In an era of endlessly regurgitated listicles, if you’re a football fan, there’s probably a chance that you’ve come across a variant of ‘football’s greatest fan chants’.
If you have, there’s a good likelihood that “There’s only two Andy Gorams” was at the top of the pile. Referencing the classic fan tribute, “There’s only one [player x]”, it’s actually a pretty bad chant, for three reasons.
Firstly, it’s grammatically incorrect. Secondly, it alludes to Rangers and Scotland goalkeeper Andy Goram’s diagnosis with mild schizophrenia in the mid-1990s, but, outwith references to ‘newspaper reports’, I’ve not been able to find any confirmation Goram had any formal diagnosis of mental illness. Thirdly, and most damningly, the chant’s notion of split personalities is misplaced; schizophrenia is a completely different condition to dissociative identity disorder. This is a common misconception (Pete Townshend of the Who made the same error when conceiving Quadrophenia).
While he may not have schizophrenia or DID, Goram was a colourful and at times controversial character during his playing career. A classic British pre-Wenger footballer, Goram drank a lot, was a bit overweight, had knackered knees, liked a night out, was married twice, and had a fear of the dentist. His indulgences led Rangers manager Walter Smith to transfer list him in 1994, but despite all that he was one hell of a goalkeeper. He didn’t appear a very athletic physique, and was short for a goalie at 5’ 11”, but he had astonishing reflexes that not only led to instinctive shot-stopping, they allowed him to play first-class cricket as an all-rounder for Scotland.
Goram’s extroverted personality appeared to manifest itself in his goalkeeping attire the longer his career went on. While his kit seemed sensible enough playing for Oldham and Hibernian, around the time of his move to Rangers in the summer of 1991 he started to display a predilection for unusual choices and mashups (of course, we must always allow for the input of the kit controller and referee in strip choice, but I’m fairly certain Goram had a large degree of autonomy in what he wore).
I’ve already covered Goram’s kit career at Rangers on my own blog, but I thought it would be interesting to analyse his international career. Despite being born in England, The Goalie played for the land of his father 43 times in his career, and was a member of squads that participated at the 1986 and 1990 World Cup and Euro 92 and 96. He didn’t play a game at either World Cup, while his appearances at the latter two tournaments didn’t belie any great inclination to mash up.
Before we go any further, we should note that, prior to the mid-90s, goalkeepers tended to quite often wear mix-and-match kits anyway, normally taking the form of a goalie jersey combined with outfield shorts and socks. This approach began to go out of fashion around 1994 with the widespread adoption of dedicated goalkeeper kits, which still often had contrasting colour shorts, and we reached our current trend of all single-colour kits around ten years ago. You don’t often see much accessorising now among custodians, as faced with a clash they’ll simply change into one of their 18 alternate kits. There were exceptions to this historical generalisation, with Umbro providing full goalie kits to a few teams in the 1980s, including England and Scotland. The past is a different international country, of course.
But was Goram more likely to wear unusual outfits than any of his Scotland goalkeeping colleagues? First things first; research. I decided to look at Scotland kits from the calendar years 1985 to 1999, which encompasses the whole of The Goalie’s international career, and some 136 matches. From the resultant data we can do a bit of statistical analysis to find out just how inclined Goram was towards mixing up his outfits, compared with his colleagues.
As a measure of control, between 1990 and 1998, Goram and his rival Jim Leighton would rotate the number 1 position between them. After being ignominiously dropped by Manchester United after the 1990 FA Cup Final, Leighton’s international appearances were limited, and Goram became first choice. Similarly, when Goram was experiencing injury problems between 1993 and 1995, the pendulum swung back to Leighton. Indeed, across the 90s, Goram would make 37 appearances and Leighton 38. That gives us some comfort that any conclusions we draw should be fair and representative.
The data tells us that Scotland wore some sort of alternate goalie kit in 12 percent of full internationals between 1985 and 1999. I am proposing we call this the Mash Factor. Leighton’s was 6.25 percent and Neil Sullivan’s was 8.33 percent. Goram’s, on the other gloved hand, was an incredible 20.51 percent. We know that mashups seemed to follow The Goalie around, but this data does seem to suggest mixing kit elements up was a Goram prerogative, rather than referee or kit-controller influence.
But he wasn’t alone in turning out in assorted outfits. Leighton, Sullivan, and Alan Rough all also turned out in mashups over the same period, so let’s look at the specific circumstances behind these kit changes in more detail.
