This is a new series where we examine kits that look like each other.
Obviously, given the proliferation of templates and examples of manufacturers producing for teams with the same colours, it’s not a hard mission to come up with instances of this happening.
To that end, this will look at cases where it might have been thought a team had a unique style only for someone else to have had something very similar – or the opposite, where the prevailing wisdom is that two strips were identical but in fact there were subtle differences.
The first entry looks at such an exhibit. Obviously, France’s Euro 84-winning kits were classics, so much so that the design provided the basis for the strips used in the 1998 World Cup win while other French kits also took inspiration:
Ask the man on the street – the one over 40, ideally – which English club shared that design and colours and the answer will be Ipswich Town. However, it wasn’t merely a case of adidas badging up the shirts differently:
It was the first time red appeared on an Ipswich home shirt but it worked very well. As can be seen, the horizontal stripes covered a greater area – perhaps with consideration given to the need to house a sponsor’s logo – while a neck was employed rather than a collar. Both the neck and cuffs (also absent on the France kits) had the same red and white trim).
Apart from the plainer shorts, the most notable visual difference was on the Ipswich change shirt – where France had a larger blue stripe and three narrow red ones, the bigger one was red on both of Ipswich’s. Pioneer’s wordmark was rendered in blue on the away, but in 1985-86 Ipswich signed a deal for Radio Orwell to take over as sponsors and it was written in white on both kits.
While France enjoyed success in their kits, Ipswich struggled, finishing 17th in Division 1 in 1984-85 (albeit reaching the FA Cup quarter-finals and League Cup semi-finals) and the following year they came 20th and were relegated. By the time they returned to the top flight, it had become the Premier League and, while their home shirt had quite a bit of red, it was now produced by Umbro.