- Thanks to Jay Mansfield for his assistance
The Rous Cup was a short-lived affair. Emanating from the Home Championship, which was discontinued in 1984, initially the competition – named after former Fifa President Sir Stanley Rous – was effectively a football version of rugby union’s Calcutta Cup, with England playing Scotland.
That was the case in 1985 and 1986, but for the final three years there was an exotic element added as Brazil competed in a triangular competition 1987, with Colombia taking part in 1988 and Chile doing so in the final edition in 1989. It is the middle of those three years that we will focus on today, as Colombia wore borrowed socks in both of their games against the British opposition.
Umbro used the 1988 event to premiere two new kits – the Scotland home strip that would last until 1991, encompassing the 1990 World Cup, and a red England change kit in the style of the first-choice outfit released the previous year. Both of those kits had red socks and Colombia – not averse to changing their colours over the years – had brought an adidas strip of yellow shirts, blue shorts and red socks.
The opening game on May 17 saw Scotland take on Colombia at Hampden Park and the solution for the socks-clash was for the visitors to wear white-with-red-diamonds Umbro socks – a style first worn by Scotland in 1976 and last called upon in 1989. Presumably, it was a desire for the new kit to be seen in its default format that dictated it would be Colombia rather than Scotland changing – in 1991, the Scots would wear plain white socks with the navy shirts and white shorts in a home game against Switzerland.
Following a scoreless draw, both sides made their way south of the border. Peter Beardsley’s goal gave England a 1-0 win over Scotland at Wembley on May 21 and the competition concluded three days later as Bobby Robson’s side clashed with Colombia in London. With England opting to show off the new change strip, there was again a clash of red socks to solve but it seems that Colombia had been allowed to keep the Scottish set and they were in the same combination for a 1-1 draw – goals by Gary Lineker and the ill-fated Andrés Escobar – which gave England the title.