Season’s Meetings no. 2 – Ajax v AC Milan, 1994-95

Tags

,

While the first part of this series saw an instance of two teams wearing three kits against each other in the same season, this one is only a 3-2 split (technically 3-3 if sleeve patches are taken into account but that’s a hard sell, we accept).

The emergence of Patrick Kluivert’s son Justin with Ajax this season has made everyone feel very old, as the father’s winner against AC Milan in the 1995 Champions League final seems a lot more recent than 22 years ago.

That was the clubs’ third meeting in the competition that season, as they were paired together in the group stage too, Ajax winning 2-0 on each occasion, with an interesting approach taken to the kits.

In Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium in September, home shirts were worn, with Milan in change black shorts and socks to provide differentiation (in the 1969 final, Milan had worn black socks).

Incidentally, the Ajax shirt had to be modified for Europe, with the domestic version having extra Umbro trim on the sleeves.

 

When the teams met again in Italy in November, the scoreline was the same but this time both teams were in their away kits.

It’s not as if Milan refused to wear black shorts and socks at home – they did so against PSV in 1992-93 – so there must have been an official mandate. Maybe it was because both teams were ‘away’ – the game, and Milan’s home tie with AEK Athens, took place in Trieste as they were punished following crowd trouble in their opening home game against Casino Salzburg.

 

Ajax comfortably topped the group and easily saw off Hajduk Split and then Bayern Munich to reach the final.

Milan finished level on five points with Casino Salzburg in second place (two points for a win, and they were deducted two for the crowd trouble) and had a worse goal difference than the Austrians but advanced thanks to a better head-to-head record.

They picked up form in the spring, though, and beat Benfica and then Paris St-Germain in the knockout stages to make the decider. Perhaps seeking to summon good fortune, they wore white for all four games, but a plain white shirt rather than the red-heavy away.

As was traditional, they kept that kit for the final, with Ajax once again in their navy change kit, both teams using the new Champions League ‘Starball’ sleeve patches.  Sponsors’ logos were also allowed in the final for the first time.

This time, though, the luck deserted Milan as Kluivert came off the bench to earn the win for the Dutch side.

 

Advertisements

Fantasy Kit Friday – Brazil, 1998

Tags

, ,

Last week, we did a trio of Marseille kits, one of which took its cues from Brazil’s 1998 strip.

This time around, we’re outfitting Brazil in something other than that Nike offering, going back in time to when the country wore Umbro strips.

They won the 1994 World Cup in Umbro, with the crest featured in the pattern on the front, and today’s request is in many ways an updating of that style:

Perhaps a bit too out there for the classicists, but certainly less outlandish than some of designs prevalent at the time.

Brazil-1998-Umbro-England-away-01.png

Cold War Classic no. 3 – France v USSR, 1972

Tags

, , , , ,

  • Apologies for the delay in providing the next instalment in this great series, the fault is all mine and not the excellent Joey Smith’s. Check out his wonderful blog, Pyro On The Pitch, and find on Twitter here. If you missed the previous articles – these are Part 1 and Part 2. Over to Joey.

Last time around, we saw a Croatian shirt that is undoubtedly an invaluable artifact to its country’s football history, but was arguably antiquated in terms of style when it was worn in 1990.

This time we’re focusing on a seemingly inconsequential game, but one that featured a shirt which was light years ahead of its time in the style charts and how it actually might have changed the world.

A World Cup qualifier in Paris on October 10, 1972 between France and the Soviet Union was one of 12 meetings in total between the two before the latter would cease to exist. At a time when diplomatic relations were strained between east and west, such friendly sporting relationships must have only strengthened ties between peoples divided by competing political systems, with sport acting as a lingua franca to remind humanity of it’s common ground.

No matter your skin colour, religious background, social class or ideology, worldwide appreciation for a good old game of ball showed us that at the end of the day we were all the same (that is, a weird, mostly hairless, over-evolved primate thing with a universal fascination for this possibly esoteric activity).

