Welcome to issue #2 of Kit Interested, a sort of virtual mini-magazine taking a look at interesting kit situations that we think are worth sharing. Click here if you missed the bumper debut installment, where we began with a look at a Spurs-Chelsea game in the late 70s; a Greece-Australia game in the early 80s; Portugal and Porto in the early 90s; and Ireland’s “curse” of away shirts at the World Cup.
As mentioned above, last time in ‘KI’ we examined some of Porto’s unusual 93/94 Champions League kits . Their run included a meeting with Belgian champions Anderlecht and by pure coincidence it is to them, in the same campaign, that we first turn.
That season may be particularly compelling due Adidas’ continuing change over from the trefoil era to the Equipment and post-Equipment eras, the effects of which could be seen on Porto’s updated attire during the later rounds. Another aspect, which would probably be lost on some new fans from today’s ultra-comercialised world, was the prohibition of over-branding at the time in UEFA competitions.
Anderlecht, Champions League 1993/94
Anderlecht’s Champions League began with a First Round two-legged tie in September 1993 against the Finns of HJK Helsinki, who had already dispatched of regional neighbours FC Norma of Estonia in the preliminary round. There would be a group stage in this edition of the tournament too, but now quite yet.
From the 2nd leg in Brussels’ Constant Vanden Stockstadion, we see Anderlecht’s initial shirt in the competition (as well as the gruesome barbed fences needed to keep off the fearful Belgian hooligan, like we saw here), the white and purple of which was deemed acceptable against HJK’s blue and white stripes. On first glance they appear to be in their standard league home kit, which used the Adidas Equipment template with diagonal bars top and bottom, but there were some differences:
To comply with sponsor regulations at this stage of the competition, the huge “G” on the front of the jersey – the logo of ‘Generale Bank’ – had been reduced in size, so it was closer to the top bars rather than nearly touching both on the domestic version. A miniature “G” logo on the right sleeve was also removed, but no Champions League badges were in sight just yet to replace it:
Besides these alterations, there were differences within the kit to some other versions used by clubs such as Arsenal away and Porto away. Only one of the bars on each end of the shirt were in line with each other, unlike the two on those mentioned above, and the shorts bars were “sliced” diagonally along their tops (see above gif) – clearly intended for use with one of the other variants of Equipment templates – instead of straight across like on the shirt.
Lastly, looking at the number style used on the back, a slim outline of the block digits was the only real detail with the removal of another logo, “LS”, which was present in the league – presumably another sponsor. But again, look at that fence:
With 3-0 wins home and away, the Belgians progressed to the next round in October 1993 to take on Sparta Prague – technically still representing the old Czechoslovak First League as the last champions, rather than the Czech Republic’s new version. A 5-2 aggregate scoreline advanced Anderlecht again, doing so in the same kit as used in the first two games but with more long sleeves on show as the weather got colder:
Now, plopped right in the middle of the tournament, it was time for the group stage, running from November 24, 1993, to April 13, 1994. Anderlecht were placed in the second of the two groups of four, Group B, along side Milan, Porto and Werder Breman, with the top two set to progress to the semis.
The group began with the Italian side visiting a fantastically snow covered Constant Vanden Stock. This also created the need for the fantastic orange Tango (or Etrusco Unico?) ball:
As were the rules in this era for colour clashes, the home side changed from their usual white shorts and socks to allow for Milan’s of the same colour, pleasingly – and seamlessly – combining their purple away versions with the home jersey:
The jersey was where the real change was at, though. As the competition had now progressed to a more “important” TV-watchable round, all shirt sponsorship was now banned and so the “G” disappeared completely, while a Champions League “star-badge” now did appear on the right sleeve. But most interesting was the fact that the that Adidas Equipment logo was suddenly gone, replaced by a strange purple panel and with an enlarged Adidas wordmark underneath:
At first, the somewhat clumsy alteration may have seemed like an adherence to the branding rules too. But the logo was still present on the shorts and socks, not to mention seen on the likes Spartak Moscow and Monaco’s versions in the same round:
Unless there was some sort of misunderstanding where Anderlecht had thought that they needed to remove it, the change seems more in line with Adidas’ next phase of marketing. This had already begun with the French national team’s self-censorship of the logo a few months earlier (seen below away to Sweden, August 93) only two years since it had first been introduced by Liverpool and would be followed by the new wave of national kits about to be released for the World Cup, which also all featured an ‘adidas’ wordmark only:
After a 0-0 draw in the snow against the Italians, it was to be a high-scoring affair in the German rain next with the Belgians’ visit to Werder Bremen’s Weserstadion in December. The same kit colours as the previous game were used by the traveling side as they scored three but conceded five:
But again there was updates. The purple panel under the collar was gone leaving only the ‘adidas’, which looked far more sensible, and the Champions League star-badge was replaced with the black rectangle version:
After this match came the break, with Anderlecht’s next continental fixture not until the following March. During the meantime, a league game away to FC Liègeois on January 15, 1994, shows that domestically the version with the Equipment logo was still in use…:
…but on February 26th at home to KSK Beveren, a short-sleeved panel-version was seen side-by-side with other players wearing long-sleeved logo-versions:
When the tournament finally resumed on March 2nd, Anderlecht welcomed Porto and appeared in all-purple for the first time in the competition, accommodating the Portuguese side’s blue and white stripes. Apparently the resulting shorts clash wasn’t considered an issue:
The away jersey was of course like the home counter-part, and unlike its league counterpart, in the lack of maker-logo. A white sleeve patch also appeared this time:
On the back there was one slight difference to the previously seen shirts, apart from colour. Box-type numbers were preferred over the outlined-blocks of before:
The away kit at home proved good luck as a winning goal the 88th minute gave Anderlecht a famous European night. For the return game in Porto two weeks later, the kits were of course reversed – Porto in all-blue and Anderlecht in all-white, with the short-sleeved version of the logo-less/sponsorless, shirt appearing for the first time:
As the kits had been reversed, so too would the result as the Belgian champs were defeated 2-0 in the Estádio das Antas. The next game in the San Siro against Milan at the end of the month was now a must-win game, as it always looked likely to be.
