- Thanks, as always, to The Glove Bag for assistance with research
- The first ten parts of the series can be found here
That’s it for now. Work has already started on Part 11, so hopefully we can start cutting down on the time between instalments.
It’s six and a half months since a younger, more optimstic writer penned those words in Part 10 of this series – it’s probably safer now not to expect Part 12 until after the Qatar World Cup.
Nevertheless, we are ready to move on from the last edition, which had gone up as far as the end of the 1996-97 period. We finished with Crystal Palace and Cork City, who had versions of the Oliver Kahn ‘goal-net’ style. Both subsequently progressed to a gingham pattern:
Another of the unusual variety was that used by Austrialia – it featured an adidas Questra ball as a meteorite through the constellations.
However, more common in 1997-98 was a style which featured the three stripes down the middle of the front of the sleeve and a strange pattern, resembling the skin of a rhinoceros.
The first sighting of it was in the 1997 Uefa Cup final, when Jens Lehmann of Schalke wore it as they beat Inter Milan, and he retained it for the following season.
In England Newcastle United’s Shay Given had a green version, but the Magpies also had an orange change shirt – as well as the stripes travelling higher, it had a swirling black pattern (no rhino-skin texture) with an off-centred sponsor to match their navy away shirt.
A black version would be used by Brazilian goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel after he joined Galatasaray and he also wore a version which appeared in the 1997-98 adidas goalkeeping catalogue under the model name Etrusco – the central design came from the 1990 World Cup ball, the Etrusco Unico.
Then, in 1998-99, after they rejoined forces with adidas, AC Milan had their own bespoke version.
It was used by Milan keepers Sebastiano Rossi and Christian Abbiati, the latter in his first season, as they won Serie A. However, 1998-99 was also the season of Jens Lehmann’s brief stay at San Siro – it wasn’t as happy as the Uefa Cup win there with Schalke and nor did he wear the same style of kit.
Instead, like his compatriot Oliver Kahn, Lehmann also had a ‘signature range’, in his case a modified version of one of the new 1998-99 designs, the Vader.
Newcastle also had the Vader, but in luminous yellow and navy. Real Madrid also used the same colour-scheme as Newcastle – as did others like Dynamo Kiev – while Bodo Illgner was seen in a black and silver iteration as well, in a season of a lot of goalkeeper kits for the club.
We had thought that that Newcastle shirt was used in every game in 1998-99 but, thanks to Philip Marriott, we know that another top was used at home to Southampton and against Partizan Belgrade (when it arguably clashed with their dark red and navy change kit).
Primarily purple, it featured one of the seahorses from the Newcastle crest rendered large on the body of the shirt. Though the stripes on the sleeves were purple, the kit’s shorts had white stripes.
The Vader didn’t appear at the 1998 World Cup and neither did another of the new designs, the Limelight. Real used it while Crystal Palace’s Kevin Miller wore both yellow and blue versions.
Instead, France 98 saw three of the new catalogue offerings used (oddly, there was also Saudi Arabia’s unofficial usage of a 1996 template).
There was the Save, which also doubled as the new Oliver Kahn signature range. At France 98, Argentina’s Carlos Roa had blue and black variants, though neither was really suitable alongside their navy away kit.
France’s Fabien Barthez premiered a white and black colourway when they played Spain in a friendly at the end of January 1998, the game where their new World Cup kit was first seen. He then used it for Monaco against Manchester United in the Champions League in March.
However, Barthez only wore the white shirt once at the World Cup, against South Africa, using two black styles in the other six games. Up to and including the quarter-final win over Italy, he was in a standard black shirt, a version of a design he had used for Monaco as far back as 1995-96.
Then, for the semi-final and final, he switched to a round-neck top with white piping.
Back to the Save – for Bayern, Kahn wore sky-blue and red (their home kit was primarily navy from 1998-2000).
For the 1999-2000 season, Uefa got a little stricter though and, for European games, Kahn had to cover over the signature.
Real Madrid had a nice navy/white version of the Save (as well as domestic and European navy away shirts) and Farid Mondragon of Real Zaragoza wore it in black and yellow, with the club’s away socks a perfect match. We’re unsure as to why the Spanish clubs had front numbers on their goalkeeper shirts, as they didn’t appear on the outfield versions.
Baleo was the name given to the model used by Romania, Spain and Yugoslavia, with three thick stripes down each side, similar to one of the company’s new outfield designs.
Andoni Zubizarreta wore dark green and very light blue in his final international appearances as they failed to get out of the group.
Ivica Kralj of Yugoslavia (and Romania’s Bogdan Stelea) had a lighter green.
The other new design was called the Arco and was employed by Germany goalkeeper Andreas Köpke. The light blue was also used by Illgner – retired from international football with four years – at Real, while the dark was another which Taffarel wore for Galatasaray.
Overall, the trend heading in the direction of restrained designs after the excesses of earlier in the decade and that was to continue, as we will see in Part 12.