But our match in question may also have been important for spreading really excellent fashion. The French were already well ahead of the curve domestically in kit terms, with mind-blowingly some French clubs  already featuring manufacturers logos on their kits as early as 1966, as seen by that year’s cup winners Strasbourg:

Strasbourg-1966-Le-Coq-Sportif-domicile-maillot-01.png

This was originally related to a specific cup deal with Le Coq Sportiff (and later in the 70s, adidas), but would soon spread to independent club deals also. By the 1969-70 season, shirt sponsorship had also started to appear (seen here on the shirts of Olympic Marseille), a practice which had already been already legalised in Europe by Denmark and Austria, but was incorporated many years ahead of most countries.

Olympique-Marseille-1972-Le-Coq-Sportif-maillot-domicile-Perrier-01.png

Like with cup branding, cup specific sponsorship was also brought in for many years, and from 1970-71, frontal numbers were used on shirts in the Coupe de France until 1980-81. Numbers on the front of jerseys had already appeared in the United States at least (in accordance to the style of their other ‘sports uniforms’), but this amalgamation of innovative features made the French scene stand out as some sort of wonderful dystopian future compared to the rest of Europe at the time.

This fascinating period in French club football shirts deserves a more in depth look, which will hopefully happen at a later date. But for now, it sets the scene for what was happening in France in that era, as strange new boundaries were being pushed (possibly enabled under the influence of psychedelic chemicals popular at the time). The forward thinking had spread to the French national team by 1969, when the brand of Kopa (a sportswear line owned by French legend Raymond Kopa) appeared on the team’s shorts.

France-adidas-1969-maillot-shirt-Kopa-01

This must have been among the first of its kind for a national team strip, and by 1970 Le Coq Sportif had taken over and continued the shorts branding. The material used in LCS’s French shirts also seemed ahead of its contemporaries.

France-adidas-1970-maillot-shirt-Le-Coq-Sportif-Belgique-01.png

The neck and the cuffs later evolved to a ‘fuller’ style.

France-adidas-1971-maillot-shirt-Le-Coq-Sportif-Bulgarie-01.png

Then a v-neck was adopted in 1971/72.

France-1971-maillot-shirt-Greece-Le-Coq-01

In 1972, months after unveiling its soon-to-be-revered trefoil at the 1972 Munich Olympics, adidas took over as the French team’s kit manufacturer. The first French adidas shirt saw use against Greece in September of that year, and I say ‘shirt’, not ‘kit’, as the shorts at this time were still made by LCS (a move also pulled by Germany in the early 80s but with Erima shorts).

The kit was innovative in several ways which would have been commendable on their own. Soon-to-be-common white adidas stripes ran along the shoulder (not all the way down the sleeve), with the middle sections blue and red to form the French flag. This was matched under the arms, down the sides of the shirt.

A new fancy numbering font was in use, which featured the tiny printing branding of Somms, a style also used by several French club sides. And again, the material itself seemed eons ahead of the heavier shirts still common at the time.

France-adidas-1972-maillot-shirt-Greece-Le-Coq-shorts-01

Meanwhile, the Soviets, were still several years away from their wave of truly iconic national team shirts. Certain clubs such as Dynamo Kyiv and Spartak Moscow were already known for their own trademark styles and traits, which were arguably more beautiful than some of the commercialised French club shirts.

But in general, the club scene was far behind the French in terms of trends. The famous ‘CCCP’ on the national team shirts had at least always made them stand out, in a era of badges and not much else for most national sides in Europe. The minimal and tidy 1966 era USSR kit can be classed as an early highlight.

USSR-1966-shirt-01.png

But by the time of our game in 1972, the visiting Soviets were back to wearing something more like their 1950s shirts, as big collars and plunging necklines came back into fashion replacing the sleek suaveness of the 60s. There was nothing wrong with it, just not particularly stylish.

 

And now we come back to the hosts. To start with, as we are also fans of kit accoutrements here at CWC, we must look at the French warm-up tops.

