Our regular guest slot over on MuseumOfJerseys.com is back (yes, we just copy and paste this part every time), with installment twelve of the Cold War Classic. In each edition, we usually discuss a vintage east vs west international match-up (the exception so far being Austria vs Sweden, 1973) from the Cold War era, specifically relating to the amazing and fascinating kits of the time and their evolution. Detailed backgrounds are included, and all retro kits relevant to the story are expertly illustrated in glorious colour by MOJ top boy Denis Hurley.
For the latest installment we look at Albania and Spain’s brief “rivalry” in the 80s/early 90s, and specifically the latter’s generally history of football, kits, and how it all tied into the politics of the country.
Cold War Classic no.12 – Albania vs Spain
n 1948, following national and political tensions and Yugoslavia’s expulsion from the Communist Information Bureau, Albania’s links with their neighbour evaporated, leaving the USSR as main ally. Both Albania and the Soviets were founding members of the Warsaw Pact in 1955, with the Yugoslavs the only socialist state in Europe not to be present.
The Albanian football team followed-suit throughout this time, withholding entry to World Cup qualifiers and only playing friendly matches against other Eastern Block nations – except of course Yugoslavia. When Albania finally began to take part in continental competition, with a place in the Euro 1964 qualifiers, fate would have it that politics would play a role. It would not be the last time.