Great one-offs – Roma third kit, 1991-92



In a Midweek Mashup last year, we featured the kit Monaco had had to wear against Feyenoord in the 1991-92 European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final. In the previous round though, Monaco had been the cause of another side having to come up with an emergency third kit.

Apart from a few occasions in the 1960s and 1970s, AS Roma have had dark red home kits and white away strips, and neither was deemed suitable when they went to Stade Louis II on March 18, 1992 (incidentally, the practice in European competition nowadays  seems to be to ask the home team to change – Arsenal wore yellow against Basel in 2016 and will apparently have to wear blue when they entertain Östersunds next month).

While a yellow/gold/orange (Roma’s shades do tend to vary) third kit might have seemed logical, instead adidas came up with a navy strip which incorporated the club’s colours.

Something of a hybrid, it featured the old adidas trefoil logo and three stripes down the sleeves, as well as the three-bar style on the sleeeves, which would be seen on Arsenal and Germany kits launched the following summer. Unlike those kits, which had the adidas Equipment branding, the bars were also on the right leg of the shorts.


Unfortunately for Roma, the kit was not a good luck charm as Monaco won 1-0. According to the excellent Roma kits book, La maglia che ci unisce, the navy kit was popular with fans (it’s unclear if replicas were actually sold) but the shirt wasn’t worn again for superstitious reasons.


Fantasy Kit Friday – if Liverpool had stayed with Umbro in 1985



Apologies to Jonny Thompson for taking so long to get around to this one.

It is a slight cheat as Liverpool had a new away kit in 1984-85 which lasted for just one season before their switch to adidas, but let’s not constrain ourselves with too many parameters.

For the home, without going too brash, it’s hard to avoid looking so similar to what adidas did provide:


Adidas went with the same design for the second and third kits, but we’ve decided to take a bit more latitude. For the away strip, we’ve employed a style which was seen on the Portsmouth away…

Liverpool-1985-umbro-Fantasy-Kit-Friday-away-01…while the third takes its cues from the Leeds United kits from around this time.


Chelsea magazine feature on new kit, 2001



This is the 2001-03 Chelsea home strip.


Not bad, I’m sure you’ll agree, but maybe a bit too bland? If I recall correctly, in True Colours, John Devlin – who sees the positives in every kit – used the word ‘workmanlike’, which could be taken to mean boring.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that per se – I’d certainly take plain over too busy.

It’s interesting to contrast that view with that of the official Chelsea magazine from May 2001.

I don’t support Chelsea but back in 2001 coverage of kits was nowhere near as common as it is now. As someone who fancied himself as a budding kit designer, any such literature had to be devoured.

Here is the five-page spread on how the kit was conceptualised, hopefully you can read the text.


Fantasy Kit Friday, 12-1-18 – Celtic in Matchwinner, 1992


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Of all of those who make Fantasy Kit Friday suggestions, Matthew Lysaght is the most challenging.

Ireland in Asics, AC Milan in Pony and Bayern Munich in Ribero are just some of his requests and he kept the early/mid-90s flavour going with his most daring call yet.

I’ll be honest, it filled me with trepidation. Back in 2001, Celtic fans were up in arms when the hoops didn’t go all the way round on their new shirt – and this was at a time when protesting still needed some effort rather than just complaining on social media.

The most acceptable back-story I can come up with is that, as 1992 was the 25th anniversary of Celtic becoming the first English or Scottish club winning the European Cup.

That team, with all of its players from Glasgow and its surrounds, became known as the Lisbon Lions. In this parallel universe where the Bhoys had their kits made by Matchwinner, the home kit was still hoops that went all the way round – something like Shamrock Rovers’ – but a special edition shirt to commemorate the European win was commissioned.

Except the designer got mixed up and thought they were called the Lisbon Tigers.




Midweek Mashup – Queens Park Rangers, 1987



If you heard that Rangers were wearing blue and white shirts with black and red socks, it might sound perfectly logical, but today’s post is focused on the West London rather than the Glasgow variety.

We’re presuming it was a mix-up which led to Queens Park Rangers wearing their home, rather than away, shirts away to Tottenham Hotspur in November 1987. Perhaps a lenient referee allowed it, but the Rs wore red and black for their other trips there in the 1980s – generally, the away shorts were black, so they deserve credit for having proper alternates rather than wearing the home shorts with the away shirts, like Arsenal used to do at Southampton.

