1970 World Cup kit-tracker – Group 4


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A little bit of history was created in this group as Morocco became the first World Cup side to carry numbers on their shorts, something which would become common from 1974 on.

Bulgaria 2 Peru 3

1970-World-Cup-kits-Group-4-Bulgaria-Peru-01With three teams who played in white shirts, it was similar to Group 1 in that each had a game in their second-choice tops.

Peru wore their home shorts and socks with their red jerseys, creating a sock-clash, while their players also carried black ribbons on their sleeves as a mark of respect in the wake of the Ancash earthquake and resultant mudslide, which killed as many as 70,000 people in what is still the country’s largest natural disaster.

Bulgaria goalkeeper Simeon Simeonov wore an old-fashioned sweater in contrast to his team-mates’ low-cut necks while Italian referee Antonio Sbardella was the only one of the 24 in Mexico not to have either white or black stocking tops.

West Germany 2 Morocco 1


As mentioned above, Morocco had shorts numbers as well as the crest on the right-hand side.

German goalkeeper Sepp Maier wore his own kit, a nice black and red outfit that he also used when playing with Bayern Munich.

Peru 3 Morocco 0

1970-World-Cup-kits-Group-4-Peru-Morocco-01Morocco changed to green shorts while Soviet referee Tofik Bakhramov – who was the linesman who awarded Geoff Hurst’s second goal in the 1966 World Cup final after his shot came down off the crossbar – wore a snazzy white belt.

West Germany 5 Bulgaria 2

1970-World-Cup-kits-Group-4-West-Germany-Bulgaria-01Bulgaria changed to red shirts but for the second game in a row they were involved in a sock-clash.

Peru 1 West Germany 3

1970-World-Cup-kits-Group-4-Peru-West-Germany-01Germany’s turn to change, into the traditional green shirts, though with a shorts-clash allowed despite them not being permitted in other games.

Perhaps Mexican referee Abel Aguilar Elizalde – with a shorter zip than his colleagues – was just a bit more easy-going.

Morocco 1 Bulgaria 1

1970-World-Cup-kits-Group-4-Morocco-Bulgaria-01Mohamed Hazzaz took over from Allal Ben Kassou in the Morcco goal and opted for yellow – Bulgaria also had a goalkeeping change but Stoyan Yordanov was dressed the same as Simeonov.

Most strangely, Bulgaria made it three for three on the sock-clash front as they switched to red.

Great one-offs – Cameroon, 1991



February 6, 1991 was a very cold night.

The pitch at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham was not short of snow for the Wales-Republic of Ireland (with an orange ball), while at Wembley the conditions were bitter too.

Cameroon were the visitors for a repeat of the 1990 World Cup quarter-final against England – though without Roger Milla, who was rumoured to have demanded an appearance free. The African side were also without their distinctive adidas shirts as two Gary Lineker goals gave England a 2-0 win.


As you can see, the shorts and socks were the same as what had been worn at Italia 90, but the kit was a mash-up in the truest form, with the shirts a green version of the sky-blue England third.

The story goes that the weather was so cold that Cameroon needed something warmer than their short-sleeved shirts and the FA and/or Umbro came to the rescue by badging up teamwear. It’s backed up by the fact that goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell was in a normal adidas long-sleeved goalkeeper shirt rather than Umbro.

It certainly seems a plausible theory, but if you know of any alternative story that can be backed up, do let us know.


1970 World Cup kit-tracker – Group 3


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This group included the holders as well as the eventual winners, with their game memorable for a save regarded as one of the best of all-time.

England 1 Romania 0


England had played Ecuador (yellow shirts with a blue sash) in a pre-tournament friendly and, with his yellow and blue tops unavailable, Gordon Banks had worn his red long-sleeved training jersey, with England crest and, according to Simon Shakeshaft, possibly number 3 (his training number) on the back.

However, for this game he was in his usual yellow for the first half and, when the confusion between him and the Romanian team was flagged, he wore a plain red t-shirt in the second half – perhaps the first professional goalkeeper to wear short sleeves?

