Templates of Worship, no. 1 – adidas ‘military medals’

Like so many other things that were accepted in the past, templates get a bad rap nowadays.

When done right, they can be excellent and, as we like to show every Friday, there’s nothing wrong with working a design in different colourways.

And so, though we hardly need it, we have another new series to celebrate templates we like.

Sadly, the scarcity of adidas teamwear catalogues from the 1980s and 1990s means we don’t know the official name of this one, but hopefully you can understand the logic behind what we’ve christened it, the ‘military medals’. Perhaps the exotic nature of it is amplified by the fact that no major adidas teams in the UK used it.

The irony of this one is that the team for which it was most likely designed didn’t get to properly showcase it. As far as we know, France were the only team to have the style in a three-colour format, but they failed to qualify for the 1990 World Cup and so the kit was limited to the Euro 92 qualifiers and friendlies (including Alan Shearer’s goalscoring England debut, wearing number 10).

Instead, it was the United Emirates who brought the kit to a wider audience. Rather than having the two sets of three stripes as a solid colour, instead they were hollow, with the outline colour changing as the passed between the upper panels and the main body.

The placing of the stripes also posed problems in terms of where to put the adidas trefoil and the team crests. The UAE had the trefoil higher up than France did, but their crest very low.

The white/red colouring was the most common. It was also used by Italian side Bari – part of the best kit-season ever, in our view – and they experimented with two sitings of the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes-like crest.

Poland and Argentinos Juniors also had white and red versions – though in the case of the latter, there was a contrasting collar while the sleeve colours were reversed.

Iceland, who were in the same Euro 92 qualifying group as France, had the design in blue and white, with their crest pushed very far to the left.

Like Poland, French side Montpellier, whose shirt was identical to the Iceland away, opted for a central crest. While the shirt was two-coloured, they had orange shorts to jazz things up.

This version was used in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1990-91 – when they were eliminated by Manchester United – with detailing marking their Coupe de France win added to the crest.

From what we can see, the only instance of this design appearing on a shirt with no white on it was that worn by Ghana in the 1992 African Nations Cup.

Though the shirt and socks were yellow and black, the Ghanians’ shorts featured stripes of red, yellow and green, reflecting the country’s flag.

And, finally – while a Belgium version of this design would have been interesting, they kept things safer at the World Cup, bar having their crest and adidas logo on the opposite sides to normal.

However, they did utilise on their tracksuits at Italia 90 – though, strangely, they looked like French cast-offs.

Edit: A positive aspect about social media is how a post can lead to engagement with readers and the discovery of something we didn’t know, such as the fact that Hibernian also had the tracksuit version:

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