The Republic of Ireland’s final Euro 2008 qualifier, away to Wales in November 2007, was a nothing game.
A game between the sides fifth and third in Group D – though Ireland would finish ten points behind second-placed Germany – the game in Cardiff was the deadest of rubbers. Ireland didn’t even have a manager – with Steve Staunton having been sacked after the 1-1 home draw with Cyprus ended hopes of qualification, U21 boss Don Givens took charge for the game.
Therefore, it was fitting that Ireland wore something of a nothing kit.
First of all, it wasn’t a clash – and even if it were classed as such in order to aid those with colour-blindness, the white change strip would have sufficed.
Aside from a blue alternative in the 1920s – a carryover from the days of a united Ireland team – the only deviation from green or white shirts had come with the twice-worn orange 1997-98 kit. There had been a black change shirt after that, but its use was limited to a charity game. Grey had nothing to do with Ireland and the apathy was underlined by the fact that the socks were from the away kit.
Obviously, commercial factors must have played a part but, unsurprisingly, only being used in a meaningless 2-2 draw didn’t contribute to the shirt flying off the shelves. Another, slightly, darker, grey kit was launched in August 2009, but it fared even worse, never making it on to the field of play for an international, though it was used by the League of Ireland representative side.