Retro Shirt Reviews #7: Shelbourne Fanzine Special

With Shelbourne FC returning to Umbro kits for the first time in 8 years this week when the League of Ireland First Division kicks off, we thought it appropriate timing to upload our most recent Red Inc. fanzine special from last year, which funnily enough includes the first time the Reds wore Umbro in the early 80s. What’s more, a brand new article by ourselves will be in the imminent next issue, RI65, on sale at Shelbourne’s first home game of the season on Friday week.

Red Inc. is the longest running fanzine in Irish football, having been produced by the fan-group Reds Independent since 1999. After a Shels-inspired Pyro On The Pitch installment to start our RI guest slot, our Retro Shirt Reviews series was adapted for RI64, where usually we would breakdown an obscure jersey from our own POTP collection. But for this installment we deviate from that regular format to take a look back at some of the possibly lesser known kits from Shelbourne’s past.

A large thank you to Maurice Frazer and those at Shelbourne FC Photos for picture permission, follow their page if you are a Shels supporter.

Intro:

August 2018: DUBLIN has recently been awash with grown men proud as punch in their new English Premier League jerseys (usually derived from only a handful of clubs), especially when their teams have been playing meaningless cash-cow friendlies in the Aviva Stadium. This is particularly embarrassing when trying to explain to confused, non-Irish friends why there are so many people in Ireland supporting Liverpool for example.

The rise of two certain clubs in the Premier League since the new millennium mean that there are also a lot more blue English league jerseys around than there was in the 90s. But there was a time when the archetypal football club nicknames of “the blues” and “the reds” were synonymous with two native clubs: the blue shirted Waterford FC – who dominated the League of Ireland from the mid-60s to early 70s – and Shelbourne FC of Dublin.

Legends:

Established in 1895, one legend suggests that Shels’ original colourway of red, white and blue was a tribute to the Union Jack, reflecting that football was traditionally a sport of the Anglo-Irish establishment at the time (as opposed to the Gaelic Games associated with “old Irish” communities). Similarly, city rivals Bohemians were known to have close ties to the British Army (as with many clubs from “garrison towns”) and allegedly housed British soldiers during the 1916 Easter uprising. But just like how you would be hard-pressed to find a communist in the fanbase of teams called Dynamo/Dinamo or CSKA in eastern Europe these days, any early links to loyalism were soon long forgotten by the local supporting communities of both clubs.

Another legend states that Shelbourne were true pioneers in being the first Dublin team from any sport to adapt the city’s three castle coat of arms as their crest. There are also theories that the red jerseys used by St. Patrick’s Athletic upon their foundation in 1929 were inspired by an admiration of the already popular Ringsend outfit. Considering the historic connection of the shirt to Irish football history, as well as Shels’ use of red seemingly outdating that of both Liverpool and Manchester United (for whom many of  the Irish public would later develop an infantile fascination), it is no wonder that the club nickname would morph into the “real reds”; and more popular as of late, the “auld (old) reds”.

60s-70s:

In standing with the time, Shelbourne’s kits would remain minimal in design for the next several decades, with white collar variations and cuffs on the shirt being the only possible addition to the crest – if one appeared. A stylishly noteworthy strip that did offer a splash of colour was used at the time of the famous Cup Winners Cup tie with Barcelona in 1963, featuring a crew neck jersey with no trim and a blue crest with gold castles. Ten years later, huge winged collars with v-insets hearkening back to the 30s would again be all the rage. Shels were no exception to the trend with an otherwise plain shirt (crest later added), but like the national team, stripes now appeared on the white shorts.

The club continued to keep up with the ever-evolving kit styles, as by the end of the decade red shorts were employed for the home attire; the v-inset disappeared from the collar; and three elegant white stripes ran the length of each sleeve. But it was the brand of O’Neills that appeared parallel to the badge on the chest, not adidas. The shirt used the same template as the Irish national team jersey, meaning three stripes were also on the turnover of the collar. In what appeared to be clearly a blatant act of plagiarism of the West German company’s famous design – that would go on for decades, with the company shamelessly take “inspiration” from other well known shirt features later – amazingly after much legal battling it was declared that O’Neills would be allowed to continue to produce three striped sports gear, but in Ireland only.

