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Charlton Athletic – Le Coq Sportif 1998-2000

Playoff season has come and gone but it is never too late to hear a good football shirt story.  Al Gordon share’s his memories of the Charlton Le Coq Sportif 1998 shirt, Clive Medonca and that day at Wembley.

Great football shirts are often remembered due to the great football matches they were worn in, just look at Coventry bringing back their cup winning shirt from 1987 two years running now for their cup exploits.

From a Charlton perspective, nothing eclipses the first division play-off final at Wembley against Sunderland on May 25th 1998. Mark Kinsella led the Addicks out that day dressed in a fine array which we hoped would grace the Premier League come August.

After six years of kits from Ribero and Quaser Charlton were once again wearing attire from a major player. In the early 80’s French manufacturer Le Coq Sportif had threatened to lead the market alongside the giant that is Adidas with new modern materials. They supplied both European club champions and World Cup winners alike, now their rooster emblem was to emblazon the famous red shirts from South London, an allegiance that would last for the next five seasons.

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Charlton, Le Coq Sportif, 1998

The shirt itself was a breath of fresh air. It was the first of many that incorporated a large area of white, mimicking a Charlton shirt from the early 70’s that had a white panel up the side which continued past the armpit and onto the underside of the sleeve. We had taping (I’m a huge fan of taping) down the sleeves and the shorts - triangular rooster badges alternating with what appeared to be corporal stripes, and a buttoned collar very akin to a polo shirt. As was de rigueur for the period, a manufacturers plaque ordained the outside proclaiming the garments authenticity.

A new shirt sponsor in Mesh Computers finished off what was a very smart ensemble, albeit a template most notably also worn by Birmingham City. They even had the audacity to wear a red third strip which was identical to ours. For some reason the Blues chose not to copy our away shirt of the same template, an ecru version which has, over the years, grown on me somewhat.

The shirts debut at Wembley gave it the perfect showcase. As football matches go, none stand in the memory so clearly. It was a game neither side deserved to lose; five second half goals meant we entered extra time three apiece. Two more goals during the extra half hour ensured the lottery of a penalty shoot-out would be required to separate the teams.

Wembley saw that day, not only one of its greatest games but also what is widely regarded as the best hat trick ever scored at the famous old ground. Clive Mendonca, a Sunderland born lad would taunt his home town club with three goals of sheer excellence (plus a penalty in the shoot-out), and was immortalised for all time, as was the kit, by the photographers that day in a now famous pose.

When Sasa Ilic saved the fourteenth penalty from Michael Gray the emotions ran higher than ever before, a roller coaster of a football match that had drained every last one of us. As we left the stadium I only remember silence, we didn’t have a song left between us. A supporters coach from Sunderland drove past and every one of those supporters applauded us, a very moving moment. That day had given the two clubs a special bond, highlighted by the Black Cats sending a case of champagne to The Valley afterwards. It was a very special day for all involved and just as importantly, for football on the whole.

To top it all off, not only did Charlton have a stylish new kit, we had a stylish new division to wear it in.

Al Gordon 

If you have a football shirt to share or a story to tell let us know on twitter @thefootballsc

Norway, Umbro, 1998 - Bandy Egil Olsen

Norway were traditionally the weakest of the Scandinavian boys – that was until Egil ‘Drillo’ Olsen took over. He led them to what would historically be calculated as 2nd in the Fifa world rankings with a style of football that some might call ‘to-the-point’.

As a sort of reverse Brendan Rogers, Olsen believed that breaking through ‘established defences’ was almost impossible, so you might as well stick a big lad on the wing and get it up to him (Jostein Flo). Flo, mocked the traditional size of winger, all whilst looking like a sort of Norwegian David Coulthard.

As a logical progression, Olsen believed that the best way to score was against non-established defences, with rapid, direct counter attacks. This all culimated in a not very exciting to watch 4-5-1 formation that saw Norway beat team after team, much to everyone’s annoyance. Not wanting to dwell on what the Norwegians did to England in the 80s or 90s, let’s concentrate on this shirt from 1998 when they beat the not-so-to-the-point lads from Brazil, 2-1.  Watch it here.  