Brazil 4 Czechoslovakia 1


Brazil had two sets of shirts, one made by Umbro and one by local supplier Athleta, but they were pretty much identical.

The goalkeeper jerseys did have differences in terms of the ‘Brasil’ script – we’d imagine Félix to be in the Athleta version here and it was the only one he wore in the group stages.

Czechoslovakia had an all-white kit but changed to blue socks here due to the clash.

Romania 2 Czechoslovakia 1


Having worn plain blue shorts against England, Romania had a set featuring three white stripes here – presumably adidas but possibly Le Coq Sportif.

Goalkeepers Stere Amadache of Romania and the Czechs’ Alexander Vencel were in outfits which were identical apart from their respective countries’ coats of arms – clearly they weren’t too worried about the Mexican heat.

England 0 Brazil 1


Until a few years ago, I had thought this was a shorts- and socks-clash with a “We’ll change one and you change the other” solution, like Chelsea v Luton in the 1994 FA Cup semi-final.

However, England had taken the decision to go all-white due to the heat (the shirts and shorts were Airtex too), so Brazil’s socks were the only change from the tournament defaults – quite why they chose grey is anyone’s guess.

According to the excellent England Football Online site, Gordon Banks switched from yellow to blue only five times between 1965 and 1970, but this save means the back-up shirt is remembered.

Brazil 3 Romania 2


The final round of games brought two direct colour-clashes, with Romania going with light blue shirts and white shorts. Their goalkeeper Stere Adamache had to retire injured in the first half, with his replacement Răducanu Necula wearing the blue shorts and red socks from the home kit.

Czechoslovakia 0 England 1


England opted for light blue rather than red as a second choice, with the crest unusually not on a white background (nor was it on the GK shirt).

However, viewers on black-and-white television were left confused by this match-up, with the result that England reverted to their more familiar back-up colour for the knockout stages.

Fantasy Kit Friday – Wimbledon and Liverpool, 1988


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This week marked the 30th anniversary of the 1988 FA Cup final, when Wimbledon denied Liverpool the double with a shock win – “The Crazy Gang has beaten the Culture Club,” as John Motson put it.

David Morrissey came up with the suggestion of reversing the kit styles of the respective clubs for this week’s FKF.


There’s a real Hellas Verona or Sweden away vibe to the Wimbledon kit, while the double-headed eagle from the crest perfectly substitutes the Liver bird running through the fabric.


Wimbledon did have red away shirts with white trim when they changed to Hummel and then Admiral, but their last change kit while with Spall had green accents.

Hard to imagine so much white on a Pool kit, but it could have been dressed up as a tribute to the 1900-06 change shirt. Incidentally, we’ve no idea how Spall were allowed to have three stripes on their socks.

1970 World Cup kit-tracker – Group 2


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The second part of our look back at the colours worn in Mexico in 1970 – see here for Group 1.

This section provided two of the semi-finalists in Italy and Uruguay, but it was a close battle – Italy topped the group on four points but Uruguay only edged out Sweden on goal-difference while Israel finished bottom with two.

Uruguay 2 Israel 0


With three teams in first-choice shirts of varying shades of blue, pleasing there was logic shown in that each country changed once. Israel were in a reversal of their normal jerseys.

To combat the Mexican heat, both they and Sweden had Umbro shirts in the new Airtex fabric (thanks to Simon Shakeshaft for this information), with tiny perforations running through the material to allow greater breathability.

Italy 1 Sweden 0


Sweden also had Umbro Airtex and the fact that the other three countries wore blue meant that they played all three games in their home kit, with goalkeeper Ronnie Hellström in the same green shirt.

English referee Jack Taylor wore one of the few shirts which didn’t have buttons or a zip all the way down the front.

Uruguay 0 Italy 0


Uruguay’s change shirts were plain white, with the same shorts and socks used.

