Retro Shirt Reviews #3

In today’s Retro Shirt Review we feature this saucy green and white Reebok affair of unknown club or year, but the sponsor suggests a German lower-league/amatuer origin. We like to imagine this shirt as from an alternate 90’s timeline where Ireland wore Reebok, as this template nearly seems inspired by the Adidas Equipment style at the time which Ireland employed. Some other companies blatantly ripped-off Adidas’ large over the shoulder stripe design, but Reebok borrowed the concept in a different way by plastering their own logo over the upper part of their shirts.

Like the two German national shirts featured in Retro Shirt Reviews 1 and 2, this shirt is made with two large pieces of fabric sown together at the top of the shoulders and sleeves, rather than separate pieces for the sleeves like with most shirts. When laid out flat, the unusual cut of the shirt, particularly around the shoulders and wide sleeves, is evident, although not surprising given the style of the time.

In our alternate timeline fantasy, a company known as Sport Schneck has clearly beaten Opel to be Ireland’s shirt sponsor, and presumably Bayern Munich’s. Upon a quick translate search, it seems that Sport Schneck translates to Sports Snail or Sports Slug, which is a great name. Perhaps this is some tongue in cheek joke regarding the irony of a slow snail as an athlete, or something else lost in translation.

Tight shadow striping also hearkens to Irelands’s 92-93 shirt which featured a similar pattern. On the back is a white, felt, “boxed” number 7 (worn by the alternate timeline’s version of Andy Townsend no doubt), which looks slightly small in person.

The label displays a classic, clean Reebok logo with no other information, and frankly nothing else needs be said.

As noted earlier, this general motif was used by Reebok teams throughout the decade, most famously by Chile at the ’98 World Cup who in fact were using an altered, stripped back version (on a shirt also noteworthy for it’s huge front numbers) so as to abide by FIFA’s branding rules. Perhaps in a similar vein, my alternate timeline Ireland jersey doesn’t feature a crest due excessive marketing on the coat of arms of a new materialist, dictatorship of 1992 Ireland.

Bonus: International Selection

  • Country: West Germany (away)
  • Year: n/a
  • Make: Adidas

Here we have a “modern re-imagining” of a late 80’s West Germany away shirt, as it combines elements of both their away shirts used at World Cup ’86 and ’90.

The main geometric design is of course inspired by the 1990 away shirt and template used by many teams of the time, but in a blockier, less minty fresh form. The shade of green is more reminiscent of the ’86 shirt, as is the solid white and black crest as opposed to the white outlined used in ’90. But the positioning of the crest, laying directly opposite the trefoil, is more consistent with 1990 than ’86 where it was lower down.

***

Cold War Classic no. 4 – Sweden v Austria, 1973

You now love Pyro On The Pitch as an international institution, but did you know that we also contribute to the wonderful MuseumOfJerseys.com? The fourth installment of our guest series over there, the Cold War Classic, is now up.

If you enjoy any combination of interesting retro football kits, beautifully vivid illustrations of said retro football kits (by main man Denis Hurley), a bit of sociopolitical history and classic cold war era match ups (with maybe a bit of trademark Pyro On The Pitch absurdity), then we think you’ll dig it. Preview and link to full article below.

*

Cold War Classic no. 4 – Sweden v Austria, 1973

“On November 11, 1973, UEFA’s qualifying Group 1 for the 1974 World Cup came to a close as Sweden defeated Malta 2-1 away from home. As with most things in football, or society in general, things were done differently back then and, curiously, the last game in the group before this had been played in June.

In fact, the first game in qualifying had taken place way back in November 1971, when of course in a modern-day system the last round of qualifiers for the following year’s Euros would have only been taking place. In the Malta-Sweden game, the hosts had taken an unexpected 1-0 lead on the 20th minute before the visitors came back to win.

But this goal would throw up a wrench, as it meant Sweden would finish level on both points and goal difference with Austria at the top of the group. With only one qualifying spot up for grabs, a play-off at a neutral venue (Parkstadion, Gelsenkirchen, West Germany, so there’s your Cold War connection) was deemed to be the best option…”

READ ON

Retro Shirt Reviews #2

What we have here is very baggy, classic 90’s loose fit Puma shirt. Comparing it with last week’s breathtaking Erima number it is a pretty interesting look at the change in direction of the cut of football shirts from the different eras. Both are mediums, but the Erima one from the 80’s is tight enough that it may as well be a small, while the Puma shirt from the 90’s might be considered a large by today’s standards. The Erima shirt fits snugly while the same player would be swimming in the Puma shirt.

