Fantasy Kit Friday, 26-5-17 – Real Madrid in 1988 adidas

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Bit of an interesting one, this.

Back in February, we did a Fantasy Kit Friday on what Real Madrid might have looked like if they had had Umbro kits in the late 1980s:

It was a time of great kit templates by more than a few manufacturers – witness what Hummel were doing for Tottenham Hotspur, for example, or AC Milan’s Kappa kits – and perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that we received another request for Real and that era, but this time in adidas:

That style is always a popular one – we looked at the original not so long ago and there was an Ireland FKF too – and then an open goal presented itself in terms of a companion home kit.

Next season’s Real Madrid kit will utilise a pattern seen on adidas goalkeeper shirts in the late 80s and also used by Sweden at Italia 90, so it made sense to do a ‘fauxback’ of that. It’s not a million miles from the PSV kit worn in the 1988 European Cup final.

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The evolution of adidas goalkeeper shirt designs – Part 7

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The latest addition to our series plays something of a sweeper role, rounding up those designs of the late 80s and early 90s which had yet to be classified, as well as looking at a developing theme in British goalkeeper shirts.

We’ll start with one as unusual for the team wearing it as the design. In the 1980s, Brazil’s Olympic committee had an all-encompassing deal with adidas. It meant that they wore this in the 1984 football competition and green shorts in 1988 as well as a beautiful blue away strip.

Goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel had blue and green versions of a wavy, gradient design, coupled with the home socks – though we’d have preferred the ‘Brazil’ across the chest.

The only variant we can find is that worn by René Higuita of Colombia in Italia 90 qualifying – indeed, he was wearing it in his sticker for the Orbis World Cup 90 part-work collection.

adidas-Colombia-goalkeeper-camiseta-jersey-1989-Higuita-01-01

As we saw in Part 6, Higuita wore three other styles at the World Cup, as did Argentina’s Sergio Goycochea, albeit only on the bench for one of them. Having taken over as first-choice goalkeeper from Nery Pumpido after the country’s runner-up finish, he continued to enjoy a varied wardrobe.

Away to England in May 1991, he was seen in another variation of the ‘scribbles’ design:

adidas-Argentina-green-goalkeeper-camiseta-jersey-1991-Goycochea

Then, later that summer, he had something plainer as Argentina won the Copa America, the yellow was favoured but the pink was used against Brazil. A nice, solid design, we know of no other examples.

If that was playing it safe, at the next Copa, in 1993, it was the complete opposite, again in a style which seems to have been unique to Argentina. A multi-coloured gradient, black shards emanating from nowhere and the crest repeated throughout the fabric – it would be hard to find something more 90s.

adidas-Argentina-portero-goalkeeper-camiseta-jersey-1993-Goycochea

In between, in at least one game in 1992 he wore another colour variant of the Taifun shirt which Bodo Illgner and Silviu Lung had worn at Italia 90.

adidas-Argentina-portero-goalkeeper-camiseta-jersey-1992-Taifun-Goycochea

That same summer, at Euro 92 Illgner was wearing it a different colourway too, one which looked perfect for Germany (left). An oddity though is the one he wore in a friendly against Brazil in 1993 (right), which featured a sprinkling of the same colour pink which had appeared on his 1990 shirt.

adidas-Germany-Taifun-goalkeeper-torwart-trikot-jersey-1992-Illgneradidas-Germany-Taifun-goalkeeper-torwart-trikot-jersey-1993-Illgner-Brazil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Domestically, there was something different afoot, as adidas began to provide goalkeeper shirts for clubs which employed a fabric pattern similar to that seen on the outfield offerings.

This began, subtly, with their first set of Liverpool kits in 1985. While Bruce Grobbelaar did occasionally wear green versions of the dip-dye shirt of part 1 and the diagonal stripes of part 3, he was most often seen in yellow that season.

