Midweek Mashup – Arsenal, 1991-92


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In recent years, Arsenal have been more than happy to adjust elements of their change kits.

This graphic was one we compiled on another of our sites showing all of the one-off combinations up to the end of 2012-13, while since then we have seen a quasi-Brazil look as well as an awful choice at Sheffield Wednesday, among others.

It wasn’t always like that, though. Until 1991, when the shorts of their away kit would cause a clash with their hosts, Arsenal would wear the white shorts of the home kit, a look first seen at Anfield, oddly enough, in 1977 (thanks to The Arsenal Shirt on Twitter for drawing our attention to that).

The yellow-white-yellow persisted throughout the 80s and up until the 1990-91 title-winning season, mainly at Southampton and sometimes at Sunderland and Sheffield United – incidentally, we have yet to ascertain if the home shorts were worn with the green away shirt at the Dell in 1982-83.

That all changed in 1991-92, though. Since arriving in 1986, the only deviation in the classic Arsenal home and away colourways that adidas had provided was the white socks worn at Watford but now, for the first time, yellow shorts were available.


With new signing Ian Wright having scored on his debut away to Leicester City in the Rumbelows Cup on September 25 (wearing number 9, for the only time in his Arsenal career), he made his league bow away to The Saints on September 28 and scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 win.

Incidentally, Wright would also bag three goals at home to Southampton in a 5-1 win on the final day of the season, securing fourth place, with the yellow shorts having been worn away to Sheffield United in the fourth-last game too.

As mentioned in a recent article, when the Premier League was established, shorts-clashes were no longer required to be dealt with, and so Arsenal dispensed with the yellow shorts, wearing the normal away kit at Southampton (Sheffield United had switched to white home shorts for 92-93).

The next time they would wear yellow shorts would be against Mallorca on September 11, 2001, while the all-yellow look wouldn’t return until the 2010-11 season.

The evolution of adidas goalkeeper shirt designs – Part 6


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It has taken a while to be able to add to this series, as adidas had so many styles at the 1990 World Cup, with many of them on the more advanced side in terms of design.

The last instalment, before Christmas, looked at half of the company’s offerings at Italia 90, with the output more varied than at any time before or since. For instance, already we have looked at two shirts worn by Sergio Goycochea after took over as Argentina goalkeeper following injury to Nery Pumpido, but in the opening game against Cameroon, Pumpido wore something which was almost unique.

It was grey shirt with an irregular pattern, not representative of anything in particular as far as we can see. In fact, the only other example we could find was a yellowy-orange version, worn by Goycochea for Racing Club.


Incidentally, the shirt Goycochea wore for the latter stages of the tournament, the one we dubbed ‘the Space Invaders’ style, was also used by Colombia’s René Higuita, except that the pattern was upside-down (Argentina on left, Colombia on right)

Like Argentina, Colombia also had three completely different designs on show. In the first game against the United Arab Emirates, Higuita wore a grey shirt with a herringbone pattern on the front (below left), and then for the Yugoslavia and West Germany matches he had the one seen above.

Colombia met Cameroon in the second round and this time Higuita was in a different grey shirt (below right), with baggier sleeves and an arrow motif.

The latter style, in blue, was also worn by West Germany’s Bodo Illgner against Colombia.


However, when one thinks of Illgner at that World Cup, it is his other shirt which comes to mind, the design known as the Taifun. He would wear a silver, black and pinky-purple version, with Romania’s Silviu Lung donning a silver and blue edition against Argentina and the Republic of Ireland.

At the time, we weren’t too keen on it, but now we can appreciate the the level of design involved. The shirt would appear in two other colourways, as we will see in the next part in the series.

Lung was another of the three-shirt brigade. Against the USSR, he wore the same purple and green style that Pumpido and Goycochea wore for Argentina against the Soviets (see Part 5). Then, for the match against Cameroon, Lung wore another distinct design, this one featuring what can only be described as scribbles across the torso.

Incidentally, none of the Romania shirts at the tournament, outfield or goalkeeper, featured a crest.


It was a look which a few other countries also had. Jan Stejskal of Czechoslovakia and the USA’s Tony Meola had a yellow version with grey collar and cuffs and grey and black scribbles, while Yugoslavia’s Tomislav Ivković also wore yellow, but with black collar and cuffs and seemingly only grey scribbles, though red and black versions exist too.

Incidentally, he only wore this in the knockout stages against Spain and Argentina, having had ‘badge-engineered’ Uhlsport shirts in the group stage.