Sweden 1 Israel 1


Oddly, the white socks worn with Israel’s home shirts were different to the plain set used with the away. Ethiopian referee Seyoum Tarekegn wore socks which had as much white on them as black, as well as massive cuffs on his shirt.

Sweden 1 Uruguay 0


Israel 0 Italy 0


Having changed to red for the game against Sweden, Israel goalkeeper Itzhak Vissoker stayed in it. Italy’s change shorts were of a slightly darker shade of blue, while the shirt design remains, to our minds, a classic.

League of Ireland Kit of The Week – Limerick City, 1991-92


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Earlier this week, Sam Allardyce “left his role” as Everton manager, his 11th different permanent post.

His first came nearly 27 years ago as player-manager of Limerick City, who had just been relegated from the League of Ireland Premier Division.

Limerick City had come into being in 1983 at the expense of Limerick United (essentially, the ground and players were the same but the ownership changed) and initially they wore yellow and green with an unusual crest:

Limerick City

However, by the time Allardyce had arrived, United’s blue and white had been restored as the colours while the circular crest now featured the Treaty Stone, a Limerick landmark.

While templates get something of a bad rap nowadays, we don’t have a huge problem with them once the design is one that works well in varying colourways.

Limerick’s at that time, made for adidas by Three-Stripe International in Cork, ticked that box, even if it was a style which had been seen on Bayern Munich up to five years previously.


Meanwhile, goalkeeper John Grace was at levels of snazziness that were dangerous for the League of Ireland in a crestless Taifun shirt.


Limerick reached the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup that season, losing to Cork City at Turner’s Cross. I was at the game and recall Allardyce giving himself number 8 despite playing in defence – a frustrated midfielder, perhaps?

The primary aim of promotion back to the Premier Division was achieved as they went up as champions, finishing five points ahead of Munster rivals Waterford United (this was still the era of two points for a win).

Allardyce’s sojourn on Shannonside was to end come the summer, though, with bigger things awaiting.

1970 World Cup kit-tracker – Group 1


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For the upcoming World Cup, we’re going to provide a daily kit-tracker, showing what the participating countries wear against each other, featuring outfield and goalkeeper kits as well as those of the officials.

As part of the build-up, we’ve been featuring notable strips from World Cups of old, and we’re ramping that up with retrospective kit-trackers from 1970 and 1990. First up is the 1970 Group 1, featuring hosts Mexico, USSR, Belgium and El Salvador.

Mexico 1 USSR 0


Both countries in home kits. Referees for the competition wore their own kits (FIFA provided breast patches), with West German Kurt Tschenscher essentially donning a zip-up jacket.

El Salvador 0 Belgium 3


For reasons best known to themselves, Belgium had long-sleeved shirts, not ideal for the Mexican heat. This was actually their away kit, with all-white favoured as the first choice, while goalkeeper Christian Piot’s jersey had a cummerbund effect.

Belgium 1 USSR 4


While both sides had worn white shorts when Mexico played the USSR, here the Soviets changed to navy. The Umbro logo was placed near the top of the Belgium shorts.

Mexico 4 El Salvador 0


A shorts and socks change for El Salvador, with Calderón switching from white to red. Note the shirt of referee Ali Kandil from the United Arab Republic – no white collar and rare short sleeves.

USSR 2 El Salvador 0


Chilean referee Rafarl Hormazábal Díaz wore the older-style jacket with white shirt underneath.

Belgium 0 Mexico 1


We presume Mexico’s change to their second kit was to avoid a shorts-clash. It meant a third different shirt for Mexico goalkeeper Ignacio Calderón, while his opposite number Piot may have expected Mexico to be in green, hence his orange top.


Arsenal: the adidas years



  • This piece was first published in February 2016, but with adidas strongly rumoured to be joining forces with Arsenal again from the summer of 2019, we felt it was worth revisiting, with updated graphics and added information.

It has been 24 years since Arsenal last wore adidas kits, but for fans of a certain age – certainly this quarter – they hold a certain cachet.

