1991 Roy Of The Rovers competition to design Melchester Rovers’ kits

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We’ve already looked at the competition held to design the Melchester Rovers away kit when Roy Of The Rovers re-tooled itself as a monthly comic in 1993, but this wasn’t the first time that such a contest was held.

After we published the other piece, Seb Patrick – writer, fellow ROTR nerd, When Saturday Comes contributor, all-round good guy and the curator of the excellent Branch of Science site – got in touch. He had scans from 1991, when the comic was still a weekly, of a similar competition, though to find home and away kits.

The results were staggered, with the new away kit, and those which just fell short of the top prizes, revealed a week before the home. It’s interesting to note how many of the away entries were yellow – despite it being the home secondary colour, Rovers didn’t often use it on their change kits.

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Bottom left above is an entry by Matthew Pemberton, who you might recall was also shortlisted in the 1993 competition. He is now a professional designer.

It would probably take a lot of time to spot, but if you look closely enough at the home strips, and also at Melchester’s kit history, there is one fairly common style which is absent. It gave an ever-so-subtle indication as to what the winner might be.

Wonderfully, the writers worked it into the story. The Melchester Gazette was about 25 years ahead of its time as mock-ups are all the rage now, and the Roy Of The Rovers comic becomes a magazine. Meanwhile, Carford City’s players had a gruff ‘You won’t shake us’ attitude.

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Winner Robert Moore (as he is describe in the strip, the previous week it said he was Robert Lee) also got to see himself rendered in pen and ink, and the in-universe reaction was very positive – well, from those Melchester fans who were always able to heard over the other 40,000 or so.

Sega must have been ponying up enough cash to insist on their logo appearing in white and blue (that deal would end in 1992, with TSB taking over) and, oddly, the club crest didn’t appear at all. Numbers on shorts were another area in which the club were ahead of the rest of England.

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The stripes would remain in place during the run of the monthly comic, though the return of the strip in Match Of The Day magazine would see things being mixed up once more. We may return to that later.

The evolution of adidas goalkeeper shirt designs – Part 2

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It’s a little later than planned, but we’re ready to crack on with the newest instalment of our series on adidas goalkeeper shirt designs. Part 1 can be read here.

As mentioned in that piece, the ‘dip-dye’ style lasted from 1977 until 1984, but its prime period of usage was from around 1980-82. Unfortunately, adidas didn’t have a clean progression from design to design, so research hasn’t been easy.

While the previous look reminded us most of Jim Leighton, the horizontal-prinstripe look which came into vogue in 1982 is one we would most associate with Harald ‘Toni’ Schumacher, so imagine the pleasant surprise of discovering that adidas named it after him.

At club level with 1. FC Köln/FC Cologne, Schumacher generally wore a grey version of this kit (left) though the more common blue (right) was what he donned when on international duty.

At the 1982 World Cup, he varied it up, however. The official squad picture showed blue, red and yellow versions (note the yellow has black sleeves), and Schumacher favoured the blue in the first group stage, albeit with white shorts:

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Oddly, in the games in the second group stage, against England and Spain, he opted for a plain blue shirt, but for the semi-final against France and subsequent final defeat to Italy, he was back in his eponymous design, though the red rather than the blue.

He retained the mismatching (un-numbered) shorts of the blue version and, at the other end of the field for the semi, France goalkeeper Jean-Luc Ettori had what appeared to be an indentical design. Almost, but not quite, as the gap between the ‘pinhoops’ was wider on Ettori’s shirt (proof here). Presumably, this had something to do with the growing influence of adidas France, under Horst Dassler, son founder Adolf (‘Adi’).

Errori also indulged in some mismatching, with his sleeves dark navy and his shorts black – both with the famous French white-blue-white-red-white striping – and the green shirt he wore earlier in the World Cup the same. It leads us to believe that the yellow, with black sleeves, was the first choice:

While the ‘dip-dye’ style had been worn by the USSR goalkeeper Rinat Dasayev, it was an unbadged edition devoid of the classic ‘CCCP’ on the front, but the accoutrements were present in his new kit. Spain netminder Luis Arconada also used it, albeit with the striping on the sleeves the opposite of that on the shorts and again with a more ’70s’ collar.

For Spain 82, Belgium wore Admiral kits as they were on a hiatus from adidas, but the Red Devils returned in time for the 1984 European Championship in France. Though their goalkeepers would wear the brand-new diagonal tonal-striped look (see Part 3) in the tournament, before that there was a brief appearance for the pinstripes. Like France and Spain, bespoke sleeve striping – yellow-black-yellow-red-yellow – made an appearance.