As mentioned above, Meola wore the same as Stejskal for all of the USA’s games, but substitute goalkeeper David Vanole was clearly allowed some leeway as he appeared in both blue and dark grey shirts on the bench.

We’ll be back very soon with Part 7, as the designs in the 1990s began to become more and more brash, coupled with adidas’s own rebranding under the adidas Equipment heading.

Midweek Mashup – AC Milan, 2007


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We’ve written recently about AC Milan’s preference for all-white kits in European Cup and Champions League finals, so much so that they created bespoke outfits in 1989, 1990, 1994 and 1995.

The last time that the rossoneri were continental kingpins was a decade ago, when the all-white worked its magic against Liverpool in the final, unlike two years previously. Earlier in that campaign though, they appeared in a look that was quite unusual for them.

While shorts and socks clashes continued to be allowed in Serie A until the early 90s, in Europe Milan had begun to wear black shorts and socks with their home shirts when the need arose, with white socks having replaced black as the first choice in the late 80s – some attribute this to Ruud Gullit but we haven’t yet found proof.

The change kit remained sacrosanct, and a series of third and fourth kits were worn rather than sullying it with dark shorts, while a meeting with Paris St-Germain in 2001 provided the only example of socks being swapped.

When Milan were drawn with Manchester United in the Champions League in 2005, they wore all-white in the away leg as their hosts switched to black shorts and socks, despite the fact that they had a gold third kit available.

Two years later, however, they were paired with United again and, though they were in third of what would prove to be eight straight seasons with a black third kit, this time they modified the away, mixing it with the third kit shorts and home socks.


After Cristiano Ronaldo put United ahead with an early goal, a brace from Kaká gave the visitors the lead. Even though Wayne Rooney equalised and then got an injury-time winner, a 3-2 defeat was far from a bad result for Milan and they triumphed 3-0 at home.

As luck would have it, the following season they would don a similar look in England, away to Arsenal in the last 16, drawing 0-0 at the Emirates Stadium before losing 2-0 at home.

In more recent times, games at Bologna have seen changes at Bologna, initially red shorts and white socks but more recently black shorts.

Ireland’s many kit changes in 1986 World Cup qualifying campaign



Football kit expert John Devlin is not prone to exaggeration. Therefore, when he mentions three times in True Colours 2 that the Republic of Ireland’s kits during their tenure with O’Neills featured more than a few variations, you know that something strange was afoot.

A quick glance at the Ireland Soccer Shirts Museum, curated by Eddie O’Mahony, confirms this, and it was correspondence with Eddie which prompted further research. He had added another O’Neills Ireland away shirt from the mid-80s to his collection and was seeking to nail down which exact game it was and that in turn led us to examine the eight matches in the country’s unsuccessful qualifying campaign for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Placed in a group with Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and the USSR, Ireland wore green in their four home games and changed to white for all of their trips abroad (meaning that, with the other four countries favouring red, 16 of the 20 group games were red v white, with Ireland’s home games – green v white – the exceptions).

Incredibly, though, each of the eight games featured a unique shirt style for Ireland, and even then there were further variations within matches. Here is the story in full.

Ireland began with a home game against the USSR in September of 1984 and while Mickey Walsh’s second-half goal would give them victory, it was one of just two games they would win.

The game was the last competitive outing for what is regarded as the ‘classic’ O’Neills Ireland kit, featuring alternating gold and white pinstripes, and three-stripe collar motif.


However, Mark Lawrenson wore a long-sleeved shirt with two differences to what his team-mates had on.

It had a v-neck rather than a collar – similar to what the team would wear in friendlies against England and Spain in 1985 in the pinstriped style’s final outings – and also the pinstripes were laid out slightly differently rather than being centred.

While Liam Brady switched from short to long sleeves in the second half, his shirt had the same collar as the short-sleeved shirt did.


Ireland’s next game was away to Norway in October and a white version of the pinstripes was used. Unlike the usual strip, though, they also featured on the sleeves and the back of the shirt. The socks were also different, reminiscent of the Le Coq Sportif style.


Ireland lost that game in Oslo 1-0 and a month later they would also suffer defeat in Scandanavia, going down 3-0 to Denmark.

This was the more usual style, with the raglan sleeves not featuring the pinstripes. The shorts had three white stripes rather than two white and one gold, while the socks were plain. The shield housing the shamrocks on the crest was also removed.


It would be a full six months before the next qualifier, at home to Norway, though Ireland did play friendlies in between, with an all-green look seen at home to Italy in February 1985.