The main feature is the interesting diagonal bars coming from the bottom of the shirt and the white shape on the front left which is reminiscent of part of the symbol for Pi. As pointed out by friend of the site Denis Hurley, of MuseumOfJerseys.com, it appears the design is actually an enlarged section of the Tetra Pak logo, sponsors of Eintracht Frankfurt at the time who also wore this shirt.

This makes it even more interesting than originally thought, as it suggest either the template was directly inspired by the Tetra Pak logo, or that the shirt was made bespoke for Eintracht and Tetra Pak before then being used as a general template. Either way, a nice sneaky bit of extra advertising. Thanks Denis!

A number on the back is always nice, and here we also have the presumable team name of Keune, as it was common for German clubs to have their name on the back of their shirts since the days before player names became the norm. The shocking lack of this knowledge among the the general population causes issues, as many who see the shirt being worn from behind assume it to be a player name which at first glance appears to be “Keane” rather than the unfamiliar Keune.

As already mentioned, this Puma template was also worn in the same colourway by Eintracht Frankfurt from 1993, with their version of course also including a crest and sponsor. What’s even better than both this jersey and Frankfurt’s is actually their away shirt from that season which uses the same template but in gloriously satisfying yellow, blue and white, with a dash of red for good measure.

In conclusion, this shirt will not be getting our highest grade of seven and  a half thumbs up like Erima got last time. But we will be generous and award 3 silver stars, as like all shirts it has it’s place in football history. Thank you Puma for this very 1993 effort.

Bonus: International Selection

  • Country: Germany (away)
  • Year: 1994-1995
  • Make: Adidas

Continuing the German theme from last time (and both club shirts have been German… we like German things), three letters come to mind when looking at the above beauty: D.M.T. Which is most definitely a positive. Despite seeing some (frankly ludicrous) derision for it online, we personally love the bold, tribal-esq, in your face aesthetic of this shirt, which Germany wore in friendlies in 1994, and in Euro 96 qualifying, but not actually at the World Cup.

One interesting thing about the actual shirt itself is that it is composed of two pieces of material for the front and back, which are stitched along the top of the shoulder and down the sleaves. This is opposed to different pieces used for the torso and sleeves which is more usual for football jerseys, and this was also the case of for the 88-91 shirt featured last week.

***

Cold War Classic #3

You now love Pyro On The Pitch as an international institution, but did you know that we also contribute to the wonderful MuseumOfJersey.com? The third installment of our guest series over there, the Cold War Classic, is now up.

If you enjoy any combination of interesting retro football kits, beautifully vivid illustrations of said retro football kits (by main man Denis Hurley), a bit of sociopolitical history and classic cold war era match ups (with maybe a bit of trademark Pyro On The Pitch absurdity), then we think you’ll dig it.

*


Cold War Classic no. 3 – France v USSR, 1972

“A World Cup qualifier in Paris on October 10, 1972 between France and the Soviet Union was one of 12 meetings in total between the two before the latter would cease to exist. At a time when diplomatic relations were strained between east and west, such friendly sporting relationships must have only strengthened ties between peoples divided by competing political systems, with sport acting as a lingua franca to remind humanity of it’s common ground.

No matter your skin colour, religious background, social class or ideology, worldwide appreciation for a good old game of ball showed us that at the end of the day we were all the same (that is, a weird, mostly hairless, over-evolved primate thing with a universal fascination for this possibly esoteric activity)….”

Read on:
https://museumofjerseys.com/2017/12/07/cold-war-classic-no-3-france-v-ussr-1972/

 

Champagne Kit Campaigns #1: Norway 1992/93, World Cup ’94 Qualification

Continuing on from Retro Shirt Reviews, we have another new feature here for the “kit-interested” as we perform a detailed break down of what some selected nations wore for historic qualifying campaigns or tournaments.