Featuring ‘France’ in a similar funky font as the new numbers, and with a large, white trefoil, it honestly wouldn’t look out of place on any high street today (it’s 2017 at the time of writing for any of you future folk scratching your chip implants).

France-adidas-1972-pullover-URSS-01.png

When the French tops eventually came off, the faces of the USSR players must have gone as red as their old fuddy-duddy 1950s style shirts to see what the hosts had on in comparison (this would have particularly been true of the younger, hipper Soviet players).

France were not in their usual blue, but were in a polished white change shirt, with blue, red and blue stripes down the long sleeves. Most likely inspired again from the domestic scene, numbers were featured on the front of the shirt. These numbers, like on the back, also featured the Somms mark, which may even also qualify as sponsorship as well as numbering. A subtle wrapover collar completed the cool look, and again, LCS shorts were in use, adding to the other worldliness of the whole ensemble.

France-1972-adidas-maillot-exterieur-URSS-01.png

With the addition of a modern adidas logo, and perhaps a reduction in size of the crest, I would have no problem buying it for a shirt of the modern age. With the Soviet’s 50s-style shirts in comparison, it’s fair to say that the two look over 40 years apart.

And, while no trefoil would appear just yet on the outfield shirts, the yellow goalkeeper shirt in fact would include the famous logo and wordmark, perhaps making its first appearance on an international kit, or at least close.

This means that there is a possibility that this was both the first time the adidas logo appeared on a shirt AS WELL AS frontal numbers, talk about historic! If anyone has any examples of either pre-dating this, please get in touch.

France-1972-adidas-maillot-gardien-URSS-01.png

Frontal numbers on international shirts would not become the norm for another couple of decades – Euro 92 was the first major finals to mandate them – and the French were so far ahead of the curve that they gave up on the idea soon afterwards.

But, by the 1974 World Cup two years later, the rest of the world had started to catch up in style terms and it would soon be standard for countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain to be decked out in quality adidas-marked kits, among other brands.

In fact, by the 1980s in eastern Europe, literally every country appeared in lovely adidas football kits. Psychological motivation for this can perhaps be dated back to games like the aforementioned visit of the USSR to Paris, when it would have been an understatement to say that the French certainly looked (and presumably felt) like the more professional and up to date squad.

With the advancement of material production technology, let alone style, a need to compete even at this level eventually led to many communist country’s teams donning the logo of one of the most western, capitalist companies there was and becoming fabulous.

Which may have raised the uncomfortable question, “if communism is so great, can we not produce our own quality range of sports gear?”. Nobody could answer this and shortly after the Cold War would end.

You connect the dots.

Midweek Mashup – Bayern Munich, 1995-96

Tags

,

Last year, we looked at how blue became an increasingly larger presence on the Bayern Munich kit during the 1990s.

The second big change came in 1995 as the club went for home shirt of red and blue vertical stripes with blue shorts, channelling the style of 1968.

Bayern would go on to win the UEFA Cup in the 1995-96 season. They began with a win over Lokomotiv Moscow, meaning a second-round tie with Raith Rovers of Scotland, who had navy shirts, white shorts and white socks, the latter clashing with Bayern’s.

Though Bayern were allowed to wear their white and red hooped socks against the likes of Stuttgart in the Bundesliga, here they were forced change, and they opted for the home socks from the previous kit – a similar style to the new set but with the three stripes lower on the leg.

Due to UEFA’s stricter rules on sponsorship, Bayern’s shirts in European games only had the Opel wordmark not the lightning-bolt-through-a-circle logo.

Bayern-Munchen-1995-1996-adidas-heimtrikot-rot-socken-Raith-01.png

Domestically, things were back to normal – and if a change was needed, the new yellow, green and black away, not unlike the hex-busting kit worn at Kaiserslautern in 1983, was sufficient.

However, for the home game against Borussia Dortmund in March 1996, there was a curious change. Bayern had worn their default home kit in losing 3-1 at Westfalenstadion in October, but here they opted for red shorts instead of blue for the only time in the kit’s lifespan.

