A bit of a change of tack today, if you’ll allow the indulgence – the fantasy taken up a notch as we deal with made-up clubs.
Throughout the 1990s, I created various imaginary clubs – I would imagine a few people reading this will have engaged in similar during their childhoods. Clydeonian, as mentioned here, comprised real-life players, while I also developed a completely fabricated ‘stable’ of sides that operated in the same universe (with occasional transfers from one to another).
The main reason to do it was, of course, to try out various kit design ideas and, recently, a couple of things have triggered the memories of those times. An old adidas catalogue that I purchased advertised its teamwear options with kits that I almost felt I could have designed, while a clear-out at my childhood home unearthed reams of squad lists, results and kit descriptions and illustrations.
I always intended to collate the kits – I would start by doing a few and then get side-tracked. Now, with Adobe Illustrator to help me, the task is a bit easier though time remains an ever-finite resource. Nevertheless, I will get the ball rolling with the two clubs that were the genesis for what followed.
The time period is from 1996-99 – the alternate universe reached its apogee in the autumn of 1999 when, home from school after an operation, I made up for the shortcomings of Sensible Soccer: European Club Edition by populating the custom teams section with all of my clubs and running a league and cup.
Eston United (England)
A curiosity was that almost all of the team names used real places – Eston is in North Yorkshire. They originated as somebody I looked up to and spent time with had created Eston City, allowing for rivalries in Subbuteo and on the original Sensible Soccer. That person turned out to nothing short of an absolute cunt, which is perhaps another reason why these clubs have not been re-visited in so long.
My favourite kits generally involve a combination of blue, white and red and Eston were a manifestation of that – the MOJ entry for the League of Blogacta on DesignFootball.com was essentially what the might look like in the late 2010s if I had my own kit company.
At the outset, Eston’s home was in the style of the Arsenal kit of the time, while the away shirt was essentially a reversal of PSV’s – felt like a great idea at the time but not so much in retrospect. The crest was a crude rip-off of Manchester United’s, with the ship taken from the Cork GAA badge.
The shorts and socks were intended to be interchangeable but, realistically, any increase of blue on the away kit would surely have only worsened any clash.
The new 1997-98 again took inspiration from Arsenal, with the red probably a bit too heavy in retrospect.
For 1998-99, there was a return to ‘traditional’ white shorts (because of course I had a big backstory) and this was the Italy kit with some red trim added, while the red change outfit borrowed from the Internazionale away.
As bizarre as it sounds, I felt I had to constrain myself with things that might happen in real life rather than simply making every set of kits mix and match perfectly.
That’s why, when I did finally allow Eston a white-blue-white away for 1999-2000, the staggering of the seasons meant the designs didn’t line up perfectly.
VfL Freising (Germany)
No jokes about being cold – Freising, a small town in Bavaria, is pronounced ‘Fry-sing’.
Looking at the white shirts and dark shorts, you might think that Hamburg are something of an inspiration but in fact it was Irish rugby club Cork Constitution. The other Bavarian entity featuring on the kit also probably played a part as I would have used the same shade of royal blue for the trim on the shirt and the BMW logo. That’s another trademark of the clubs in the universe – while I am by no means a petrol-head, all sponsors were automotive-related, either car marques, fuel companies or tyre firms.
For the Freising home, I used the design that Marseille and Newcastle United (away) had that season, while the away was backdated a year to retroactively create an existing two-year cycle. The Freising crest was an old-style football with the club name shaped across it – good in theory but ultimately it just meant two brown blobs on each kit.
To this end, the adidas style given to Liverpool and Rangers for their away kits in 1995-96 was an open goal with the BMW logo, even if the colours could have matched up better.
The 1997-98 away was essentially a reverse of the real-life one used by Schalke, a design also given to Cork City and Crystal Palace. I can’t recall exactly which blue and white opposition necessitated the need for a third kit but the lack of any real effort is unusual.
The new home kit, in the contemporary France style, saw an all-white look, allowing for all-black with the away strip the following year, based on the Tottenham Hotspur away design.
As always, feedback is welcome, along with requests for future FKFs. Comment below or tweet @museumofjerseys.