Fantasy Kit Friday – Barcelona in Admiral, 1976-80


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While Admiral became ubiquitous in terms of providing kits in Britain in the 1970s, they failed to extend their grasp into Europe – though we have in the past reimagined other sides in their famous designs.

There was one instance of a continental side wearing Admiral, but that was a rather low-fi development.

However, it is that self-same style that we are re-colouring for today’s FKF:

Perhaps the lack of stripes on the sleeves make it look less Barça-esque, and we are a bit anachronistic in including gold as a third colour, but it helps to break up the two main colours.


An Admiral Barça away kit from that period would have been interesting too, given the various designs available, but that’s something we’ll have to try at a later date.

Rosenborg’s breakthrough season in Europe


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Just as we penned an article in Legia Warsaw’s stadium before they took on Cork City last month, we do the same for Rosenborg tonight, writing this in Lerkendal Stadion before the Europa League third qualifying round second leg. Don’t worry if you don’t like this mini-series – a 2-0 deficit from the first leg is likely to be too much for City to overturn.

Rosenborg are often held up as an example for Irish clubs to follow in terms of European progress – establish dominance at domestic level and then slowly build on that to gain a foothold on the continental scene. Of course, it’s only really possible for one club per country to manage that, but Rosenborg have certainly made their mark over the years.

The 1996-97 campaign stands out for the Norwegian side, marking their first appearance in the knockout stages of the Champions League, and it is that journey we shall look at in terms of their kits.

Domestically, Norwegian teams are permitted to have multiple sponsors (though alcohol advertising is banned, as Liverpool found when they played a Norway XI in 1997). For the 1996 Tippeligaen season, Rosenborg had G-Sport (not the ‘r’ there, smut-merchants) on the front of the shirts, Vekk I Morgen on the neck, someone who don’t know insurance firm Storebrand (thanks to Eivind Aarre for this info) on the shoulders and Shell on the socks.


However, Uefa did and still do only permit one sponsor (a charity can also be promoted), and so for the Champions League, which began with a 3-2 win away to IFK Gothenburg, they only had a smaller G-Sport logo, minus the ‘Sport’ wordmark.

Obviously, plainer socks were used while the shorts changed too.


Their second game was at home to AC Milan, a 4-1 defeat. With both sides having white socks, Rosenborg changed – this was a period when home teams sometimes switched as Uefa dealt with things inconsistently.


The black socks were also used in the 1-0 home loss against Porto, who would top the group with five wins before falling to Manchester United in the quarter-finals.

Both sides wore their first-choice shirts in Trondheim, but in Oporto the hosts wore their change shirts as they won 3-0, but Rosenborg were still only three points behind Milan in the battle for second place.

The gap would be closed in the second-last game, Milan drawing 1-1 with Porto while Rosenborg had a 1-0 win at home to Gothenburg. On a bitterly cold night, the Rosenborg players wore black undershirts and leggings and white gloves.


It set up a winner-take-all clash in the San Siro in the final round of games, albeit with Milan still holding a one-point cushion, so a draw would be enough for them. With the socks-clash to sort, one would have expected them to wear black socks and white shorts – as they would do against Udinese later in the season – but instead they opted for their fourth kit.

As well as the classic striped home and white away, Lotto had supplied the rossoneri with two extra shirts, in the same style, all-black with red trim and all-red with black.

The latter had been worn against Juventus in November and was called upon again, though with different Lotto and Opel logos due to Uefa regulations.


Harald Brattbakk put Rosenborg ahead but when Christophe Duggary equalised for Milan before half-time, it looked as if they had settled. However, Vegard Heggem popped up with the 70th-minute winner and, incredibly, Rosenborg were through while the champions of 1989, 1990 and 1994 were out.

By that stage, Rosenborg had won the league for the fifth year in a row, finishing 14 points ahead of Lillestrøm. With the 1997 season beginning in April, their next competitive outings would be the quarter-final against Champions League holders Juventus.

Considering they were going into the games cold, a 1-1 home draw, with Christian Vieri equalising Trond Egil Soltvedt’s opener, was a more than creditable result. Juve wore their blue and yellow away kit in Trondheim, with the return in Turin – a 2-0 win for the hosts – seeing the only outing for Rosenborg’s red away shirts in that European campaign.


