Football League Classics – Liverpool, 1982-85

  • Funnily enough, a few days after this was posted, Liverpool launched their new kit for 2019-20, which referenced this strip with pinstripes

While it wasn’t the first English shirt to feature pinstripes – or even the first Liverpool shirt to do so – the club’s final home jersey made by Umbro remains iconic.

Ipswich Town and Nottingham Forest had both premiered adidas-made pinstriped home shirts in 1981 and Liverpool themselves had a yellow away with red pinstripes in that campaign. Nevertheless, adding so much white to the hitherto solid red kit was a massive departure for the most successful team in the land.

The first outing for the new kit was in the 1982 Charity Shield win over Tottenham Hotspur – this would be the final season in which sponsors’ logos weren’t allowed in televised games, so it was blank-chested for this and the league cup final extra-time victory against Manchester United.

The start of the league season saw the first appearance of the new sponsor, Crown Paints, which had replaced Hitachi. They got instant value for money as the club regained the league title and won the aforementioned league cup.

One notable alteration was away to Watford on the final day of the season. The Hornets wore yellow shirts with red shorts and socks, meaning Liverpool couldn’t wear their change kit, so the black shorts from the previous away strip and the yellow away socks were used. This was the first of three successive seasons that this combination was seen at Vicarage Road.

For 1983-84, sponsorship was allowed for televised games, though initially to a limit of 16in² (103.2cm²), half of the usual allowance. At first, Liverpool simply had the Crown Paints logo reduced, but later it appeared on one line in a plain font.

It was in these shirts that a fourth straight league cup was won, against rivals Everton.

For 1983-84, Birmingham City had switched from blue home socks to red, meaning another unusual change for Liverpool at St Andrew’s.

Having retained the league, the season ended with Liverpool winning a fourth European Cup, beating Roma at the Stadio Olimpico on penalties. Though the Italian side were playing in their home ground, they wore white, with Liverpool in unsponsored home shirts, featuring commemorative text around the crest.

The 1984-85 season began with a clash against Juventus in the European Super Cup, Liverpool wearing unsponsored shirts again. A three-in-a-row of league titles was achieved and, though the campaign would also end against the Italian opposition in the ill-fated European Cup final at Heysel, that game would be the club’s first wearing adidas kit.

Umbro were gone, but their legacy remained. As 2018-19 ends, the rumour is that Nike will be the latest company to make the Reds’ kit – if it comes to pass, will we ever look back on their Liverpool output with such fondness?

2 comments on “Football League Classics – Liverpool, 1982-85

  1. Mark Etches

    Leeds United home in 1981 82 was the first Umbro home kit to have pinstripes I think. Alternate blue and yellow ones. Liverpool away introduced at the same time.

    Reply
  2. Antony Wright

    Liverpool in Nike? …….perish the thought, whilst i like their simplicity in design i would hate to see them wearing the same bespoke varients of teamwear as everyone else

    Reply

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