Fantasy Kit Friday – Manchester United, 1988



Our Fantasy Kit Friday offering of April 28 was notable in that we did 1993 adidas kits for Rangers, effectively reversing their two-year cycle – in reality, they got new home shirts in 1992 and 1994.

A fortnight ago, David Clarke got in touch with a kind of related request. Instead of Manchester United’s actual 1988-90 kits, he wanted:

It was something we were more than happy to deal with. Obviously, there is the danger of a red version of the Netherlands shirt looking like USSR, but hopefully the extra black bits aided the differentiation:


United and adidas wouldn’t go with a blue away until 1990. Instead of a white reversal of the home in 1988, might they have been better off with this?


Midweek Mashup – Liverpool, 1976



As far back as the early 1970s – when the FA mandated that sock-clashes should be solved – Liverpool tended to alter the elements of their away kit as and when required.

In 1970-71, for example, they wore the usual white shirts, black shorts and white socks, but also used change white shorts and the red home socks as and when the opposition’s home kit required them to change.

Another variation seen was white shirts, white shorts and red socks, usually against Southampton, who tended to wear black shorts and white socks.

When the Saints were relegated in 1974, they still had a ‘normal’ striped shirt, but the clubs’ next meeting, in the 1976 Charity Shield, saw them in a different outfit.

Having won that year’s FA Cup final against Manchester United in a brand-new yellow and blue Admiral away kit, the Charity Shield was to be the first outing for their first Admiral home.


Presumably unaware of the addition of predominantly white sleeves to the Southampton shirt, Liverpool opted for white-white-red:


It wasn’t an egregious clash, but a case could have been made that the normal all-red Liverpool home would have provided better differentiation:


Southampton wouldn’t be back in Division 1 until 1978-79, and in the clubs’ meeting at the Dell in April ’79, Liverpool wore the yellow third kit they had premiered in the draw FA Cup semi-final and replay against Manchester United (when cup rules forced both teams to change).

Fantasy Kit Friday, 16-6-17


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Two for one again today – while it’s two different teams, they are linked by design and the person who requested them.

Jordinho has been a regular correspondent on Twitter and he has been in touch twice in recent times to make FKF suggestions. The first was a mix of Bayern Munich’s 1991-93 style – the adidas Equipment over-the-shoulder look – with the colours of their 1997-99 home kit (which are to form the basis for their new 2017-18 away too).


He followed that up then with another idea for that design. While the Netherlands had adidas at the 1990 World Cup, they switched to Lotto during the Euro 92 qualifying campaign.

Had they stayed with adidas…


Midweek Mashup – Belgium, 2017



A very recent example this week, looking at Belgium’s outfit against Estonia last Friday night.

Traditionally, Belgium wear all-red, but their new kit launched for Euro 2016 featured black shorts – similar to Euro 80, when yellow socks were worn.

While change kits were tradtionally white, for 2016 adidas went with light blue, paying tribute to the Belgium national cycling team shirt. This deviation plays a part in the focus of this week’s mashup.

Estonia have blue shirts with black shorts, meaning that Belgium couldn’t wear their normal outfit. In times past, they might have worn a white away kit, but obviously blue couldn’t be worn, as this wasn’t the Premier League.

A change of shorts was the solution, but instead of the expected red, instead they opted for yellow, creating a look not worn by the country before.


The unorthodox mix didn’t affect their play as they recorded a 2-0 win in Tallinn, though it’s unlikely that it will be seen again.

The kits of Euro 92


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Today, June 10, marks the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the 1992 European Championship.

While my first footballing memories are linked to Italia 90, beyond Ireland’s games I wasn’t too aware of what what was happening at the time. As such, Euro 92 was the first tournament I properly experienced.

It was the first major finals to feature names on shirts and frontal numbers, but in other ways it now seems very anachronistic, making it worthy of our attention.

Having only eight teams taking part seems incredibly quaint, considering there were 24 at Euro 2016. On the kit front, superfluous sleeve patches had yet to muscle their way in, while special inscriptions to mark the event made their first appearance but were only utilised by a few countries. Only two – England and Scotland – had their crests on their shorts.

Perhaps most surprisingly, of 15 games player, only three saw a side use its second kit. Shorts clashes were tolerated and, barring one exception, the dark-v-dark wasn’t deemed a clash.

Group 1 saw hosts Sweden joined by eventual winners Denmark, France and England. Both Sweden and France had adidas kits – they made the strips for four of the eight sides and were pushing a new aggressive branding.