1980s:

The peak of Shelbourne’s later success would coincide with the club’s association with English kit-masters Umbro. But few are aware that Umbro were also briefly around as Shels began to embark upon the 1980s, a decade that  would see them hit their lowest ebb until that point. By this time jerseys were changing from heavier materials to sleek, streamlined and slim-fitting polyester, and an away game to Bohemians in 1981 shows a shiny white alternate shirt featuring a modern (for the time) red v-neck and cuffs, with Umbro diamonds and wordmark. The earlier-used diamond-only Umbro logo appears on the red shorts, which are accompanied by red socks with white trim. We can assume that the home shirt was a straight reversal. Although great, the unfortunate lack of a crest prevents this becoming an all-time Shels classic.

Shelbourne would soon be donning the three stripes again, but while O’Neills would later return, this time it wasn’t them. Much is made of Cork City’s early Guinness sponsored Adidas kits – a partnership that made sense since there was a factory producing Adidas licensed kits in the city – but again many modern fans may be unaware that the Reds wore Adidas before Cork City had even been founded in 1984. As well as a trefoil, a sponsor appeared by 1983 on a Shelbourne shirt for what seems to be the first time, in the form of Iveco.  This was an impressive combination as the van and truck company’s name was also being seen on the Adidas shirts being worn by Bayern Munich at the time, with their red and white colourway making some versions virtually indistinguishable from a Shels jersey if it wasn’t for the addition of the corporate name Magirus underneath.

In addition to the white sleeve stripes and Iveco sponsor, a home strip from this time featured a turn-over collar and a shield crest, which was apparently placed over the Adidas logo. The reason for this, as seen through other versions of the shirt, was that the trefoil on these basic teamware templates was positioned to the left where a badge usually would be, and so instead of going with a reversed “off” look it seems it was decided to put the crest there instead. The real beauty was the magnificent all-white away strip, which differed in it’s red v-neck and cuffs, red stripes, and a trefoil, but lacking a crest. The absence of this meant that the Adidas logo was placed on different different sides on different players jerseys, the likes of which was not uncommon at the time.

If Shelbourne were moving surprisingly well with the times, 1984 would see a slight step back. While still “shiny” material, a template was used that brought back the wing-collar/v-inset to an absurdly large degree, rivaling any huge collars from bygone eras. This was because the design was actually from several years before, as worn by Limerick FC in their in League winning 79/80 season. Their FAI Cup final version of the same year also displayed a black trefoil within the v-inset as well as chest (and humorously the clearly shoddy print job meant that even as the teams lined up the L and C in “Limerick Savings Bank” had fallen off several players’ jerseys) while Paul McGrath-era St. Pat’s also employed the template. Shels’ identifiable Iveco version was used as part of a lesser seen kit colour combination for the club, in red shirt, red shorts and white socks.

Another new strip was brought in for 1985 as a turn-over and v-neck collar returned, and delightfully pinstripes were seen on a Shelbourne shirt for the first – the most quintessential feature of 80s football kit fashion. Also freshening things up was the revival of white shorts, while Iveco was replaced on the shirt with a white panel containing the logo of “Corona Holidays”. But now, there was no sign of either crest nor trefoil, again possibly depriving this kit of a higher place on the pantheon of the club’s greatest gear. While the three stripes should still have left no doubt as to who the manufacturer was, as we have seen the O’Neills situation could have made things a little less clear if it wasn’t for the classic Adidas sweatshirts used by the subs.

The following year of 86, the remarkable turnover of kits continued with what was to be the Reds last Adidas offering, but what a way to go out it would be. Again pin stripes were the theme, but beautifully used to divide red shadow stripes, meaning alternating shades of vertical red strips. A tidy white v-neck was used, with the Adidas trefoil returning again in the “badge position”. Another significant change was the addition of popular Irish clothing retailer Penneys as sponsor. Like the previous shirt, their wordmark appeared in a white panel across the shirt. Red shorts were also used again with the home strip. Even without a crest, the ensemble was a marvelous piece of art thanks to a jersey that many supporters today would be undoubtedly willing to part with large sums of money to get their hands on.

1987 saw a new make and a new sponsor, as O’Neills took back over the reigns and a company called TransIrish replaced Penneys. It was the most unremarkable Shels jersey in years, as besides the two companys logos there is little else to mention; even the v-neck and cuffs were red. White shorts again returned, and the away strip was a straight colour reversal. The kits nearly were actually quite nice in a minmalist  sort of way, but one thing definitely of note was the team tracktops, which were mostly red but featured a white inner hood with white strings, and a white horizontal section on the torso and sleeves, with “Shelbourne FC” in the centre. A crest and white O’Neills logo appeared above, while a squad number was placed around the left ribs section. Great stuff.