Midweek Mashup – Chelsea, 2001


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  • As with all of our Chelsea content, the input of Nik Yeomans has been invaluable

In 1992, Chelsea reverted to white socks with their home kit, with the club’s matchday programme for the game against Oldham Athletic on August 15, 1992 – the first of the new Premier League – acknowledging that this was based on the wishes of a majority of the club’s supporters.


In a summer when the first-choice kit was not due to change, a change has come due to public demand. Tradition has been restored.

The white socks worn so proudly through the 1960’s, ’70s and early 80s, but which were dropped in favour of blue socks in 1985, have returned.

About time too, and don’t they look wonderful!

Chelsea have retained them since then, but obviously there are game away to teams who also have white socks where a change is needed. Generally, these alternative socks have been blue but, on occasion, red and yellow pairs have been used too.

Having changed socks themselves, you might think that Chelsea would be cognisant of others doing so but, on the second weekend of 2001-02, they were caught out by just such an occurrence.

Hosting Newcastle United in their opening game, Chelsea wore their new Umbro kit and then travelled to face Southampton the following week, with yellow-topped blue socks worn instead of the white.


They looked like they could have been an alternative set for the 2000-01 away kit, which was retained as a third for 01-02, but that wouldn’t have made much sense given that the new away strip was designed to be perfectly interchangeable with the home.

A closer look at the socks – primarily the ‘Saints’ wordmark on the front – reveals their true provenance. Southampton had worn black socks as first choice from 1999-2001 but had reverted to white for 2001-02 and Chelsea hadn’t realised, meaning they travelled with just their white sets – and had to wear the Saints’ 2000-01 away socks instead.

As Southampton produced their own kits at the time – meaning retro versions are more accurate than most clubs’, with makers’ logos often missing – there was at least the consolation of no rival of Umbro being promoted.

The switch didn’t negatively affect Chelsea, though, with goals from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Mario Stanic earning Claudio Ranieri’s side a 2-0 win. Later in the season, they would wear the away socks with the home shirts and shorts as and when required.

Cold War Classics no. 8 – Finland v East Germany, 1986


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A somewhat unplanned but reoccurring theme in this series has been our fascination with how a very western, very capitalist brand was uniformly employed by eastern European states for their athletes during the communist years, even though said brand seemingly epitomised the enemy’s moneymaking, corporate ethos in the Cold War. Or so you would have thought.

The brand we are talking about is of course adidas, which by the end of the era was being worn by the international football teams of every country in the eastern bloc. This apparent juxtaposition seems to prove that links to the west were more acceptable than may have been perceived, at least on state level, and that capitalist practices such as shirt branding were apparently compatible with communist ideals (even if trefoils were half-heartedly covered or removed at times). In retrospect, the adidas trend ties in with the eventual fall of communism in Europe, as, logically, they would not have been needed if all was going positively on that side of the Iron Curtain.

We have theorised before on how the need to realistically compete at the highest level, including when it came to kit and equipment, eventually trumped any ideological loyalty. Plus of course, there is the money. Adidas’ three stripes had started to appear on national teams’ kits of the region by the 1974 World Cup, with Poland, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria all donning the distinctive feature at the tournament. The Poland away shirt even displayed a trefoil too. Czechoslovakia were next in 1976, followed by Hungary, the USSR, Romania and Albania in the following years.

The last domino to fall was East Germany who made the switch to adidas by 1983, and even before this were using unmarked kits by Erima, which was a division of adidas. This was especially poignant considering the West German origin of the kit-maker.

East Germany had worn blue shirts from the state’s inception as a reference to the colour of the ruling socialist party’s youth wing’s uniform, and, apart from switching the away shirt of white with blue trim to first preference, not much else changed over the next 30 years. Their last kit before adidas looked severely out of date in 1982 compared to its contemporaries around Europe, basically only featuring a crest (albeit an iconic one) and nothing else, besides collar and cuff trim.


The adidas upgrade changed the collar, added trefoil and sleeve stripes, and a blue-trimmed seem going from under-arm to collar. Nothing too revolutionary, but for the team that was in it, and the very pleasing colourway, it was an instant classic of the era.


Thankfully for the sake of Marx and Lenin – who must have been tired rolling in their graves at all these stripes – kit branding in eastern Europe didn’t really exceed this, either at domestic or international level, until the collapse of communism. But in the west, as we have also previously discussed, things had already been taken much further with full-blown shirt sponsorship appearing in Denmark by the late 1960s, before the baton was passed to France in the 1970s. The practice would of course soon become common for most club sides, but the next logical step from a money-making point of view was for sponsorship to be taken to national team shirts.