Bayern-Munchen-1995-1996-adidas-heimtrikot-rot-kurze-Dortmund-01.png

It resembled the look worn twice in 1990 when a special shirt was worn to mark the club’s 90th anniversary, and it’s a style the club returned to again for 2014-15, when they again donned red and blue stripes.

 

Fantasy Kit Friday, 1-12-17 – Olympique de Marseille

Tags

, , ,

At the end of the current season, Olympique de Marseille will end their relationship with adidas.

The three stripes first appeared on the club’s kit in 1974 and, barring a brief foray away in 1994-95 with Reebok and 1995-96 with Mizuno, the club have been in adidas since then (in the early 1990s, the German company and the club had strong links due to Bernard Tapie, but we won’t go into all of that).

From 2018-19, Puma will make the club’s kits, but David Clarke wondered how l’OM might have looked in strips by other makers and came up with three FKF suggestions.

First of all, Hummel’s 1986-88 Denmark look:

Marseille-1996-Hummel-Denmark-01.png

Then, the design Nike used for Brazil in 1998:

Marseille-1998-Nike-Brazil-01.png

And, finally, Kappa’s Borussia Dortmund offering in 2011-12:

Marseille-2011-Kappa-Dortmund-01.png

 

Midweek Mashup – Arsenal, 2015

Tags

, ,

Most mashups are rooted in logic, and help to alleviate any confusion which may exist. Arsenal’s combination away to Sheffield Wednesday in the 2015-16 Capital One Cup did not tick that box.

While the Gunners have a history of wearing away shirts – usually yellow – against teams who don’t have red shirts, these changes were rooted in the need to avoid sleeve clashes or shorts clashes.

In recent times, the policy has been to wear a change kit in practically every away game, certainly in cups – though fixtures against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are notable exceptions.

So it was that Arsenal decided the game at Hillsborough was a good opportunity to wear their third kit – described as anthracite with white, victory gold and capri breeze blue as trim colours.

As if it wasn’t bad enough that their kit had blue and white stripes on it against Wednesday’s blue and white stripes, the hosts’ black shorts and socks meant that Arsenal had to change those elements.

Arsenal-2015-2016-Puma-third-kit-blue-shorts-socks-Sheffield-Wednesday-01

Had Arsenal had gold alternative shorts and socks, it mightn’t have been too bad, but the blue made for a terrible overall clash. The 3-0 defeat the Gunners suffered was exactly what they deserved.

Fantasy Kit Friday, 24-11-17 – Manchester City adidas 1995

Tags

,

Just over a year ago, we did a Manchester City/Hummel mid-1985s crossover.

Out of the replies to that came a request to do City in an early 90s Arsenal look, which you can see here, and it’s the three stripes we’re returning to today.

Back in July, Jordinho came up with a good idea – apologies for only getting to it now – of mixing City with Liverpool’s 1995-96 template:

Manchester-Cty-1995-adidas-Fantasy-Kit-Friday-Liverpool-01.png

While white socks wouldn’t be our first choice – navy is our preference, probably because that’s what City had in our early days watching football in 1990-91 – but City’s last kit with Umbro before moving to Kappa had white sets.

They were of course relegated in 1995-96 – that surely wouldn’t have happened if they’d had adidas.

 

Fantasy Kit Friday – Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, 1980

Tags

, , ,

Friend of the site Lee Hermitage has in the past been a good source of information and ideas, so when he came with an FKF idea, it was a pleasure to acquiesce.

Lee said:

Arguably the two biggest clubs hit by Admiral’s collapse in 1980 were Manchester United and Tottenham. As we know, United went to adidas while Spurs went to Le Coq, but what if it had been the other way around?

An interesting brief, taking four fairly recognisable kits and mixing up the colourways.

The Manchester United LCS home shirt has echoes of the classic 1950s look:

Manchester-United-Le-Coq-Fantasy-1980-Tottenham-01

Perhaps a case could be made that the shoulder panels of the Spurs away should be black on a United version, but Lee specified red and it helps to tie the whole look together better, in my view.

