The 1990-91 season was my first as a proper football supporter, with my interest having been ignited by the Republic of Ireland’s memorable World Cup campaign.
Aiding the thirst for knowledge was my weekly fix of Shoot!, purchased for me by my father every Thursday (it was available on Wednesdays in England at the time – when that changed to Tuesday in 1993, we got it on Wednesdays in Ireland). The magazine would dumb down considerably during the 1990s, but at the beginning of the decade it was still full of strong information as well as interviews where players would speak freely.
On top of all that, the high volume of advertisements for kit-related items ticked another box for the developing kit aficionado that I was. Here are just some of the things that were featured in Shoot!‘s pages.
It’s hard to quantify just how big Gazza-mania was in the wake of Italia 90, when Paul Gascoigne had made himself a star. Shoot! signed him up as a columnist and he was used to endorse a variety of products, including a board game. Brooks were lucky enough to have his boot deal at the time and trumpeted the fact – but, by the end of the season, he would have Puma boots on his feet.
At the time, adidas produced the kits of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. Their ‘I want/I can’ campaign featured a player from each team – Michael Thomas, Ronnie Whelan and Mark Hughes respectively – wearing the three-stripe kit and boots.
Even now, it’s hard to describe the feelings within me when I see an adidas Etrusco Unico football.
While Bourne Sports sold replica kits, their ads included teamwear, including an unusual adidas design which had contrasting lower sleeves.
While Nike had yet to enter the kits market in England, their boots were popular and Sportsshoes Unlimited offered them for sale.
The ads we remember most fondly are those promoting Sport Rendez-Vous. Their early-season offering showed off the strips for teams in Umbro and adidas, Tottenham Hotspur (who, like Liverpool didn’t have new kits) and Rangers, who were with Admiral at the time.
Sport Rendez-Vous also had specially focused ads for Sondico and Reusch products.
Later in the season, Sport Rendez-Vous had an ad which featured more foreign teams. Presumably Cork City were paired with Barcelona as the two biggest clubs yet to to win the European Cup – Barça would pip City in terms of ending the wait. Meanwhile, the Bayern Munich shirt for sale was only worn nine times.
It’s an ad worth looking at in greater detail. We’re not sure if the unavailability of the England Scotland baseball caps was due to them selling out or the respective associations asserting their copyrights.
And finally, in a similar vein to that Sport Rendez-Vous one was this Sportscene one, seen in April 1991. The brand-new Scotland kits were included, while the descriptions of the four Napoli shirts confused us for years – we eventually got to the bottom of it.