Scandinavia again led the way as Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland would all produce national team shirts with sponsors in the 1980s, some of which were for promotional use, but others for actual matches. Only friendly matches of course, as competitive games didn’t allow for them, but sponsorship would later become unheard of in general at international level, giving them quite the surreal look to modern eyes.

A Denmark game against Malta in 1989 also saw the Maltese don sponsored shirts, and famously the Republic of Ireland had Opel, however this never saw use beyond testimonials and replicas. One country who did use them to great effect though was another of the Nordic nations in Finland – a Scandinavian country in culture, if not ethically, linguistically or geographically for the most part.

The pinnacle of this whole phase may have been a Finland vs Sweden game in Helsinki on August 6, 1986, with both sides wearing sponsored shirts; two in the case of Finland. And, of course, it wasn’t just in eastern Europe where adidas were dominating, as the two countries also used the West Germany brand.

Incidentally, the Sweden away kit on show may be one of the greatest ‘unknown’ kits of all time, featuring diagonal pinstripes, accordingly diagonal sponsor Sparbanken (‘Save-bank’), a tidy wraparound collar, white trefoil, big chunky crest, shadow striped shorts, and, to add some jazz to the blue of the shirt and shorts, yellow socks. Simply amazing.


The hosts’ kit was not so stylish. It was in fact fairly similar to East Germany’s adidas debut strip in both colour and design, and hence also slightly out-dated by this stage. Long-sleeved shirts were used as opposed to the short sleeves of the opposition, while the shorts were actually identical to those of the Swedes apart from white trim instead of Sweden’s yellow, displaying the popularity of the shadow-stripe template at the time.

But, most importantly, a separate shirt to what would be the match version was used for player profile pictures before the game, promoting an automotive gear-oil brand, Neste Alfa. The red and green of the logo against the white and blue of the rest of the strip really helps make it seem like you’re looking at a club’s kit.


This was also during the odd period when adidas made the aesthetic choice to ‘slice’ through the two horizontal lines on their trefoil, proving that even a literally perfect design is not safe from marketers looking to change things. This shirt featured the even stranger iteration which only sliced through the first of the lines, leaving the lower one intact. Goalkeeper Ismo Korhonen’s pre-match sweatshirt does a good job showing this on a grander scale.

The actual match shirt itself that day would be worn again two weeks later at our featured game, so we will get to that now. On August 20, 1986, none other than East Germany were to be the guests for another friendly in Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium, thus setting up a mighty clash (a mighty friendly clash, that is) between one nation that physically embraced and embodied the capitalist driving force of the west through the shameless splashing of corporate marketing over their national colours, and another that had been the last hold-out against doing the same in their ideologically opposed region.

For Finland, the blue logo and name of the financial company Pohjola now appeared on the centre of their white jerseys, at least matching the general colourway. The company name was borrowed from a location in Finnish mythology that was apparently home to an evil witch – deliciously apt for people who deal with insurance and banking.


Unable to wear their first-choice shirt, East Germany used a straight reversal of their opponents’ strip, with a white version of the shadow-stripe shorts. Of course, this created an overall clash, although one which clearly didn’t really matter given it was a friendly, as opposed to the hoops Bulgaria had to go through in competitive games to avoid it, as seen in our previous Cold War Classic. A very popular adidas shirt template of the time was employed in short sleeves, which also featured shadow striping, this time horizontal.

What is unusual, though, is the central positioning of the crest. Traditionally, the East German crest was positioned on the left like most, even when they wore this otherwise same shirt on other occasions, and the template clearly was not designed with such positioning in mind (or used that way by most other teams). The fact that the crest appears to be ever so slightly off-centre only adds to the intrigue.


Not that it really matters, but in case you were wondering, Finland won the game 1-0 and that was that. But East Germany would return to that part of the world for another friendly the following month against Denmark. Another 1-0 defeat, the game is relevant because they would wear an all-white-version of the kit seen againstt the Finns. The shirt included the central crest positioning, proving that the design experiment wasn’t just limited to the away jersey.


East Germany weren’t long for this world after that, and could really be defined as THE Cold War state, as they are the only country whose existence was solely confined within that time-frame. But for Finland – who continued, and continue, to exist – their love of shirt sponsorship went onwards and upwards, and would rival France for saturation at domestic level in the 1990s.