Oddly, France persisted with the older jersey for the Euros, though to be fair it didn’t stop them winning. Both the French and Belgian shirts had adidas written alongside a smaller trefoil rather than under a larger one.

While the dip-dye was only worn by English clubs in European competition this one wasn’t seen at all, with the opportunities for that perhaps lessened. Likewise, Aberdeen, Northern Ireland and Wales stayed with the dip-dye, so this was exclusively a continental look.

Given the amount of contracts adidas had in Germany, it was most common there. Quite what Bayern Munich goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff was thinking by wearing these aqua shorts and socks, we do not know, however.

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How Blackrock and Glen Rovers have resolved (and not resolved) their colour-clash

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Note: The bulk of this appeared in the Evening Echo on August 2.

 

The two most successful clubs in Cork senior hurling, Blackrock and Glen Rovers (32 and 26 titles respectively), have fairly similar jerseys. The Rockies wear green and gold hoops while the Glen don green, gold and black hoops, and, by and large, one or both have changed when they have played.

For much of the 20th century, the rule in Cork regarding clashes was that the older club could retain its first-choice jerseys, forcing their opponents to change. As a result, Blackrock (formed in 1883) would stay in their famous hoops, while Glen (established in 1916, with the black hoop representing those who died for the cause of Irish freedom) would use the equally famous black and white hoops of their sister football club St Nicholas.

Four county finals saw the sides paired in the 70s, with the usual green/gold v black/white in the 1973 and ‘75 deciders. By the time both made it back to the final a year later though, the Glen sought to be allowed to wear their usual colours. They argued that the new set of jerseys purchased had wider hoops, allowing easier differentiation, and they offered to wear black shorts too. The county board’s general purposes committee refused this request, however, and so the Glen ended up investing in a ‘proper’ set of change jerseys, gold with black and green trim, the look set off with black shorts. It didn’t do them any harm, anyway, as they avenged the loss of a year earlier.

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The club’s last final meeting of the decade was in 1978. Again, the Glen were in the gold and black strip but this time Blackrock had to wear an alternative too, the ‘older club’ rule having been dispensed with. The Rockies, captained by the recently-deceased John Horgan, regained their title wearing Meath-style green jerseys with gold collars and cuffs.

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While the 1990s weren’t that memorable for either club, they did meet in the 1998 semi-final and it was the same configuration, green against gold. This would be the case again in 2004, but in ’08, while Blackrock were again in green, the Glen turned out in their normal shirts and black shorts – the look they hadn’t been allowed use in ‘76.

By the time the clubs’ minors met in the 2013 county final, the Glen had procured a new alternative – wide black and green hoops, giving them a Nemo Rangers-esque look. Note too how their goalkeeper is also wearing this configuration (apologies for the poor pic)

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For the 2014 senior quarter-final against Ballymartle – the same colours as Blackrock – the Glen used another different arrangement of their hues. This time, it was effectively a Kerry jersey, green with a gold hoop, albeit with black sleeves, as Ballymartle wore black with green and gold trim. Which brings us to the recent county U21 championship meeting with Blackrock.

 In advance of the game, both clubs had been informed that change jerseys would be needed and neither had a problem in wearing them – the only problem was that they were too difficult to distinguish. With Blackrock having entered into a sponsorship deal with Mater Private in recent years, their logo was applied to the green jerseys, but on a gold patch, increasing the similarity between them and the Glen’s change offering. In real terms, the black sleeves were the only real difference.
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We weren’t at the game, so we don’t know if any, or many, passes were misplaced by the players, but spectators who were there said that visibility was far from ideal. Fingers crossed that, if the clubs’ paths cross in the senior championship, the issue will be dealt with in a more optimal way.

Oh, and, given that it’s the GAA, we couldn’t finish without an obligatory pic of on occasion when there was no change of jerseys.

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Roy Of The Readers’ Designs

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This week 23 years ago, football comic Roy Of The Rovers was relaunched as a monthly, the weekly version having stopped in March when the fate of protagonist Roy Race was left unresolved after a helicopter crash. Initially run as a strip in Tiger, ROTR began in 1976 as a standalone comic and this September marks the 40th anniversary of its first publication.

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In issue 1 of the monthly, it would transpire that Roy had had to have his famous left foot amputated, but his 17-year-old son Roy Jr, better known as ‘Rocky’, was ready to inherit the famous red-and-yellow Melchester Rovers number 9 shirt.

