The Football Shirt Collective

Taking football shirts out of the cupboard and into the spotlight


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You know what to do people. Guess dem kits.

Let us know on twitter @thefootballsc on by guessing below.

The Football Shirt Collective - Best of 2012

2012 has been the year of the football shirt.  We take a look back at some of the best and worst shirts shared with the Football Shirt Collective, from Estonia to AC Milan.  Let us know what you think @thefootballsc

Best goalkeeper shirt

Estonia, Lotto, 1996/7.  Without doubt this is the best goalkeeper shirt I have ever seen courtesy of @209fifashirts.  It is a bizarre tribute to the Aztecs that would not be out of place at a rave.   

Estonia, Lotto, 1996/7

Best use of polka dots

Nara Club, Japan.  Giant pink polka dots on a football shirt.  What’s not to like?  

Best international kit

Holland, Adidas, 1988 – the faded arrow. The 80’s were a great time in football shirt history and Euro 88 did not disappoint.  Maybe this shirt is rated because this shirt is associated with Marco Van Basten’s goals. Either way it is special.    

Holland, Adidas, 1988 

Classic club kit

AC Milan, Adidas, 1990/1 as shared by @okwonga.  The AC Milan kit of the early 90’s is everything a classic football shirt should be.  Collar.  Check.  Bold colours.  Check.  Brings back memories.  Check. 

AC Milan, Adidas, 1990 

Most popular kit

The kit that is most regularly shared with us has to be England.  We have 6 in the collective.  From Seaman’s Euro 96 goalkeeper shirt to the Umbro, Italia 90 shirt made famous by Gazza. 

Best video

Quite frankly the best football video ever made.  That is all.  Courtesy of @labwam and @shindles5.

Best kit maker

The most popular kit maker has got to be hummel. From Duncan Jenkins to Max Rushden, hummel shirts constantly are the most popular shirts in the collective.  

Finally a big thank you to everyone for their first football shirts contributions and to those who have posted images of their favourite kits.   From Barnet to Botswana we love them all.  

If you have a kit to share, keep them coming @thefootballsc.  

Here is to a special and successful 2013 full of football shirts.  Happy New Year.  

Beyond the terraces

Thanks for all the feedback about the football shirt collection we posted earlier.  And good effort to those that guessed all the kits.  If you like what you saw check out the video above created by film maker and photographer Danny Sangra.

It is for the launch of Beyond Retro’s  collection of over 250 rare and exclusive football shirts dating back to the ‘70s. Just some of the shirts include a match issued Van Basten shirt from his AC Milan glory days, as well as shirts from footballing greats across Europe including, Zinedine Zidane, Deco and Taribo West.

Having seen the collection first hand they are something to behold.  The Nigeria 1994 shirt is bright and bold, the Dortmund, Nike shirt is garish and the Holland shirt is a collectable.   

You can find out more about Beyond Retro’s collection and the launch party on Tuesday 4th December at their Dalson store here - where the shirts will be on show in all their glory.

Shirt of the day:  Shanghai Shenhua, Nike, 2012/13 (DROGBA) courtesy of @Benjilanyado

Our first Chinese entry into the Football Shirt Collective is a whopper.  

Red sleeves with a blue base and lots of diagonal lines.  Magnificent stuff.  

Drogba has not made a bad start to his career in China, carrying on from where he left off at Chelsea, bullying defenders into submission with 8 goals in 11 games.

Yet despite the big Ivorian’s best efforts this was not enough to rescue Shanghai Shenhua from mid-table obscurity, finishing 9th in the league of 16.  

Disappointing on the pitch.  Sensational off it.  

You can order the shirt here

Got a shirt to share on the Football Shirt Collective?  Well it is easy; send us a link to them on twitter or use the #myfavouritefootballshirt # tag, upload them to our facebook page, or pin them on our Pinterest board - and we will publish the best in the collective.Order the shirt here

Werder Bremen, Puma, 1995/96 - The Alemão of East Frisia

This Puma shirt was created just as the era under Otto Rehhagel ended.  In a fourteen year spell, Rehhagel had transformed the club of Bremen from the nearly men (he was nicknamed the Vice Admiral) into one of the most successful teams of the era (2 Bundesligas, 2 Pokals, 1 Cup Winners’ Cup). When he went, Rehhagel left behind him a void.  Five men tried to fill it - Aad de Mos, Dixie Dörner, Wolfgang Sidka and Felix Magath - all failed.