The top is a classic 98 style with ‘Norge’ printed on the trim for unknown reasons. It’s quite similar to the other Umbro shirt of the time, as worn by England.

Football shirt:  Norway, Umbro, 1998

Olsen is now back in charge of Norway. Interestingly, he used to be (and possibly still is) a Communist, as well as being a formidable bandy player. What’s bandy, you ask? This is bandy!

Where can I get one?  You can order the 2012/13 Norway kit here.

Here are some other kits we thought you might like:

Norway vs Brazil - France 1998

Israel, Adidas football shirt

The Football Shirt Collective - Umbro

Northampton Town, Lotto, 1996-97 - papping Andy Woodman

In 1997, in what used to be the old fourth division but had become the new third division but is now the old third division and is in fact the new League Two, Northampton Town reached the playoffs final. The Cobblers were playing Swansea and clinched promotion in the most dramatic fashion, with a 90+3 minute free kick from Cobbler legend John Frain (complete with ‘Sixfields Boys’ by Warehouse).

Things have been a bit topsy-turvy since then, and whilst the defeated team have spent seemingly half a season playing dead rubbers in the Premiership, the Cobblers are once again fighting for promotion to the old Third Division/middle-period Second Division/nouveau League One.

Another legend from that day is goalkeeper Andy Woodman, shot-stopper and author. But don’t let it be said that this success has made Woodman an arrogant man; here he is, ‘papped’ on what used to be called the ‘Morden-Edgware Route’ but is now known as the Northern Line.

Northampton, Lotto, 1996/7

The home shirt itself was a lovely claret colour and the away gold. Lotto were so happy with the kit, they not only made it but sponsored it as well. Quite right, too, for a town of fashionable cobblers, to be sponsored by the ‘calzolai’ of Treviso.

Here are some other shirt we thought you would like:

Watford, Le Coq Sportif, 1999

The Football Shirt Collective - Lotto

Burkina Faso, Puma, 2013 - Stallions and Redemption

Stallions and redemption.  Burkina Faso’s journey to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations has it all.  

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Burkina Faso, Puma, 2013

Burkina Faso are ranked 92nd in the world, below Cuba, China and Guatemala but have been in defiant form in their run to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations.  

Ahead of the tournament, manager Paul Put showed his players a video of Greece winning the Euro’s, Chelsea winning the Champions League and Zambia winning the last AFCON.  And it seems to have worked - beating Togo in the quarters and Ghana on penalties in the semi-finals.

The cup run has also offered the Belgian manager a chance of redemption.  Paul Put has served a 3 year ban for match fixing from the Belgian FA, after his side had allegedly received money from a Chinese betting syndicate to throw matches.  Though he claims his family was threatened by the mafia if he did not throw the matches.  

As a result of the ban Put made his way to Africa, first to manage Gambia and then Burkina Faso to manage the team with stallions on the shirt.  

There are not many football shirts that sport stallions but this years Burkina Faso, Puma offering is pretty classy, bearing the the legendary horses of Princess Yennenga.  You can order the Burkina Faso, Puma, 2013 here.  

Got a AFCON kit to share.  Let us know @thefootballsc.  

Here are some more links we thought you would like:

Nigeria, Adidas, 1994 - Collar dollar bills 

The end of Errea - Democratic Republic of Congo

Cape Verde, Tepa, 2012 - Stars of the shoulder

Brazil, Umbro, 1992 - 1994 - The Romario toe poke

As England are prepare for Brazil at Wembley, I take a look back at the famous Brazil kit of 94 and reminisce about Romario toe pokes.   

The 1994 World Cup in America was a massive for me.  Although I loved Italia 90 - I had the honour of painting a cardboard cut out Paul Parker for assembly - I was still quite young and didn’t really understand what was happening.   