The Norway game at Lansdowne Road on May 1, 1985 saw Ireland play in a kit unlike any seen before or since. Seeking a change in fortunes – they had had four losses and a draw in all games since beaten the Soviet Union – the FAI asked O’Neills to come up with something different, and the manufacturers did that.

A gold band across the chest called to mind the style favoured by Kerry, the most successful county in Gaelic football. Ironically, at the time, Kerry were the only county playing Gaelic games who didn’t wear O’Neills as they had a deal with adidas, but strict GAA rules prevented their logo from being shown (see how it’s taped over on the subs’ tops here).

The narrower stripes added to the somewhat-continental look, while the gold socks were another completely new departure as was the crest. In and of itself, it wasn’t a bad kit at all, but it failed to inspire a turnaround in fortunes and it was retired after the 0-0 draw.

O'Neills-Republic-of-Ireland-1985-home-jersey-NorwayAs mentioned above, the pinstripes returned for one last time against Spain in Flower Lodge in Cork at the end of May and then, at the start of June, a simpler kit was worn for the 3-0 win at home to Switzerland.

Stylistically, it was quite similar to the new adidas kit that Liverpool had worn for the first time in the ill-fated European Cup final against Juventus at Heysel in Brussels, and it retained the newer crest and neck from the shirt against Norway.

The two-bar sock style was the same as that which O’Neills gave to their Gaelic games teams, while the right sleeve featured something very unusual – perhaps the first-ever (and perhaps only) example of sponsorship on an international shirt in a competitive game.


It’s not easy to discern, but there was a logo on the right sleeve, that of Bord Fáilte, the Irish tourist board (now known as Fáilte Ireland – ‘fáilte’ is the Irish for ‘welcome’). That fact that it was a shamrock might have meant that Ireland avoided censure, but its inclusion was an isolated incident.

The next game was the return fixture against the Swiss in September. Here, a reversal of the new home kit was worn, albeit without a contrasting neck, with the previous shamrock crest remained.


In Moscow in October, we almost had the only example of the same kit being worn twice in the campaign, but there had to be one change and it was on the shoulder stripes, with the inclusion of one gold between the two green.


That was another loss, 2-0, officially confirming that Ireland wouldn’t qualify. There was one game remaining, at home to Denmark in November, in many ways a watershed game for the country.

The 4-1 loss itself wasn’t all that memorable, but the game proved to be manager Eoin Hand’s last game in charge. Again, the kit was almost the same, but ‘new’ crest was jettisoned and the shamrocks returned.


Ireland’s next game would be a friendly at home to Wales in March 1986. By then, Jack Charlton would be in charge and adidas kit would be worn. But that’s a story for another day.

Midweek Mashup – Nottingham Forest, 1979 and 1986-92


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I can clearly recall sitting in my grandmother’s front room on a gloomy Sunday in the spring of 1992, cheering Nottingham Forest on as they beat Tottenham Hotspur in the second leg of their Rumbelows Cup semi-final.

While I was a veteran Arsenal supporter of a good year and a half by then, I didn’t have any ill-will towards Spurs, but Forest were something of a second-favourite side to this seven-year-old, as they played nice football and fellow Corkman Roy Keane was making a big impression in midfield.

Even back then, my interest in kits had blossomed in tandem with my love of football and the fact that Forest were wearing red shorts at White Hart Lane, when there was no clear need to, was somewhat perturbing. I didn’t actually realise that it was the final successful activation of what we can only surmise was a Brian Clough superstition.


Clough did enjoy his routines – such as wearing a green jumper on matchdays, having initially worn one around the training ground to remind Peter Shilton who the ‘real number 1’ at the club  was – and while we don’t have proof of exactly why the red shorts became a fixture at Spurs, we can examine the facts for an Occam’s Razor conclusion.

Having won 3-1 at Spurs in November 1978 as defending champions, Forest would then go on to lose on their next seven visits to N17, up to the end of 1984-85, six league games and one in the FA Cup.

In January 1986, though, that run would end with a 3-0 win and they triumphed 3-2 at Spurs in November of that year, too. What was different in those seasons? Well, as Spurs were wearing an all-white home kit at the time, Forest were forced to switch to all-red, and it seems that that was hit upon as the magic serum.

Through 1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91 and 1991-92, Forest remained unbeaten away to Tottenham, a run which included a Littlewoods Cup quarter-final replay in 1990 as well as 1992 semi, all the while wearing red shorts.