It took former defender Germany Thomas Schaaf, in 1999, to bring silverware back to the Weserstadion.  Schaaf had actually joined the youth academy at Bremen in 1972 at the age of 9.  Too young to manage perhaps.  But that didn’t stop him hanging around, and he has been at the club ever since.

Another one club man associated with Bremen is Dieter Eilts.  Eilts’ nickname was the Alemão of East Frisia, for his similarity to Brazilian midfielder Alemão - something that is easy to see in retrospect, from all those Alemão posters everyone had up on their walls when they were younger. 

Werder Bremen, Puma, 1995/6 football shirt

Werder Bremen, 1995/6, Puma football shirt

Bremen finished the 1995/96 season in 9th, and went out of the Uefa Cup in the third round.  That should not, though, distract from the lovely green sleeves on this shirt.  And yes, let’s get into the details of the kit.  As you can see, it is sponsored by DBV. DBV is, according to some research, the IATA airport code for Dubrovnik Airport or a type of pulsating white dwarf.

So with either that awe-inspiring image or useful administrative knowledge running through your heads, why don’t we all join in a chorus of the Bremen club song, the Lebenslang Grün-Weiß.  All together now lads.

Sadly, there aren’t a lot of clips around showing the Bremen boys in the home shirt. But if you’re interested and want to take a look at their Manchester City 1993 away tribute kit, then why not watch this clip of the UEFA Cup match against PSV, where Junior Baiano keeps a young Ronaldo firmly in his pocket.

Rob Hogg

Liverpool, Adidas, 1994/5 - The Spice Boys

This rather dashing shirt comes from a time when Liverpool were at the height of all things fashionable: the Spice Boys, Mark Kennedy, 5-3-2.

Liverpool football shirt, Adidas, 1994/5

Liverpool football shirt, Adidas, 1994/5

The man leading this voguish revolution was Roy Evans, brought in to replace Graeme Souness who subsequently went off to be mad in Turkey.

There wasn’t much for Evans to replace. Souness had led the club through a three year Villas-Boas style nightmare overhauling the squad. His transfer strategy of buying inept players had only been ended in the December of 1993. 94/95 was Roy Evans’ first full season in charge.

Things started promisingly with a 6-1 hammering of Crystal Palace, and then what is still the quickest ever hat-trick by Robbie Fowler, in a 3-0 win over Arsenal. Look at him there, swaying about with those lovely lines running up his sides.

Everything sort of flattened out after that for the rest of the year, with a series of Souness style ‘mixed results’.  But there were two huge highs at the end.  First of all in the League Cup there was the ‘McManaman final’, where the man that Real Madrid fans apparently thought looked like Nicole Kidman scored a brace to beat Bolton Wanderers. And following on was the last game of the season against title hopefuls Blackburn.

A Liverpool win could well mean the title going to those nice down to earth lads at Old Trafford. The recently reconfigured Kop was stunned when the Reds ran out 2-1 winners, but the scene turned to one of jubilation as that nice down to earth man Andy Cole had a meltdown at Upton Park.

You can hear the newly seated Liverpool fans having a bit of a sing-a-long at the end of this clip.

Evans built an attractive team in a pleasant shirt that didn’t win anything after the League Cup. A shame really, seeing as the man who followed him, Gerard Houllier, had much more success but with ugly shirts and uglier football. Evans was the true King of the Catwalk.

Is the 1994 Spice Boys number, Liverpool’s best ever football shirt?  Let us know on twitter @thefootballsc.

Shirt of the day:  Chesterfield, 1992/3 courtesy of @20yearsinblueandwhite


This is the home shirt worn during the 1992/93 season.

Not the prettiest by modern standards but classic early 90’s. I’ll always love this shirt.

Shirt of the day: FC Zvezdets Gorna Malina, Bulgaria, 2004/5 courtesy of @oldshirts

Norwich City, Ribero, 1993/94 – Jeremy Goss and gaudy kits

Rob Hogg takes a look back at another Premiership classic football shirt.  Norwich City, 1993/4.  Our first Ribero entry into the Football Shirt Collective.

You can not really criticise Norwich for having gaudy football kits. If your main colours are yellow and green, then you are going to be putting yourself in a difficult situation, no matter what you do with the collar or the sleeves.

Norwich City, Ribero, 1993/4

Norwich City, Ribero, 1993/4

Still, this is a pretty good effort even by their standards. It’s quite difficult to get a hang of looking at it, even from a few different angles. I’d advise having your monitor on black and white for a while, and then gradually bringing in colours as your mind starts to get used to it.