November 20, 1985 – Scotland v Australia
World Cup qualification play-off, Hampden Park
Prior to 1998, qualification for the World Cup for the winner of the Oceanic conference meant a two-legged play off against a nation from one of the other continents.
In 1985, it was the Scots that stood in the Socceroos’ way. As the Australian’s yellow shirts clashed with Scotland’s first-choice goalie shirt, Leighton changed into the elegant silver-grey away shirt, but for some reason this was combined with the navy first-choice goalie shorts and red outfield socks.
April 23, 1986 – England v Scotland
Rous Cup, Wembley Stadium
Alan Rough was a much maligned custodian for Scotland at a time when the alleged poor quality of Caledonian keepers was a well-worn joke (apparently even my gran gave him a mouthful of abuse in Smithhills Street in Paisley when he was opening a sports shop), but with the emergence of Leighton and Goram, his last appearance for his country came in the short-lived Rous Cup away to England in 1986.
His shirt and shorts were straight-forward enough, but for some reason the goalkeeper’s standard yellow socks with navy tops were substituted for plain white versions. Which makes little sense as England wore white socks. Slightly surprisingly, the referee permitted it, but sock clashes didn’t appear to be much of a concern at that point in international football. This will become a recurring theme.
November 15, 1989 – Scotland v Norway
World Cup qualification, Hampden Park
As had become a triennial custom, in 1988 Scotland released their new suite of first and alternative outfield kits, and two new goalie outfits.These included a new home shirt that would earn renown as one of the all-time great kits, and a similarly lauded bespoke goalkeeper jersey.
This has come to be known (by me) as a ‘modified Hampden’ after the template Umbro had introduced around the same time. The irony has been noted that Scotland’s goalie shirt wasn’t a Hampden, given that’s where the team play, but the ‘away’ goalkeeper jersey was a Hampden…and a cracker it was too. Deep red with navy and silver shoulder flashes, it was normally paired with silver shorts with navy and red dart inlays in Umbro’s ultra-modern style and navy socks that were almost identical to the first choice, save for the accent colours.
For the vital World Cup qualifier against Norway in 1989 though, Leighton turned out in a three-kit mash up, seemingly due to the match officials bringing only yellow shirts with them. While English football had prohibited navy shirts due to their clash with referees’ black, this wasn’t an issue in international football and so Scotland fans rarely got the opportunity to question the parentage of the individual wearing black, as he was more often than not clad in green. And sometimes red. Or white. Even yellow.
Apparently for this match the officials assumed Norway would play in their traditional red shirts, so packed a yellow set of jerseys. This forced Leighton to wear the red Hampden, which was paired with the ‘home’ goalkeeper navy shorts and outfield red socks to create a handsome alternative ensemble.
April 25, 1990 – Scotland v East Germany
Friendly, Hampden Park
Ah, Mr. Goram. His first, but not last, appearance in this list. And against the team he made his international debut against as well. Here was a gentle mashup, to ease himself in; the home goalie shirt and socks, with the outfield home shorts.
May 19, 1990 – Scotland v Poland
Friendly, Hampden Park
Less than a month later, Goram would wear the same ensemble he had in the East Germany match.
September 12, 1990 – Scotland v Romania
Euro 92 qualifying, Hampden Park
Unlike in England, Scottish goalkeepers have tended to wear yellow jerseys rather than green, perhaps due to the existence of Hibernian and Celtic – though until the mid-1980s English goalkeepers weren’t allowed to wear yellow.
Yellow has been the preferred colour for Scottish national team custodians, at least as far back as 1974. This is fine for most matches, although there are a number of international teams that play in yellow. One of these is Romania.
Goram was thus apparently obliged to change from the yellow and grey number 1 jersey (oddly, it had been worn against Columbia, Sweden, and Brazil, but presumably because yellow was only the second most dominant colour behind grey it hadn’t been so much of an issue before.) As noted above, while at this time referees chiefly wore black, they did have multiple alternate colours to deal with a colour clash against Scotland.
However, for this particular tie the only alternative colour the officials brought appeared to be red, so both normal goalkeeper jersey options were unavailable to Goram. As such, he turned out in a green Umbro teamwear shirt, sans team crest, and combined with the usual navy shorts and socks.