Featuring a massive collar, it had the same weave as the home, away and third kits, with the Liverbird and adidas trefoil repeating. There was also a white version, possibly only worn in the Screen Sport Super Cup semi-final first leg against Norwich in February 1986.

adidas-Liverpool-goalkeeper-shirt-yellow-jersey-1985-1986-Bruce-Grobbelaar-01adidas-Liverpool-goalkeeper-shirt-white-jersey-1985-1986-Bruce-Grobbelaar-01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the launch of a new set of kits in 1987, the practice was stopped – or at least interrupted – as Grobbelaar went with the geometric style of part 4. Then, in 1989, Liverpool’s new ‘speckled’ home shirt was joined a green goalkeeping top in the same style.

adidas-Liverpool-goalkeeper-shirt-jersey-1989-1991-Bruce-Grobbelaar

A year later, and Arsenal would follow a similar suit, even including the same neck style with ‘AFC’ monogram.

In the 90-91 season, David Seaman’s change blue shirt – worn against Norwich – lacked any collar trim or adidas stripes, but in 91-92 it more resembled the green shirt.

adidas-Arsenal-1990-1992-goalkeeper-home-shirt-kit-01adidas-Arsenal-1990-1992-goalkeeper-change-shirt-kit-01-01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manchester United were a slightly different case. On their 1990-92 home shirt, the zig-zag stripes were in a lighter red to the rest, but adidas opted to make them stand out in black on the goalkeeper jersey.

adidas-Manchester-United-green-goalkeeper-shirt-jersey-1990-1991-Les-Sealey

The final example of this was Scottish club Hibernian, whose shirts were similar to green versions of Arsenal’s, but with subtle differences. They too had an esoteric pattern on their 1991-93 home and away kits, repeated on yellow and red goalkeeper shirts, as well as unique three-stripe collar and cuff trim.

adidas-Hibernian-yellow-goalkeeper-shirt-1991-Burridgeadidas-Hibernian-red-goalkeeper-shirt-1991-Burridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, when the won the 1991 Scottish League Cup, goalkeeper John Burridge was wearing a Taifun shirt.

***

A big, aggressive change was coming on the adidas goalkeeper shirt front, though. More in part 8.

Midweek Mashup – Tottenham Hotspur, 1981

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  • Another suggestion by Lee Hermitage – read about Tottenham’s drink problems in the 1987 FA Cup final here

Next season will see Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League for the first time, the club back in the top flight for the first time since 1983.

The Seagulls will be in their customary blue and white stripes, so when Tottenham go there they will wear a change kit in what will be an all-Nike match-up. This is what happened when the clubs met in Division 2 in 1978, for instance.

Having been promoted in 1979, Brighton opted for a change in their second season in Division 1, 1980-81, going with an all-blue adidas kit. This meant that Spurs could wear their home shirts at the Goldstone Ground, though a shorts change was required .

This was Tottenham’s first season with Le Coq Sportif and, while they would produce white shorts for the following season’s European Cup Winners’ Cup campaign, their only option here was to wear the yellow away set.

Tottenham-Hotspur-Spurs-Le-Coq-Sportif-1980-1981-kit-yellow-shorts-Brighton

The concept of using yellow elements with the home kit wasn’t that new – they had worn yellow socks in the 1971 League Cup final, for example – but this look was certainly out of the ordinary.

We’re not fans of yellow shirts with white shorts, but this wasn’t totally horrific. It didn’t affect performance either, as Spurs won 2-0.

As to whether blue shorts against navy is actually clash, that seems to be a subjective matter – in 1983, Spurs didn’t have to change.

Midweek Mashup – Southampton, 1986

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Southampton don’t tend to ‘do’ change shorts with their home kit all that much.

They did occasionally don white shorts at Tottenham in the late 80s, while the interchangeable nature of their kits in 2001-02 and 2002-03 meant that it was done then too, most notably in the FA Cup semi-final against Watford.

As far as we can ascertain, this year’s Europa League clash away to Inter Milan was the first time since 2003 that they wore stripes with anything other than black shorts, as their away would have clashed with the Italian side too.

