Kit Interested #3 – Football-Wrestling Connections; Shelbourne in Greece; Gallery

Click here for all installments of this series, based on interesting kit things and our interest in them.

Football Gear In Pro Wrestling

In recent times there have been tenuous links between the football world and the world of professional wrestling, such as wrestlers wearing their favorite teams’ shirts or even former players hanging up their football boots for wrestling boots. But some stranger connections involving apparel go further back in time and around the world, which we have happened to catch over our years of retro perusal.

Memphis, 1980:

While Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart would go on to become world famous thanks to his role as an effective antagonistic manager in late 80s WWF, the former DJ and music producer’s career in the business had began many years earlier, debuting in the Memphis wrestling territory in 1978. By 1980 he was managing Jimmy Valiant, the AWA Southern Heavyweight champion:

Given his background in music, Jimmy Hart was of course a stylish man – in least terms of the gaudy tastes of 1980 Tennessee. Taking that into account, it was still quite surprising to see him turn up on 26/01/80 edition of Memphis Wrestling’s studio show wearing a replica West Germany football jersey:

It is completely out of the blue and no explanation is ever given to why he is wearing this, with most of the audience, and possibly Jimmy himself, completely unawares to the actual meaning of the garment:

The design itself is odd and evidentially non-official, as it seems to be based off the 1974 style but with faux-Adidas sleeve stripes. Perhaps Jimmy was a big fan of Die Mannschaft and wanted to publicly display his support early ahead of that summers European Championships in Italy, or else he just somehow ended up with it and was wearing it like any other weird fashion choice of the age:

Australia and New Zealand, 70s/early 80s:

Lesser known than their counterparts in the the likes of the US, Japan, Canada, Mexico and England, the “lands down under” could also boast their own native wrestling TV shows in the 70s and 80s before the WWF boom. Not to be confused with the later American promotion, World Championship Wrestling ran shows in Australia from 1964 to 1978 and, while not strictly football related, the familiar sight of some Adidas trademarks were present in the company’s later years:

Above a referee is wearing what essentially could be a football jersey from, although really it’s an Adidas t-shirt with his official’s badge covering the trefoil:

The colourway and crest makes it seem like some sort of Manchester City fantasy jersey:

During an interview segment on another episode, this wrestler wears what appears to be an Adidas tracktop, but again no trefoil appears leaving the very real possibility of another knock-off:

Moving to New Zealand’s “On The Mat” wrestling (1975-1984) but sticking with tracktops, the host of the weekly TV show on the 29/07/80 episode appeared wearing this fine jacket, which would soon have been the envy of many a young football casual on the other side of the world:

A similar case could be made for this in ring worker, who’s sleeves look like the Hummel chevron design:


Whatever about nice tracktops, one wrestler later appeared in what can only be described as “a jersey”, quite possibly inspired by soccer:

The referee’s top here, incidentally, with it’s blue and white vertical stripes, is also quite reminiscent of a classic English football shirt:

Japan, early 90s:

While the lack of trefoils above left the use of Adidas ambiguous, there is no doubt of the German manufacturers presence for our last case, found in early 90s Japanese wrestling – or “puroresu“, from the Japanese pronunciation of “pro wrestling”. The classically named “Wrestle and Romance” promotion, or WAR, opened their doors in 1992, focused on running all-star cards of freelance performers rather than contracting talent:

Here, two of these big names – Bam Bam Bigelow and John “Earthquake” Tenta, both since passed – are in the ring, but look at the referee:

That’s right, it’s the 1992/93 Adidas equipment template in the style of Spain with “WAR” across the front. Amazing. Moving to another of their events, again featuring Earthquake, we see that it was not the only version of the shirt in their locker:

This one is more of an Anderlecht. While blurry, the Equipment logo is present to confirm authenticity, but an actual deal between WAR and Adidas seems farfetched (although not impossible):

Instead of numbers on the back, the company initials are repeated:

Along with the following special message instead of a player name:

“Live for today”. POTP loves Japan.


Shelbourne vs Panathinaikos, Cup Winners’ Cup 93/94

As Irish domestic cup champions in 1993, Shelbourne entered the following season’s Cup Winners’ Cup hopeful of drawing a name similar in stature to their opponents when last in the competition 30 years earlier – Barcelona. Unlike that edition, now a preliminary round was needed for sides from weaker countries such as Ireland, meaning Shels were given a not so glamorous opening fixture against Karpaty Lviv of Ukraine:

The Reds (aka the “Real Reds”, or, more commonly these days, “The Auld Reds”) were getting used to Ukrainian opposition around now, as the previous season they had been knocked out of the Champions League at the same stage by Tavriya Simferopol – the former Soviet state’s first representatives at Europe’s top table as an independent nation. This time the Dubliners recovered from a 1-0 away loss in the first leg to take the tie 2-3 and did so in a distinctive and memorable O’Neills strip, featuring white “shards” and cracks over the red shirt evocative of the era:

The club’s most iconic sponsor Dulux is present, although not exactly as it was seen in the league. Normally the logo of Dulux’s co-owners ICI – Imperial Chemical Industries – sat beside the text, but since UEFA considered this to be adverstising two companies, which was not allowed in European competition, a version with just “Dulux” was produced for home and away (image from Football Shirt Connection).