October 16, 1991 Romania v Scotland
Euro 92 qualifying, Romania
By the time of the reverse fixture, Scotland had rotated all four kits again. The updated goalkeeper strips were now black with purple and green flashing, and navy with yellow and blue/white hooped flashing.
It seems a bit odd-looking back that the first choice goalie shirt was black when the outfield players wore navy particularly when referees changed from black against the Scots, but it didn’t seem to cause a problem most of the time; they were worn together 16 times in two years.
However, in this particular match it did seem to be an issue. What’s more, the new alternate strip clashed with Romania’s shirts as well. The fact that the SFA packed a red Hampden jersey for Goram to wear with the first choice shorts and socks suggests they were aware the situation might arise.
April 28, 1993 Portugal v Scotland
World Cup qualification, Portugal
Not so much of a mashup, but by a few years into the 90s, Goram had started to experience bother with his knees.
As such he tended to wear knee supports, and quite often covered them with tracksuit trousers in the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons.
October 12, 1994 – Scotland v Faroe Islands
Euro 96 qualifying, Hampden Park
At club level, Goram had established by 1994 that he was very particular about what jersey he wore, continuing to turn out in a certain template after it had been superseded, or simply ignoring a particular shirt altogether.
With the roll-out of Umbro’s psychedelic goalkeeper range in 1993-94, Goram the Scotland keeper began to dress like Goram the Rangers keeper.
His apparent erratic apparel selection may at least have been in part due to Scotland’s new first choice goalie togs being white. As I regularly state, strange goalkeeper kit mashups can be a result of fussy referees, a kit-controller’s brain-fart, or the net-minder themselves, whether that’s a personal preference or superstition. Sometimes, the kit manufacturer will decide a white kit looks nice and then you end up playing seven games in a calendar year against four teams that wear white. As such, Scotland ended up wearing five different goalie shirts that year.
While the white goalie shirt would clash against Austria, Finland, Russia, and San Marino’s outfield kits, there was a red-coloured variant, slightly jarringly worn with the white version’s shorts and socks. The officials shouldn’t have been an issue either; while referees had been wearing multiple colours to officiate Scotland games for years, the 1994 World Cup had seen their kits modernised and standardised. They now had magenta, gold and silver options.
So there shouldn’t have been an issue wearing the red alternative against the Faroese, but the officials turned up in magenta instead. Goram instead appeared in a turquoise Umbro ‘Premier’ template jersey. As we know, Scotland had introduced bespoke goalie kits the year that particular model was introduced (1991), and as the jersey has the 1992 update to the Umbro logo, the instinct is to label it teamwear (Scotland goalkeepers did wear various Umbro templates in training at the time). However, countering that is the fact that it was badged with the Scotland crest. This could have been applied pre-match, but it’s still a fascinating anomaly. It was paired with the contemporary baggier shorts and socks of the first-choice kit to produce an arresting look.
November 16, 1994 – Scotland v Russia
Euro 96 qualifying, Hampden Park
Having worn a mysterious one-off jersey the last time they’d played a team in white, just to compound matters, for the visit of the Russians a month later Goram appeared in another bizarre outfit. Retaining the first choice shorts and socks, he’d now dug the 1991 alternate navy and yellow jersey out.
To say it was a challenging palette of colours would be an understatement. As in the Faroes game, the referee wore one of adidas’s new magenta jerseys; clearly Scotland’s red alternate goalie kit was considered too similar, but the officials should have had their own substitute shirts surely? And why had Goram switched from the Premier worn in the Faroes game to the old away goalie shirt?
September 6, 1995 – Scotland v Finland
Euro 96 qualifying, Hampden Park
I’ve always felt that some of Umbro’s design choices in the mid-90s were a bit odd. Having provided Scotland with a white goalkeeper kit, they didn’t appear to provide alternate shorts and socks that matched the red second-choice, which meant it was always slightly mismatched.
The red alternate had been introduced along with the new home kit in March of 1994. By the end of that year, another red goalie jersey had been introduced, although this time it had its own shorts and socks. Andy Goram and sub Jim Leighton wore it in the Euro 96 qualifier in Greece that month but in the return fixture, the other red jersey reappeared.
For the visit of the Finns, Leighton donned the new red jersey, but with the black first-choice shorts and white socks. The shorts I get, because the bright blue would have clashed with Finland’s shorts, but they also wore white socks! Kit-clash-management was not an exact science in the 1990s. Even more exasperatingly, Leighton’s red jersey was permitted even though the officials were in magenta!