The German manufacturers began making the strips in 1986 and remained for eight years, with each home kit having navy trim and each away being a mix of a rich yellow, navy and red, but the timeline encompassed big changes in English football and kit design.

According to the excellent @TheArsenalShirt, Arsenal’s board were initially resistant to the idea of adidas putting their famous three-stripe mark on the equally famous white sleeves . Eventually, they were persuaded – apparently due to a fear that the stripes on the shoulders only would resemble too much the Liverpool shirt which had been released a year earlier when they partnered with adidas (see below right for our impression). The revised conditions were the stripes could only appear on the sleeves.


When shorts- or socks-clashes arose in away games, Arsenal wore their change strip, but that wasn’t an option at Watford. Games at Vicarage Road in 1986-87 and 1987-88 provided the only examples of Arsenal wearing anything other than red socks with the home kit during their adidas tenure.


The away strip took a lot of its cues from its Umbro predecessor, with a navy v-neck and red trim, with the design identical to the home apart from the contrasting sleeves and the lack of pinstriped shorts. The far-from-ideal scenario of mixing the home shorts with away shirts reared its head at Southampton (the combination was worn as Alan Shearer scored hat-trick on his Saints debut).


The goalkeeper shirt was in the traditional green, using adidas’s attractive geometric pattern. There was an odd variation with the trefoil logo and Arsenal cannon on opposite sides, while blue was used against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup in 1987.

The arrival of adidas coincided with George Graham’s appointment as Arsenal manager and he set about improving the Gunners’ fortunes. The club reached the Littlewoods Cup final in 1986-87 and 1987-88, beating Liverpool and losing to Luton Town respectively, with two different inscription styles used.

The tracksuit used in 1986-87 was navy with red and yellow panels – West Germany had exactly the same style, but with black instead of navy.


With kit marketing still in its relative infancy, this was an era of changing after two years, with no staggering of home and away kits. However, the tracksuit was refreshed for the 1987-88 season. Again, this was a template, with Liverpool having similar in red/white/grey.


When the kits were changed, the alterations weren’t all that drastic, with the 1988-90 Arsenal strips having a very similar design to those that went before.

On the home, adidas took advantage of their permission to use their stripes on the sleeves only by issuing the shirts in a raglan sleeve, which made the shoulders white for the first time. The JVC logo was now outlined, but otherwise, the kit was unchanged apart from the large blue panels on the shorts.


On the away strip, contrasting sleeves were used for the first time – perhaps surprising, given how the look had become so associated with Arsenal. Again, the home shorts were used when required.


Funnily enough, on its launch the away kit wasn’t greeted with universal approval, but the fact that it was worn when Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-0 to win the league in 1989 meant that it soon became a favourite, so much so that it was kept for a third season when the kit launches were eventually staggered.

While adidas did have a new goalkeeper shirt style featuring blocks laid out diagonally, John Lukic remained in the older style. Oddly, the layout of the logos changed, with the adidas much higher than the cannon.


For 1989-90, Lukic did change to the newer style, which had raglan sleeves and white piping as well as a slightly different collar. Another meeting with Plymouth, this time in the Littlewoods Cup, saw the blue called into action.

Also new for 89-90 was a tracksuit which took its cues from the West Germany shirt, though with navy instead of black. The design featured on sweatshirts too, with Liverpool and Manchester United having similar.


When a new home kit arrived in 1990, again it was more evolution that revolution. The white shoulders remained, with the adidas stripes switching from red to navy, while the neck was more rounded. More eye-catching was the change in fabric, with red ‘patches’ of varying shade. Clubs now had Football League patches on their sleeves too.


A new departure was how the goalkeeper strip now matched the style of the outfield shirt very closely.


Blue was again the back-up choice, worn against Norwich City in 1990-91 and 1991-92, though it was a little bit of overkill as other clubs wore green against them with no problems.

There were two variants – both were in the same style as the green but in 90-91 black was the secondary colour with no trim or adidas stripes while the latter version more closely followed the green, albeit with a red crest.

