The Football Shirt Collective

Taking football shirts out of the cupboard and into the spotlight


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Villarreal, Kelme, 2003/4 - Riquelme: a political decision

Rob Hogg takes a look back on happier times for Villarreal with this tribute to the 2003/4 shirt that Riquelme wore to pull the strings for the el sumbarino amarillo.  If you like the shirt have a cheeky bid for it on eBay.

Villarreal used to wear the same white and black combo as their close rivals, Valencia. It was only in 1947 that they changed to the colours they have nowadays, the result of the President’s son failing to get to the shop before they had sold out of everything except yellow. The Villarreal players agreed to keep the colour of their football shirts, and taken on by a revolutionary spirit, dumped their black shorts for blue.

The blue shorts stayed in place right up until 2002-03, at which point it was decided to make the kit all yellow. This shirt comes from that final blue thighed season - from a time that is no doubt intrinsically linked in the minds of all fans of el sumbarino amarillo with an emotional victory over SC Heerenveen in the Intertoto Cup.

Villarreal went all the way to the semi finals in the Uefa Cup, making for one of the chronologically longest cup runs in history. The club’s quest for glory was only halted by Valencia - giving a rather provincial ending to a tour of triumph that had taken them all over Europe.

Villareal, Kelme, 2003/4

Villarreal, Kelme, 2003/4

The boys in yellow had some big names in that time. Playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme was enjoying his best football in Europe, having been rescued from rotting on the wing at the Camp Nou. The Barca coach at the time, van Gaal, had called the catalans’ signing of Riquelme a 'political decision' - unlike van Gaal's subsequent decision to play a number 10 with no pace right out on the flank.

Alongside the reinvigorated Riquelme, there was also space on the team sheet for old championship manager legend Sonny Anderson, back for a brief cameo in La Liga after years in le French wilderness, as well as our old friends Pepe Reina and Fabrizio Coloccini.

Sadly, Villarreal are going to spend this season in the second division after a calamitous campaign last year. But to finish on a metaphor and some emotion, let’s hope that it won’t be too long before the Submarines surface again.

Do you have the Villarreal shirt? Let us know @thefootballsc or if you like the shirt have a cheeky bid for it on eBay

My favourite football shirt - Jonathan Wilson

We spoke to the blizzard’s Jonathan Wilson about classic counter attacks and simple football shirts.

1. What was your first ever football shirt?

It was that hideous Coq Sportif Sunderland shirt. White with two red pin-stripes on each side. Really dreadful shirt, but when you’re a kid and a Sunderland fan you do not really have much option.

2. What is your favourite football shirt?

Uruguay, 1970

Uruguay, 1970 (source:  Christies)

I like very plain shirts - simple, no fuss. So the blue Sunderland away shirt we wore to beat Newcastle in the play-off in 1990 would be up there for the combination of design and the emotions felt while they wore it, or for pure design probably the Uruguay shirt of the 70s - pale blue with a white collar.

3. What is your favourite ever goal?

Darko Pančev for Crvena Zvezda against Bayern in the first leg of the 1991 European Cup semi-final. Brian Laudrup was beaten to an Olaf Thon through-ball by Slobodan Marović.  Although tight by his own corner flag, Marović played a delicate pass to the right-back Duško Radinović, who flicked it inside to Miodrag Belodedici.

The Romanian, still in his own box, helped the ball on to Robert Prosinečki, who glanced up and curved a 60-yard pass down the line for Dragiša Binić to chase. He outpaced Hans Pflügler, and whipped a low cross between Jürgen Köhler and the goalkeeper Raimond Aumann for Pančev, arriving at the far post, to slide home.

Everything was controlled, precise, and yet, because of the pace of the move, it was virtually undefendable.

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.

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

Shirt of the day: Israel, Adidas, 1970’s
In honour of Yossi Benayoun

Shirt of the day: Nara Club, (Gavic), 2012/13 (Japan)

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.

My favourite football shirt - Darren Byfield

Arsenal, Nike, 2003/4

Arsenal, Nike, 2003/4, Kanu

Arsenal vs Rotherham in 2003 was a big day in Arsenal’s history.

Kanu, Arsenal vs Rotherham At age 16 years and 177 days, Cesc made his his debut. It also gave Darren Byfield the chance to play against the club he supported, Arsenal, at Highbury.

“My favourite football shirt is my Kanu, Arsenal shirt. I got it after Rotherham played Arsenal at Highbury in the league cup.” Byfield told the Football Shirt Collective.

Arsenal took the lead but then in the 90th minute, Gooner, Byfield scored to equalise. The match went to penalties with Arsenal winning 9-8.

“I started celebrating [when I scored] and then thought, I’ve just scored against the team I love.”