Whatever the reason, they ended up taking to the field looking like this:


The game featured in an episode of the BBC documentary series QED, where the club spent time working with a psychologist – quite the novelty 30 years ago. Unfortunately, the mashup, or the reasons for it, aren’t mentioned. 

You would think that a one-off look like that wouldn’t have an opportunity to be repeated but, as the RetroQPR Twitter account pointed out, Rangers wore their away kit in beating Derby County in the Football League Championship play-off final at Wembley in 2014, with the players then changing into the home shirts for the presentation.

France at Euro 2000 – six games, five kit combinations and a crest oddity



Last June, we devoted a Midweek Mashup to two France outfits worn as they won the 1998 World cup.

That pair, coupled with the normal home strip, meant they had three different looks in seven games but two years later, in winning Euro 2000, they would wear five distinct combinations in six matches.

The first two outings, a 3-0 win over Denmark and a 2-1 victory against the Czech Republic, saw the default first- and second- choice kits used respectively.

Adidas were experimenting with their portrayal of the famous three-stripe trim, with the outside stripes on both the sleeves and shorts continuing along the hems. Also notable was that the away shorts featured a variant – not seen on any other kits, as far as we know – where the stripes closest to the number and the adidas logo swept across the other two and cut them off.


Since the early 1970s, France had included match details on the crests of their shirts and that was the case for this competition too, though instead of the dates of the games, the bottom line simply said ‘Euro 2000’:


The Netherlands, joint-hosts along with Belgium, had also beaten the Czechs and Denmark, meaning that France’s final group game in Amsterdam would determine who finished top and who came second in the group.

France were technically the ‘home’ team for the game but the Dutch had their third blue change kit in a row. In 1997, a friendly in Paris had meant a one-off third kit but this time an easier solution was found – the Netherlands wore their orange and black kit while France wore their away socks.


With qualification guaranteed, France manager Roger Lemerre made a lot of changes and Holland won 3-2. For France, that meant a quarter-final against Group C winners Spain.

This time, France wore all-white, mixing the home shorts with the away shirts and socks as they came from behind to win 2-1.


At the base of the crest, though, instead of game details were simply the words ‘Euro 2000’.

Our best guess for this anomaly is that France had expected to be able to wear their tricolore kit – given that Yugoslavia had been in an identical strip as Spain beat them 4-3 in the final group game – and only brought a spare white kit as a contingency.

Whatever the reasons, when the all-white kit was used again in the semi-final win over Portugal – Zinedine Zidane scoring a penalty for a golden-goal win – the match details were back.

That meant a final clash with Italy. In contrast to their World Cup 98 meeting, France were able to wear their blue shirts, but again both sides made kit alterations. Italy wore all-white and France switched to blue shorts (incidentally, in an U21 game the previous November, France had worn red shorts with with their away shirts to avoid a blue-white-blue against white-blue-white match-up).

This time, the date – July 2 – was included on the crest (see featured image at the top of this post).


Marco Delvecchio put Italy ahead in the second half and it looked like France’s hopes of emulating the Germany 1972-74 team by holding the world and European titles at the same time would be dashed.

Deep into injury though, Sylvain Wiltord equalised to send the game to extra time and David Trezeguet was on hand there to give France a second successive golden-goal victory.


Fantasy Kit Friday, 5-1-18 – Bayern Munich in Admiral



A happy new year to all of the site’s readers, and welcome to the first FKF of 2018.

If you have an interest in the German national team or Bayern Munich, Rick Joshua has two sites which will be of huge interest – Schwarz und Weiss and Fussball Chef – and Rick came up with today’s suggestion.

While it’s practically impossible to imagine Bayern in anything other than adidas but we’ve tried it before and Rick’s idea of Admiral is a worthy one.


It’s very similar to the 1975-78 Coventry City away kit, and we hope you’ll excuse the few anachronisms used to ‘Bayernify’ it – the club didn’t use a crest in a competitive game until the 1987 European Cup final, while blue didn’t feature heavily until the 1990s.

Still, quite pleasing to look at, in our view. Let us know your thoughts.