Primarily red shirts in 2012-13 and 2013-14 were paired with red shorts as first-choice, but it was not a completely new look for the club.

Southampton spent seven years with Patrick from 1980, and the French firm seemed keen to deviate away from the famous stripes. Their first shirt for the Saints, which lasted five years, was technically stripes, but just one white one between two red.

In 1985, they continued the move away, with just white and black shoulder panels taking from red’s dominance, while the only stripes were shadow ones in the fabric.

The classic black shorts and white socks remained, meaning a change was needed when Southampton travelled to face white-socked Everton in the penultimate game of the season.

Everton were still chasing a second successive title, but were two points behind rivals Liverpool and, perhaps seeking to spook them, Southampton opted for red shorts as well as the change socks.

Southampton-1985-1987-Patick-home-kit-shirt-red-shorts-socks-Everton

If it was mind-games, it was not a successful ploy – Everton won 6-1, and would also beat West Ham the following week, but Liverpool’s final-day win at Chelsea ensured they regained the title and they would also beat Everton in the FA Cup final.

Guest post – when Tottenham didn’t get all the beers in

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Today, May 16, marks the 30th anniversary of Coventry City’s only major silverware win to date, the 1987 FA Cup final victory over Tottenham after extra time.

From a purely kit-nerd point of view, it was an interesting match-up. After two years in their first Hummel kit, Spurs opted to launch their new outfit for the final.

Their 87-89 kit would see a return to navy shorts, however, and the clubs’ first-choice strips would have been been slightly troublesome from an overall clash point of view – earlier that season, Tottenham had had to wear Coventry’s yellow away shirts at Highfield Road as they weren’t allowed to wear their home shirts with change navy shorts and socks.

A sensible compromise was reached in the form of the clubs swapping shorts colours, and therefore both being allowed to wear home shirts. Coventry had had navy shorts in beating Leeds United in the semi-finals, and Tottenham were more than familiar with all-white.

That’s not the primary focus of the piece, though. Instead, our friend (and Tottenham fan) Lee Hermitage of NWM Football will take you through an incident which has gone down in kit-snafu folklore. Take it away, Lee:

***

“It’s the most exciting F.A. Cup Final on which I’ve had the pleasure of commentating,” – that was John Motson’s immediate summing up at Wembley on the afternoon of May 16, 1987.

Coventry’s 3-2 win over Tottenham is still fondly regarded as one the greatest ever FA Cup Finals, but 30 years on it’s also remembered as the biggest ‘fashion fail’ in football kit history – not all of the new Spurs shirts carried the logo of sponsors Holsten.

tottenham-hotspur-spurs-hummel-1987-fa-cup-final-white-shorts-coventry-no-holsten

So, who wore what and what happened? Apparently, once Tottenham decided to go with the new kit, four sets of shirts were delivered to the club, and sent onwards for embroidery, two short-sleeved and two long-sleeved.

The story I’ve often heard is that, with the shirts being brand-new, there was no ‘play’ in them. A number of the players put a shirt on, felt it was too snug, so discarded it and took the second shirt – which just happened to be the unsponsored ones!

Obviously, Ray Clemence’s goalkeeper’s shirt was fine. Mitchell Thomas (no. 3) was the only player to take a long sleeved shirt.

The rest of the THFC team was as follows:
2. Chris Hughton – with Holsten
4. Steve Hodge – with Holsten
5. Richard Gough – NO HOLSTEN
6. Gary Mabbutt – NO HOLSTEN
7. Clive Allen – with Holsten
8. Paul Allen – NO HOLSTEN
9. Chris Waddle – with Holsten
10. Glenn Hoddle – NO HOLSTEN
11. Ossie Ardiles – NO HOLSTEN
12. Nico Claesen – with Holsten
14. Gary Stevens – NO HOLSTEN.

The subject has been visited in more than a few books. Here’s Clive Allen in There’s Only One Clive Allen:

The final will also be remembered for the controversy surrounding the Spurs shirts, only some of which carried the name of Holsten. There was one almighty row about it afterwards.