Although TransIrish remained as sponsor for another year, Shels changed kit provider for the third consecutive season as 1988 brought possibly the most intriguing shirt yet. The O’Neills tracktops also stayed but the kit was now being produced by little known brand Union Sport, who also made kits for Bray Wanderers ,Dundalk FC, and, in a similar red and white style to Shels, Sligo Rovers. The kicker is that Union Sport’s logo was a literal Confederate flag (minus a couple of stars), which did appear on the chest of a Shelbourne shirt. With said flag being a common symbol of far-right white nationalists in Europe (this came up last time too), it is especially hilarious considering the Union fought against the Confederacy in the American Civil War.

Another change was the crest, which was now permanently on the chest for the first time in years. The white shield used since the 70s was gone, leaving three larger white castles standing independent over the red background of the shirt. A Union Sport wordmark was also used instead of the flag logo, but white bars running down the sleeves and sides of shirt were interjected by the flag. From afar, this gave the appearance of Denmark’s 1979 Hummel kit which had chevrons in the same places, as well as a similar collar and the same colourway. It seemed that once again Shelbourne were in a plagiarised template, as well as politically incorrect by modern standards.

1990s:

As the 1990s dawned, Shelbourne made a deal with O’Neills for the third time. After the four different kit providers of the 1980s, the Irish brand would retain some stability by staying around for the next eight years, coinciding with Shelbourne’s return to league and cup dominance. A new era dawned with many of the jerseys worn fondly remembered today. But the teams lack of success in the decades before, coupled with poor coverage of the League of Ireland in general, meant that many of the shirts we have looked at are sadly less recognised; particularly Shels’ Adidas era.

Before Shelbourne did win finally win the league again in 91/92, O’Neills provided a perfectly 90s piece for 90/91, which was slightly understated compared to the “geometric shards” shirt that would come a couple of seasons later, but suave enough to make it an absolute classic. With a smart collar and button combination, white “flecks” appear all over the red of the shirt. An O’Neills logo joined is by a new sponsor, SpeedWay, who’s red and white logo fits seemlessly into the overall design. But most significantly, a new crest which incorporated the blue background and gold castles of the past was introduced. The white away shirt with red shorts was a perfect match.

The 90/91 kits may be among O’Neills greatest work in football, slightly redeeming themselves for their indiscretions. The above mentioned 1992/93 shirt was also a crazy classic. But around the same time they would be up their old tricks with another shirt that was extremely familiar, using identical shoulder bars and general layout on a white Shlebourne away shirt to that of the Adidas Equipment range, used by the likes of Spain and France at the time. Before O’Neills left for good – to be replaced by Umbro in 1998 – they proved that it wasn’t just Adidas that they were prepared to rip-off. The FAI Cup final and subsequent replay of that year was significant for another another rare appearance of a red-red-white kit, but in classic O’Neills-level subtly, the shirt looked suspiciously similar to what Brazil were about to wear in the 1998 World Cup.

*

Pic sources: British Pathé YouTube; the41.ie; finnharps.com; corkpastandpresent.ie; Sportsfile.ie; Shelbourne Cult Heroes books by Séan Fitzpatrick with photos courtesy of Maurice Frazer and the Frazer family; Getty Images; Shelbourne vs Shamrock Rovers 1987 progamme thanks to @1895Barry; The Bar At Tolka (framed team photo); vintagefootballshirts.com; 1993 FAI Cup Final preview; retroloi YouTube.

*****

 

 

Retro Shirt Reviews #9

Last time out we continued our streak of different manufacturers (Erima, Puma, Reebok, Adidas, Umbro, Admiral, Le Coq Sportif) with this sleek and stylish French number. Now, sticking with long sleeves, for the first time we have a repeat maker as like in Retro Shirt Reviews #4 we once again look at an Adidas creation, but this time with the trefoil very much visible to the naked eye (and ingest your magic mushrooms now in preparation for a great International Selection at the end).

  • Club: Tischler
  • Year: circa 1986
  • Make: Adidas
  • Sponsor: Sport Schöll
  • Number: 4
  • Similarly Worn By: Luxembourg, 1986

Here we have another masterpiece of the early to mid 80s: a sky blue torso that nearly becomes blue-lilac in person, with two corresponding panels above which are sandwiched between dual horizontal pinstripes, accompanied by a v-neck wrap-over collar, blue cuffs, and of course, sleeve stripes.

The felt-pressed sponsor, Sport Schöll, translates to “Sport Celandine” in German, a celandine being type of a plant. However we are guessing in cases like this it’s used as another word for school, rather than the usual “schule”.