Another change, as can be seen via the two links above, was the use of a classic style crest for the Euro version, and “European Cup Winners Cup 1993” text added around the O’Neills logo, which had also been moved from the collar to the chest. But strangely some versions featured two O’Neills logos, one in each position.

Shelbourne’s reward for finally beating the Ukrainians was a first round draw against Greek behemoths Panathinaikos – who’s green and white strip and shamrock badge would surely provoke snide comparisons to Dublin rivals Shamrock Rovers – with the first leg in Greece on 15/09/93. But when the Reds emerged in Athens’ Olympic Stadium that night for their biggest European occasion in decades, strangely there was no red to be seen, no hearkening back to the boys in the New Camp in 63, with the sky blue and white away kit on show instead:

At first glance it might appear as some “modern style” shameless plugging of a new away jersey, but with surely no TV coverage in Ireland this would have made little sense. Instead, it transpired that two Shels home jerseys had mysteriously gone missing from the team hotel sometime before the match, with suspicions of theft.

Without a full set of matchday kits in red and white, the club were forced to change into the Euro away strip, which thankfully had been brought. Had such foresight not been present (perhaps it was mandatory anyway?), the greater embarrassment of borrowed kits on a European stage would have been harder to stomach than the actual 3-0 loss in the match:

For the home leg in Tolka Park the traditional red (with white bits) of Shelbourne made it’s return, with the ICI-less shirt of one player clearly visible now:

Jody Byrne, in a magnificently 90s goalkeeper top, interestingly opted for the sky blue socks of the away kit. Of course neither home or away would have matched the jersey regardless:

There was to be no miracle turn around to accompany the kit, but at least a consolation goal was scored in the 86th minute (a 5-1 aggregate result). As for the original pair which went missing, who knows where they are now. But hopefully there are a couple of Greek folk out there who can be seen to this day occasionally strolling around Athens in distinctive red and white O’Neills jerseys with Dulux Paint sponsors and no ICI logo.

***Thanks to @1895Barry for helping us confirm some of the info above.***


‘Keepering Up With Appearances

In the gallery section of the last Kit Interested, we showed Dutch goalkeeper Piet Schrijvers in action for the national team in 1983, wearing these matching black and yellow Adidas tracksuit bottoms to go with his jersey and socks:

Well it turns out he was not the first goaltender in the Netherlands to achieve this great look, as here Ton van Engelen of Feyenoord wears a pair to go with his blue and black kit (same shirt template as we recently Retro Shirt Reviewed) in an all around aesthetically amazing match against Ajax, 01/12/1980:



Croatia vs Slovenia, World Cup 98 qualifier, 02/04/1997:

Spartak Moscow vs Monaco, Champions League, 30/03/1994:

Ireland vs Morocco, friendly, 12/09/1990:

Benevento vs Lucera, Campionato Nazionale Dilettanti Group H, 1993/1994:

Benevento vs Lucera, Campionato Nazionale Dilettanti Group H, 1993/1994:

Albania vs Germany, World Cup qualifier, 02/04/1997:

“Overall Clash”, Toulon vs Sochaux, Ligue 1, 1987:

Stellar tracksuits, Luxembourg vs Italy, friendly, 27/04/1988:


YouTube Links:

Memphis wrestling, 1980
Australia wrestling, 1970s
New Zealand wrestling, 1980
Japan wrestling, 90s
Shelbourne vs Kaparty Lviv, 1993
Panathinaikos vs Shelbourne, 1993
Shelbourne vs Panathinaikos, 1993
Feyenoord vs Ajax, 1980
Croatia vs Slovenia, 1997
Spartak Moscow vs Monaco, 1994
Benevento vs Lucera, 93/94
Toulon vs Sochaux, 1987
Luxembourg vs Italy, 1988



One comment

  1. […] The template itself combines influence from several eras seamlessly, creating a glorious retro tribute to the clubs’ entire past, and white-on-white Umbro diamonds on the sleeves bars is a nice, subtle touch. The away version uses the exact same design but in sky-blue, it’s first appearance as primary away colour in years. Perhaps its revival is a reference to another European night against Panathinaikos in 1993, when unforeseen circumstances forced the use of a change strip in Athens (read more on this here). […]


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