I can honestly say that no one in the dressing room noticed anything amiss before we went out. You just don’t look at things like what is written on your shirt a few minutes you got out to play in an FA Cup final. All you are thinking about is the game ahead.

The first I noticed was when we were warming up out on the pitch. I saw there was no sponsor’s name written on Glenn Hoddle’s shirt. He came towards me and I said to him, “What about your Holsten?”. Quick as a flash, he replied, “Clive, I’ve got a game to play. I don’t think we should have a drink just now!”

I noticed my cousin Paul didn’t have the logo on his shirt either. People have asked since why we didn’t change at half-time and all I can say is that during the interval in a cup final players tend to be a bit preoccupied. We were leading and we spent the precious 15 minutes encouraging each other, trying to make sure we were exactly in the right frame of mind for the second period.

It never occurred to anyone suggest changing shirts. That sort of thing just doesn’t enter into the conversation. I still can’t give the definitive account of what happened.

The only thing that comes to mind is that there were three sets of shirts in the skip that contained our kit. With new shirts, the fit isn’t always right for the player concerned. He might ask for the second one, and maybe it was those that didn’t have the Holsten logo on. Mine fitted all right first time, and I had the sponsor’s name on the front.

Gary Mabbutt, in Winning Their Spurs by Jeremy Novick:

The kit comes folded with their numbers showing, so you don’t see the front of the shirt. In the dressing room, we put our shirts on and then we put our cup final tracksuits straight on.

We went out not knowing, and it was only just before the game that anyone noticed. I’d taken my tracksuit off and Chris Hughton who was standing next to me said, “Look at your shirt.”

When we looked around, there were about five or six of us without Holsten on our shirts. We didn’t change. It was a huge thing and caused a lot of uproar. I think people were sacked because of it.

In the end, I don’t know what the deal was because Holsten got more publicity out of the situation than they would have done if all the shirts were the same. To us, it was funny.

The following day there was a picture in the papers – I think it was me, Glenn Hoddle and Paul Allen and none of us had Holsten on our shirts. If you can imagine this whole page in the paper and the headline above it was, “I bet they drink Carling Black Label”. Very quick, very sharp.

Roy Reyland (Spurs’ kit man) in his autobiography Shirts, Shorts & Spurs (with Jeff Maysh):

I watched from the stands as the team trotted out on to the pitch, and stripped off their warm up jackets to prepare for kick-off. I could instantly tell something was wrong but couldn’t put my finger on it.

Typically, Johnny Wallis [at that point Spurs’ senior kit man] had been his usual guarded self when it came to the first team kit, and had personally sent the shirts off to have the words ‘FA Cup Final 1987’ embroidered below the cockerel.

What he somehow missed was that only half of them carried the name of the beer brand that had paid us hundreds of thousands of pounds to be seen on the players’ chests during the biggest televised game of the year. It became possibly the best advertising Spurs and Holsten ever had.

But for Johnny, I was heartbroken. It’s every kit man’s nightmare to make a mistake. It’s the kind of thing you dread and for it to happen to Johnny, after three decades of absolute dedication to detail and an obsessive attention to perfection, it was the worst last day of a career you could possibly imagine.

I officially took over as kit manager during the weeks following that ill-fated final. No one would ask Johnny any questions, but a few weeks later I summoned the courage to ask him, not just out of curiosity, but also out of genuine fear of repeating the same mistake.

“We had some shirts made up for the youth team, and because these lads are not 18 years old, it’s illegal for them to advertise an alcoholic brand”. The blank shirts had found their way into the bag on the way to the embroiderers, and by the time they arrived at Wembley it was just too late to do anything about it.

And from Spurs chairman Irving Scholar’s Behind Closed Doors:

I was so engrossed in the game that it was not until around 35 minutes that someone tapped me on the shoulder to draw my attention to the fact that some of the players had the Holsten logo missing from their shirts.