Midweek Mashup – Denmark at the 1986 World Cup



As you may be aware, 2018 is a World Cup year and we are hoping to celebrate them with a lot of associated content, especially during the tournament itself.

There are a few other ideas on the burner too and we’ll start with a look at the celebrated ‘Danish Dynamite’ team of 1986 (if you haven’t already, the book of the same name by Rob Smyth, Lars Eriksen and Mike Gibbons is well worth a read).

The book details the development of the iconic half-and-half kit Hummel developed for Denmark, including how the initial hope was to have the same style on the shorts. They can be seen in this news item about the kit launch:


While FIFA had no problem with the distinctive shirts, they stopped short of allowing the shorts and so, as was traditional, Denmark went with white on the home kit and red on the away. In their four games in Mexico though, each set of shorts was worn with the ‘opposite’ shirt, meaning a different combination in each outing.

They began with a 1-0 win over Scotland, wearing the change kit:


Then they blitzed Uruguay 6-1, wearing the red shorts with the home shirt:


They rounded off an excellent group stage with a 2-0 victory over Germany, wearing the ‘proper’ home kit.


A real buzz had begun to develop about Denmark and they were being talked of as potential winners, but the campaign ground to a halt as they lost 5-1 to Spain, this time wearing the home shorts with the away shirts.


Liverpool blue and Everton red?


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As we said in the piece looking at the seasons where Arsenal had four goalkeeper shirts, netminders have too many options nowadays.

Three options per team is standard, usually in black or an offensive dayglo shade. It’s no surprise to see your keeper clad in varying shades from game to game, unlike the days were green dominated and any change was worthy of comment.

One would think that, with alternative goalkeeper shirts so rare, finding a different colour to green wouldn’t pose a problem, but we’ve found at least two examples where Everton used a red goalkeeper shirt and also two instances of Liverpool using a blue one.

The most high-profile of these is the earliest of the four we’ll look at, Neville Southall’s shirt when Everton beat Rapid Vienna 3-1 in the 1985 European Cup Winners’ Cup final.


It drew such comment that Southall mentioned it in his autobiography, The Binman Chronicles:

The thing people ask me about most regarding the final was my goalkeeper shirt. It was red, a colour many Everton fans consider sacrilegious. But there was an odd logic to me wearing it.

Because Rapid played in green and white stripes I couldn’t wear my usual green, nor white. Black was out because that’s what the the referees played in, and so was blue for obvious reasons.

Yellow was also out because that was only allowed in international matches. Which didn’t leave an awful lot more choice. Later at Everton, I wore orange and pink and I think now you can wear whatever you want.

But back then it was a bit more straightforward: primary colours, which pretty much left red.

Of course, the fact that the game was televised live meant that the red shirt came to wider prominence, as it wasn’t a unique occurrence:

It’s interesting to note above that, while the shirt was made by Le Coq Sportif, there was a bit of guerrilla marketing for Southall’s glove sponsor Sondico on the collar.

Five years later, he would again wear red, though without being as limited in his options.

Sheffield Wednesday had a green and white change kit in 1988-89 and 1989-90 and in the first of those seasons, Southall wore a yellow version of Umbro’s ‘Hampden’ shirt when the Owls came to Goodison Park.

The Hampden was also available in grey but in January 1990, Southall used red against Wednesday.


Across Stanley Park, the opposite occurred twice, too.

In Liverpool’s first season with adidas, 1985-86, Bruce Grobbelaar mainly wore yellow and occasionally white, but green – in the diagonally striped style – was favoured for 1986-87.

In the summer of 1987, Liverpool played Celtic in Tommy Burns’ testimonial at Celtic Park. It was one of the last times that the 1985-87 home kit was worn – it seems anachronistic to see John Barnes wearing it – and due to the large amounts of green on the Celtic kit, Grobbelaar changed, to a blue shirt.


Oddly, Liverpool also played Bayern Munich that summer, in Dieter Hoeness’s testimonial, and Grobbelaar wore blue in that game too.

The new home kit was used when Liverpool played the Ireland Olympic team in August 1987 – no pictures of Grobbelaar are available but presumably he wore it then as well but this time the goalkeeper was in white:

Like Southall in red, Liverpool goalkeepers in blue wasn’t a one-off, either. When the new Premier League began in 1992-93, a noticeable new departure was that match officials now wore green shirts, rather than black.

