The Football Shirt Collective

Taking football shirts out of the cupboard and into the spotlight


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Ireland 1988 - Ronnie Whelan’s shin

I was in Dublin last week and in the two taxi rides taken one man came up twice. Ronnie Whelan.  Is he scorer of Ireland’s greatest ever goals? Is he wearer of Ireland’s greatest ever kits?

 In Euro 88 Ireland had some team.  And a kit to match - this classic green Adidas number.

Ireland, Adidas, 1988

Ireland, Adidas, 1988 

The team was made up predominantly by English champions, Liverpool who provided; Whelan, Aldridge, Houghton. Not to mention players like Paul McGrath and Mick McCarthy.

Ireland started Euro 88 well beating England 1-0 and went into their second match against USSR high on confidence.  Inspired by his shiny green kit - when the long throw came Whelan did what he did best. Whacked it. Off his shin.  Goal.

Was it a fluke?  Either way it was some goal.  And kit.  

Shirt of the day: Portugal, Nike, 2000

Just for men. Pigs head. Goal. Luis Figo.  

Portugal, Nike, 2000

The Portugal shirt of 2000 brings back some serious memories.  

Euro 2012 countdown: Sweden, 1992 - keep Brolin, Brolin, Brolin

Sweden were chosen ahead of Spain to host Euro 92 and they needed a kit to celebrate.  Adidas did not disappoint with this brave, three stripes, one sleeve combination.      

Sweden, Adidas, 1992

Sweden, Adidas, 1992

Tomas Brolin top scored for Sweden with three goals - finishing joint top goal scorer for the whole tournament along with; Henrik Larsen, Dennis Bergkamp and Karl-Heinz Riedle.

His first goal came in Sweden’s second game and first victory.  A 1-0 win over Scandinavian rivals and eventual champions Denmark.  

The chubby forward followed up this goal with the winner against England, passing it around Carlton Palmer in the midfield and finishing an one two with Martin Dahlin, with a first time shot into the top corner.  Do I not like that.

Out of the group stage and straight into the semi-final.  Only eight teams made up Euro 92!!  Brolin’s final goal came from the spot.  The 3-2 semi-final defeat against Germany.

So there you have it.  Three stripes.  Three goals.  Tomas Brolin we salute you.   

Euro 2012 countdown: England, Umbro, 1996 - "tears for heroes dress in grey"

What do you think of when you see this shirt?  

Gareth Southgate missing that penalty, Shearer banging in the goals or Gazza missing that chance against Germany.  

For a pretty plain looking grey football shirt this Umbro number evokes so many memories of Euro 96.  

It even made it into the 1998 version of 3 lions.  Good work Umbro.  

Euro 2012 countdown: Czech Republic 1996 - the Poborsky lob

The Czech Republic’s first competitive football match following its formation was in the Euro 96 qualifiers.  And what a start to international football they had, finishing on top of the group 5 qualifying group ahead of Holland.  

Puma had a tough job on their hands designing the Czech Republic kit for Euro 96.  They needed a shirt to do the newly formed nation proud and to take the attention away from Karel Poborsky’s face.  And with this cracking football shirt they did not disappoint.   

Czech Republic, Puma, 1996

Czech Republic, Puma, 1996

Berger, Smicer, Poborsky and co had a slow start to the tournament losing their opening game to Germany at Old Trafford.  But they soon found their spiritual home at Anfield, where they beat Italy 2-1 and scored a last minute equaliser against Russia to book their place in the knock out rounds.  

Villa Park was next, where Karel Poborsky scored that lob against Portugal - to secure his move to Manchester United.  And back to Manchester United the Czech Republic team went, to knock out France on penalties in the semi-final.  Kadlec held his nerve as Pedros bottled it for France.    

So to Wembley for the final against Germany.  This was the Czech Republic’s first game in London and first on the Wembley pitch, whilst Germany had already played their semi-final there.  Initially the extra experience did Germany little good, as Berger scored the opener for the Czech Republic, but the tide turned.  Germany through Oliver Bierhoff scored the equaliser and then the first golden goal in the history of the competition.  

So for making it to the final of your first ever competitive tournament and for dazzling Europe with this Puma kit, the Czech Republic - we salute you.  

You can share your classic football shirts by; tagging them to our facebook page, sending us a link to them on twitter, or pinning them on our Pinterest board.  We will publish the best on our blog.  

Marco Van Basten volley vs. USSR 

Euro2012 Countdown: Holland, Adidas, 1988 - the faded arrow

The greatest football shirt of all time?  The greatest goal of all time?  

The late 80’s was the golden age for the football shirt.  Adidas, worried about the challenge of hummel who were innovating in kit design for; Denmark, Sweden and Norway, introduced this timeless classic for Holland.  The faded arrow.  

Holland, Adidas, 1988

Holland, Adidas, 1988

Euro 88 was the Netherlands first and only major title and some say it was down to the faded arrow.  Marco Van Basten clearly liked the shirt, finishing the tournament as top goal scorer with 5 goals, including the above “greatest goal of all time” against USSR.  