Despite the earlier mentioned rules, as in Brussels (except now far less cold) Anderlecht used the purple shorts and socks again with the now standard European-jersey:
On the back the regular number style returned, mirrored by the shirts of the opposition. Perhaps the numbers were produced by the same company:
A respectable 0-0 proved fruitless, as the scoreline, coupled with Porto’s 0-5 win in Bremen, meant that both they and Milan would progress no matter what happened in the last group games. When Werder did come to Brussels in April, the same kit-configuration was chosen as last time and a 1-2 away win meant that Anderlecht finished bottom of the group:
The continental dream was over, but another league championship victory soon after meant that one more shot at Champions League glory, however unlikely, would come the following season. First there was a different trophy to win, though, in the Belgian Cup.
Defeating great rivals Club Brugge in Liège’s Stade Maurice Dufrasne, Anderlecht did so while debuting their kit for the following season. A new template, drawing on the previous iterations bars motiff, was worn as the double was completed, but the Equipment logo itself was finally banished for ever…:
Since this section worked out like a miniature club-version of Champagne Kit Campaigns, it seemed apt to include a CKC-style breakdown at this point:
Breakdown Club: Anderlecht Season: 1993/94 Competition: Champions League Kit Supplier: Adidas Games: 10 Kit Colour Combinations: 3 Kit Technical Combinations: 5
And now a somewhat random selection of interesting kits, lesser seen shirt designs, and aesthetically pleasing jerseys in picture form.
Banik Ostrava, 1990:
Bari, Adidas, 1991/92:
Chealsea away shirt and socks with home shorts, Umbro, 1987:
Hendon FC, 1974:
Latvia away, Adidas, 1995:
Maglie, imitation-Adidas sleeve flashes, 1993:
Netherlands goalkeeper, Adidas, tracksuit bottoms continuing the yellow on black stripes creating a virtual full-body kit, 1983:
Prussen Munster, Adidas, wearing an Equipment style template nearly a decade after the original and a decade and a half before it was reintroduced, 2002:
Brann Bergen, Hummel, Denmark 1992 style and colourway, 1993:
Türkiyemspor Berlin, Lotto, year unknown:
Having broken down Ireland’s World Cup shirts game by game in the last KI to show that they have so far never won a World Cup finals match in an away shirt, a similar project on the country’s European Championships record would be of less interest considering the considerably smaller sample side. But their first appearance at the tournament in 1988 was notable for more than just the famous victory 1-0 over England (well, in our eyes, not many others would care).
Republic of Ireland’s sock situation, 1987-90
The Irish had began their successful Euro 88 qualification campaign in 1986 after having recently switched kit makers to Adidas for the first time, after over a decade with local firm O’Neills. Fairly plain designs were seen at first, such as the outfit worn at home to Bulgaria in October 1987 (below left), but there were hints of the detailing to come later withe addition of orange trim to the white v-neck and cuffs for a friendly against Israel the following month (below right):
The first friendly of 1988 against Romania also saw the debut of Ireland’s first tournament jersey. The upgraded, new model featured a lighter shade of green on modern shinier material; an enlarged trefoil; sleeve hoops; turn-over collar (with the v-neck becoming a crossover v-neck); Adidas’ iconic striped numbers on the back: and a retention of the orange trim:
But we say debut of jersey rather than the full kit, as the shorts and socks were the same as seen before, both baring standard Adidas stripes and trefoils – meaning a slightly mismatched shade of green on the socks to that of the shirt. Not immediately obvious (although you won’t be able to stop seeing it now) was the fact that the socks also featured white feet, visible just above the boot in the images above.
This look was used for the rest of the pre-tournament warm-up games, such as at home to Yugoslavia and Poland (Ireland perhaps preparing for their Euro group opponents the Soviet Union by taking on other Eastern Block teams; we can’t find evidence for what was worn in the last friendly away to Norway on June 1st). A version with “OPEL” sponsor, like the fans had to buy, was used for Frank Stapleton’s testimonial against a Rest of World XI in May:
When the kick-off finally came for Ireland’s biggest ever match until point against England in Stuttgart in Euro 88 Group B, it turned out that the real tournament kit had not yet been seen at all. Like the UEFA ban on sponsorship in their club competitions discussed earlier, kit-branding was constrained by more demanding specifications at this time, which had most notably effected Euro 80 with several makshift cover-ups.