Manchester-United-Le-Coq-Fantasy-away-1980-Tottenham-01

We’ve had Tottenham in 80s adidas before, and white and navy look good together in almost all cases.

Tottenham-adidas-Fantasy-1980-Manchester-United-01

The United away when they changed to adidas was unique in that it had the German company’s three stripes up the side of the shirt and down the inside arms. Nobody else had it at the time, as far as we know – there were a couple of examples of it in the 1970s –  and it would be 36 years before adidas resurrected it.

It looks well in Spurs’ traditional yellow and navy change colours.

Tottenham-adidas-Fantasy-1980-away-Manchester-United-01

Midweek Mashup – Watford, 2017

Tags

,

Once upon a time, Watford were paragons of mixing and matching, but, in the past few seasons, the club have become a byword for needless changes of kit in the Premier League.

Essentially, the club’s policy is to wear an alternative kit in pretty much every game unless, of course, the opposition’s home kit is the same colour as the Watford away.

The 2017-18 away strip is all-red, though with black and white trim rather than a more pleasing black and yellow, and so obviously couldn’t be worn in the first away game of the campaign, against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on August 19.

As well as red and black striped shirts, the home side also have black shorts and socks, the same as Watford’s first-choice. While shorts clashes are allowed in the Premier League, sock-clashes are not – occasionally, there are exceptions – and so Watford had to find an alternative set.

2017-2018-Watford-adidas-home-kit-red-socks-Bournemouth-01.png

Interestingly, while the socks chosen were red, they were bespoke pairs with black trim whereas the club’s away set have white trim.

The change suited Watford, as they won 2-0. It’s a look likely to be seen again on the final day of the season at Old Trafford – provided, of course, that Watford are given the right information about Manchester United’s home socks.

 

The history of Romania’s kits from 1984 to 1997

Tags

,

I’d always been aware of Romania’s somewhat peripatetic relationship with kits when I was growing up, but of course back then it was much harder to research.

In recent years, the sheer inconsistency of the timeline has become more apparent and, thanks to the comprehensive nature of The Rec Sport Soccer Statistics Foundation and the availability of so much footage on YouTube, it has been possible to piece together a history of their kits.

It’s not complete, as some games have been impossible to source (Romania did enjoy playing Israel and Greece a lot, for instance, and most Januarys brought obscure friendlies against Asian opposition), so it could well be the case that there are even more variants than what is compiled here.

***

Why start with 1984? Well, going back further would have been even more difficult to research, and Euro 84 was their first appearance in a major finals in 14 years – fittingly, their three games there saw them wear three different kits.

The home was all-yellow, the shirt a classic adidas style, wrapover v-neck with tonal hoops, which would be seen again during the 1980s. It was worn against Spain.

Romania-adidas-1984-Euro-84-home-kit-01

The away kit was red – or, rather, both away kits were red. Against West Germany, Romania wore a white-trimmed version of the home, and again this would be seen again. However, for the final group match against Portugal, a different one-off red kit, with black trim, was worn. Portugal were in a white kit for this game.

In the World Cup qualifiers that autumn, the long-sleeved version of the home – with numbers now absent from the shorts – was used.

Romania-adidas-1984-home-kit-long-sleeves-01

In January of 1985, they renewed acquaintances with Portugal in a friendly in Lisbon, winning 3-2. Portugal were in their more familiar red this time while Romania were in a kit which looked like it belonged in the 1970s, with its inset neck panel.

Romania-adidas-1985-home-kit-Portugal-friendly-01

It wasn’t seen again and neither was the ensemble worn against Turkey in Craiova – red shirts, yellow shorts and blue socks.

Romania-adidas-1985-home-kit-Turkey-01

For much of the rest of the year though – including both games against England and at home to Northern Ireland – the red and white Euro 84 away was used, though with new shorts which featured a subtle shadow stripe.