I tried to get someone to find Peter Day [then THFC’s secretary] at half -ime so that he could contact the dressing room about the shirts, but he was nowhere to be found. I later discovered what happened was that four sets of shirts had been delivered to the club about three weeks before the final.

There were two sets of long-sleeved and two sets of short-sleeved, but only one set of the short sleeved had the sponsor’s name printed on them. For weeks, they lay in Peter Day’s office, nobody bothering about them, nobody expecting a problem. The day before Wembley, Johnny Wallis loaded them in the skips.

Amazingly, nobody in the dressing room noticed, and David Pleat explained afterwards that the tension was so great that the sponsors logo was the last thing on the players mind.

On the Monday morning I, along with David Pleat, Peter Day and Mike Rollo [Commercial Manager] met Holsten. We feared the worst, but Alan Bridget, Holsten’s chairman took a very understanding view and made it clear that there was no question of withdrawing the sponsorship.

But if relations with Holsten were repaired, there were some casualties at Tottenham as a result of this fiasco. John Wallis was relegated to the reserve team, Roy Reyland took over as the first team kit man, and poor Peter Day lost his job. I was sorry to see him go, and had no hesitation in giving him references later.

***

Looking back from my point of view 30 years on, it remains one of the finest games of football I’ve been to. At some point on Tuesday, I will settle back with a pint (Guinness, rather than Holsten) and stick the game on.

As the game reaches the sixth minute of extra time, I will wince and look away as Lloyd McGrath’s cross bounces upwards and off Gary Mabbutt’s knee and over Ray Clemence – but will also have a chuckle at the most famous cock-up in football kit history.

 

The great GAA kit-off

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Pride In The Jersey, the Gaelic games affiliate of this site, is in severe need of an overhaul.

Set up in 2010, it has made a big dent in charting the entire kit history of the counties involved in Gaelic football  and hurling, but last year’s change to Adobe Illustrator graphics rather than MS Paint means that the graphics there are out of date.

There has been background work to update these, and to expedite the process I have decided to have a Twitter competition to determine the best set of kits across the 36 ‘counties’ (the 32 actual counties on the island of Ireland, expatriate sides London, Warwickshire and New York and Fingal, part of Dublin but competing in a lower tier in hurling).

Basically, it will involve showing the jerseys of two counties (first-choice, goalkeeper(s) and change, if applicable) and asking users to choose which they prefer in a poll. For example, these are the four which would feature for Cork – red primary shirt, white goalkeeper and alternative, blue goalkeeper alternative and hooped goalkeeper alternative:

Rather than using the GAA’s own inequitable provincial system, we have decided for a straight knockout open draw, with four preliminary round games followed by rounds of 32, 16, eight, four and two to arrive at a winner.

Following this morning’s draw for the preliminary round, independently adjudicated by the rasher sandwich we had yet to eat for breakfast, the first four ties are:

  • Wicklow v Westmeath (update: Wicklow have advanced)
  • Mayo v Kilkenny (Mayo won)
  • Leitrim v Kerry
  • Waterford v Longford
  • Down v Warwickshire

These will go to poll on Twitter next week, with a recap of the results here before another open draw then for the first round proper.

Midweek Mashup – Everton, 2007

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It seems like it shouldn’t work, Everton wearing blue shirts, white shorts and white socks playing away to Sheffield Wednesday.

Everton-Umbro-2007-2007-navy-third-white-short-socks-Sheffield Wednesday

In the summer of 2007, the Toffees launched a new all-navy third kit with royal blue and white trim, joining the classic home style and a white and black away – though a white and navy away, or all-black third, would have allowed interchangeability of the away and third shorts and socks.

While the logic of two blue shirts might have been called into question, the overall look was closer to black than blue, with no problems against teams in royal and white.

In the third round of the Carling Cup, Everton were drawn away to Sheffield Wednesday, who had black shorts and socks that season, necessitating a change on Everton’s part, with home shorts and socks mixed with the third shirt.

A slight hint of an overall clash, perhaps, but the blue sleeves on the Wednesday home meant the white didn’t show up as much and the Everton shorts and socks didn’t add to the confusion.