It meant that black kits were now an option – one that Manchester United would exploit for 1993-94 – but it also resulted in the league’s goalkeepers having to deviate away from their traditional colour.

As in 1991-92, Liverpool’s alternative goalkeeper shirt was yellow, but it couldn’t be worn against Sheffield United’s yellow away kit at Anfield for the second game of the season on August 19.

It meant that David James took to the field in a top the same as Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper shirt that season.


Liverpool won 2-1, but clearly there were misgivings about the blue shirt, as it was the only time it was seen. Instead, a grey and black version of the shirt was pushed into action when required.

And, as far as we know, in the intervening 25 and a half years, Merseyside goalkeepers have not worn their rivals’ colours.

Arsenal: the dark shorts chronicles


On Friday, Andy Kelly broke the news on Twitter that Arsenal would wear red shorts in today’s Premier League game with West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns.

In recent times, the Gunners have taken to wearing change kits in almost every away game, bar those against London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, but both the blue away kit and dark grey third kit were considered to clash with West Brom’s navy and white home strip.

When the teams met at the Emirates in September, both wore first-choice shirts and white shorts with West Brom in navy change socks, but Simon Shakeshaft, co-author of The Arsenal Shirt, told us that the Premier League mandated Arsenal to come up with alternative shorts to increase differentiation.

Only once since the 1982-83 season have Arsenal worn red and white shirts with anything other than white shorts, but since Puma took over as kit suppliers, red shorts have been available to use (also info from Shakey). In fact, in 2014-15, the UEFA website displayed the Arsenal kit as having red shorts:


Today’s kit, which will look something like the image below, will represent the first time since the 1977-78 season that Arsenal will have taken to the field in red shorts.


One has to go all the way back to the 1970-71 double season for the first instance of Arsenal wearing change shorts. It was for a league cup game at Ipswich Town in September of that season, though when they went to Portman Road in the league a month later, they were in their usual kit.

However, the red shorts proved useful on Boxing Day that season. Southampton were the visitors to Highbury on a snowy day and it was felt that Arsenal removing some of the white from their kit was prudent.


In 1975, the Football League introduced a rule that said competing teams must have different coloured shorts (a similar rule regarding socks came in in 1969-70).

It meant that Arsenal’s red shorts returned for games at teams like Everton, Leicester City, QPR and West Brom, as well as a home league cup tie against an all-white Blackpool.

A variation with white stripes down the side appeared and it was these which were used at Loftus Road in April 1978.


After that, though, the club decided it was better to wear a full change kit rather than compromising the classic Arsenal look, and in the 1978 FA Cup final against Ipswich, yellow and blue were worn. It was the same against West Ham in the 1980 decider – the Hammers were the ‘home’ team but opted to wear all-white, meaning Arsenal could have worn red shorts but again went with the change kit.

And that was how it was until the end of the 1991-92 season, with yellow and blue worn at teams with white shorts – including at Tottenham in 1985-86 – with the exception of 1982-83.

That season, Umbro gave Arsenal a green and navy change kit – it meant the club used four different goalkeeper shirts during the campaign – and some referees classed it as being too close to blue.

So it was that in two games away to Everton, the away shorts were paired with the home shirt. In the league cup in November, the away socks appeared too, while the home set were used in the league in March.



(Arsenal also played Everton in the Atari Soccer Sixes in January of that season, but both were allowed to wear white shorts.)

When the Premier League began in 1992-93, it removed the shorts-clash rule, so Arsenal were able to wear red and white in more away games. In 2013-14, though, they were again forced into an unusual kit-change for a Champions League qualifier against Fenerbahce.

The Turkish club wear yellow and blue striped shirts with white shorts and socks. UEFA are quite strict on shorts clashes nowadays and, ordinarily, Arsenal would wear a change kit but their new yellow and blue away kit was obviously unsuitable while the 2012-13 purple and black effort, retained as a third but not worn that season, clashed with the dark blue backs on the Fener shirts.

So it was that navy training shorts had numbers applied and were used as Arsenal won 3-0.Arsenal-2013-2014-Nike-home-kit-navy-shorts-Fenerbahce-01