We’ve moved into the early 90s and this instalment is primarily focused on the adidas era, with sets of three large stripes seen anywhere but in their usual position of down the sleeves.
We’ll start though with two interesting Colo Colo shirts, worn by Daniel Morón, brought to our attention by Rob Stokes. To the best of our knowledge, nobody else had the adidas wordmark or trefoil appear in such a position at the right elbow.
While the shirt on the left above is firmly of the 80s-style construction, the other top has elements which would become common as adidas rebranded themselves. Strictly speaking, that would happen in 1991 and increase noticeablely in 1992, but Cork City gave a sneak preview of what was to come in the 1990-91 season.
Generally speaking that season, City goalkeeper Phil Harrington wore a plain yellow shirt similar to that used by Packie Bonner for the Republic of Ireland. However, in the spring of 1991, a new black shirt appeared, a prototype of the new look.
The new adidas Equipment logo was sublimated on one of the green stripes, but at the time City used iron-on logos, with the crest and the adidas insignia applied on the same patch. As a result, a version with the crest on the right was used.
The kit above, with Umbro No. 1 goalkeeper shorts, was worn by on-loan Scottish goalkeeper Craig Nelson when Harrington was injured. Oddly though, the shirt wouldn’t be seen again after its brief spell in that season.
In 1991-92, a unique style was used by City, with the stripes thinner, longer and at a different angle while the cut and collar of the shirt were the older style.
Also in 91-92, Liverpool had a kind of a hybrid style. The collar was the traditional one, the shoulder pads similar to those on the Arsenal and Manchester shirts in 90-91, but the stripes were the newer style.
With a green away kit in use by the club that season, the yellow alternative got a few outings.
Euro 92 – which we looked at recently – was the first widespread sighting of the ‘proper’ new style.
Sweden’s Thomas Ravelli had one similar to that used by Cork City in 1990-91, but with the adidas logo now on the neck, which was all-blue.
Bruno Martini of France preferred red – he even wore it against Denmark, who were in their away kit.
Come the dawn of the new season in Britain, adidas’s big contracts – Arsenal, Liverpool and Rangers – all appeared to have this style, but there were differences: the vertical lower stripes were not used, and the chest stripes were slightly shorter.
Liverpool essentially used refreshed versions of the previous year (the reworked away kit now had green shorts), while blue and grey shirts were used too.
Arsenal used four goalkeeper shirts that season. With referees in the new Premier League wearing green, blue was the first choice with grey favoured as an alternative. When both of those clashed with Blackburn’s kit at Ewood Park, David Seaman wore red as the Arsenal outfielders were in their away kit.
The green was used in the cups – where referees still had black – and it was also used during the successful European Cup Winners’ Cup run of 1993-94, including without a sponsor in the final against Parma (when he opted to remove the collar).
To this eight-year-old, the main implication of the coming European Super League was that a clash between Arsenal and Rangers would mean both goalkeepers having to change shirts. Andy Gorman tended to wear the Rangers home socks, which worked well with both of his tops.
Rangers would go far in the Champions League, but were ultimately pipped to a place in the final by Olympique Marseille. Their young goalkeeper Fabien Barthez drew much comment for the way he opted to have short sleeves.
He was of course sponsorless as they beat AC Milan 1-0 in the final.
It was a victory almost as big as Cork City claiming the League of Ireland. While a yellow shirt with red stripes was used earlier in the season, for the most part Phil Harrington had a version without stripes.
With Ireland having been given a new adidas kit in September 1992, Packie Bonner was also clad in the updated style, albeit in a unique colourway. It also appears that this version was without the collar as standard.
Another adidas country with a unique approach was Spain, who had shirts that were clearly part of the adidas Equipment revolution but used by nobody else.
Andoni Zubizarreta was most often seen in a two-tone grey top like that worn by Sweden, Marseille, Bayern Munich and Liverpool but with narrower stripes and a wrapover collar.
For Spain’s final World Cup qualifier in November 1993, at home to Denmark, ‘Zubi’ wore a green version, but it proved unlucky as he was sent off.
Strangely, his replacement Santiago Cañizares was wearing a different colour – like the grey above but with stripes over both shoulders like France or Rangers, though again thinner.
Cañizares kept a clean sheet as a 1-0 win for Spain ensured qualification along with Ireland as Denmark missed out.
Bayern Munich, so closely linked to adidas, had used the chest-stripes style during 1991-92, but in subsequent seasons they were the beneficiaries of a variation not seen elsewhere.
Worn in yellow and blueish-green – with Opel logo placing peripatetic – the ‘stripes’ were a series of white dots on a black panel, with that motif also repeated on the inside of the sleeves.
At the World Cup in the USA in 1994, adidas kitted a lot of countries out in a style with two sets of three stripes coming from the ribs. This wasn’t that new to those who had seen the new Liverpool kits launched for 1993-94 and that style formed the basis for Pool’s goalkeeper kit too.
The black first-choice featured the adidas Tango ball logo repeated through the fabric, and was also used by Arsenal.
While David Seaman wore the 1992-93 blue or green when a clash arose, Liverpool’s Bruce Grobbelaar had a bespoke alternative (though he did wear the previous season’s yellow in the infamous game against Newcastle which formed part of the basis for the match-fixing allegations against him).
Yellow with black, instead of the Tango design it had the three-stripe motif in the fabric.
That was the only alternative colour we know of in Britain, but we finish the article where we started it, with Cork City – Phil Harrington had a purple version.