Blog

The Story Behind THOSE Juninho and Emerson Barbour Photos

You've probably all seen them by now. Juninho and Emerson taking a samba stroll around Barbour's HQ in South Shields. They're great photos that epitomise the 90s. Everything's there - big smiles, lovely wax jackets with cord collars, chunky knitwear and a multicoloured Nike windbreaker.

But how on earth did this trip up the A19 come about? We chatted to David Laidler (the grey haired fella in the photo below) who was Barbour's Factory Manager during those heady days.

Alright David, so tell us a bit about your role at Barbour and how the trip came about?

"Back in the mid to late 90s I was Factory Manager at Barbour in South Shields. It was common at the time for high profile footballers, particularly those playing in the North East, to visit the factory.

"The MD at Barbour was a big Newcastle fan, I supported Sunderland and another one of my colleagues supported Middlesbrough. Barbour made an effort with sponsorship and boxes at games, and regularly invited players to the factory."

So, the top dogs at Boro must have took you up on the invite. This must have been 1996 or 1997 when the pair played together? What happened when they got up there?

"Yeah it'd be around then. They got a tour of the factory and were also shown the process of making the jackets from start to finish. You can see this in one of the photos."

Obviously back then for Barbour this was good marketing and product placement - but imagine the impact it would have now!

"Yeah, exactly. The players were chuffed about picking up a free jacket from a world renowned British brand too. Unfortunately it was before the times of Instagram and social media, but it'd probably go down well with both Boro fans and Barbour now!"

What were the pair like?

"I remember them being very quiet and actually quite nervous. Funny considering they were two of the Premier League's best players at the time. They spoke little English but Juninho was the more relaxed and outgoing - his trademark smile and small stature were exactly as you'd expect!"

Speaking of stature, he must have got a small or extra small surely?!

"Haha, yeah I don't remember what size he got but it must've been the smallest we did. In them days Barbour didn't have an actual size, it was all number chest sizes. The length of a jacket didn't change much neither as the chest and arms did - so it'll have probably been a bit on the long side for him!"

Did anyone else pop by? Any other footballers or celebs of note?

"Yeah we had a fair few sportsmen and celebraties visit around that time - a couple of England rugby players and some of the Royal Family.

"We also took a few of the Sunderland squad clay-pigeon shooting before the play-off semi with Newcastle in 1990! But I'd say Juninho and Emerson were the stand outs from the football world."

Would love to see the photos of that! Class, thanks for your time David.

So there you have it, a decent little story and some cracking photos that bring two North East institutions together. Hopefully David can dig out some more gems next time he's in his loft.