By Euro 88, the rules had been relaxed so that logos themselves were now allowed if kept below a certain size and not repeated excessively. Accordingly, the trefoil on Ireland’s shirt was significantly smaller than the one seen in the lead-up, although few will have noticed the change (game vs Poland on the left for comparison):
More likely to have been noticed was the difference further down the kit (certainly by ourselves closer to the time), as the trefoil on the socks of before was clearly considered excessive. The stripes alone would have been fine, but apparently the discovery was made too close to the finals to switch to stripe-only pairs like the Dutch and the Soviets (who’s Olympic 88 team, incidentally, demonstrated how the sock trefoil was fine in a non-UEFA setting later that summer) and the Irish instead took to the field against their former colonial overlords in nondescript, slightly dark green stockings:
At least the off-tone green was consistent with the original pairs. Of course in today’s world Adidas would have nearly certainly supplied alternates for the Irish, but here, seemingly, a convenient smaller brand was chosen at near last minute (although since this is the FAI we’re talking about they may well have received fair warning).
The poorer quality compared to Adidas’ material was evident through better photos of the game, as the socks were practically see-through when stretched to their desired length, but the foot of the sock was still white at least bringing in some consistency. Naturally, the same models were kept on for the other two games against the USSR (left) and Netherlands (right):
After the “heroic” elimination at the Euros – which could never be considered a failure due to the magnificent defeat of the English – Ireland set out for what would become an even more historic journey to the quarter finals of the World Cup (don’t worry, we’re not going that far).
First up on this new quest was another politically charged fixture away to Northern Ireland in September, who’s green and white strip gave an opportunity to finally see the Irish away kit. Interestingly, white socks with plain green turn-overs were chosen (below left) despite the trefoil now being acceptable again, as seen on the North’s own Adidas socks (below right):
Perhaps this indicated that the socks had originally been intended for the Euros and its rules (the smaller trefoil used on the shirt also matched that on the Euro home jersey, supporting this theory). In one sense though, the solid blocks of green on the turnovers rather than stripes actually complimented the shirt, and solid numbers made a return at the expense of the striped style on the back which also matched:
For the following two games – a friendly at home to Tunisia and a World Cup qualifier away to Spain – the pre-Euro kit returned complete with enlarged shirt trefoil, and stripes and trefoils on the socks.
Ireland’s next competitive fixture was away to Hungary in March 1989 when the away kit made its second and last appearance in this form. Unlike against Northern Ireland, however, the non-Euro version was used for the first time – again with the larger shirt trefoil and correctly branded Adidas socks – meaning the only real consistent element between the two matches was the shorts (and the number style remaining solid):
After this, the non-Euro home kit was worn for the next several games until the return match against Northern Ireland in Dublin. Now, with only two games left in qualifying, the socks first seen all the way back in 1986 against Wales (both manager Jack Charlton’s and Adidas’ first match with Ireland) were finally retired and striped pairs which would have made more sense at Euro 88 turned up, again with trademark white feet:
Even though the old socks had been hold-overs from a previous strip and were of a shade to reflect that, their retention was reasonable (until the Euro situation) as they really did fit the kit and were the style of the time. Considering that they had already spanned two qualifying campaigns, it was then slightly apt that a random substitution be made at this point rather than leave them be for the last two games in the group (and a friendly against Wales the following March where this configuration was also used).
The follow-up pair could then, logically, be saved for the up-coming 1990 World Cup kit reveal where it belonged. Except shockingly, when the new World Cup shirt actually debuted against USSR in April 1990, the resilient trefoil socks made a stunning return from retirement for one last match. Of course:
Anderlecht vs HJK Helsinki, 1993
Sparta Pargue vs Anderlecht, 1993
Anderlecht vs Milan, 1993
Werder Bremen vs Anderlecht, 1993
Werder Bremen vs Anderlecht, 1993
Liègeois vs Anderlecht,1994
Anderlecht vs Beveren, 1994
Anderlecht vs Porto, 1994
Porto vs Anderlecht, 1994
Milan vs Anderlecht, 1994
Anderlecht vs Werder Breman, 1994 (Dailymotion)
Anderlecht vs Club Brugge, 1994
Ireland vs Bulgaria, 1987
Ireland vs Israel, 1987
Ireland vs Romania, 1988
Ireland vs Rest of World, 1988
Ireland vs Poland, 1988
Ireland vs England, 1988
Ireland vs USSR, 1988
Ireland vs Netherlands, 1988
Northern Ireland vs Ireland, 1988
Hungary vs Ireland, 1989
Ireland vs Northern Ireland, 1989
Ireland vs USSR, 1990
[…] his blog Pyro on The Pitch, Joey Smith makes the point that other adidas teams had three-striped socks with no logo, so […]