Given the extremely logical and orderly nature of Finnish culture, it does make sense that advertising saw priority over design. But the endearing, no-nonsense nature of their people, plus the delicious retro-aesthetic, makes it far more palatable than the likes of gaudy American advertising culture.

Sponsorship on international match-shirts was destined for a similar fate as the East German state, but the Finns wern’t ready to give up that dollar just yet, as evident in May 1987 for a huge friendly visit of football royalty Brazil.

Wearing a blue change shirt – which featured very faint vertical shadow striping – the soccer superstars of Suomi proudly bore the giant corporate squirrel of the bank Kansallis-Osake-Pankki, along with the appropriate tagline ‘Miljoona Potkua’ (‘Million Kicks’, since a million is a large amount of money and kicking is a thing footballers do).


Brazil won’t have minded too much though, considering their use of a sponsor on their crest at the 1982 World Cup (a story for another day).

In fact, they may have even taken inspiration from the Finns, as for another friendly that year, against Chile in December 1987, they would play with a huge, red Coca-Cola advert



Premier League 2018-19 kit-tracker – Gameweek 1


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Hopefully you saw the World Cup kit-tracker in June and July – following the success of that (you have to take our word for it, we accept), we have decided to do the same for the Premier League season.

This will be a collaboration with Football Kit Geek, who does such great work on his blog.

Gameweek 1, August 10-12


Manchester United 2 Leicester City 1


Having lost 4-3 to Arsenal in the opening game of 2017-18, Leicester again got off to a Friday night losing start away from home. Paul Pogba put United ahead with an early penalty before Luke Shaw doubled the lead while Jamie Vardy got a late consolation for the Foxes.

Both sides were in adidas – the first time since 1989 that United started the campaign in an all-adidas clash – with United in the black shorts and primarily red socks which are now first-choice. Goalkeeper David de Gea wore an all-green kit similar that which he had for Spain at the World Cup but in a different shade.

Leicester have taken to wearing change kits when no clash exists in recent years, but they were in all-blue for their first game in the three stripes. White was probably not the best choice of colour for the sponsors’ logos on Kasper Schmeichel’s shirt.


Newcastle United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2


For the second year in a row and third time in seven seasons, Tottenham began their campaign at St James’ Park.

As with this campaign, Tottenham have had navy change strips for the other two opening weekends on Tyneside – they wore navy-white-white there in 2012-13 and in 2017-18. On occasion, though, they have worn their home kits there too, as in 2000-01 and 2005-06.

This time, though, Spurs wore their new third kit, somewhere between teal and turquoise, featuring a satellite view of North London on the body. While Hugo Lloris wore a Nike kit in the same style as that which he had as France won the World Cup, it was in orange rather than yellow or pink.

As previously mentioned, Newcastle’s kit is notable for the inclusion of white socks, while red numbers are retained on the striped backs and also on the black shorts.

Bournemouth 2 Cardiff City 0


Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Everton 2



Liverpool 4 West Ham United 0


Arsenal 0 Manchester City 2



Fantasy Kit Friday – Arsenal in Liverpool’s 1993 adidas style



It has all but confirmed that Arsenal will return to adidas next season, a move which is sure to bring back fond memories for older supporters.

Previously in this series, we looked at how the Gunners might have looked if they had stayed with the German firm in 1994 and Mr Mark on Twitter has brought things forward another year to wonder how Liverpool’s 1993-95 template might have looked in Arsenal colours.


Midweek Mashup – France, 2017



We’ve said it before, but it’s important to repeat it – as templates go, the Nike Vapor range in 2016 was far from terrible.

With  raglan sleeves and a stripe down the side of the shirts continuing on to the shorts, there was a lot to work with. However, what made the perception of the style worse was the fact that, in many cases, Nike decided to deviate from teams’ traditional shorts and/or sock colours.

For instance, France kept their traditional red socks, but they had blue shorts (as they had in 2012) – however, if the navy stripe was red and continued on white shorts, it would have looked great.

That’s not a debate to had for today, but it is France we focus on. We have to admit to being disappointed England lost to Iceland in the last 16 at Euro 2016 – not because of any great love for the team, but because it meant that they would have played France in the quarter-finals and we wanted to see what would happen in terms of the red-sock clash.

Most likely, it would have been England in all-white, but in 2017 we got to see what France had to do when a similar situation arose, away to Bulgaria in a World Cup qualifier.