The chest area is the highlight though, reminiscent of the horizontal motifs used by the likes of Schalke in 1983 and Nantes in 1984, but more minimal than both. This sectioning means that the trefoil is slightly lower than you’d expect on an Adidas shirt:

Giving a clue to the era of the jersey, the trefoil itself is the version with two “slits” going through the line in the middle, which for a period since around 1978 had sliced through the whole logo (on football gear at least). By 1985 Adidas were again starting to use the version with no slits, with most new shirts going forward from 1986 being “slitless”, so it seems our shirt can be from no later than 1986.

Another highlight are the excellent cuffs, not to mention that long-sleeves are always great. The stripes, as with all German made Adidas shirts of this time (as opposed to the French made Adidas Ventex which were differently manufactured), the three blue stripes and two white stripes are combined on their own, long solid pieces of materiel stitched over the rest of the jersey:

Unlike our Adidas shirt seen in RSR#4, the label shows that by this stage “Erima” had been removed, who were taken over by Adidas in the 70s and used as a branch to produce many Adidas kits. “Made in West Germany” does appear on the underside though, while the trefoil is in tact here unlike the version on the shirt:

Lastly, as always, we look at the back, and the reason we know what team we are dealing with is revealed. The main body of blue is higher to make room for the word “Tischler” – German for “carpenter”. As we have seen before, it is a German tradition for team names to appear on the back of shirts and the name of course suggest an amatur company/union team, another common trait of the country. Below it is a beautiful box effect number 4:

So concludes our review, a very solid template that we can’t seem to find evidence of being worn by anyone else. If you have examples, please get in touch by the usual channels.

Edit: We have since discovered at least one other team who wore the shirt – Luxembourg in 1986 as worn in their Euro 88 qualifying campaign, including when going 0-1 up in Lansdowne Road away to Ireland in September 1987 before ultimately losing 2-1.

International Selection

  • Country: Mexico
  • H/A: Home
  • Year: 1998
  • Make: ABA Sport

Has the psilocybin kicked in yet? For here we have one of the great psychedelic shirts of all time in our opinion, Mexico’s World Cup 98 jersey. What else needs to be said but to bask in the terrible glory of Huītzilōpōchtli, Aztec sun god of war:

The shirt had been debuted in it’s original guise in 1997 during World Cup qualifying, with a plain white collar, another Aztec design on the sleeve cuffs in red, and “MEXICO” across the chest. By the time of their appearance in the finals, solid red trim with a bold black border was added to both the tidy collar and cuffs, creating an all-time classic look.

***

Retro Shirt Reviews #8

It’s been far too long since our last Retro Shirt Review, as the previous edition was an exclusive article for the pages of Shelbourne FC fanzine Reds Inc. and focused mainly on Shels’ lesser known shirts of the late 70s to early 90s. Now we return to our usual formula with a close up look at a vintage jersey from our own collection, and a piece of fabric that was definitely worth the wait (plus, stick around for the bonus International Selection at the end).

  • Club: N/A
  • Year: Early 1980s
  • Make: Le Coq Sportif
  • Sponsor: Brousse-Cardell
  • Number: 13
  • Similarly Worn By: ?

Sweet baby Jahova, will you look at what what we have here. A strong contender in the “best thing we own” category, this sleek, long-sleeved, double pin-striped(!) LCS effort from the early 80s can be perfectly described with one word: *insert one of several superlatives here*:

The shiny white material is perfectly complemented by the blue collar and cuffs, with the former a rather thick wrap-around style. As usual, we have no idea what club this is, but from the make and sponsor it is safe to say that this is the shirt of a French amateur team.

The sponsor in question is French firm Brousse-Cardell (brousse=bush), which as far as we can tell were (are?) an import company. Both their wordmark and the manufacturer’s logo are of dark blue felt:

Going closer we get a better look at the glorious and lovingly created double pin-stripes, individually stitched on to the shirt, which are a lighter blue than both the collar’n’cuffs and corporate logos. Speaking of which, the Le Coq Sportif logo is perhaps the most interesting thing on the shirt, as it is our main clue as to when the jersey is from:

Like with Adidas’s logos, there have been several iterations of the trademark triangle-cockerel over the years, corresponding to different eras. Since the 70s this often saw the cockerel standing “on front” of the triangle, or sometimes within while touching the sides, and usually a Le Coq Sportif wordmark was underneath.

As you can see above, none of this applies to our shirt as a more minimal design was preferred, used by LCS back in the 60s. With the shirt material and pin-stripes suggesting an 80s shirt anyway, the closest we can find in terms of the logo is on Argentina’s 1980-82 model so we’re going to haphazardly guess that what we’re looking at is from around then (or maybe a couple years after to account for the style).