Romania-adidas-1985-away-kit-England-01

The all-yellow was back for friendlies against Egypt and Iraq in early 1986 as well as the 3-0 loss away to Scotland, while the game at home to the USSR saw the red shorts – not the away set but ones with yellow stripes – used.

Romania-adidas-1986-USSR-red-shorts-01

Against the all-blue of Greece, red socks – again, not the away set – were added to the mix.

Romania-adidas-1986-USSR-red-shorts-red-socks

And, at home to Albania, a totally new kit was seen. The shirt featured narrow red and blue diagonal pinstripes, while the shorts were now blue.

Romania-adidas-1987-Albania-blue-shorts-01-01

Oddly, the same style, in short sleeves but with a red neck and adidas stripes and no crest (foreshadowing later events), had been used by Romania’s U21s two years earlier, against England at Portman Road. In their meeting in Romania, the 70s style inset-neck kit was worn.

Romania-adidas-1985-home-kit-01

Back to 1987 and the senior team, and the wrapover v-neck was back for the return game against Spain, a 3-1 win. Away to Austria though, the diagonal pinstripe shirt was now matched with yellow shorts and socks. A 0-0 draw meant they missed out on qualifying for Euro 88 by a point to Spain.

Romania-adidas-1985-Austria-01

In a 1988 friendly away to a team who had qualified, the Republic of Ireland, Romania made a rare appearance in (crestless) red shirts without red shorts, as a blue set were used.

Romania-adidas-1988-Ireland-01

In another friendly, away to the Netherlands, who would go on to win the competition, an all-blue kit was used, with the template quite popular around Europe at the time.

Romania-adidas-1988-Netherlands-01

For instance, Bulgaria would be wearing that template when they hosted Romania in October of that year in the first of what would be a successful World Cup qualifying campaign for the visitors.

The Romanians would be in the yellow-blue-red look for the first time, with the shorts now featuring a very fine white pinstripe.

Romania-adidas-1988-Bulgaria-01.png

At home to Greece, the shorts and socks colours were reversed.

Romania-adidas-1988-Greece-01

The following year, 1989, began with a 1-0 home friendly win over Italy as the wrapover v-neck shirt came back again, to be joined with the pinstriped shorts and red socks.

Romania-adidas-1989-Italy-01

The diagonals returned away to Poland, while the all-red wrapover v-neck kit had its first outing in four years away to Greece.

World Cup qualification would come down to the final two games, both against Denmark. In October, Romania lost 3-0 in Copenhagen, wearing the diagonal pinstriped shirt, pinstriped shorts and yellow socks, as the red set would have clashed…

Romania-adidas-1989-Denmark-away-01

…then, for the return in Bucharest a month later, a 3-1 win which meant they topped the group, the red socks were back (Denmark wore white socks), but new shirts were worn – the diagonal pinstripes had been deleted, while the adidas logo was lower.

Romania-adidas-1989-Denmark-home-01

World Cup year began with Romania playing two friendlies against high-profile clubs. On January 28, they met Olympique Marseille and the same style shirts as used at home to Denmark now had a sponsor’s logo – Onet, seemingly a French company providing cleaning services to businesses.

On first seeing the grainy footage, I actually thought it was an outsize Opel logo. With the fall of Communism and the ousting of Nicolae Ceaușescu as leader, the previous crest was dispensed with.

Romania-adidas-1990-friendly-Marseille-01

A week later, they were in Germany to take on Bayern Munich – on this occasion, for the only time in the period we are looking at, they donned white, the same style as worn against Holland in ’88.

Romania-adidas-1990-friendly-Bayern-Munchen-01

At the end of February and start of March, they started playing countries again, going up against Egypt and Algeria. There was yet another new kit – similar in style to that used by Hungary, Bulgaria and the Republic of Ireland. The socks now had mismatching black stripes.

Romania-adidas-1990-Egypt-01

As the World Cup neared, the all-new kit which would be worn for that was used twice, not in its ‘proper’ form on either occasion.