This shirt was worn in the previous year, when Norwich arguably had their most successful domestic season, finishing third in the top flight. But we are going to look at the season afterwards, when they only finished twelfth, but had a memorable UEFA Cup run which included becoming the first ever British club to defeat Bayern Munich on German soil.

The goals, the kit, the glory, are all here

Both goals are fascinating in their way – the first for the classic Mark Robins / Lothar Matthaeus battle which sets up Jeremy Goss. And the
second for Mark Bowen scoring a goal that was eerily similar to the one Shearer got seven years later in the Euros, again against a group of Germans.

Sadly, the Canaries went out in the next round to eventual winners Inter Milan. A few notable names left as well, manager Mike Walker going off to have a disastrous reign as Everton coach, and Chris Sutton heading north to form the SAS partnership at Blackburn with goal-copier Shearer.

Everything went wrong for Norwich after that. But to prove that those highs were no fluke, then watch this 4-0 win over Leeds. The highlights include Ruel Fox going to town on the right wing and yet another Goss belter. 

Rob Hogg

Did you have a Ribero football shirt?  Let us know on twitter @thefootballsc

Cameroon, Adidas, 2002 / 2004 – Vests and one pieces

The turn of the 21st Century marked a mini golden age for Cameroonian football. Having won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2000, the Indomitable Lions claimed Olympic gold in that year’s summer games, and went on to win another ACN two years later.

Despite becoming the second team in history to defend an ACN title, the 2002 side is more often remembered for massively flustering FIFA by turning up to the World Cup in sleeveless shirts.

Cameroon, Puma, 2002

Cameroon, Puma, 2002

During that year’s ACN, the Confederation of African Football had seen nothing wrong with the shirt design. Patrick “Magic” M’Boma’s bare shoulders were on display as he tore through stadia across Mali, teaching a young Sam Eto’o a thing or two on the way to becoming tournament top scorer.

In South Korea and Japan, however, kit sponsor Puma’s exotic experiment did not go down well. Appalled that its logo was not on display on the arms of the Cameroonians, FIFA demanded new kits on pain of disqualification.

Black sleeves were sewn on to the shirts like tiny shrouds of mourning, and Cameroon crashed out at the group stage.

Incredibly, the best was yet to come. As if to goad FIFA, Puma had the Lions turn up to the 2004 ACN wearing…shirt-short one-pieces. Sleeves were present, yet shirts continued unbroken into shorts. Puma’s design was also unreasonably tight; nipples and six packs protruded more so than in the Burton/Schumacher Batsuit. 

Cameroon, Puma, 2004

Cameroon, Puma, 2004

Needless to say, it didn’t take long for FIFA to take note of the fact that the Cameroonians were trotting around pitches in Tunisia wearing green and red Victorian swimsuits. The governing body warned Cameroon that the team would be fined and deducted six points from its World Cup 2006 qualifying campaign if the kit was worn again.

In an act of defiance that would make Rosa Parks sweat, the team kicked off against Nigeria in the ACN quarterfinals with kits unchanged. Proud and absurdly dressed, the rebels lost the match and suffered the points deduction.

Furious, Puma paid the fine on behalf of Cameroon’s football federation and entered into a drawn out legal battle with FIFA that to some represented the brand’s commitment to cutting-edge fashion, and to others a brazen publicity plug in its efforts to compete with FIFA bedfellow Adidas.

The dispute was eventually settled out of court, Cameroon’s points were reinstated, and the controversial kit was laid to rest next to its sleeveless cousin.

Angus McNeice @astokesaym

Manchester United, Adidas, 1982 - Gary Bailey’s tyre

You could write a book on Manchester United’s away kits. Some 80s blue / white indecision sort of resolved itself in this monstrosity.  Almost all the shirts seem iconic, either for United dominating English football, or showing brief moments of vulnerability, such as in their grey ‘invisible kit’.

But we should probably do something with the home kit, so let’s have a look at the cup winning shirt from 1982/83. The first thing to note is the sponsor, which is much more specific than later incarnations. 

Manchester United, Adidas, 1982

Manchester United, Adidas, 1982 

Looking at the squad list, the first name to jump out is reserve goalkeeper Jeff Wealands who went on to become a legend at non-league Altrincham. Bafflingly, Wealands was kept out of the side by South African Gary Bailey who my dad once helped change a tyre.  Apparently Bailey was ‘not very friendly’.