Unfortunately the inner label has faded and is completely blank, eliminating it as a possible source of information. But on the back we have one last feature in the number, which employs thin, blue felt stripes of it’s own to beautifully form a 13:

Really outstanding stuff all around. A classy crest applied to the front would be the only thing we can think of that could improve things, although we are now well used to crestless-shirts in this series given the nature of who they were used by.

With this gem from “The Sporting Cock”, we have continued our streak of highlighting a different shirt manufacturer in every installment of Retro Shirt Reviews to date. This will change for the coming episodes, but with a whole lot of old-school Adidas awesomeness on the horizon you won’t mind too much.

International Selection:

  • Country: Republic of Ireland
  • H/A: Home
  • Year: 199899
  • Make: Umbro

Back in Retro Shirt Reviews #5 we checked out not one but two white Republic of Ireland away shirts from 1994, that featured a whole lot of green and orange. A few years later and the Irish had mostly abandoned orange, save for their crest, with navy introduced instead.

This began with an interesting and unique jersey debuted at home to Croatia in the first game of Euro 2000 qualifying in September 1998. Below we have the replica version featuring an Opel sponsor, as all Ireland supporter shirts had done since the 80s – a delightfully capitalistic practice we are surprised hasn’t spread to other countries (click here for our look at when sponsors were a semi-regular sight in international matches themselves):

The shirt is noteworthy as the first Irish jersey to feature a central crest since 1985. The main body consists of a sort of shadow-stripe system, where one of the alternating stripes is made of two dark green borders and a “mesh” of diagonal dark green squares within. Interesting to note is that the stripes on the right side align with those on the sleeve while those on the other side do not.

The mesh is also used in the large sublimated rendering of the FAI logo that dominates the shirt, sitting over the stripes, with the half of another crest in the left corner overlaying it in turn. The navy element is confined to the trim on the collar turn-over and it’s lower section, which is unfortunately missing the original button, while single white hoops toward the end of either sleeve complete the look.

Inside the collar the words “VAPA TECH” are repeated over and over – Umbro’s name for their futuristic fabric technique of  the late 90s. The label on the lower left side of the shirts says “Only Ireland”, reflecting Umbro’s “Only Football” tag line of the time, but accurate here as this certainly is a bespoke design.

The back of the shirt, if nothing else, provides a nice look a the stripes without the gigantic badge:

While not exactly considered an all time-classic, the shirt has grown on us to the point that we consider it a respectable entry in the pantheon of Irish shirts. Certainly better than most of what was to come over the 2000s and the future crest we like to call the “modern marketing abomination“.

***

Retro Shirt Reveiws #7: Another Shelbourne FC Fanzine Special

A few months ago we made our print cross-over debut with a special edition of our flagship Pyro On The Pitch series for the long running fanzine of Dublin club Shelbourne FC, Red Inc., produced by the group Reds Independent.

 For their latest issue (the pleasingly numbered RI64, released at last Fridays home game to Athlone Town) we returned to the longest running supporter publication in the League of Ireland with another of our many categories: Retro Shirt Reviews, where usually we breakdown an obscure jersey from our own POTP collection. However for this installment we deviated from that regular format to take an epic look back at some of the possibly lesser known kits from Shelbourne’s past.

Reds Independent can be contacted through their Twitter page for those of you immediately needing a copy. The article may in fact make it on here eventually, but for now here are pictures of the fanzine and our contribution as we once again go pyro on the pages.

*****

Retro Shirt Reviews #6

So far in our Retro Shirt Review series we have seen some beautiful obscure vintage tops from the 70s to the early 2000s, made by Erima, Puma, Reebok, Adidas and Umbro. Quite a selection of classic brands, and this streak continues now as we look at a jersey from another amazing shirt maker from the golden age.

  • Club: N/A
  • Year: Circa 1982-’85
  • Make: Admiral
  • Sponsor: N/A
  • Number: N/A
  • Similarly Worn By: Hull City

Well would you ever look at this absolute gem, produced by classic English kit manufacturers Admiral. The sky-blue shirt seems to be teamwear from the early 80s, originally part of a batch intended to be destined for a club to apply it’s crest, sponsor and numbers, but obviously for whatever reason this did not happen:

A cool blue line of trim runs through the white sleeve cuffs and v-neck collar – an extremely popular feature on kits at the time. Vertical shadow striping – another popular ’80s design – is also present and comparing the top of the shirt to the bottom in the picture above, the light and dark shade stripes switch depending on how the light is hitting them, which is pretty great.