Well, we say ‘new’ but this look was familiar to English fans, as Liverpool had had it since the start of the previous season. Sweden also had a different font to the other three adidas sides.


France were wearing a look which hadn’t been seen before, with the thick three stripes coming over both shoulders. This meant, rather unusually, two red stripes with one white in the middle, rather than three white stripes with blue and red in between.


As they would do in winning the World Cup on home soil in 1998, France had indvidual match details on the crest.

The shoulder stripes were not designed with names in mind – this looked even worse on the away, not seen at the Euros but worn in a warm-up friendly against Switzerland. France also played the Netherlands in a friendly on June 5, five days before the tournament started – something unthinkable nowadays.

Denmark were a late addition to the competition, invited instead of Yugoslavia due to the Balkans War. They would go on to win it, and would end up being the only side to wear a change kit twice.

The kit was classic early 90s fare, with very long shorts, and plenty of design elements – Hummel recently launched a tribute kit and felt that they had to calm it down somewhat. It wasn’t bad but suffered in that it didn’t live up to its 1986 predecessor – the 1988-90 kit was pretty cool too.

As well as the penalty shootout semi-final win over the Netherlands, the Danes also changed against France – presumably the sock clash played a big issue, though France in blue-white-white and Denmark in all-red would have been a more sensible solution.



The other side in Group 1 were England. Oddly, though, they wore the same kit as they had had at World Cup 90, apart from the addition of the shirt numbers, the ‘Euro 92 Sweden’ inscription below the crest and the Umbro wordmark now being in caps.

It seems likely that this kit’s record of being worn at two major finals won’t be equalled in the foreseeable future.


The Netherlands were unbeaten as they topped Group 2. Having had adidas since the late 1970s, they switched to Lotto after the 1990 World Cup and the Italian maker kept largely to the same theme during the six-year partnership.

Their main change was to add the colours of the Dutch flag to the collar, while the Lotto logo was repeated throughout in a darker shade of orange.


Germany came close to repeating the West Germany feat of 1972/74 and holding the world and European titles at the same time, only to fall to Denmark in the final.

The big problem for adidas was trying to improve upon perfection. Mercifully, they didn’t go overboard with the Germany kit, nodding to the previous ribbon but confining the coloured bars to the sleeves – the same design would be used by Arsenal – while the neck featured subtle DFB (German FA) logos.


Scotland were also in Umbro, but again it was a kit which wasn’t new. This had been launched at the beginning of 1991-92, when Umbro’s big motif was esoteric geometric shapes.

The collar insert was very obtrusive and, while red socks look well on Scotland, confining the colour to the tops of the socks made them look like a borrowed pair.

As with England, Scotland had a different number font on their shorts. Incidentally, their squad numbering was determined by how many caps each player had, so the number 5 was worn by centre-forward Ally McCoist.


But for a 90th-minute Thomas Häßler free kick, the CIS would have begun with a win. Instead, they bowed out with just two points, drawing with the Netherlands and then losing 3-0 to Scotland.

Having qualified as the USSR, the break-up of the union meant that, for the finals, they were known as the Commonwealth of Independent States and so it wasn’t worth anybody’s time to create a crest. Beginning with the 1994 World Cup qualifiers, each nation would compete under their own steam.

The CIS had the same style as France – the home shorts and socks were exactly the same – with the away kit worn against the Netherlands.


Bonus Track

As mentioned above, Denmark were only there as they had finished second to Yugoslavia in the qualifying.

In their final game as a unified entity, a friendly against the Netherlands in March of 1992, Yugoslavia had worn the same kit as they had had at Italia 90. For Euro 92, adidas were set to give them a new kit, but oddly, rather than anything from the adidas Equipment line, it was to be the same design as Arsenal’s 1990-92 strip.

As you can see in this Bourne Sports catalogue, preserved by Scots Footy Cards, the neck is shown as blue, but each of other countries’ kits has an error too – Germany and Sweden crests wrongly placed, trim on France neck and USSR crest on CIS – so it’s safe to class them all as prototypes.

When Yugoslavia – effectively Serbia & Montenegro, following the break-up of the federal state – returned to the international fold in 1994, they still had this Arsenalesque kit, albeit with a new crest, keeping it until 1996 – surely the trefoil’s last appearance on a proper strip.

Therefore, we feel comfortable in saying that this is what their Euro 92 kit would have been:


Fantasy Kit Friday, 9-6-17 – Hibernian, 1992


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In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Scottish side Hibernian had kits which were similar to those worn by Arsenal, though none using the exact same template as they were on a different two-year cycle.