It was also the year when Norman Whiteside broke into the team. At the age of 17, Whiteside scored in against Liverpool in the League Cup, earning himself the nickname of the ‘Scourge of the Scousers’, and then he got one in the FA Cup as well. His career would go on to be wrecked by a knee injury. This was a theme for a squad with knee problems running through it, taking in names such as Paul McGrath and Steve Coppell. Coppell’s career didn’t last beyond 1983, his knee destroyed by a reckless challenge in a world cup qualifier against Hungary.

Rob Hogg

Manchester City, Umbro, 1990-91 - Chevrons

This shirt comes from an era of nostalgia, when people liked City, they were sponsored by Brother, and they had a lovely light background pattern of chevrons. Things went a bit mad with the chevrons in 1991-93, so this kit comes from the first incarnation, with a more  modest City. Which is everyone’s favourite type of City. And following on from that, everyone’s favourite type of manager is the player-manager.

Manchester City, Umbro, 1991

Manchester City, Umbro, 1991

But what exactly goes into making a player-manager? Respect of the dressing room of course. Backing from the board. A few grey hairs don’t go amiss. But what is most important is an ability to play as a very slow defensive midfielder (Ray Wilkins was a wonderful example of this).

Howard Kendall wasn’t a player-manager. But he was in charge of Manchester City for a while, before heading back along the M62 for a second spell at Everton - on leaving, he explained that City was an affair, whilst Everton was his marriage.

Which of course was wonderful news because it meant that Peter Reid could take over as player-manager. Nowadays this would never have happened. Player-managers are a thing of the past. They have been replaced in the public psyche by horrible corporate ghouls, like
Directors of Football. Surely it was better when clubs made large losses whilst having the team being run by a man who was so involved in playing that they were completely unable to make any tactical decisions at all, rather than someone who wears slick business suits and gives those fancy arm wrestling style clasped high fives instead of handshakes.

Having said all that, Reid got two fifth place finishes, before the image of the M62 took control of his mind and City went decidedly  route one, and he got himself sacked.

If you really don’t believe the era of player-managers was a time when magical things could happen, then watch this third City goal against United, as Colin Hendry picks the ball up on the halfway line, rinses Neil Webb, one-twos with Niall Quinn and dinks it over Les Sealey (although it ended as a draw and Kendall was actually still in charge at this point – probably would have won if Reid was managing).

To finish on the players’ front, at the start of the season Paul Lake picked up a seemingly innocuous knee injury. It ended up putting him  out of the game for two years, and effectively ended his career. Lake would go on to be seen as almost mythical figure at Maine Rd, the symbol of an era of what might have been. He didn’t even get a chance to be a player-manager.

If you have some time later today, why not pop into the barber’s and ask for a Swales. 

Is this City’s greatest ever football shirt?  Let us know @thefootballsc 

Everton, Umbro, 1993/94 – Panic in the boardroom

Have a look at this kit. After more than a century of away shirts based on white and yellow, Everton decided to take on a colour that had one half disturbingly close to the lads from across the Mersey. In retrospect it is easy to see this change as indicative of panic in the boardroom, with the glories of the 80s firmly consigned to the past.

Everton, Umbro, 1993/4

Everton, Umbro, 1993/4

The shirt also captures the twilight years of the long partnership with electronics giant NEC.  It might be worth noting that in 1993 NEC’s asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) switching system, the NEAX61 (Nippon Electronic Automatic Exchange) ATM Service Node, went into service in the United States, and perhaps it is no surprise that not everyone’s mind was focussed on the football.

In December, Howard Kendall brought his second spell at the club to an end and was replaced by young hotshot Mike Walker. With the statistically worst ever performing manager in Everton’s history now in charge, the club faltered throughout the campaign and on the last day of the season it looked like their status in the fledgling Premiership was over - a fact apparently confirmed at halftime when they were losing 2-0 to Wimbledon.

It was only due to Graham Stuart and Barry Horne that Everton were able to affect an incredible escape.  But as they did it all whilst wearing the traditional blue kit, it is irrelevant for this blog.

What we have instead is a clip from the previous season with the boys wearing the same away kit at Blackburn. There is high drama in the game, including a goal line controversy following on from some  ‘frantic work by Bobby Mimms’. The Rovers commentator is clearly distraught by the result, although quite where his accent places him in the Ribble Valley is not exactly clear.