October 9, 1996 – Estonia v Scotland (abandoned)
Euro 1996 qualifying, Estonia
Probably the most famous international match never to have been played, due to a dispute over the suitability of the floodlighting in Tallinn, Scotland turned up for a 3pm kick off, the Estonians for 6:45pm. Scotland kicked off, and the match was abandoned after three seconds. FIFA intervened a mandated a replay in Monaco.
We were however denied a longer chance to savour Goram’s retina-scarring mashup, a combination of the new 1996 season yellow goalkeeper shorts and socks, and the 1994 other red jersey. Again, this appeared to be due to the officials only having one colour with them – gold in this case. Did a colour-clash with the officials matter again?
September 5, 1998 – Lithuania v Scotland
Euro 2000 qualifying, Lithuania
After the introduction of the 1996 and then 1998 home outfield kits, the mashups seemed to peter out. This may or may not be connected to the fact Goram only played in two internationals after the Estonia farrago.
A new home shirt, and two new goalkeeper jerseys had been introduced in April of 1998. Once again, the ‘home’ and ‘away’ goalie strips were clearly associated with the respective outfield kit, although the socks were oddly discordant – the home goalie had a burgundy shirt and shorts with white socks, while the away was black and white with black shorts, and black socks with dark purple tops. The conceit appeared to be that either set of socks could be worn interchangeably with the other kit.
Nevertheless, Scotland still managed to wear four goalie jerseys in 98, and a further unique shirt in 99. Having worn the new kits in six games in the first half of 1998 (including the World Cup finals), for the Euro 2000 qualifier against Lithuania, an older 1996 model was called out of retirement. Between 1996 and 1998, another 3 strips had been provided to Scotland’s custodians – a green and gold affair, worn exclusively at Euro 96, the bright yellow outfit as mentioned above, and the jersey worn against Lithuania. This comprised of a mint green and navy hooped shirt, with navy shorts and socks – don’t worry, it was far most tastefully rendered than it sounds!
The first seven times it was worn it appeared in its entirety, but for its final match, against the former Soviet state, the new white socks were substituted. Again, on first glance, it’s not entirely clear why this should have been. Lithuania wear yellow socks, Scotland’s were red, and the referee’s were black.
April 28, 1999 – Germany v Scotland
With eight months to go on the contract, it seemed a strange time for Umbro and Scotland to introduce a new away kit, but introduce one they did. Alongside it, another new goalkeeper outfit was rolled out, the sixth new set in three years. This one, however, pointed at the direction Umbro would take for their football apparel in the 2000s, moving away from the garish, multi-colour efforts of the previous decade to more a more utilitarian ethos, both in terms of design and palette.
This new Scotland goalkeeper kit was a template identical to those worn by Mark Bosnich at Manchester United and Ed de Goey at Chelsea. And while it was combined with black socks for all its other outings, in this match Neil Sullivan wore white stockings. This did mean he was wearing the same colour socks as the opposition, but it does seem that 20 years ago referees were less fussy about that sort of thing.
So, while it’s undeniable that Goram did mash up more regularly than any of his colleagues, it does seem that Scotland ran afoul of clashes with the garb the match officials wore. Perhaps The Goalie was unlucky, and just played more matches against teams in yellow, red, and white. The data doesn’t quite agree; while 78 percent of Scotland’s 136 matches over the period were against teams wearing those three colours, Goram and Leighton’s profiles weren’t much different. Perhaps The Goalie was just that more likely to go to a slightly different solution than anyone else.
As a footnote, many people complain about unnecessary kit changes in modern football. It does appear that the game’s governing bodies can be a bit scatterg-un when it comes to deciding who wears what, but in their defence they have to balance a number of factors, including improving the match experience for visually impaired people, and making the officials’ lives easier. Through researching this piece, it’s clear to me that colour-management in the 1980s and 90s wasn’t as sophisticated and consistent as it is now, and that led to a number of baffling kit selections. For instance, on at least two occasions, Scotland’s goalkeepers wore jerseys that were the same colour as the outfield shirt of their opponents – against Russia in 1994 and the Czech Republic in 1998
Is today’s micro-management of teams’ strips preferable? In some ways it’s more logical, yes, but then Museum of Jerseys would have fewer things to write about.