As Arsenal moved towards a second title in three years, games away to Southampton and Sunderland saw the new home shorts worn with the nearly-three-years-old away shirts, the red panel jarring.



Off the field, as well as a tracksuit – this time a unique design, featuring a section with the same pattern as the home shirt and asymmetrical yellow flashes – Arsenal now marketed a shellsuit. Navy with red panels and white and yellow trim, it was favoured by George Graham for the team pictures in 1990-91 and 1991-92.

The summer of 1991 saw adidas make their boldest move with Arsenal’s kit, an away kit which would come to be known as ‘the bruised banana’, for obvious reasons, and also became a regular fixture of ‘worst-ever kits’ articles (we won’t link, you know where to find them). That it was worn as Arsenal lost 2-1 to fourth-division Wrexham in the 1992 FA Cup third round didn’t help.


Both the new shirt and the home featured small banners beneath the crest marking the fact that Arsenal had won the league the previous season.


While the champions text was on the home shirts used in European Cup away games against Austria Vienna and Benfica (UEFA changed the kit rules that season so that home sides changed when there was a clash), for the home legs the away shirts were without it.

Another difference to the yellow and navy kit for Europe was with regard to the numbers, with greater clarity demanded so a clear yellow patch was used. These shirts were then used domestically after a 3-1 defeat to Benfica at Highbury saw Arsenal exit the competition.

For the first time, bespoke yellow alternative shorts were available, used for games at Southampton and Sheffield United in 1991-92.


The bruised banana was retained for the first Premier League campaign in 1992-93 – the last shirt in English professional football to have the adidas trefoil logo. Because the Premier League ruled that shorts-clashes were allowed, the yellow shorts weren’t used in that second season.

Arsenal were the pre-season favourites to regain their title and they were decked out in a new home kit, with the white sleeves being eroded to a greater extent by three blocks, two red and one navy, the same style as had been worn by Germany at the European Championship. A tonal three-stripe motif ran through the fabric while the new adidas logo and Arsenal crest were placed centrally.


A new goalkeeper shirt template was launched by adidas in 1992 and quickly became ubiquitous.

Perhaps cognisant of the factt that Premier League referees would be wearing green, Arsenal had a blue first-choice goalkeeper shirt, though the green – largely used in domestic cups, where officials still wore black – was available to buy too, the first time that had happened.

When the blue clashed with opponents, grey was favoured though, oddly, David Seaman wore a red shirt for the game away to Blackburn Rovers.

Arsenal reached both the Coca-Cola and FA Cup finals in 1993, coincidentally both against Sheffield Wednesday, winning both 2-1, the latter after a replay. Special inscriptions were place on the left breast of the shirt.

Those games also saw squad numbering used by the two clubs. Whereas Arsenal had used a traditional style in the league, a blockier font was employed for the games at Wembley.

As in 1990, there were two tracksuits. The jackets were pretty much identical in construction, with the red version marketed as a ‘travel suit’. It didn’t have pockets while the trousers were cuffed.

Squad numbers came into force in the Premier League for 1993-94. Arsenal used the same lettering but this time the numbers were a more common adidas style. In the European Cup Winners’ Cup, the older, rounder numbers were initially used before the adidas type – without the logo, which wasn’t allowed by UEFA – replaced them.

The last new Arsenal shirt produced by adidas was the 1993-94 away, which continued the pattern of aggressive branding that they had instigated in 1991 with the over-the-shoulder stripes on the Liverpool kits. While initial advertising showed the stripes on the shorts to follow on directly from those on the shirt, this was modified.

One oddity was that, in the kit’s first outing, the 1993 Charity Shield penalty shootout defeat to Manchester United, the socks had navy tops but they had reverted to yellow for the trip to Old Trafford in the league in September.


For the first time, the Arsenal goalkeeper kit featured its own shorts and socks, with black the favoured colour, in the same style as the new Liverpool kits. An unusual feature that the fabric pattern was in the style of the famous adidas Tango football.