Rob Hogg @RobHoggAMLC

Is the black and red Umbro master piece of 1994 Everton’s greatest ever football shirt?  Let us know through twitter @thefootballsc or on facebook. 

You can order the Everton, Umbro, 1992 kit here

My favourite football shirt - Benji Lanyado

We spoke to journalist, digital producer and scorer of diving headers Benji Lanyado about wee, Gazza shirts and Di Canio scissor kicks.  

What was your first ever football shirt?

A 1989 Hibernian home shirt. I lived in Edinburgh until I was 8, and was forced into supporting Hibs by my neighbour, who then forced me to wear his hand-me-downs. I went to Easter Road every now and then, but my strongest memory of partisanship was when, one lunchtime at school, the playground split into opposing camps, Hearts vs Hibs, and we chanted at each other across the concrete until one kid wet himself with exhilaration. It was wonderful.

What is your favourite ever football shirt?

A tough one. Probably the Gazza-era Lazio home shirt. I was addicted to Football Italia and the strange, fat, brilliant English bloke who went over there, scored a last-minute equaliser in a Rome derby (from a Beppe Signori cross), and then cried, obviously. Early 90s Italian shirts are superb, but that one stands out.

Lazio, Umbro, 1994Lazio, Umbro, 1994 

What is your favourite ever goal?

An obvious one I’m afraid. The Di Canio scissor kick for West Ham. Two things I remember:

1) The delayed reaction of the crowd - for at least half a second nobody celebrated, we were in shock

2) When re-watching it ad infinitum, Martin Tyler’s commentary. He has a mini footballgasm.  And one for luck …

3) It was Freddie Kanoute’s debut for West Ham, but you didn’t need to know that.

Is your favourite football shirt better than Benji’s? Let us know on twitter @thefootballsc

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 - and we will publish the best on our blog.

Chelsea, Umbro, 1994-96 - Frustrated potential

In our countdown to the start of the new season Rob Hogg takes a look at another Premiership classic.  This time around it is Chelsea’s timeless grey and orange away, Umbro shirt.  

Chelsea home kits have rarely ventured far beyond ‘blue’. The Stamford Bridge faithful are clearly a humble lot. But take them away from West London and they start to show their true colours.

From the early 80s until well into the 90s, a bout of insanity took over the Umbro factory, and they churned out psychedelic kits for an era synonymous with the names Nevin, Hazard, Durie. The crowning achievement came with the 1994-96 away kit, a eye blenderingly bad combination of orange and slate grey.

Chelsea, Umbro, 1994-6

Chelsea, Umbro, 1994-6

For some time, the lads in the kitroom were offering the only fireworks at Chelsea, a series of mid table finishes dampening the effects of the Commodore / Umbro combination. The tide looked like it might turn though when Ian Porterfield had the distinction of being the first manager to be sacked in the Premier League and was replaced by Glenn Hoddle.  Hoddle led the team to the FA Cup Final and it looked like they might push on to greater things.

This shirt captures a time of frustrated potential. In 1994-95, Chelsea failed to capitalise on their previous season, and went out to Real Zaragoza in the Cup Winners’ Cup.  Changes were made, Hoddle’s ambition being to match performance to shirt. Mishit Robert Fleck was released, replaced by Mark Hughes. And at the other end, in came Ruud Gullit, saying he wanted to play sweeper.

Things didn’t work out in that position, Gullit discovering that his new teammates were not quite up to the levels of AC Milan:

“I would take a difficult ball, control it, make space and play a good ball in front of the right back, except that he didn’t want that pass. Eventually Glenn said to me, ‘Ruud, it would be better if you do these things in midfield’”

Was Gullit talking about Erland Johnsen? Or Frank Sinclair? Or Terry Phelan?  Or Michael Duberry? Or Jakob Kjeldbjerg?  It is hard to say.  As it was, the season finished less than spectacularly in 11th, and Chelsea went out of the FA Cup at the semi finals stage. Nevertheless, the signings of such big name players at Chelsea was a watershed moment in English football.

The orange/grey kit was discontinued after this season, and enough was enough for Glenn Hoddle, whose consistent ability to draw mid table positions from the team saw him given the England manager’s job, a tradition admirably continued by the FA with the likes of Steve McClaren and Roy Hodgson. 

In this clip, enjoy the kit and watch Ruud successfully completing a pass to an eager right back. 

Was this Chelsea’s greatest ever football shirt?  Let us know through twitter @thefootballsc or on facebook

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