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.

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What Football Is Supposed To Look Like #3 (Gallery)

Our now regular look back on the golden days of yore.

***Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2***

“Hollywood”, Brazil vs Finland, Friendly, 1986:

Ireland away to Luxembourg, European Championships Qualifier, 1987:

Turkey kits, Turkey away to Italy, Friendly, 1994:

West German boys in green securing the tunnel for West Germany boys in green and Swedish boys in Yellow, West Germany vs Sweden, World Cup 1974:

Classic fencing and (possible grassy knoll) terracing, Austria Vienna vs Laval, UEFA Cup, 1983:

“AiR B’A’RON”, Germany vs Italy, Friendly, 1994:

Packed end and banners, Belgium vs Netherlands, World Cup Qualifier, 1985:

Ticker-tape and confetti pitch, Brazil vs Argentina, Copa America, 1983:

Classic graphics, Norway vs Netherlands, World Cup Qualifier, 1992:

Gargantuan Aztec Stadium, Mexico vs Belgium, World Cup, 1986:

White pitch, orange ball, blue vs red, Arminia Bielefeld vs Bayern Munich, Bundesliga,1981/82:

Supporters safely packed to the cage, Italy vs Malta, European Championships Qualifier, 1987:

People On The Pitch #1: Aston Villa away to Anderlecht, European Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg, 21/04/1982

Imagine you’re a 16-25 year old disaffected Birmingham male on a beautiful evening in the spring of 1982. We wish we could say “so and so are number one in the charts” but unfortunately that was this song which doesn’t really fit our scene at all, so just imagine some appropriate new wave/punk/ska shit playing in your head. You are in Belgium to watch your beloved Aston Villa take on one of Europe’s classic sides, Anderlecht, on the way to eventual European Cup glory. And yes, of course you are exceedingly drunk.

With all that in mind, the events that unfold are fairly easy to comprehend. 38,000 were packed into Anderlecht’s “tight English style ground”, known at the time as the Émile Versé Stadium. While there was a separate official Villa supporter section, a large number of Villa fans ended up sharing an Anderlect home terrace behind the goal. Of course this was not accidental (allegedly some supporters had traveled over the previous weekend to secure batches of tickets for the terrace) and for the time period and the parties involved, it would have been extremely suspicious if some sort of incident HADN’T occurred. Comparing camera shots, we can see that early in the game somewhat of gap has already appeared on the terrace suggesting disturbances:

Duly, business really picks up mid-way through the first half as the camera shows clashes between Villa supporters and both the home fans and police. Commentator Martin Tyler remarks that there were also “problems” before the game had started.

Play goes on for a few moments before we see the young man that you are still imagining you are from the first paragraph, and the main subject of this first installment of People On The Pitch here at Pyro On The Pitch. Perhaps overcome with the ecstasy of youth and the novelty of the occasion, he has spontaneously used the ongoing chaos as an opportunity to exit the supporter’s enclosure and in fact enter the field of play. As he triumphantly lays down at the 6 yard line, the referee blows his whistle to temporarily suspend the sports game.

If you look closely, you can see that in addition to his fine burgundy polo top, he also has a black jumper in hand which he drops beside him on the pitch. This was a mistake and he would never see the jumper again, as police are swiftly on hand to apprehend the casualistic ruffian and several of them rush him away along the pitch. But the discordian moment has had already made it’s mark on the parchment of time.

Leading the pitch invader away proves harder than the police had imagined, resulting in a Christ-like fall:

The poor lad seems to have suddenly lost all energy and simply cannot move another muscle. Humorously, the rest of his journey from the pitch is provided at the expense of King Leopold himself as a result, much to the delight of the home crowd:

Meanwhile, Villa goalkeeper Jimmy Rimmer, among other players, naively appeals for calm as trouble continues behind his goal:

Riot police stream up the terrace to try and separate the groups of fans while another separate regiment of authoritarians make their way onto the pitch, who’s uniforms suggest they are not exactly prepared for physical confrontation.

The home supporters respond to the situation with the topical chant of “Argentina! Argentina!”, referencing the Falklands War as a sort of verbal retaliation as the fighting continued:

In a trademark British display of willful ignorance, the commentator mentions that it is “impossible of course to say who started it”. The fact that the rest of the Villa supporters were apparently chanting “You’re the shit of Birmingham” to those behind the goal was perhaps evident enough.

Some unfortunate casualties (literally, because casual) from the mayhem can be seen being taken away for treatment. We hope they made a speedy recovery and that they are living good lives these days.

Eventually the situation is resolved to a somewhat satisfactory degree, at least enough for the referee to resume the game:

But in one last display of the absurdity of man, we can quite clearly see one Villa supporter who has cunningly alluded the police line, who are apparently blind to his extremely conspicuously Union Jack waving:

The game would finish 0-0, enough to send Aston Villa to the final, but Anderlecht would appeal to UEFA to have the game overturned due to psychological damage of the traumatic events seen above. While Villa were punished by being ordered to play their next European home game behind doors (vs Besiktas the following September), Anderlecht’s request was denied, clearly indicating that at the time players were expected to be able to deal with your run of the mill crowd trouble as part of the job. Truly a golden age.