Looking at the collar, you can see that the stripes aren’t exactly symmetrical which is a pet-peeve for some kit enthusiasts. However we’re fine with it here and the Admiral logo has been purposely placed exactly within a stripe to help make up for it:

Admiral had began to switch from their turn over/wing-collars of the ’70s to the v-neck design around 1980, most famously with the English national team shirt of ’80-’83. England’s away shirt was red at the time, but we like to imagine our jersey as a perfect fantasy third option for them, as the colour and style sinks up nicely with similar English blue alternate efforts from the period.

We can’t find anything identical to this template online, but among the closest is Hull City’s shirt from 1982 which is of a similar cut with v-neck and cuff trim, and while pin stripes were used rather than shadow stripes, they are also off centre (their follow-up 1984 shirt did feature stripes in different shades though, while keeping the pinstripes to border). Examining the labels, the same layout is used on both showing that our shirt could have originated as far back as 1982:

Being an ’80s shirt, it is of course a very tight fit. Which is a good motivator to stay in shape so it can be worn, but also makes it definitely not an option on a Monday morning after a particularly busy weekend. As mentioned, there is no number on the back, but here is a shot of it anyway showing more of that fabulous shadow striping and those tiny, tight sleeves:

In closing, this is one awesome piece of kit that we are delighted to have in the Pyro On The Pitch shirt collection as much as any actual team apparel (for which we can rarely identify the actual clubs that used them anyway). We leave with one last look at that iconic Admiral logo, placed lovingly within the shadow stripe all those years ago:

Bonus: International Selection

Bit of a cheat this time for our regular International Selection section, as we don’t have an actual football shirt to show. Instead we have chosen to highlight an excellent t-shirt that relates to that most nostalgic of tournaments for a certain age-group: the 1990 World Cup.

Yes, it’s the freaky geometric mascot of Italia ’90, named “Ciao”; the greatest World Cup mascot of all time. Let us see in a few years time if the 2002 mascots will have aged quite as well.

***

Retro Shirt Reviews #5

 

This time on Retro Shirt Reviews we have a sort of a “youth special”, with what is also the first fully identifiable club featured so far in the series, as well as TWO bonus shirts in International Selection at the end. Click here for all entries.

  • Club: Lørenskog IF (Norway)
  • Year: Circa 2001
  • Make: Umbro
  • Sponsor: COOP/Comet Sport
  • Number: 7
  • Similarly Worn By: n/a

Today’s shirt is the first long sleeve to feature in Retro Shirt Reviews and originally caught our eye last year due to the blue/red/white colourway, which we are a major fan of on kits. As with all in our collection, the shirts are purchased with the intention of being worn, but when this jersey arrived at POTP offices we discovered that it was in fact a youth team shirt which had not been evident online. It is quite a large youth shirt though and nearly did in fact fit, but not quite. Never the less we held on to it, since it is quite an interesting top and well worth discussing.

It is hard to make out the crest in the above picture due to the nature of dark red over blue and how the crest was printed on, but it is indeed that of Norway’s Lørenskog Idrettsforening. At the time of writing, Lørenskog are a member of the Norwegian “2. divisjon”, which of course like in many countries is in fact the 3rd tier.

On closer inspection of the crest below, an “LIF” is visible inside an odd curvy shape within a circle, strangely along with the date 19/11/1933; strange because the club was founded on April 17th, 1929, through the merger of Lørenskogkameratene and Solheim IF. The delightful word “FOTBALL” sits underneath (we are also big fans of very similar translations of the word “football” in non-English languages).

The mysteriously mismatched dates theme continues with the fact that the year “1924” is also patterned into the fabric – visible above to the bottom left and right of the crest – along with a 3D “UMBRO” motif – also visible above beneath the crest. 1924 is of course the year that Umbro were founded, at least explaining this one.

But as for 1933, could this have been when the team were first entered into the Norwegian league, or when the crest itself was designed? We don’t know, but as always please get in touch if you do and we will fill in the explanation here.

The modern iteration of the crest, incidentally, also contains white and blue making it far more legible, and some versions do actually include the 1929 date:

Going back to the shirt itself, and through a post on OldFootballShirts.com we can see that the senior team used the same template and that the shirt is apparently from the 2001 season, so that is what we are going with for the year of shirt.

Our original guess had been circa 1998, as this was when Umbro were reintroducing the double diamond logo to their shirts, albiet more usually in miniature beside the wordmark. The diamond taping, originally seen in the ’70s, had also made a return, also seen on the likes of the Manchester United jersey. But unlike United, here we have the addition of dual diagonal bars – in our eyes a welcome interruption to the taping, limiting it to the shoulders rather than full sleeve.