Umbro ‘Hampden’ – a goalkeeping classic

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Regular readers of the blog will have noticed an affinity for goalkeeper shirts, most notably how the adidas designs developed from the early 80s onwards.

The German company didn’t have a monopoly on classy netminder looks, and time constraints are what prevent us from charting more. Part 7 of the adidas series is coming soon, but we will deviate slightly today with a look at an Umbro offering for which we have a lot of affection.

Dubbed ‘Hampden’ in its teamwear catalogues, it appeared in 1988 at a time when goalkeeper shirts were beginning to get busy, but it was very nicely restrained, with two-tone shoulder panels the only excesses. By the time it was superseded in 1991, it appeared almost anachronistic compared to others.

Templates get a bad rap, but we like a design that can be tailored to good effect. The clarity of colour allocation meant that the design could be easily adapted to different schemes, and we have been able to chart five different main colours used by professional teams in Britain.

Of the clubs supplied by Umbro at the time, most seem to have used it apart from Celtic and Everton*, who generally had bespoke designs. The classic green was of course the most popular, as worn by Steve Sutton and Mark Crossley of Nottingham Forest and the likes of Tommy Wright and John Burridge at Newcastle United.

1989-1991-Nottingham-Forest-green-goalkeeper-kit-Mark-CrossleyNewcastle-United-1988-1991-Umbro-goalkeeper-shirt-green-Burridge

When he was with Wimbledon, Dave Beasant often wore a yellow Spall shirt, most notably in captaining them to the 1988 FA Cup. After an unhappy spell at Newcastle United, he joined Chelsea and wore the yellow version a lot at Stamford Bridge, though he also had another, plainer, shirt.

Chelsea-Umbro-1988-1991-yellow-goalkeeper-shirt-Dave-Beasant

Theo Snelders of Aberdeen also wore yellow, but with black as a secondary colour rather than navy, swapping positions with the grey. This one also had a contrast neck.

Aberdeen-1989-1991-Umbro-yellow-goalkeeper-shirt-Theo-Snelders

Abtrust took over as sponsors in 1990, with Snelders – a Tom Cruise lookalike – having had JVC on his shirt when they beat Celtic in the 89-90 Scottish Cup final on penalties – fittingly at Hampden Park. The old stadium was fairly rundown by this stage, but, to our mind, there is something very romantic about the look of packed, open terraces.

The blue edition appeared in the Leeds United team pictures for 1988-89 and 1989-90, but the only matchworn instance we can find of it being worn by United was when Mervyn Day donned it in a friendly against Shelbourne of Ireland in the summer of 1991. Had the grey panel been white, it would have worked even better with the Whites’ yellow away shorts.

Beasant also wore it at Newcastle on occasion, while Forest also used it.

1989-1991-Leeds-United-blue-goalkeeper-kit-Mervyn-Day-Shelbourne-Tolka-Park

The grey shirt wasn’t all that common, either. We had thought that Chris Turner of Sheffield Wednesday wearing an unbadged, unsponsored top was the only sighting…

Sheffield-Wednesday-1989-1991-Umbro-grey-goalkeeper-shirt-Chris-Turner

…but then Frazinho on The Glove Bag forums reminded us that there was also an England example.

In their final game of 1989, the last in the home shirt launched in 1987, England hosted Yugoslavia and Chris Woods and Dave Beasant wore this shirt along with the almost-matching shorts of the kit Peter Shilton wore at the 1986 World Cup.

England-Umbro-1989-grey-goalkeeper-shirt-Yugoslavia-Dave-Beasant-Chris-Woods

John Hallworth of Oldham wore it too. The retail grey version had blue and black panels rather than yellow and navy.

Despite being the country which played its home games at Hampden, Scotland didn’t use the shirt much. Instead, their first-choice goalkeeper strip from 1988-91 was one which might be described as a cousin of the Hampden, with a different layout of the panels.