Youtube Link 1
Youtube Link 2

Pyro On The Pitch #4, Denmark vs England, European Championships Qualifier, 22/09/1982

After the chaotic behemoth that was Pyro On The Pitch #3, we’re not going quite as lengthy or intense this time. But our highlighted episode was enough to get a game stopped for a brief period.

The scene was a sold out Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, with Denmark welcoming England for a Euro qualifier in September 1982. The English of course carried the fearful reputation of Europe’s premier hooligans at the time and serious incidents involving them in that decade already included Euro ’80 against Belgium in Turin and a World Cup qualifier away to Switzerland in 1981:

The Danes though for their part regularly created intimidating and loud atmospheres in the Parken, with an especially tense vibe for an evening game against a team like England. It nearly goes without saying that an afternoon of trouble in the city had preceded the game, adding to the tension. As the game got underway, close up shots displayed how tightly the 44,300 supporters were packed into the ground:

With the first goal putting England 1-0 in the 8th minute, we can just about see a group of English supporters celebrating wildly (bit blurry in the gif, my apologies, but they were, I promise), which surely will have rustled a few feathers in the otherwise Danish terrace:

It would later be from the Danish supporters in the same terrace that our main incident would stem. Eight minutes into the second half, Dutch referee Charles Corver denied Denmark a penalty after England goalkeeper Peter Shilton had seemingly taken down Preben Elkjær inside the box. The injustice of this was too just too much for some, who perhaps anticipating such a shambolic refereeing decision (sort it out UEFA!) had cunningly smuggled some pyro into the ground to be used in protest. After all, the aggrieved supporters could hardly issue the referee a postcard of complaint, which might have only arrived weeks later at which point nobody would have given a fuck.

During a replay, a white smoke bomb lands on the pitch inside the goal and attention is quickly drawn to it as the smoke billows in a rather satisfactory manor. English commentator Martin Tyler expertly describes the scene: “And now, the reaction from the crowd in terms of fire crackers and smoke bombs being thrown behind Peter Shilton’s goal.”

The game continues briefly before the referee susses out the situation and holds up the game. Martin (can we call you Martin, Mr Tyler?) compares the spectacle to that of the aforementioned Euro ’80 game against Belgium, when Italian police had let off tear gas in an attempt to subdue English hooligans, just one of many post-apocalyptic scenes involving football in this era. Meanwhile, a group of confused primates assemble near the pyro:

The powerful, double barreled, industrial grade smoke bomb (clearly a tremendous model) continues to erupt without sign of slowing down, leaving the authorities helpless but to allow nature to run it’s course. A nice camera shot from behind the ground showing the smoke rising should be appreciated:

A gust of wind causes much of the smoke to carry over the crowd, and soon it disperses altogether:

The game was restarted, and later we see there was at least one pitch invasion after England go 2-1 up. The inclusion of a viking hat was a disappointing note to the otherwise well dressed young man’s attire:

A late Danish goal led to a 2-2 draw in the game. This may have contributed to the fun which would immediately follow. Sensible folk will have swiftly fled the scene as fighting broke out between Danes and English. Running battles and an orgy of violence would consume the terraces:

Surprisingly, the English supporters retreat, displaying the fortitude of the Danish supporters. However, the experienced English are quick to regroup and attack once more with a “broadside of bottles” as a news reporter put it:

The English news reporter ensures to mention that the reaction of the Danish supporters is “no less violent” than the English, which makes one wonder if he expected them to be lenient on the English for some reason, or perhaps not fight back at all. Of course the adrenaline released for many involved on both sides would have created an intense natural high which will have been no doubt recalled with fondness for years to come.

Eventually some police came in, some arrests were made, people left and the world went on turning.

Extra:

The match had been the first game played in qualifying and over a year later the group would be book-ended by more violence involving England and linked to the Danes. The final game for England was away to poor Luxembourg, who must have been filled with dread of this visit since the draw was made. The justified anticipation of trouble was displayed in the ground, as evident by the police’s pre-prepared banner:

Despite a 4-0 win for England, a Danish victory in Greece at the same time was enough to see them pip the English for top spot in the group and the only qualifying position. In a predictable situation, the unfortunate and innocent Luxembourgers would be helpless but to feel the wrath of the English horde that night, a far superior force than any security agency in the Duchy:

Youtube Link 1, Switzerland vs England, 1981
Youtube Link 2, Denmark vs England, 1982
Youtube Link 3, Denmark vs England, 1982
Youtube Link 4, Denmark vs England 1982
Youtube Link 5, Luxembourg vs England, 1983