While Melchester had generally had red shirts with yellow as the secondary colour – John Devlin has compiled a near-complete kit history here – the stripes introduced in 1991 were carried over to the new comic. Previously, change kits had been relatively rare as there weren’t as many red-clad opponents as in real life, but a change of tack was taken by those behind the monthly. Now, Melchester would play in an alternate universe very similar to the real one, with other teams representing real clubs, though with names changed. These teams will feature in a future post.

Instead of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, Melchester would meet Islington, Toxteth and Prestwich North End and so an away strip would definitely be required. To that end, it was decided to throw it open to the floor in the form of a reader competition (the design erased here isn’t ours, this copy was bought on eBay in 2001).

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The results would be revealed in issue 5, dated January 1994 (on sale in December ’93). To give the editorial team credit, they didn’t just publish the winner, but instead also did a Jim Bowen on it in that they showed us what we could have won.

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We’ll go in reverse order, beginning with an also-ran which was singled out for inclusion simply because it was so original.

Five other designs were deemed to be joint runners-up, with each one evaluated (we’ve added our own comments too).

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Unusual, though reminiscent of Aston Villa’s away kit that season. Perhaps too much red to be an acceptable change kit, too.

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At least they were honest. We’d have preferred the shoulder stripes to be over the pinstripes. Was it the Jon Newby who played for Liverpool and Bury, among others? He’d have been 14 when the competition was held.

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A strange comment expressing such horror at the blue, given that it had often been used by Melchester in the 1980s.

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It’s probably hard to remember/comprehend (delete depending on your age) a time when a black kit was seen as a novelty, but bear in mind that was only months after Manchester United had broken the mould by launching theirs.

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All this time later, still looks class. And I love the socks.

And the winner…

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Hard to argue with the choice, especially given the extra effort that Stuart went to in drawing the back too.

Rocky endured a difficult start to life in the first team, getting booked and missing an open goal on his debut against Felixstowe Town (i.e. Ipswich), and then going AWOL for a time after a sending-off against Stanley Park (Everton). Having returned, he scored his first goal in the FA Cup against non-league Brockwell Wednesday, whose kit was conveniently yellow, allowing the premiering of Stuart’s design on the cover and, in far inferior fashion, inside (click for larger images).

 

They’ll always have (rare kits in) Paris

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As alluded to in the recent blog post on adidas goalkeeper shirt designs, the Republic of Ireland first officially wore kits by the German maker in 1986 – however, it wasn’t the first time that the famous trefoil had actually graced their kits.

If you asked a sample audience of those relatively familiar with the country’s kit history what the rarest outfit is, chances are the strip worn against Norway in 1985 will be the consensus. It has competition, though.

While nowadays, the thought of an Ireland game away to France conjures one particular image, trips to Paris in the mists of time have been responsible for two notable kit oddities. Recently, we came across this picture, from a World Cup qualifier from 1976.

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It’s not immediately apparent, but a closer examination shows that, while the shirts and socks were the usual O’Neills issue, the shorts – green, rather than usual white, were made by adidas.

Our own theory was aired on Twitter at the time:

…and, like Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory, we were finally proven right. Well, kind of, as it was a step too far to expect the FAI to actually spend a few bob. This is from the Irish Press newspaper a few days after the game (and there’s a little tidbit to titillate enthusiasts of our other blog, too):

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Given that France never wore green shorts, I think we have to take it “We had to borrow shorts off the French” to mean that the FFF sourced them from adidas rather than having them to hand.

Further research on the matter saw Google display a level of helpfulness rarely seen since it got on the SEO bandwagon rather than providing what users want. A trip to Foot.ie dredged up a thread from 2008.

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Now, if you’re not a kit-nerd, it’s hard to explain the frisson of excitement that came from reading the last two lines. It seemed too good to be true, but then YouTube came good.

It’s hard to fully see, but it is indeed the case that Ireland are wearing an all-green adidas kit, devoid of any other markings (as an aside, French away kits with white shirts, blue shorts and red socks were the best).

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Fairly nondescript and so very easy to replicate, in turn meaning you couldn’t be sure it was the real thing – surely the rarest of them all?

The evolution of adidas goalkeeper shirt designs – Part 1

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A summary perusal of some of the other articles on this site – or a glance at the tag-cloud – will quickly reveal an inherent bias towards kits made by adidas. When I began to watch football, my three favourite teams, Arsenal, Cork City and the Republic of Ireland, all carried the three stripes, but it wasn’t just that simplistic: there was something about the adidas designs which set them above other manufacturers, to my mind.