By the time USA 94 came around I was a little bit older (4 years to be exact) and obsessed with football.  

USA 94 has a place in my heart as I was introduced to Panini sticker albums - got, got, need - and became obsessed with impersonating Romario in the playground.  

Romario finished the tournament as top goal scorer and introduce the toe poke to millions of kids around the world.  At that point any technique I had went out of the window in favour of an old fashioned tommy toe poke.  

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Brazil, Umbro, 1994

At that age, it didn’t bother me that much that England weren’t in the tournament as USA 94 had glamour and excitement.  

For me the kits were class.  I love the Brazil kit.  Classic yellow.  Huge collar and a massive badge.  Notable mentions to bright and bold kits of Columbia,  Mexico and Nigeria.  

What was your favourite kit of USA 94?  Let us know @thefootballsc

Here are some other articles you might like:

Order your Brazil, Umbro, 94 original shirt here

Follow us on twitter

The Football Shirt Collective - Brazil

My favourite football shirt - Fernando Duarte

Samoa, Admiral, 2002 - The J.S.Blatter Stadium

When you think Samoa what comes to mind?  The Rock.  Beaches.  Ukelele’s?  What about the 2002, Admiral football shirt?  

To help us survive another “interlull”, Nick Warrick talks us through the first match worn shirt in his collection.

Most people associate Admiral with vintage football shirts from the 70s, in particular Leeds United. They briefly took over duty as suppliers to the England national team in the early 80s, and more recently the English Cricket team. Admiral are a British manufacturer founded in Leicester, a curious name coming from a city in the Midlands.

Admiral are also responsible for one my favourite shirts, and indeed the first match worn national shirt in my collection.  Samoa. 

Not a country well known for its football, Samoa have the misfortune for playing their home matches at the Toleafoa J.S.Blatter stadium named after Sepp Blatter.

Samoa, Admiral, 2002

Samoa, Admiral, 2002

This shirt was worn by Samoa in the defeats to Fiji and Tonga during qualification for the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan. Samoa finished 4th out of 5 which saw Australia score 66 and concede 0 from their four games. The shirt is extremely worn, and it is likely to have been used in multiple defeats as well as training sessions.

Nick Warrick

Follow Nick’s progress here as he attempts to collect the national shirt of all 209 FIFA nations: http://myfootballshirtproject.blogspot.com

He can also be found wittering on about all sorts on twitter: @209FIFAshirts

If you like the look of the Samoa shirt, various matchworn Samoa shirts are available here.  

QPR, 1995-96 – The Compaq Era

We are not animals at the Football Shirt Collective. So when @robertmoorgabe asked for the QPR shirt feature to have a look at the infamous ‘Compaq era’, we said, “that sounds fine”.

QPR, Compaq, 1995/6 (Home football shirt)

QPR, Compaq, 1995/6

QPR fans might not be so happy about that, as the season chosen from the Compaq Era is 1995-96,when QPR were relegated. Les Ferdinand had been sold in the summer, and the partnership fashioned in his place of Kevin Gallen and Danny Dichio failed to do the business.

Gallen had set Bojan Krkic style scoring records in youth football and had a couple of decent seasons in the Premiership, but his career was sidelined by a knee injury. Dichio meanwhile found fame in the MLS, where he was known to thousands of football fans in England as being in the same league as the one which Beckham was joining at the time.

Beckham was involved in Dichio’s career, even from an early age. Here he is, messing up a clearance that leads to a Dichio goal. It was only thanks to some hard work from the Red Devils and some mental toughness that they were able to claw their way back into the game, and score a well deserved 95th minute equaliser.
 
All did not completely look lost for QPR though, as a 3-0 win over West Ham United on the penultimate day of the season gave a hint at escape. But it wasn’t to be. A 3-0 reverse at the hands of Forest saw the Compaqians go down.

