Barcelona’s constant 1980s change kit style
As surprising as it may seem, until the mid-1970s Barcelona had a white change shirt.
It’s hard, nay impossible to imagine such a situation nowadays, when over-reaction trumps everything else, but that was the case until they introduced yellow shirts with a blaugrana sash (seen here against Ipswich Town in 1977, though oddly, they wore white at Portman Road in 1979).
When Meyba became Barcelona’s kit suppliers in 1982, they opted to retain that colour-scheme, but with the blue and grenadine arranged in a vertical dual-stripe on the right of the shirt. At the time, kit changes were rare in the Spanish league unless unavoidable, so Barcelona’s Meyba alternative shirts were generally seen in European ties.
The long-sleeved version was used at Old Trafford in 1984, when Manchester United cam from 2-0 down to win 3-2 on aggregate. Note the small pocket on the shorts.
In 1984-85, Barça contrived to exit the Cup Winners’ Cup against Metz, losing 4-1 at home after winning 4-2 away. The home side changed in both legs and, while we don’t know if that loss contributed to the retirement of the kit, the club wouldn’t wear yellow again until 2005-06 – though that was more of a luminous shade, with the 2008-09 kit a more authentic recreation.
Instead, they adopted a two-pronged approach to change kits – red when the opposition wore blue and blue when the other side played in red.
The blue kit was what Barcelona wore when they missed four penalties in the 1986 European Cup final penalty shootout against Steaua Bucharest (who were in a Real Madrid-like all-white for the first time in their history).
It would appear in a winning European final three years later though, when Barça overcame Sampdoria in the Cup Winners’ Cup decider.
Initially, the red version was without the stripes, as worn against Bayer Uerdingen in 1986-87, but they were added later, seen against Lech Poznan in 1988-89.
For 1989-90, Meyba refreshed the Barça kit, adding shadow stripes and removing the pocket from the shorts. The new shorts were seen against Fram Reykjavik in the 1990-91 Cup Winners’ Cup – the Icelandic side wore white at home and blue in the Nou Camp but Barça wore red in both legs.
However, the shirts were slightly different, in that those in the first leg in Reykjavik had a shadow effect on the stripes, but the previous style was restored at home.
The club made it to the final of that competition for the second time in three years. Their opponents Manchester United wore a special one-off white shirt as they won 2-1, with Barça in blue.
As well as the shadow stripes on the shorts, the 1989 update on the home kit had seen the Meyba logo added to the socks.
That game marked the end of a nine-year era, as an all-new change kit design was introduced in the summer of 1991. Perhaps in homage to Barça coach Johan Cruyff, it was primarily orange, with the extra trim quite reminiscent of that on the 1990 Romania World Cup kit, while the fabric featured the Meyba logo repeated throughout.
It was a kit which would go down in the club’s folklore as it was worn in the 1992 European Cup final against Sampdoria, when the claimed claimed the continental title for the first time.
The orange shirts wouldn’t be seen in the celebration photos though, as the Barcelona players changed into their more famous home tops for the presentation.
2 thoughts on “Barcelona’s constant 1980s change kit style”
I had no idea they’d worn white shirts. Having now seen the pics of them at Portman Road and Villa Park, it was a beautiful combo with the home shorts and socks.
And the Yellow shirt with sash was a pleasant blast from the past. I do remember that one – especially from the Super Cup final at Villa Park. For some reason I always found this more appealing than the blue shirt they wore at Seville in 86 and Bern in 89.
It’s not “easier on the eye” – glaring yellow with blue and grenadine liberally splashed about – but it holds its own better because it seems like a more “honest” away strip. The blue top too closely resembled the home strip. It looked as if someone had merely removed the grenadine stripes, diluting a classic rather than striking out on its own.
(And poor Samp! Three European finals but the only one they win is the only one in which they were allowed to wear their home strip, v Anderlecht in the 1990 CWC final)
Barca kits are generally awful but then they are made by lazy Nike so they would be.