That semi in 1992 – coming after a league win there on Boxing Day – was to prove to be Forest’s last time avoiding defeat at Spurs in red shorts. In 1992-93, the team deemed too good to go down disproved that notion, and included among 22 defeats in the inaugural Premier League was a 2-1 loss at White Hart Lane.

Interestingly, though, when Spurs visited the City Ground in April 1993, Forest switched shorts again – though, rather than to red, they donned the 1990-92 home set with their 1992-93 shirts, the skimpy shorts contrasting with the baggy jerseys. Coming off the back off three straight losses, was this one last jinx-buster from Clough? Either way, the 2-1 win was his last as a manager


By 1996, Forest had ceased the tradition after their return to the Premiership but Spurs belatedly returned the favour when they wore alternative white shorts, and socks, in Nottingin the FA Cup, with the snowy weather making things difficult in terms of visibility.

Spurs kit expert Jeff Maysh reckoned that the all-white for Spurs was to do with the navy shorts and socks being laundered – they were at home to Sheffield Wednesday the Saturday before and hosted Southampton three days later, so it is a possibility.


All of the above was planned and written with the sense that the mystery had been solved satisfactorily, but then a few days ago, Lee Hermitage put the cat among the pigeons once more when he unearthed a picture from the first game in Forest’s losing run at White Hart Lane, the 1-0 reversal in 1979-80, featuring an all-red adidas kit.


It was the look they had worn in beating Malmo to win the 1979 European Cup – and won don again in seeing off Hamburg in that season’s decider – but it was a one-off at Spurs until the enforced change in 1985-86. Why they did it, we just don’t know. And perhaps we never will.

Fantasy Kit Friday, 31-3-17



A few weeks ago, Leeds United fan CK (@ephemeraljoy) discovered us on Twitter and it’s far to say that his life hasn’t been the same since:

He plucked up the courage to make contact and, because fame has never gone to our heads, we were happy to oblige his request for late 1980s-style Kappa kits on Leeds. The home is a reworking of the Milan away style used in the 1989 and 1990 European Cup finals:


For the away, we riffed on the Sampdoria look, with the sponsor high and the crest on the sleeve (there was a temptation to put something else – like the smiley badge – in the middle of the stripes, like the Samp cross, but we resisted).


And, while Leeds didn’t have a third kit in 1989, we just couldn’t help ourselves in providing a blue alternative, based on Milan’s ‘normal’ away of the time.


Incidentally, Leeds are away to Reading tomorrow, April 1, so we might perhaps see another interest mix of home and away kits from them.

Midweek Mashup – Liverpool, 1983, 1984 and 1985

First off, apologies for the lack of a Midweek Mashup last Wednesday – life got in the way – but we’re back again, admittedly with a fairly famous example of the phenomenon.

Liverpool are renowned for wearing all-red kits (even if Manchester United actually did it before them) and we’d be fairly confident in saying that they have not worn white shorts with their red shirts since 1964, when Bill Shankly engineered the change.

While the Football League brought in rules regarding sock-clashes in 1969 and shorts-clashes in 1975, Liverpool weren’t really affected by this – anyone with red shorts and/or socks also tended to have enough red in their shirts that a change kit was required – though there were incidents where mashup away strips arguably caused more problems than the home would have.

Watford’s promotion in 1982 raised an issue, however. While the Hornets wore gold or yellow shirts with black shorts for much of their existence, in 1979 they had switched to red shorts and socks. It just so happened that Liverpool switched to a yellow away kit in 1982 and Crown Paints coming on board as new sponsors meant that the previous white away shirt couldn’t be used at Watford as it carried the name of Liverpool’s previous partners, Hitachi. Instead of coming up with a third shirt, Liverpool decided to mix and match.

It must have been felt that wearing red shirts, yellow shorts and yellow socks would have been troublesome with Watford in the opposite look, and so the black away shorts from the white kit were called into use with the away socks on the final day of the season, May 14, 1983.


This wasn’t a one-off look, either – they would repeat it away to Watford in both 1983-84 and 1984-85, albeit with the Crown logo modified. The 83-84 campaign also saw the yellow socks used at Birmingham City.


After Liverpool moved to adidas in 1985, they would wear white and then grey kits at Waford, and green when in Reebok in 1999-2000.

From time to time in the recent past, Liverpool have broken out white socks as and when needed, but nowadays are much more likely to change the full kit (often when there is no clash at all).