The red collar and cuffs with white trim are a sheer delight, and the collar itself employs a smart one button system to fasten (from the below shot we can also see that there is no label on the shirt). This use of white, as well as on the shoulders, gives the jersey some much needed “pop”.

It is unfortunate that a similar thought process regarding the white trim hadn’t go into the crest, although it was most likely far cheaper to have it printed on monochromatically. The rich red of the Umbro logo – felt, of course, rather than the printed crest and sponsor of choice which came later- displays a similar issue as it is not wholly legible to the untrained eye from a distance. It’s chunky, furry goodness, however, is extremely satisfying.

Adding more white, though, is the main sponsor: COOP, presumably as in “Cooperative”, which appears to be a supermarket chain. The fact that it is kind of reminiscent of a “CCCP” across the shirt gives it extra point from us.

While COOP was replaced on senior team shirts with another sponsor, the secondary sponsor did appear on both: Comet Sport. Comet are a Norwegian sportswear chain, as their athletic stick figures represent, one of which seems to be diving desperately for a dramatic table tennis shot.

The placement of this logo centrally in the chest, above the other sponsor, is a bit jarring and out of place in our opinion, and would have been better left free for potential cup final details, which admittedly would have been extremely optimistic and a huge loss of revenue.

Finally we come to the back of the shirt and Comet make another appearance here, inside the number, which for the second time in this series is a “boxed” 7. With the white again balancing out the red stripes, it is a nice size and not much else needs to be said. Nice.

Overall, the shirt has a lot of taking points and some nice features. As mentioned earlier, blue/red/white will always be a POTP favourite, and the cuffs, collar, felt Umbro, long sleeves, and number on the back are all major pluses. The main drawbacks are of course the fact that the shirt is too small to wear (at least for this writer), meaning it is merely a “collectable”, along with the slightly illegible crest and irksome second sponsor. As always, these are not major critiques, and like all shirts in football it is what it is, you can’t change it, and it is a part of history.

Bonus: International Selection

For this episode’s International Selection, it just seemed right to pair these two shirts together due to colour, style, year and country. They seemed especially appropriate to include with the above youth jersey, as both shirts are child sizes from the ’90s and were recently rediscovered in the POTP attic.

1st Half:

  • Country: Republic of Ireland
  • H/A: Away
  • Year: 1994
  • Make: Adidas

Here we have the marvelous Irish away shirt used at World Cup ’94 (admittedly not so marvelous to some prudish purists, but we’re the bold and brave type of purists), featuring three giant bars “disintegrating” down the shirt and a nice mix of white, green and orange – easily the most usage of orange on an Ireland shirt, home or away, until this point. The crest is probably the 2nd best Irish crest of all time, behind the one which preceded it at Euro ’88 and World Cup ’90 (for more info on said crest’s even longer history, click here), although purists would again probably argue that the original shield and shamrocks Irish badge tops both.

This is also of course a replica version, hence the inclusion of the OPEL sponsor. From a purely aesthetical point of view, and just accepting it for it is, this adds to the shirt in our opinion (we like to imagine it as a hypothetical club jersey) and while the orange employed does clash slightly with the orange outlines of the large vertical stripes, there wasn’t really any other option given the nature of the design.

A diagonal shadow stripe goes runs across the shirt, along with a faint but complex FAI pattern which can just about be seen (if not “made out”) in the image below. The Irish flag adorning the sleeve is a fun addition. Why not?

Somewhat strangely, due to circumstance, the shirt was debuted and used in three consecutive games during the 1994 World Cup (a loss to Mexcio, a draw with Norway and a loss to Netherlands), before never being seen again. It was the only one of it’s kind for this template at the tournament, although a similar design was also later used by the likes of Turkey, Stockport County, and Karlsruhe SC, all in 1996.

2nd Half:

  • Country: Republic of Ireland (away)
  • H/W: Away
  • Year: 94/95-95/96
  • Make: Umbro

Of course the reason that the above shirt was never to be seen again for Ireland was because after the World Cup the team’s kit deal switched to Umbro, meaning that it had been destined only to be worn at the World Cup. Ireland used their new Umbro home kits for the next two games, Euro qualifiers against Latvia and Lichtenstein. But an away tie to Northern Ireland in the next game presented the first need for the new away kit, with the shirt featuring strange, navy-trimmed orange and green bars emanating for the collar and widening as they go down, filling out the sides of the shirt.