The last of those kits – the unsponsored used when they won the league cup in 1991 – only lasted a season, as 1992-93 saw them wearing a new Bukta kit, with Macbean Protective Clothing coming in as sponsors.

With all due respect to Bukta, it’s quite the comedown and so the request we received just over a month ago was entirely logical:

Purple may seem like an odd choice, but their 70s away in that colour has a cult status, and it has been revisited a few times over the years, so it is a logical selection as a tertiary colour.


Midweek Mashup – France, 1998



Another two-parter today, albeit with the same side at the same tournament.

In hosting the World Cup in 1998, France wore their classic tricolore look – paying homage to the 1984 European Championship-winning kit. This kit was used in qualifying from a group which included Denmark, Saudi Arabia and South Africa as well as the last-16 golden-goal win over Paraguay (which was a little bit overall-clashy).

That meant a quarter-final tie with Italy, and an early example of what we have to know as FIFA’s preference for one-colour kits. Though France were the hosts, Italy were the home team for the game but, rather than having blue-white-blue v white-blue-white, instead the Italians changed shorts to make an all-blue look while France wore their home shorts with their away shirts and socks.

It’s  difficult to make out from here, but a nice touch was that, instead of ‘F.F.F.’, the crest featured individual match details, in this instance ‘France Italie 03-07-98’.


One penalty shootout win later and France were in the semi-finals, with surprise package Croatia the opposition after they had beaten Germany 3-0.

Technically, there was only a shorts clash to deal with, but Croatia’s first-choice socks were blue. A sensible compromise was reached in that France switched shorts while Croatia wore white socks, creating plenty of distinction.


Though Croatia went ahead, Lilian Thuram scored his only two France goals as they advanced and they were back in their traditional kit for the 3-0 win over Brazil in the final.

Two years later, France would go on to hold the European Championship as well as the World Cup, beating Italy 2-1 in the final, wearing blue-blue-red as the Italians wore white.

It was a look seen at Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006 too, but at Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010, they opted to bring blue change socks instead. Let’s just say they got what they deserved.

Fantasy Kit Friday, 2-6-17


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Like any master criminal, Matthew Lysaght lures you in with an initial charm.

Last August, when the Fantasy Kit Friday offering was a mix of the Denmark 1986 style and England, he asked for a Republic of Ireland variation.

Then, in October, he pushed the boat out further and asked for Ireland in the style of Norwich City, 1989-92:

He was emboldened by now, and we were powerless to say no.

A weeks later, we had this exchange:

As you can see, that was more than two months ago. Ostensibly, the reason for the wait was because the pattern took so long to draw, but really it took that long to find a bottle of whiskey strong enough to help forget the trauma of doing it.

This was the 1993-94 UEFA Cup tie in question, and Bayern had already kind of answered the question as to what the Norwich kit would look like in their design.

While they would experiment with the colour ratio of their kits in the 1990s, we doubt that they they’d ever have swapped adidas for Ribero, but then it is Fantasy Kit Friday, rather than Kits That Might Have Actually Happened Friday.


Midweek Mashup – Manchester United v Watford, 1984



  • As ever, any interesting information on Manchester United kits comes from the experts at

A two-for-one today, featuring looks common to both clubs, but a match-up born of a mix-up.

On the opening day of the 1984-85 season, Watford came to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. Unlike the season just gone, when the Hornets preferred to wear their away kit at every available opportunity, back then they preferred to mix and match their home and away kits as necessary.

Manchester United’s home combination of red shirts, white shorts and black socks meant that the usual Watford home kit of yellow shirts with red shorts and socks could be worn at Old Trafford.

However, as Peter Jordan discovered, the Football League handbook for 84-85 listed United’s home kit as having red and white hooped socks. Watford, ever conscientious, brought their black away socks with them, replicating the look they appeared in at Highbury, the City Ground and other red-socked sides.


Watford had done nothing wrong and so referee David Hutchinson insisted United wear the socks detailed by the handbook, but of course they didn’t exist. As a compromise, they agreed to find alternative socks.

With the new adidas kits having only been launched a few days before the start of the season, the white socks from the away strip weren’t available – that kit wouldn’t be worn until October – and so a quick dash to a sports shop was necessary to buy 13 pairs of white socks.


Kick-off was delayed slightly as a result, and a late Nigel Callaghan equaliser earned Watford a 1-1 draw. Incidentally, the return fixture wouldn’t be until the final day of the season, with United wearing their home white shorts with the away shirt and socks in losing 5-1 at Vicarage Road.