Cold War Classic #10: West Germany vs East Germany, 1974

Our regular guest series over on MuseumOfJerseys.com is back, with installment number ten of the Cold War Classic. In each edition we usually discuss a vintage east vs west international matchup from the Cold War era, specifically relating to the amazing and fascinating kits of the time and their evolution. Detailed backgrounds are included, and all retro kits relevant to the story are expertly illustrated in glorious colour by MOJ top boy Denis Hurley.

This time, regular POTP readers will remember the piece as part of Politics On The Pitch #5 – Groups of Death part 2, with our look at the all-Germany derby of 1974 now immortalised with kit illustrations.

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Cold War Classic no.10 – West Germany vs East Germany, 1974

When the short-lived, post-World War 2 state of the Saar Protectorate – administered by the French, but German in every other way – took part in their one and only World Cup qualifying campaign (for 1954), the geographically selected group was always going to see them come up against their West German countrymen.

The World Cup would come to West Germany itself 20 years later – by which time Saarland had been long absorbed back into the Federal Republic of Germany (as the West was formally known) – and it seemed inevitable that the remaining, third post-war German state would not only qualify for the first time, but also be drawn alongside the hosts for a debut showdown between capitalist west and communist east…

READ ON

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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 #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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