Orange was clearly employed even more liberally that on the predecessor, comprising nearly a third of the shirt, and this trend would continue as the next Ireland away shirt would in fact be orange, and much maligned. As for this one, the positioning of the orange on the left is also quite strange as the bottom half of the shirt hence makes out the flag of the Ivory Coast. The out of place orange section in the middle of the green bar was apparently included so that the OPEL, now in green, would not clash where the L partially covered it.

On the back of course, the “flag” is reversed giving us an actual Irish tri-colour. The orange section on the green bar remains for continuity with the front.

On the backs of the actual player’s shirts, green numbers were used which fit nicely in the white middle, but the inevitable clash of the naturally wider double digits was remedied with a white border on the numbers.

There was little need for the shirt after this, although it did make a reappearance against Bolivia in the 1996 US Cup. Although slightly ludicrous, we loved it at that time of childish, blissful ignorance, and so it takes it’s place here in the hallowed halls of Retro Shirt Reviews.

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Retro Shirt Reviews #4

Taking this week to the now-famous Retro Shirt Review faux-wooden floor boards is a shirt that in another timeline could have been a contender for “Best Thing We Own”. A couple of minor drawbacks prevented this, as we shall see below, but this still is an amazing piece of history, art and of course clothing.

  • Club: ???
  • Year: ??? (Circa late 1970’s)
  • Make: Adidas
  • Sponsor: n/a
  • Number: n/a
  • Similarly worn by: 1.FC Köln (1976) and more (see below)

Needless to say, the first thing to talk about is the huge, amazing crest that dominates the front featuring a woodpecker sitting on a crossed hammer and tongs. It can accurately be described as “like something from some sort of tropical Socialist Worker’s Party or union” (as we have seen from every eastern European national team shirt in the 80’s, socialism is perfectly compatible with Adidas).

The other, more likely, possibility is that it was made for a company team, for which Germany is well known. Hammer and tongs together are of course a symbol of the blacksmith fraternity and the woodpecker suggests carpentry, so a business or factory that combined these two skills seems likely. Or maybe they just liked birds.

So as usual we have little to no information of when, where and by whom this was worn. But a version of the template had been put out by Adidas as early as 1976, as worn by Köln. We came across two versions of the Köln shirt (see below) while visiting the city in 2015 in a marvelous bar featuring several vintage Köln shirts framed along the walls (and wrestling was on the television).

As you can see, ours and the Köln shirt differ at collar with the latter featuring a round-neck rather than a v-neck. If given the choice, we probably would have gone for a round-neck, especially as the material at bottom of the “V” is unfortunately quite stressed from time (see above). But this is a minor complaint for what it is. VfL Bochum also used the roundneck template in the ’78/’79 Bundesliga, while NASL side the LA Aztecs wore the V-neck version in the same period. Many other teams would employ the design into the 80’s (please send examples!).

Edit: AZ Alkmaar wearing the template in 1978.

Now we come to the aforementioned drawbacks. Besides the stressed collar, some of you will have noticed the apparent absence of a trefoil. Or so it seems, as it was once present in black which we’re sure looked glorious. It has since faded to near invisibility, but is just about still there:

A close, personal acquaintance of POTP, who excels at art, actually once offered to try and fill in the logo in black marker. The risk of ruin was of course too great, and we declined. Considering the less knowledgeable observer who might be confused by the “missing” logo, the unmistakable three stripes on the sleeves fortunately do their job to identify the brand, sprouting out of the red sections that come up the sides and loop around the arms.

 Another desired featured that is notable by it’s absence is a number on the back. While not a hideous disaster, this together with the lack of visible trefoil was enough to take the shirt out of the running for “Best Thing We Own”.

Lastly we come to the label, which has also become frayed and bunched over time, and had to be manually turned over and straightened to examine it. We were rewarded for our efforts as we discovered, to our delight, an Erima logo and wordmark underneath the expected “adidas” and trefoil. For the uninformed, Adidas bought Erima in 1976 and the label shows that the shirt is a product of  “Adidas Erima” manufacturing in West Germany:

Huge apologies for the fingers.

Bonus: International Selection

  • Country: Argentina
  • Year: Circa 1987
  • Make: Le Coq Sportif

Here we have what is unfortunately not a legit shirt, but is quite nice for what it is. The biggest giveaway (among slight differences in the material, stripes and maker logo) is the irksome positioning of the crest, which most aligned with Argentina’s real 1987 Copa America version, but this also featured the LCS logo equally moved to the left.

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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.

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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.

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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

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