Watford are also guilty of the needless change, and in any case they have reverted back to black shorts, so Liverpool don’t face the dilemma of the 1980s anymore.

Wales’s changing stripes and other short stories


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Where practical, we always prefer when a team dons alternative shorts or socks to solve a colour-clash rather than changing their full kit (obligatory plug for examples of same here).

Therefore, it was good to see Wales wear red shorts against the Republic of Ireland in last Friday’s World Cup qualifier at the Aviva Stadium last Friday. Having been forced to wear their black and grey away kit against England at Euro 2016 as adidas didn’t provide them with change shorts, the Welsh ensured that that was not the case for the qualifiers.

The red shorts were also worn at home to Georgia, but closer inspection does show them to jar slightly with the shirts and socks due to the green waistband and adidas logo. Believe it or not, they are the shorts from the previous kit with the green adidas stripes removed and replaced by white ones.

Bale 2Bale

If you don’t believe us, then take the word of *the* authority on Wales and (most other) kits, Simon Shakeshaft:

They certainly deserve marks for creativity.


And now that we’re on the subject of shorts, we’ll impart some more knowledge too, recently picked up in old match programmes, which can often provide real nuggets of information. From the 1985-85 meeting of Manchester City and Manchester United, we seem to find the year in which the Football League prevented sides from taking to the field in the same coloured shorts – however, according to UnitedKits.com, 1975-76 was the first time that United regularly wore black shorts with red shirts in the league, having first done it in the 1957 Charity Shield.

The writer expresses the hope that United’s poor record at Maine Road when wearing black shorts would continue.


Unsurprisingly, given how well United deal with such situations, they remembered to bring the black shorts and ended the jinx with a 3-0 win.


The Football League still has a rule preventing shorts-clashes, as do the two domestic Cups, while UEFA doesn’t allow them either, even though a shorts-and-socks clash was allowed in a European Cup semi-final as recently as 1991.

When the Premier League came into being though, it was decided that opposing teams could have shorts in the same colour, once the clubs’ shirts and/or socks didn’t cause confusion.

A letter published in the Arsenal programme for the Coca-Cola Cup game against Derby County clarified the situation, though the mention that “all teams must wear their first-choice strip whenever there is no colour-clash” is, sadly, quaint.



Fantasy Kit Friday, 24-3-17 – Liverpool 1989


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Our friend Simon Treanor had an interesting request for Fantasy Kit Friday.

Simon lives in something of an alternate 1989-90 reality – we really do recommend downloading his outstanding Championship Manager 01-02 patch featuring that season – and he suggested a Liverpool away kit along the lines of the club’s sweatshirts and tracksuits, which were in the style of the famous West Germany World Cup-winning strip in 1990.

The only problem was which shorts and socks to use, so we decided that, like all good change kits, the option of interchangeability would exist and we present six different versions. We have taken slight liberties with the stripe layout on the shorts and socks, but in this parallel universe Liverpool would have had a nicer home kit than they actually did.

Midweek Mashup – Manchester City, 1985


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Logically, and as you can see from the previous entries in this series, most instances of teams wearing unusual combinations occur in away games, but this week’s edition is a rare example of a home team being forced into a switch.

As we looked at last month, Tottenham Hotspur introduced an all-white home kit in 1985. With the away kit being all sky-blue, there were no navy shorts available at all, and so where shorts-clashes occurred, they matched the home shirts with the away shorts, like this:


On August 31 of that season, Spurs travelled to Maine Road to face Manchester City. The hosts had had an all-blue kit until 1985 before reverting back to their traditional look and so Spurs lined out in the opposite. The game began with City in sky-white-sky and Spurs in white-sky-white, but after just a few minutes play was stopped.

Referee George Courtney (I once met him when he was the referee’s assessor at a Cork City-Cwmbran Town European Cup game in 1993, incidentally, but my nine-year-old self wasn’t aware of this and so couldn’t quiz him) felt that, in the sunny conditions, the kits weren’t distinct enoug and asked for a change.

Obviously, Spurs’ away – if they had brought it – would have clashed with City’s home, so the only option was for Billy McNeill’s team to don their away shirts and shorts, but with the home socks,


The alteration didn’t affect them too badly, as they won 2-1, and the programme for the next home game, against Manchester United on September 14, outlined previous examples of City wearing an away kit at home (though without explaining how it used to be a rule that both teams used to change when a kit-clash occurred in the FA Cup).


Incidentally, that wasn’t the most recent occasion that City were forced to change at home to Tottenham – but that’s a story for another time.