Incidentally, England’s Peter Shilton also wore this against Scotland in 1989 when they travelled north with only a blue goalkeeper shirt available, which of course clashed with the home team. As Shilton said, there was no point in him swapping with opposite number Jim Leighton after the game.

Scotland-Umbro-1988-1991-grey-yellow-goalkeeper-shirt-Jim-Leighton-World-Cup

The version above was worn by Leighton in all three of Scotland’s games at the 1990 World Cup – despite the fact that they were in the same group as Brazil and Sweden, the red Hampden shirt remained in the kitbag. It had been worn on a few occasions in the qualifiers for Italy,

Oddly, though, it was worn by Andy Goram against Romania in October 1991, despite the fact that a new purple and green shirt had accompanied the new kit launched earlier that year. The old red shirt with the new shorts and socks wasn’t a great match-up.

Scotland-Umbro-1989-1992-red-goalkeeper-shirt-Romania-Andy-Goram

* Neville Southall of Everton did wear the red and yellow on one occasion each as his bespoke green shirt clashed with Sheffield Wednesday’s away kit in 1988-89 and 1989-90. Thanks to Paul Owens for this info.

Newcastle United: the Asics years

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The first set of Newcastle United kits made by adidas are rightly lauded – for instance, The Football Attic ranked the home as the eighth-greatest shirt of all-time.

Therefore, it’s possibly easy to forget those strips’ predecessors, which are certainly worth remembering. Asics only made the Newcastle kit for two years, 1993-95, but they managed to come up with a great set of outfits.

At the time, the Japanese company was in the midst of a big push in English football – between 1989 and 2001, they also made kits for Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bradford City, Coventry City, Leeds United, Millwall, Norwich City, Portsmouth, Stoke City and Sunderland. While they are no longer active in Britain, they do still provide for Vissel Kobe in their homeland.

Their arrival at St James’ Park marked the end of the ‘barcode’ shirt, Umbro’s last for the Magpies, and in fact the new Asics kit premiered in the final game of the successful 1992-93 first division campaign, a 7-1 win over Leicester City, with special jumpers worn for the trophy presentation.

Design-wise, the home was pretty much as classy as you could get with black and white stripes, with the black cuffs, trimmed in blue, providing the only adornment while there was a splash of the blue on the collar too.

Newcastle-United-1993-1995-asics-home-kit-shirt-Newcastle-Brown-Ale-Breweries-Blue-Star

In a piece for Planet Football, this shirt was ranked as one of the best of the 1990s by Daniel Storey, though he is slightly incorrect in referring to the ‘Blue Star’ version as merely a special edition.

The famous logo, featuring the Tyne Bridge, represented Newcastle Brown Ale, produced by what was then known as Scottish & Newcastle. With Newcastle Brown predominantly popular in the north-east, this shirt was only worn in home games as a dual sponsorship model was adopted – the name of the more widely-sold McEwan’s Lager appeared for away matches, home televised games and clashes with bigger clubs at St James’, with photos would be more likely to appear in national newspapers.

Basically, it was like Major League Baseball teams wearing their team name on home jerseys and city name on away jerseys. Across 1993-94 and 1994-95, Newcastle played 104 competitive games, wearing black and white stripes in 93 – the McEwan’s logo appeared in 59 of those and the Blue Star in 34.

There were two versions of the McEwan’s. For the first three games of 1993-94 – at home to Tottenham and away to Coventry and Manchester United – it appeared in yellow, with white socks worn in the latter match (notice though how both sock styles featured Blue Stars!).

Such a colour choice made visibility difficult so, for the televised game at home to Everton, the logo was now in white on a black background.

Newcastle-United-1993-1995-asics-home-kit-shirt-McEwans-Lager

Replica version of the Blue Star and McEwan’s editions were available, and Newcastle fan Stephen Best told us that the McEwan’s shirt actually had the black patch placed over the original yellow writing. You can see that this was the case with the player shirts too, as evidenced by wear and tear to Steve Howey’s in the background here:

Howey94

Oddly though, after the Blue Star appeared against Blackburn at St James’, the yellow McEwan’s was back for one final game, away to Ipswich. The white socks were worn in this game too, but this was the only instance of the Toon changing against a team with blue socks.

