As we said at the outset of this series, we weren’t going to focus on examples of two teams given the same template by the same manufacturer – if we were, then the original adidas Equipment design would take up a lot of our time, such as the Bayern Munich and Monaco change kits, to take one random instance (right).
However, that adidas era is central to today’s article, albeit in an obscure variant that we have not seen from another team in the three stripes, at least not in those three stripes.
For those unfamiliar with Irish firm O’Neills, they are entitled to apply a three-stripe motif to clothing produced and for use in Ireland – in the 1980s, adidas took them to court but the Irish Supreme Court ruled in favour of O’Neills. As is often the case in terms of a major player leading the way and others following, O’Neills had their own homage to adidas’s EQT stylings. The Bohemians and Shelbourne 1992-93 change kits (left) were very similar to the double-shouldered adidas design first seen at Euro 92, with the only slight difference being that the stripes nearest the neck were slightly narrower on the O’Neills shirts than on the adidas ones.
O’Neills did vary things too, however. The Shelbourne home was previously covered in an article of its own, with the large v-neck the only real similarity to adidas. Meanwhile St Patrick’s Athletic, who switched to O’Neills in 1993 after a stint with Spall, had a red home shirt and blue away with the shoulder panels, but the home had white stripes of different width and the away just had solid red blocks.
And it is the latter – which featured in the Roddy Doyle-written TV series Family – which provides the lookalike for an unusual adidas offering. Steaua Bucharest, the 1986 European champions, now wear Nike (and are known as FCSB) but the club had a long association with adidas. In 1992-93, they were still wearing older adidas trefoil-marked kit (right) but the following season saw them in the newer style.
The home was all-red with blue trim and the change strip vice-versa but, like the St Pat’s away, neither had the three stripes over the shoulder, with contrasting panels used instead. The three-stripe fabric pattern was present, though.
Why the shirts deviated from the more common design, we do not know – Steaua missed out on the then-eight-team Champions League, losing in the last 16 to Monaco, and it would have been interesting to see if a change would have materialised if they had progressed. In 1994-95 and 1995-96, they did compete in the group stages and had ‘normal’ adidas designs.
St Patrick’s Athletic remained with O’Neills until 2004, switching to Umbro, with whom they have remained since then.