Against Egypt, the red shorts from the away kit were with the home shirt and socks:

Romania-adidas-1990-home-World-Cup-red-shorts-01

Then, against Belgium in the final warm-up match, they wore the blue pinstriped shorts and blue socks.

Romania-adidas-1990-home-World-Cup-Belgium-friendly-blue-socks-01

For Romania’s first World Cup game in 20 years, the USSR were the opposition. With the Soviets in white, Romania wore their new red away strip as they won 2-0.

Romania-adidas-1990-away-World-Cup-USSR-01

Incidentally, the makers of the Orbis World Cup ’90 part-work sticker album – who had originally included Denmark as they expected them to qualify ahead of Romania – expected a blue change kit:

IMG_2496

For the remainder of their games, a 2-1 loss to Cameroon, 0-0 draw with Argentina and the last-16 penalty shootout loss to the Republic of Ireland, the home kit was donned. For some reason, the blue shorts had the players’ numbers on the right leg, while on the away shorts they were on the left.

Romania-adidas-1990-home-World-Cup-Timofte-01

Romania’s first game after the World Cup was a friendly away to the USSR at the end of August. They wore the shirts as had been used against Marseille, but without the Onet, obviously, while the yellow shorts (a more golden shade) and socks had white stripes.

Romania-adidas-1990-USSR-friendly-01.png

The Euro ’92 qualifiers began with a trip to Hampden Park to face Scotland. While the shirts were similar to those used at the start of the year in that they had two arm rings, this was a different design and featured a shadow stripes. It was used by Cameroon at the World Cup and Marseille among others.

Due to Scotland’s red socks, Romania wore blue socks and opted to go with red shorts.

Romania-adidas-1990-red-shorts-Scotland-01

The next two games – Poland in a friendly and Bulgaria in the qualifiers (a 3-0 loss) – were at home, but for both of them Romania wore an all-blue kit, in the same style as the United Arab Emirates had at the World Cup and a design used by France, Poland and Bari. Outside of these two games, it was never worn again.

Romania-adidas-1990-blue-01

Romania rounded off the year with a 6-0 win over San Marino and the same shirts as worn against Scotland returned, with the more usual blue shorts and red socks.

Romania-adidas-1990-qualifiers-San-Marino-01

Away to Switzerland in early 1991, these shirts were worn with yellow shorts and socks…

Romania-adidas-1991-Switzerland-01

…and then away to Spain in a friendly, two different neck styles were seen on the short-sleeved versions.

The 1991-92 season signified the introduction of the adidas Equipment era, with aggressive branding in the form of bold, over-the-shoulder stripes. Romania would have a new kit, but of a different, almost unique, style – a River Plate change shirt is the only other example I can find.

Featuring asymmetric red and blue flashes, it was first used at home to Scotland.

Romania-adidas-1991-home-Scotland

For the game against Switzerland, a long-sleeved set was used – these didn’t have the red and blue markings on the right-hand sleeves.

Romania-adidas-1991-home-Bulgaria-01

A 1-1 draw with Bulgaria meant that Romania missed out on Euro ’92 by a point in what was a very tight group.

The same kit was in use as the World Cup qualifiers began with a 7-0 win over the Faroe Islands and then a 5-1 victory against Wales.

Then, in a friendly away to Mexico, there was another new outfit – this time a recolouring of the Arsenal 1990-92 home template.

Romania-adidas-1992-1993-home-01

This kit was worn for the remainder of the year, including against the soon-to-be-defunct Czechoslovakia – who had what was essentially the Arsenal shirt as their home – and for the first half of 1993.

Arsenal were again the inspiration for the kit worn against the Faroes and Israel that September – this time it was the ‘bruised banana’ away, but with matching shorts.

Romania-adidas-1992-home-Arsenal-brusied-banana-01

In the penultimate qualifier, a 2-1 win at home to Belgium, the blue-sleeved shirts returned, but with the new crest of the Romanian federation now featuring.