Incidentally, for a lot of 93-94, there was a difference in the shirt numbers too – the Blue Star had a squarer style, with the McEwan’s featuring the rounded font as which appeared on Asics’ other kits. A newer set of Blue Star shirts later in the season had the rounder numbers.

Apart from the white socks as used at Old Trafford and Portman Road, Newcastle also had white shorts available, and these were seen against Wimbledon in the league in 93-94 and 94-95 (they went there in the Coca-Cola Cup in 1993 too, but because referees in that competition still wore black, Wimbledon played in red and Newcastle could use their home).

Newcastle-United-1993-1995-asics-home-kit-white-short-socks-Wimbledon

With a purely striped kit, where there are no intrusive panels, a change of shorts and socks can be enough to provide differentiation with no need for a change of shirt. Though Newcastle did wear an away kit away to Leeds in 1993-94, Leeds didn’t change at St James’ and the following season both league games saw the two clubs in home kits.

Given that these were times when teams didn’t change kit for no reason, Newcastle’s Asics away and third kits didn’t see much game-time.

The blue away, featuring a brushstroke effect, was worn nine times, and the first of those was the home game against Sheffield Wednesday in 1993-94, when the Owls didn’t have a kit of sufficient differentiation.

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While the blue on the white home change shorts would have allowed for a cohesive look if worn with the away at Tottenham, for example, this kit wasn’t worn in any other format.

In 1994-95, its only outings in the Premiership were at Spurs and Southampton – they wore black and white stripes in their first 16 league games, though the blue was worn at home to Athletic Bilbao in the UEFA Cup in October.

European involvement and a longer FA Cup run meant that the McEwan’s/Blue Star ratio was a bit more lopsided in 94-95 – 34 to 18 compared to 25 to 16 in 93-94. The beer company’s logo also of course appeared on the third kit.

First seen away to Sheffield Wednesday in March 1994 as Newcastle’s two kits clashed, it was not unlike the Leeds third of that time, an all-green affair with dark blue pinstripes.

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In fact, Hillsborough would be the only place it would appear in a competitive game, as its only other outing was at Wednesday in January 1995. A refreshing contrast to today, when needless third kits receive far more game-time.

Midweek Mashup – Netherlands, 1988

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We all remember the game between the Netherlands and the USSR at Euro 88, don’t  we?

 

The fact that it’s Vasily Rats of the Soviet Union scoring a goal rather than Ruud Gullit or Marco van Basten should be enough of a giveaway that this was the group game between the countries.

Kit-nerds will, of course, have spotted another difference from the final – both teams were in white shorts.

Successful kits tends to be remembered with extra fondness – would, for example, plain red England change shirts be so popular if the country had won the toss for colours in the 1966 World Cup final? Such emotions are amplified when it’s a strip with a shorter lifespan, as was the case with the Dutch.

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The kit above was of course the one worn in the final as the Netherlands beat the USSR 2-0, the first and still only time the country has won major silverware.

The shirt is rightly lauded – The Football Attic ranked it as the third-best of all-time – but it was in fact only worn in the five games at Euro 88 in West Germany. Holland’s last match before the finals was a friendly against Romania and the first after the success was a World Cup qualifier at home to Wales, with a plain orange shirt with white v-neck worn in both. Incidentally, Wales were forced to come up with a one-off white third kit as their red home and yellow away both clashed with the orange.

While the Netherlands have primarily worn white or black shorts with orange shirts, the outfit in the final featured the orange shorts of the away kit mixed with the home shirts and socks.

Presumably the rationale was that this was better than a white shorts-clash or the Soviets switching to red shorts – the Euro 92 semi-final between the Netherlands and Denmark proved that such a match-up wasn’t great on the eyes in terms of an overall clash.

The all-orange look – and the shirt itself – are certainly rare, but the association with such a big success means that they have a lasting legacy.