For the game at home to Manchester United (who had an all-black kit) in March 1994, David Seaman wore the previous blue goalkeeper shirt with the black shorts and socks.


Due to UEFA rules, the black goalkeeper kit wasn’t seen in Arsenal’s successful European Cup Winners’ Cup run, with the green 92-93 shirt used most often.

This was also the case for the final against Parma, though UEFA’s rules at the time prohibiting shirt sponsorship in finals, so special editions were worn. Note how David Seaman had now taken to removing the collar from his shirt.


Again, there was a special inscription, this time below the crest.


By that stage, it had already been announced that Nike were to take over the adidas contract from the 1994-95 season. The American firm announced themselves with a ‘halving’ of the white sleeves and a navy blue away kit, but did produce some classics over their 20-year association.

When their departure was confirmed, there were strong rumours that adidas and Arsenal would link again, but ultimately they didn’t materialise as Puma became the new suppliers.

As Puma’s deal is set to expire, though, it seems the the three stripes are about to return.

World Cup Classics – Australia, 1974


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While they don’t feature on the Australian flag, green and gold are the country’s colours when it comes to sport.

First adopted by the country’s cricketers in 1899, they were donned by Australian Olympians in 1912 and the football/soccer team followed suit in 1924, a few years ahead of rugby league and rugby union. Light blue had been used by the football team before then.

In 1965, white socks were adopted and would remain until 1989, a period taking in the Socceroos’ first appearance at the World Cup in 1974. A classic 1970s style v-neck insert collar was used at the time, but there would be a few notable changes for the tournament in West Germany.


You’re not seeing things – that kit does indeed have the Umbro double diamond and adidas’s famous three-stripe sleeve markings.

Thanks to Simon Shakeshaft, we know that adidas had an agreement with FIFA to underwrite the costs of the World Cup and showcase their new branding. The Australian Soccer Federation had a deal with Umbro, who were in league with adidas at the time. They were the German firm’s sole footwear distributor in the UK while providing textiles expertise in return.

Adidas wanted a presence in the Australian market and the shirt three stripes gave them a profile. The shirt was actually an Umbro airtex jersey carrying the double-diamond logo with three stripes added down the sleeves – in contravention of the rules for the competition, which stated that only type of brading was allowed on each kit element.

Special permission was granted to Australia and Umbro took inspiration with their own diamond sleeve taping later in the decade.

For the game against Chile, who also had white socks, Australia switched to green hosiery.


The campaign for white socks to return was started in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2011, and they did for the 2014 World Cup. However, it was the ‘proper’ Umbro style that Nike replicated rather than the adidas/Umbro hybrid.

Great one-offs – Manchester United, 1991



We are approaching the 27th anniversary of Manchester United’s first European trophy under Sir Alex Ferguson, the 1991 European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Barcelona were United’s opponents in the final, with both sides changing kits, which was often the practice back then. Not too long ago, we looked at Barça’s 1980s change kits and they were in their light blue shirts, which meant that United couldn’t wear their own blue alternative.

The previous white away strip was used that season as a third shirt against Pécsi Mecsek earlier in the competition and also at Aston Villa in the league (thanks to United Kits, as always). As it was a final, a new set of shirts would have been produced with special inscriptions and even if they hadn’t planned on doing so, the prohibition on shirt sponsorship made it necessary.

So it was that, instead of a shirt style which was three years old, adidas came up with what was essentially a white version of the home shirt released the previous summer, though without the zig-zags running through the fabric.

The home shorts were used as well as one-off socks (the 1988-90 away socks had been used as the home alternatives). Oddly, the shirts featured Football League patches on the sleeves.

Two Mark Hughes goals gave United victory and commemorative replica shirts were produced, with the words ‘European Cup Winners’ Cup’ above the crest, whereas the match-worn examples didn’t have ‘European’, while ‘Winners’ replaced ‘1991’ below the badge.

Despite going on sale, it didn’t become the official third shirt, though. In 1991-92, at Villa and West Ham, the older away shirt was once again worn, giving it four years of service.