It’s a view still held, perhaps not as strongly as some of the more recent stuff has been bland, but the trefoil certainly arouses a strong feeling of nostalgia. This is especially the case when it comes to adidas goalkeeper shirts, which have a timeless quality to them, and that’s as good a reason as any to dedicate the site’s newest series to them (following the examination of the 1990-91 Serie A season). We begin with an absolute classic.

Until the 1970s, netminders wore plain shirts – we’re not aware of any/many examples of striped or hooped styles, for example – and the raciest any of the makers got was the insertion of contrasting collars and cuffs. The shirt worn by Dutch goalkeeper Jan Jongbloed against Argentina in the 1978 World Cup final, for example, was pretty much the same as that used by Sepp Maier for West Germany four years earlier, apart from the addition of stripes:

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However, if you look at the official Netherlands squad picture taken just before that World Cup, Piet Schrijvers is wearing a style which would become ubiquitous over the next few years. (thanks to Lucas in the comments for pointing out that this was Schrijvers and not Jongbloed)

The first major appearance for this new look was at Euro 80 in Italy, though at the time, manufacturers’ logos were not allowed. Spain took this to mean no makers’ markings at all, so Luis Arconada had a very plain version – no stripes at all – with a patch over the trefoil. Belgium’s Jean-Marie Pfaff didn’t have the adidas mark but did have the stripes.

Slightly irritatingly, adidas missed an opportunity to get the stripes on Pfaff’s shirt to match up to their yellow-black-yellow-red-yellow pattern which appeared on the outfield kit, and Pfaff’s shorts (red stripe not visible). This would be rectified in future goalkeeper kits, as we will see).

Two years later, when Spain hosted the World Cup, Arconada had a far jazzier version, with a modified collar – possibly a DIY job – and red and yellow stripes, though in reverse format on the shirt compared to the shorts.

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In Britain, the shirt wasn’t common, but there were a few appearances. In my head, Jim Leighton is the goalkeeper most associated with this ‘yoke’ design [edit – Simon Shakeshaft thinks that ‘dip-dye’ would be a better description], donning green and blue versions in his first spell with Aberdeen.

Wales were with adidas at the time too – like Aberdeen, they left and have since come back – and Neville Southall was seen in the same two colours and yellow.

It was also, oddly, worn by England goalkeeper Ray Clemence against Romania in 1980, when his normal yellow jersey clashed with the opposition. Domestically, the rule still pertained that goalkeeper shirts had to be ‘self-coloured’ – i.e. no accoutrements at all – and the options were limited to green, blue, red and white. Incidentally, in 1982-83, Arsenal’s goalkeepers used all four options.

However, with less rigid rules in European competition, Ipswich Town goalkeeper Paul Cooper wore the green version, with matching shorts and socks, for the away leg of the 1980-81 UEFA Cup final against AZ Alkmaar, as a 4-2 loss meant they won the tie 5-4 on aggregate.

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Aside from the three most popular colours, orange (see below) was also half-common, while red was rarer though it was used by MSV Duisburg in Germany (left). There may have been a grey edition but match-worn examples haven’t been found as yet. An interesting variation was that worn by Hans van Breukelen of the Netherlands in a friendly against England at Wembley in 1982 (right).

The design was officially deleted from the adidas catalogue in 1984, but there were other sightings, on the backs of Irish goalkeepers. Northern Ireland’s Pat Jennings didn’t wear it much but did have it on at Wembley in 1985 – it wasn’t until the late 80s that the North’s keepers stopped wearing the team shorts and socks.

Then, a year later, the Republic signed a deal with adidas (not the first time the country wore adidas kits, but that’s for a later blog). A publicity picture just after the agreement with adidas – and Opel – featured a kit which was never worn in a game, while Packie Bonner and Gerry Peyton wore the yoke style (in one pic, anyway – for some reason they wore plain shirts too in the same shoot). Bonner had it on for Ireland’s first competitive game in adidas, the Euro 88 qualifier away to Belgium in September 1986.

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Yellow – and, famously, grey – would become more associated with Bonner, but for a short time in 1986, the Donegal-born Celtic player was an orange man (note the small ‘o’).

More to follow soon as we look at subsequent adidas goalkeeper shirts.

 

* Thanks to Jimmy from The Glove Bag and Rob Stokes for their help in researching this article.