When they had met in Paris in October 2016, Bulgaria switched from red socks to green, and the expectation for the return game in Sofia would have been that France would use their navy away socks.

Instead, they wore the white set which had been used in Euro 2016 against Switzerland, giving a Chelseaesque look.


An early Blaise Matuidi goal gave France a 1-0 win but, despite the 100 percent record, blue-blue-white remains a unique French look, for now – not that they haven’t used alternative combinations.

Great one-offs – Blackburn Rovers, 1993



The early 1990s were when kit manufacturers began to realise that there was an ever-growing market for their wares, and so the releases became more common.

Blackburn Rovers had worn a plain yellow third kit in 1992-93, but not that often – Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Southampton were opponents which might have been troublesome for a team with a blue-and-white-halved home and red and black stripes away, but they got by with their first-choice shirt on those occasions.

That third shirt wasn’t sold, as far as we know, but the matchworn set was recycled:

In the summer of 1993, it was supplanted by a new yellow version featuring large black panels at the sides.


A somewhat unusual, but nice, design, its only outing would come away to Tottenham Hotspur in the Coca-Cola Cup fourth round on December 1, 1993, a 1-0 loss. Perhaps Blackburn’s away kit wasn’t allowed due to being too close to the black of the officials, but that hadn’t been a problem for their second-round opponents Bournemouth, who of course wear those colours as their first choice.

In February 1994, Blackburn would return to White Hart Lane for a league game. This time, they wore the away shirts and socks with change shorts – similar to, but different than, the home set – as they won 2-0.

While the yellow was retained for the title-winning 1994-95 season, it remained unused.

Season’s meetings, no. 8 – Aberdeen v Hamburg, 1983 European Super Cup


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Ordinarily, two games in the one season wouldn’t be enough for inclusion here (Brazil and Sweden in 1994 an exception as that was a World Cup), the 1983 Supercup deserves examination, given that that the kits chosen remain something of a mystery.

Hamburg, having won the European Cup against Juventus, were pitted against Aberdeen, conquerors of Real Madrid in the Cup Winners’ Cup decider, in what was still a two-legged affair, played mid-season rather than the one-off August affair we are now used to.

While Hamburg’s normal home kit is a distinctive white shirts, red shorts and blue socks, in Europe back then they often lined out in all-white. That was they used in the first leg in Volksparkstadion on November 1982, as they had in both legs against Aberdeen in the 1981-82 Uefa Cup.

Hamburg had new v-neck short-sleeved shirts for 1983-84, but they retained the previous set with neck insert in long-sleeve format, while the shorts had a fainter pinstripe than the shirt.

Aberdeen were clad in the same kit which they had worn in the previous season (around the crest was text commemorating their Scottish and Cup Winners’ Cup wins) – the design was essentially the opposite of Hamburg but with non-contrasting neck and cuffs. The game finished scoreless.

However, four weeks later in Pittodrie, it was all change – both teams wore their second kits as Aberdeen won 2-0 thanks to goals from Neil Simpson and Mark McGhee.

Both shirts were straight reversals of their home versions, with Aberdeen in black shorts and socks.

The reason why? We simply can’t say. Nowadays, it would be put down to commercial considerations, promoting away kits, but that wasn’t as much of a factor back then.

For Aberdeen, the game came between league clashes at home to Hibernian and away to St Mirren, when the home kit would have been worn, but there were four days between the Super Cup and the latter clash (on Christmas Eve), so it’s not as if they were under a lot of pressure landry-wise – they had been at home to Hearts three days before the away leg, for instance.

Hamburg were in the middle of their domestic winter break, so it’s unlikely that there were any external factors forcing them to wear something almost identical to their hosts’ home kit.

Perhaps there was a mistake and they packed the all-red, but given that it was their fourth meeting with the Dons in just over two years, surely someone would have been alive to it.

With 35 years having passed since, we probably won’t find out the real reason. And we have to be okay with that.

Fantasy Kit Friday – Darlington, 1989 adidas



This isn’t the first time that Darlington have featured in Fantasy Kit Friday – they have made an appearance in Midweek Mashup too – but it’s a different person making the request.

While Craig Stoddart asked for the previous one, in the style of Luton’s 1991 kit, this time it’s Twitter user beatroute66.

The Quakers had hoops in the late 1980s and he wondered how much better it might have been if they had had the same design as Queens Parker Rangers did at that time.