Romania-adidas-1992-1993-home-01

In the final qualifier, away to Wales in Cardiff, Romania wore adidas Equipment shirts for the first time. A 2-1 win put them into a second successive World Cup finals.

Romania-adidas-1993-home-Wales-Bodin-penalty-01

There was little consistency in early 1994, as both the bruised banana and the blue-sleeved shirts were worn in friendlies. Then, in the last few warm-up games before travelling to the USA for the World Cup, Romania wore short-sleeved versions of the shirts used against Wales, this time paired with blue shorts.

Romania-adidas-1994-home-Slovenia-friendly-01

Logic would have you think that the World Cup kit was going to be some approximation of this, but instead it was another all-new outfit, the same template as worn by Liverpool and Cork City in 1993-94, and which would also be seen on Sweden, Bulgaria and Norway in the US.

It was the first time Romania had had numbers on the front of their shirts.

Romania-adidas-1994-home-World-Cup-01

Having topped Group A with wins over Colombia and the hosts (there was also a 4-1 defeat to Switzerland), Romania then beat Argentina 3-2 in the second round to set up a quarter-final tie with Sweden.

Romania were the ‘home’ team but, in the bright weather conditions, there were concerns that Sweden’s white change kit could clash and so both teams wore alternatives.

The Romanian change kit was in the same format as the first-choice but in red, with yellow the secondary colour and blue the third – except for the socks, where they switched positions.

Adding to the confusion, replica versions of the shirt had two blue stripes and one yellow.

Romania-adidas-1994-away-red-World-Cup-Sweden-01

Sweden triumphed on penalties, and when Romania got back in action in the autumn – a 3-0 win over Azerbaijan in their first Euro 96 qualifier – they wore the same kits as before the World Cup, albeit with shirt and shorts numbers now added.

Romania-adidas-1994-home-Azerbaijan-01

New (numberless) yellow shorts, in the same style as the blue, were worn for the rest of the year.

Romania-adidas-1994-home-Wales-England-friendly-Wembley-01 In early 1995, the World Cup kit returned, but now with plain yellow socks.

Romania-adidas-1995-home-01

In September ’95, Romania played Brazil in a friendly. At first glance, it might appear that the shirts were the same as worn against Sweden, but the striping was now the same as on the replicas. In addition, the socks had three blue hoops.

Romania-away-kit-Brazil-friendly-1995-01

The rate of variation had slowed down by now, and the 1996-98 set of kits were as stable as Romania could hope to have, but there was still room for some small inconsistency.

The style was the newest adidas template. They must have produced a lot of it, because Crystal Palace and Stockport County both had change shirts made from that bench, Romanian crest and all in the fabric.

In the Euro ’96 opener against France, as well as a competition patch and Fair Play logo for the first time, the kit had socks with a small Romanian flag on them…

Romania-home-kit-adidas-Euro-96-France-flag-socks-01

…but it was absent for the matches against Spain and Bulgaria.

Romania-home-kit-adidas-Euro-96-Spain-Bulgaria-01

A UEFA ruling? I don’t know, but the flag was back on the socks for the World Cup qualifiers while the shirts were now devoid of the patches and the front numbers.

Romania-home-kit-adidas-1998-World-Cup-qualifiers-01

During this period, the only call for a change kit was away to Lithuania in April 1997. The traditional red kit was in the same design and long sleeves were worn – but because the short-sleeved shirts used what is known as a ‘batwing’ style (body and sleeves are the one piece of cloth), the extra length was literally stitched on, with the fabric pattern running perpendicular to the rest.

Romania-away-kit-adidas-1997-Lithuania-01

***

Incidentally, if you’re ever looking to buy a Romanian matchworn thumb from the mid-1990s, a good rule of thumb is to look at the crest for verification – the players’ shirts had the red ‘swoosh’ on top, while replicas had yellow on top.

***

Can 49 kit variations (and at least one worn by the U21s and not the seniors) over a period of just more than 13 years be beaten? Please, let us know on Twitter, email or in the comments below.