This was made even more impressive as goals were at a premium in Euro 88.  The next highest goal scorers to Van Basten, Oleh Protasov and Rudi Völler, only scored 2 goals a piece.  

So Marco Van Basten for the “greatest goal of all time” and Adidas for the “greatest football shirt of all time” - we at the Football Shirt Collective salute you.

You can share your classic football shirts by; tagging them to our facebook page, sending us a link to them on twitter, or pinning them on our Pinterest board.  We will publish the best on our blog.  

France, Adidas, 1984 - the magic square

Euro 84 was France’s first major title and it’s not surprising they won since they were wearing this really rather lovely Adidas kit.

France, Adidas, 1984

France, Adidas, 1984 (source:

The France kit had always been based on the drapeau tricolore. It made sense then when they moved away from having just a straight blue shirt, and decided to remind everyone how terrific red and white were as well. The result is some good horizontal lines.

In the tournament itself, France set up with a fluid 4-4-2 based on what they called a ‘magic square’ in midfield. The points of the square were Luis Fernandez, Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana and Michel Platini. Acting as a sort of square-based focal point, Platini scored in every game, finishing on 9 goals, well ahead of the tournament’s second top scorer, Frank Arnesen.

The team was led by Coach Michel Hidalgo, who had not held a full-time managerial post before becoming France manager in 1976. At some point between 1976 and 1984, therefore, he came up with the magic squares idea - much to everyone’s delight.

England were certainly enjoying themselves during the tournament, getting to watch the stylish French shirts on television at home. England had been knocked out in the qualification stages by Denmark and their talisman Allan Simonsen.

It’s a shame that more wasn’t known about Simonsen, as he had spent the previous season playing at second division Charlton Athletic, having joined them straight from Barcelona. Against England, Simonsen scored a decisive penalty against Peter Shilton. Readers might remember Shilton going on to have a successful international career failing to save increasingly important

In 1998, France returned to home soil. For the second time in their history, they won a major tournament, this time lifting the World Cup whilst wearing what was in essence a carbon copy of the 1984 shirt.

Allez les bleus!

Rob Hogg

Euro 2012 count down: Germany, Adidas, 1992

Germany went into the 1992 European championships in Sweden, as the number 1 team in the world. Following their Italia 90 win, Berti Vogts’ boys needed a kit to highlight their stature as world champions.

And Adidas did not disappoint.  Lurid green and with stripes down the sleeve representing the German flag, this Adidas shirt had everything to be admired in a tournament kit.

Despite their stylish shirt, Germany stuttered through Euro 92, somehow making their way to the final against Denmark, largely thanks to Karl-Heinze Riedle’s goals.

The final itself was a contrasting affair. World champions Germany vs. world football minnows Denmark, the might of Adidas vs. the style of Hummel, the goals of Riedle vs. the saves of Schmeichel. But thanks to John Jensen, Denmark (and Hummel) won the day.

Bad luck Berti. You can always console yourself with the knowledge that you had a great football shirt.

Euro 2012 countdown: Greece 2004 - solid if not spectacular

It was a balmy summers night in Southgate and the unthinkable had just happened. Footballing underdogs Greece had won the European Championship playing some of the most dour football the world had ever seen.

Much like their captain, former Leicester defensive midfielder Theo Zagorakis, Greece’s football shirt for the tournament was solid if not spectacular. Blue body, blue / white sleeves, 3 stripes. Job done. Nothing fancy. The football shirt equivalent of “if in doubt kick it out.”

Greece, Adidas, 2004

Greece, Adidas, 2004 (source:

Inspired by the dour kit choice Otto Rehhagel, set Greece out to bore the opposition in to submission with a formation that made Chelsea look expansive.

Greece made their way out of the group of death, eliminating Spain, then beating France and the Czech Republic 1-0, before making their way to the final against host nation Portugal.

Portugal attacked and attacked, and dominated possession, whilst Greece did what they did best. Defended. In the 58th minute, and against the run of play, Angelos Charisteas scored the winner from a corner to earn yet another 1-0.

Greece lift the European Championship, 2004

At the final whistle Southgate and its largely Greek population erupted, many wearing the blue and white Adidas shirt. As an honorary Greek (I grew up in N14) I went to join with the celebrations.

An impromptu carnival broke out on the highstreet with; fireworks, chanting and people hanging off lamp posts. Southgate hadn’t seen that much action since Maureen Lipman opened the Asda. Yamas.

If you’ve got a kit you would like to share with the Football Shirt Collective you can tag us on facebook or send us a link on twitter.

Euro 2012 countdown:  Denmark, Hummel, 1992

Our 1st entry into the Euro 2012 countdown.  John Jensen, celebrating his wonder goal for Denmark against Germany in the final of the 1992 European Championships.  

There is something special about hummel shirts.  

Like this kit.  Then buy it here Denmark, Hummel, 1992

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