Darren Byfield, for scoring against the team you support and for nabbing Kanu’s shirt we at the Football Shirt Collective salute you.

Shirt of the day: DC United, (Adidas), 2004/5, Freddy Adu

One for Football Manger and DC United fans

Courtesy of Jimmy Dunitz

Shirt of the day: West Ham, (Bukta), 1991/2 Courtesy of @benjilanyado

Washington Diplomats - the Cruyff turn

Thierry Henry isn’t the only legendary footballer to try his luck with a stint across the pond in his later years, we all know that. But did you know, he wasn’t even the only one to do it in a red and white number fourteen shirt? No, in fact Dutch maestro Johan Cruyff set that particular trend way back in 1980 with the Washington Diplomats, wearing this rather fetching little number.

Washing Diplomats (Adidas) 1980

Washington Diplomats, (Adidas), 1980/1, Johan Cruyff

Yes, after winning the NASL’s (North America Soccer Leagues) ‘MVP’ in 1979 with the LA Aztecs (who unfortunately had a far more boring kit), Cruyff, ahem, turned his attention to the east coast with the Diplomats, playing alongside such fellow stars as Bob Iarusci, Jozsef Horvath, Bobby Stokes, and even the great Ken Mokgojoa. 

Astonishingly, this expensively-assembled team of galacticos only managed to take the ‘Dips’ to Round 1 of the Playoffs, and Johan promptly buggered off back to Europe to play with Levante for a bit (they’re the other blue-and-red striped Catalan-speaking Spanish team).

But, short lived though your career in the States may have been, we here at The Football Shirt Collective salute you, Johan, for inspiring Monsieur Va-Va-Voom himself over thirty years later. And not just with your on-pitch skills, but with your oh-so-chic wardrobe as well. What a trendsetter.

Jake Hoskyns

The Football Shirt Collective want to bring football shirts out of the cupboard and back into the spotlight.

You can share your football shirts by; uploading them to our facebook page, sending us a link to them on twitter, or through our blog.

Bayern Munich (1999) - the curse of the away shirt

Bayern Munich lost the 1999 Champions League against Manchester United due to their choice of kit.

My abiding memory of the final is not Teddy Sheringham’s last minute equaliser or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s injury time winner for Manchester United.  Oh no.

At the final whistle, after seeing Manchester United steal the Champions League from his grasp, Sami Kuffour, Bayern Munich’s Ghanaian centre back, struck the Nou Camp pitch with such force that it registered on the richter scale.  

Some say fate was always on Alex Ferguson’s side from the moment the football kits were for the final decided.  Manchester United, winning the coin toss, wore their lucky red and white home kit whilst Bayern donned their grey and burgundy, Adidas, away kit.  

Bayern Munch - (Adidas) 1999, away

Bayern Munich, (Adidas), 1999, (away)

The German champions only Champions League defeat before the final had come wearing the Adidas away shirt against Brondby, in the first match of their campaign. Like the final it was a last minute winner, this time scored by Danish superstar Allan Ravn.  

Was this last minute defeat playing on the Bayern Munich players mind as Beckham swung in the last minute corner?  Did the grey and burgundy flash back memories of Allan Ravn?   

We at the Football Shirt Collective say yes.  

The Football Shirt Collective want to bring football shirts out of the cupboard and back into the spotlight.

You can share your football shirts by; uploading them to our facebook page, sending us a link to them on twitter, or through our blog.

Shirt of the day: Bayern Munich (Adidas), 1999, (away) 

Lazio - cigarettes and goals

When Zdenek Zeman was in charge of Lazio, he liked two things; cigarettes and goals.

With Lazio he created a free-scoring, free-smoking team that claimed second place, finishing the season on a five game winning streak.

That run was started by a 3-0 hammering of eventual champions Juventus - perhaps Zdenek and his boys were lifted by being in Turin and getting to wear their nifty away kit.

Lazio, Umbro, 1994/5, away
Lazio, Umbro, 1994/5, away

This was a shirt, after all, which took the home colour of celeste, and created a completely
different shirt by keeping half of it exactly the same but adding a sort of lightening bolt and a slightly darker shade of blue.

Lazio 1994-95 was a team of big names, powered by the goals of Signori, Casiraghi and Boksic.  At the back, Alessandro Nesta was playing his first full season for the senior squad. Nesta was young, but evidently not too young to be able to break Paul Gascoigne’s leg in training. That effectively ended Gazza’s season. The worst part about this is that Gazza spent a lot of time during the 90s smoking, so surely Zdenek would have had huge plans for him in Rome, and Gazza could have been the final piece in Zdenek’s nicotine stained jigsaw


Shirt of the day: Lazio, (Umbro), 1994/5, away

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