 

France were following in Cork’s footsteps

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Sunday night saw France play their final Group A game in Euro 2016, against Switzerland. While they are the hosts of the competition, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Didier Deschamps’ side are the ‘home’ team for each match and they were forced to change kit – despite the fact that other red-v-blue match-ups have been allowed during the tournament and the apocalypse was avoided.

On the left below is the ‘real’ France away kit, marketed since the spring; on the right is what was used against the Swiss, with the sleeves toned down, so much so that they look grey from a distance.

The answer came from Yellow Away Kit on Twitter, after a quick perusal of Twitter:

Clearly, the FFF had been informed of UEFA before the championship started that their away would have to be modified, as this graphic, released by UEFA, shows the alternative version. It would appear that commercial considerations took precedent, though. One would assume that the same situation will pertain for the remainder of the Euros and for the World Cup qualifiers, effectively leaving France with a strip which can only be worn in friendlies.

There is a precedent of sorts in Gaelic games in Ireland. In 2010, Cork launched a new shirt and, soon after, a white change top was released, with navy oddly prominent, especially as it had been jettisoned as a trim colour from the red shirt:

In the GAA, alternative shirts are only used when required, so the white only got an outing when Cork’s minor (under-18) football team played Armagh in an All-Ireland quarter-final. However, the senior team reached the All-Ireland against Down, who wear red and black, meaning both counties had to change. Down wore saffron and black, the traditional colours of their province Ulster, while Cork opted for white, but with some modifications.

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County chairman Jerry O’Sullivan outlined the reasons to this writeroutlined the reasons to this writer but, while the article stated that the jerseys would not go on sale, a 0-16 to 0-15 for Cork saw a change of heart.

That should have been the end of it, but in March 2011, Cork met Down again in a national league game and wore the white and navy shirts (note goalkeeper Ken O’Halloran wearing white too). That summer, the All-Ireland draw again pitted Cork against Down but this time a a version similar to the 2010 final was worn, albeit without cuffs and with the GAA logo in its more usual petrol blue colour.

Further reading on a similar, but slightly different, subject comes from friend of the site Jay, who wrote a blog for Design Football on modifying home kits for cup finals, with a kit design competition run as a result.

A new beginning

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Apologies for the hiatus on the update front, but hopefully it will prove to be worth the wait.

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Above is what we consider to be the best kit ever (though some would only have it at 45th), rendered in our new template, brought about as a result of switching from Microsoft Paint to Adobe Illustrator for the primary drawing of strips. While there was a certain satisfaction in working in Paint, it was less bringing a knife to a gunfight and more bringing one to a nuclear war.

For comparison, here is the same kit the first time we attempted it, in 2005 as part of an insert on the official Cork City site (left) and then in what has become our standard set-up across all of our sites (right):

The hope is to re-do all of our sites in the new style, which will obviously take some time, so please bear with us while that is done. In the meantime, any new inclusions here will have the new look, beginning with a Euro 2016 piece in the coming days.

The League of Ireland, where things never change

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In the League of Ireland, kit problems never seem to be too far away. One might suggest that the LOI abbreviation might be better styled as Lesson Often Ignored.

For example, in 2007, Bray Wanderers clashed with two clubs in the Premier Division, Cork City and Shamrock Rovers. City wore green and white stripes that season while the Hoops were clad in their usual…hoops. Somehow, though, Bray were allowed to have a change kit of white shirts and green shorts.

When Bray made the trip to play Rovers in June of that year, both sides were in their away strips owing to a league rule which stated that the home team had to change if the referee wasn’t happy with the proposed kits. In August, Bray travelled to Cork but City refused to change and, as a compromise, Bray wore the Rebel Army’s away shirts with their own shorts and socks. Because they had technically broken the rule, though, Cork City were issued with a €1,000 fine.

Later that year, there were shenanigans before a Dundalk-Shelbourne game over goalkeeper strips and, on the opening night of the following season, the same referee caused a hold-up ahead of the St Patrick’s Athletic v Sligo Rovers match. In 2012, Cork City’s dark green home was deemed to be too close to Shamrock Rovers’ black away, so the home team wore red.

At the beginning of the 2016 season in March, your humble correspondent tried to contact the league, offering to create graphics each week, illustrating what each team and goalkeeper would wear, in a bid to ensure that no such problems arose. The idea was similar to what Arsenal have been doing for the past few seasons:

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The person in the media department eventually replied, saying that the competitions department should be contacted and email addresses were supplied for three different people. At the time of writing, none of the three have replied.

And yet, the problems continue. In the second round of games, Longford Town were forced to wear their yellow away kit at home to St Patrick’s Athletic as Pat’s red home and navy change strips clashed with Longford’s usual red and black stripes.