Background:

Norway started 1992 in Hummel. The brand is usually more associated with neighbours Denmark, but they had also produced kits for the Norwegians since the early 80’s. Fittingly it was against Denmark in a friendly in April that Norway would last wear a Hummel kit, in this case an all-white away ensemble:

(They actually may have played one more time in Hummel, against the Faroe Islands the following month, but unfortunately no visual evidence appears to be available for this match.)

Soon the switch was made to Adidas, who had been the previous kit provider before Hummel took over. Norway adopted a template similar to what Arsenal would wear form 1992-94, but with the addition of stripes down the sleeves. Both a Norwegian flag crest and federation logo were on the chest, and interestingly a traditional Adidas trefoil  instead of the new Adidas Equipment logo, as seen against Sweden in August in the last friendly game before qualifying began:

The employment of the trefoil is an odd instance, since the Equipment logo had already been in use for a year with Liverpool being an early adopter in 1991, and Euro 1992 saw the participation of several nations featuring the new branding. Why then it was decided to go with the old logo for the new Norway contract  is anybody’s guess, especially since it was not the case on basically the same shirt with Arsenal and Germany. However, Norway were not alone in this feature for qualifying in Europe as both the Faroes and Portugal used a similar template with a trefoil (and in the case of Portugal would be worn all the way until late 1994).

Norway, 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification, UEFA Group 2

England
Netherlands
Poland
Norway
Turkey
San Marino

Match 1, at home to San Marino, Sep ’92:

Norway’s previous and only appearance at a World Cup before this was in 1938 where they played one, lost one. But in 1992 they were about to enter a golden age that would include two World Cup appearances in ’94 and ’98, a defeat to Brazil in the latter of these, and a spot at Euro 2000, as well as several high profile international stars. This road would so being with a 10-0 trouncing of San Marino in the traditional colours of red shirts, white shorts and navy socks:

The stripes on the sleeves that break through the red and navy flashes are what set this shirt apart from the other similar designs already mentioned and here we get a good look at it’s glory:

Another anomaly is the use of traditional Adidas striped numbering which had been introduced back in the 70’s, and like with the trefoil, had been mostly phased out in the rest of Europe including on the likes of Portugal’s kits. However, we are of course not complaining:

Match 2, at home to Netherlands, Sep ’92:

In a group that also featured England, 4th seed Norway confirmed themselves as serious challengers for a qualification with an unexpected 2-1 against the Dutch, who wore their change kit to avoid a clash of orange with Norway’s red:

Match 3, away to San Marino, Oct ’92:

A 2-0 win away to San Marinese was next in a tiny ground which looked like it was on the side of the road, and that you’d hardly believe was holding an international fixture. Heroic:

Match 4, away to England, Oct ’92:

The win streak came to an end away to England a few days later, but Norway earned an important draw to stay undefeated. Since goalkeeper shirts are harder to find evidence of, we won’t really be covering them as much in this series but here we can see a green ‘keeper top being used at the time:

Match 5, at home to Turkey, Apr ’93:

Norway returned to winning ways in 1993 with a 3-1 defeat to a white and red clad Turkey at home:

The striped numbers were still in use:

Match 6, at home to England, Jun ’93:

Another big step towards qualification came with a famous 2-0 win over the English in June as the kit saw it’s first alteration with block numbers now replacing the stripes:

Match 7, away to Netherlands, Jun ’93:

The first deviation from the red/white/navy would come a few days later as a change kit was now needed away to the Dutch. En route to an important 0-0 draw, a lovely white version of the shirt was used with red shorts along with the navy home socks:

After the change of numbering on the home shirt, the striped numbering was back:

We can also see here that the goalkeeper shirt had been updated to a design that at first glance you would not assume was made by Adidas (although higher res photos of the shirt show that it was):

Side note: This game was not actually the first appearance for the away shirt. It had been worn along with white shorts and socks in a friendly against Scotland back in June ’92 (side note to the side note: it was my 6th birthday the day that match was played) in what may have been Norway’s first appearance in this Adidas run, depending on that Faroe Islands game which preceded it. I hadn’t mentioned it earlier so I could save it as a little extra surprise for now:

Match 8, at home to Poland, Sep ’93:

A win 1-0 at home to Poland in September was enough to secure qualification against the odds. But the more important thing is that the striped numbers were back on the home shirt, showing the block numbers used against England was presumably a one off mix-up rather than a change of artistic direction:

Match 9, away to Poland, Oct ’93:

With qualification now in the bag, a win was still needed to secure top spot in the group. Norway comfortably achieved this with a 3-0 win away to Poland; comfortably due to their sweet kits that is (at least in the sense that they were comfortable with their outward appearance if not physically, although I’m sure this was fine also). With the two sides already having met in their regular attires in Oslo, one would have assumed the same situation here, but due to an over abundance of red and white Norway delightfully elected to don royal blue shorts instead of their normal white. This makes me very happy:

Yes, the numbers are stills striped:

Again the stadium is not exactly what you’d expect from a World Cup qualifier, which is a major plus to us:

Match 10, away to Turkey, Nov ’93:

The pressure was now off and Norway could afford to suffer their first and only loss of the campaign, away to Turkey in their last game. And in the rain, they would see one more different kit combination. Similar to the Poland games, presumably there had been too much red and white for comfort in the earlier tie and again Norway now used change shorts. This time navy to match the socks rather than royal blue:

And for completion, the famous striped numbering was of course still employed:

Breakdown:
Team: Norway
Kit Supplier: Adidas
Years: 1992, 1993
Competitive Games: 10
Combinations used: 4

Retro Shirt Reviews #1

  • Club: ???
  • Year: ???
  • Make: Erima
  • Sponsor: STORR
  • Number: 4

One word: STORR. Which is altogether appropriate, as on a recent trip to IKEA it was noted that the shirts the staff were forced to wear are quite similar to this remarkably beautiful jersey. Taking a sly photo of one of the staff members to include on this blog was even considered, and to refer to the top as “the IKEA shirt” from now on. But that would be doing it a vast disservice.

This classic, slim fitting Erima work of art was most likely used by some sort of non-league/regional/amateur West German club side from the 1980’s, (which hopefully will be a reoccurring flavour in this series). In a look reminiscent of something Eintracht Braunschweig might have worn (perhaps we should have used them as a comparison instead of IKEA earlier), the unique blue/white/blue striping combined with smart wrap-around collar, raglan sleeves and “box” number on back make this an amazing shirt. “STORR” on the front pushes it to possible “Best Thing We Own” status.

Erima are also one of those brands that has a special place in our hearts, possibly due to a love of general West German aesthetics being reminded of West Germany’s white/black/green kit combination at the 1978 World Cup which is a very good thing.

Overall, this shirt receives our highest grade: 7 and a half thumbs up.

Bonus, International Selection:

  • Country: West Germany
  • Year: 1988-1991
  • Make: Adidas

***

Cold War Classic #1 + #2

You now love Pyro On The Pitch as an international institution, but did you know that we also contribute to the wonderful MuseumOfJersey.com?

If you enjoy any combination of interesting retro football kits, beautifully vivid illustrations of said retro football kits (by main man Denis Hurley), a bit of sociopolitical history and classic cold war era match ups (with maybe a bit of trademark Pyro On The Pitch absurdity), then we think you’ll dig the Cold War Classic.

Below are samples of the first two installments, and of course links to the full articles.

*


Cold War Classic no. 1 – Hungary v Netherlands, 1986

“The Netherlands would begin their journey to European glory in 1988 with a trip to a rather sombre Nepstadion, Budapest on October 15, 1986.

To avoid a clash of orange with the red of the hosts, the Dutch would wear a classic white/orange/white away strip, the same as they had worn the last time the two sides had met here in May 1985. On that occasion, Hungary had worn their traditional home kit of red shirts, white shorts and green socks and one would assume the same would be applied here…”

Cold War Classic no. 1 – Hungary v Netherlands, 1986

– – –

Cold War Classic no. 2 – Croatia v USA, 1990

“It is well-known now that top level football is essentially meaningless, but there have been times when the game has transcended sport and taken on a higher level of meaning.

As someone who grew up in Ireland, I can say that the Euro ’88 victory over England, for example, which was Ireland’s first game at a major tournament, certainly seems like something more emotional than just a sport being played when considering the historical and political context of the time. Another game like this occurred two years later when Croatia took on the USA in Zagreb on October 17, 1990.”

Cold War Classic no. 2 – Croatia v USA, 1990

***