were a golden Champions Patch usually with the legend "Champions 19XX/200XX".
All other teams wear a plain white patch.(see photo gallery for examples).
Ok the quickest way to go through the history of patch styles is with the aid of some photographs.
NOTE: All photographs are from my private collection please do not reproduce without permission. The Logo(s) and trademarks are the intellectual property of the relevant owner.
(I will show the basic issue patches first followed by the winner patches in a seperate section)
Basic Issue Patches
1992 - 1995
These are the very first patches issued in the inaugural season of the EPL - note though that these weren't available to fans until the season after. The basic design remained largely unchanged for many years until the creation of the Barclaycard Premiership(TM)
1995 - 2001
DID YOU SPOT THE DIFFERENCE?
This is the exact same design as the 1992-1995 patch except that the FAPL added a TM logo above the tail of the Lion.
2002 - 2003
(NOTE - There is a better picture in the Champions Patches section )
Ok the end of 2001 saw the end of Carling(TM) sponsorship of the premier league. This would see the arrival of the current sponsors Barclays who would initially sponsor the FAPL under the banner of Barclaycard.
This meant selling the advertising spot on the sleeves as well as everywhere else and so warranted a new sleeve patch design.
NOTE : This is the season that they tested the ill-fated plastic patches so if you end up with a shirt with these on dont worry they are still legit.
2004 - 2007
Another change of sponsor this time a small one with Barclaycard bowing out and the league being rebranded as the Barclays Premiership - of course this meant a new sleeve design.
The other difference is that instead of a gold lion the reigning champions would be symbolized by replacing the blue trim with a gold one.
2007 to Date
2007 saw a major rebranding of the competition with the most significant event being the breakaway from the FA. As of 2007 the competition dropped the title FAPL and replaced it with EPL.
The badge design and material also changed. The Lion has a new more aggressive stance and the patches now came in two pieces to give the Lion a raised 3D effect (this is more pronounced in the Champions patch).
SPORTING-ID(TM) also introduced a new material called Senscilla(TM) to replace the old Lextra(TM).
1992 to 1997
(NOTE - As a United fan i only have examples from the seasons that we won the league of course this means i have the majority of the design covered. However on the rare occasion when another team won i have endeavoured to find an example).
These are the earliest authentic patches that i have in my existence and they date from the 1993-1994 Double Winning Season for United again note that these early patches dont have the TM mark on them.
The photograph shows them in there as supplied state with the plastic film in situ this is why you cant see the gold lion. So i have included a shot of the reverse side of the patch so that you can see the construction, that rather roughly cut swatch of gold felt is the lion.
I have yet see an authentic earlier set of patches than these every shirt i have seen that claims to have them (including some supposed Match Worn shirt) have the nasty cheap fake woven ones.
If anyone has any genuine Lextra 1992-1993 or 1995-1996 Champions patches please contact me i would love a photograph
1997 - 2001
Here you can now see the Lion in all of its glory, also note the TM above the lions tail.
Design changes as noted above. On the right is the Lextra version and on the left is the PU (Plastic) Version both of these are official.
2004 - 2007
Note that only the gold trim now denotes the reigning champions no gold lion.
2008 - Date
The current 3D Champions patches as worn exclusively (so far) by UNITED!!
Thanks and i hope you found it useful - remember if the patches are different to the ones shown on here then they are probably fake!
Watch out for future guides:
Fake Patches what to look for
Manchester United Name and Number Sets
Guide to buying Manchester United shirts.