- This is the third and final part of a series by Jay from Design Football, see here for part 1 and here for part 2
And so we come to the Alternate-Sleeved Baselayer. Remember our rule? The short-sleeved shirt combined with a basealyer should, as a unit, replicate the look of the long-sleeved shirt. Hugely logical, we’re must all agree.
Errors don’t get much simpler than this final example. Some shirts – think Blackburn Rovers – have one sleeve in one colour, and the other in another. Why, then, does a baselayer not get released, at the very least for the players, which matches those sleeves?
O’Neills – them again – actually released short-lived alternate-sleeved baselayers but, incredibly, despite some GAA counties arguably having alternate-sleeved jerseys, none of the former perfectly matched any of the latter.
However, amazingly, and this appears to be a first and second, Peru last year released an alternate-sleeved home shirt, and when the side sported it against the Netherlands, several players were indeed wearing perfectly-matching undergarments. Ditto Vitesse Arnhem of the Eredivisie, albeit with a mismatching shade. Did the Dutch side get the idea when Peru visited Holland? Whatever, we finally have examples of alternate-sleeved baselayers, and about time.
Like with the other types, while being a wonderful development, this increases the disappointment of the oversights. Look at Birmingham City, for example, pleasing so many by bringing out a reprise of their German flag shirt, and then letting themselves down by only having black baselayers to go with it.
And, while they have two blue sleeves this season, Basel should try harder, if and when they revert to one red and one blue. The current model may be a concession to the undershirt trend, but it shouldn’t be hard to keep ‘baselayer’ to the forefront of your mind if your name (or the name of the team you’re supplying, adidas!) provides most of the word.
Similarly, Slavia Prague recently played Chelsea in the Europa League. Maybe their comeback would have been successful if they’d borrowed Peru’s baselayers!
So that’s, more or less, that. There are, of course, other minor issues relating to baselayers, like Celtic and the Republic Ireland wearing white baselayers with their away shirts despite the fact that the vast majority of their sleeves are green – Liverpool got it right early season, on their similarly-styled third, even if the shade of grey leaves a little to be desired, but ended up joining that stupid club…
…Like Sheffield United combining their black short sleeves with a red baselayer and reminding everyone (me) of Flamengo in the 1981 Intercontinental Cup match* against Liverpool…
…And, because I’m pedantic, a contrast cuff on a long-sleeved shirt can mean a ‘matching’ baselayer can come unstuck. But that kind of thing really pales into insignificance compared with the travesties routinely witnessed in the professional game in recent years.
However, since the original piece, there are plenty of reasons to be positive, and some great examples that enthuse. With true thanks to Puma and Marathon, O’Neills and Macron, perhaps we’re turning a corner. There’s a way to go, but precedents have now been set.
- Incidentally, that Flamengo look can’t actually be replicated by wearing a red baselayer under the short-sleeved shirt, because the long-sleeved shirt is derived from the short-sleeved shirt, the sleeves of which are also top-half black, bottom-half red. It’s a rationale that Denis informs me could be coded into Fifa 2000 on the PC to give players long-sleeved shirts, but it means the only way to get the Flamengo shirt to fit the all-important maxim of ‘short-sleeved shirt with baselayer resembles long-sleeved shirt’ would be to fashion a short-sleeved shirt by cutting the sleeves off a long-sleeved shirt at the elbow – à la Mathieu Flamini, among others – and wear it over a red baselayer. In fact, that requirement, should it ever occur again, shall henceforth be known as a Flamingo.