Drogheda United have a claret and sky blue home and a navy and sky blue away and that too has been problematic. UCD had to switch from sky blue to white…

…Drogs wore Waterford United’s away kit…

…and in the most recent set of games, Athlone Town were forced to swap their black and blue for orange.

The Bray-Bohemians game in April was also problematic. This season, Bray’s home is green and black stripes, but Bohs – normally red and black stripes – have a green away, so again we saw an away kit at home (thanks to @PaddayF for bringing this one to our attention).

Little wonder, then, that fans of League of Ireland teams like to ironically use the hashtag #greatestleagueintheworld when mishaps occur. Our offer remains open, but we’re not all that optimistic about its uptake.

Barcelona: the Kappa years

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Kappa only made the Barcelona kits for six years, but it was a very important period in the club’s sartorial history, taking it from the almost-too-stable constancy provided by local supplier Meyba to the excesses and gimmicks we have come to expect from Nike. Originality and envelope-pushing characterised the Italian firm’s tenure, while the nerds had more than enough niggly variations with which to be appeased.

With Barça having beaten Sampdoria after extra time to win the European Cup in May 1992, Kappa’s arrival that summer was well-timed. Keen to announce themselves, they immediately lit a fire under some extreme elements with the liberal inclusion of white on the sleeves and shorts, with the Kappa logo repeated on those strips. The fabric also featured the logo and the ‘Barça’ wordmark repeated.

As designs go, the home was pleasing in terms of balance and layout. While the away was in an unusual colour (they did wear light blue against Manchester United in the 1991 European Cup Winners’ Cup final, but it was more of the sky variety), the inclusion of blue and red helped.

Barcelona won a third title in a row in 1992-93 and Kappa decided to introduce a special kit for the 93-94 Champions League campaign. The stripes layout, with the sleeves joining perfectly with the body, would become common on later efforts, while the middle section of the neck could be ‘hidden’ by closing the two white buttons.

In the summer of 1994, though, UEFA clamped down on excessive advertising in European competitions. For Barça, it meant that the sleeve trim lost the Kappa logos while the fabric was now plain. Champions League patches were also worn for the first time in 94-95, with Barça employing both versions – a white star on the away but the star enclosed in a black square on the European home. Incidentally, Champions League group rivals Manchester United also fell victim to this, wearing a changed version of their away in the 4-0 game at the Nou Camp.

Kappa’s first Barcelona kits will probably go down in history as the last time an elite European club wore the same home strip for three seasons. The new version introduced in 1995 used the same striping as the 93-95 European kit (but with the colours reversed), while the use of navy was also initiated, something Nike would really run with.

The away kit kept the turquoise but in two shades and employed an array of geometric shapes. Numbers were included on the shorts from 95-96 – UEFA wouldn’t mandate them until a year later.

While a specialist European kit was no longer used, Barcelona had to alter their kits to remove the Kappa logos from the sleeves and shorts. An orange version of the away kit was prepared for use as a third strip but never appeared in a game, as far as we can ascertain.

Orange was, of course, the colour worn by Barça in that 1992 European Cup final, presumably a tribute to then-coach Johan Cruyff as much as anything else. It returned for Kappa’s final set of kits, an attractive outfit trimmed with blue, grenadine and navy. The home dispensed with the navy but injected contrasting pinstripes in the middle of the normal versions. The neck style would later be used by Wales when they joined with Kappa.

Having not won La Liga since 1994, Barcelona did the double in 97-98 under Louis van Gaal. In the celebrations, we can clearly recall Iván de la Peña driving one of those motorised buggies used to carry off injured players – unfortunately, we can’t find the footage.

Kappa also marked their swansong with new European kits, this time with an away kit too. The home recalled the halved shirts initially worn by the club (Nike would have a closer replica for the centenary celebrations in 1999) but carrying the style onto the shorts was a bit of a bum note. Again, the away was orange with a similar style used – better when done so sparingly, for our money.

Did someone say bonus track? Well, here is what we still think, 19 years on, is one of the best things done on a kit. In 97-98, Barcelona’s two goalkeepers were the Portuguese Vítor Baía and Dutchman Ruud Hesp – whether it was the relative brevity of their names or another reason, Kappa gave each fully personalised kits.

By that, we don’t just mean names on the back – these had the players’ first and second names down the sleeves, in the fabric. Truly unique, and just a pity nobody has done anything similar since. Edit: See comments for another kind-of example.

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