Luckily, relegation did not spell the end of Compaq who in their benevolence stayed on as kit sponsors. Trevor Sinclair also remained at the club, which is just as well as he did things like this the next season. 

To finish on the brightest note possible, QPR are now incredibly rich, as are the founders of Compaq, having sold the business to HP.

Is the Compaq era QPR’s greatest for kits?  Let us know on twitter @thefootballsc 

Rob Hogg

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 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 

Fulham 2001/2 - Barry Hayles

2001/2 saw Fulham return to the top tier for the first time since the late sixties. Fulham had lost hope of a quick return after the  professional retirement of the talismanic Johnny Haynes, in 1970. ‘The Maestro’ had been at the club for almost twenty years and built a formidable reputation, based on showing his exasperation with less talented teammates, either by giving out a rollicking or standing sullenly with his hands on his hips.

But it might all have been different if he had agreed to sign for Milan in 1961. If you’d like to know the full goings on for the transfer deal then why not watch this pathe’ clip which really does its best to break down the details of the contract negotiations. Milan might well have been inspired to sign Haynes after his performance in helping Young England to whip Italy in 1955 - a game all the more remarkable seeing as the Italians had chosen to substitute their left half “apparently for no good reason”.

All of this introduction and talk of Johnny Haynes has been aimed at avoiding discussing the kits. The Fulham home shirt of recent times has not been particularly exciting, save perhaps for some off the shoulder work by Puma in 2004-05.

But the 2001-02 Adidas outfit does have one bit of interest with that enormous great Pizza Hut logo sitting in the middle of the shirt. The prime position gives a good chance for even the idle watcher to spot the large and jaunty red hat which Pizza Hut wears on top of its head. 

Fulham, Adidas, 2001/2

2001-02 was also notable for being that season when Al Fayed’s money and Tigana’s management had taken Fulham into the Premiership.  After a big outlay in the Summer, Fulham finished an ultimately disappointing 13th in their first season. Big signing Steve Marlet failed to do the business (11 in 54), but other acquisitions from that summer and previous transfer windows included Edwin van der Sar and Louis Saha. And of course, there was cult hero Barry Hayles. Here’s a video tribute to the player ‘with the best physique you could possibly wish to see on a young man’

Ever since then, maybe the most interesting incident that has taken place at Craven Cottage has been the occasional change from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1.

Rob Hogg @RobHoggAMLC

Is the 2001/2 Fulham’s finest football shirt?  Let us know through twitter @thefootballsc or on facebook. 

Cape Verde - Stars on the shoulder

Cape Verde have never qualified for the World Cup. Nor have they qualified for the African Nations cup. In fact apart from their famous victory in the 1982 Amilcar Cabral Cup they do not have much of a footballing heritage.

Does it mean they should not have a sick football kit?

Oh no, no no. Football shirt collector Nick Warrick - who is on a mission to collect all 209 FIFA football shirts - recently got himself on one of the Blue Sharks finest.  You can order your Cape Verde shirt here.

As a collector of national football shirts I have come across some absolute beauties in my research and with a flag as unique as former Portuguese colony of Cape Verde, you will struggle to find a more awesome looking shirt than the one below.

I’ve recently managed to get my hands on these shirts for the latest African Nations qualifying campaign.

Cape Verde, Tepa, 2012

Cape Verde, Tepa, 2012

These shirts are made by Tepa, a Portuguese firm. Whether the design is specific to the national team I do not know, but the stars from the flag on the shoulders are a great touch.

Previous to that; in 2011 the Cape Verde kit was made by KS Sports in the Canary Islands and in 2008 the “Tubarões Azuis” or “Blue Sharks” were wearing Errea shirts, but kept with the flag theme.

In 2004 Cape Verde were once again playing in Tepa shirts.

Cape Verde, Tepa, 2004

Cape Verde, Tepa, 2004

Flag based shirts are a particular favourite of mine. It is what can make a football kit for a country unique. Unless of course you are Monaco and Indonesia!

Nick Warrick

You can keep up to date on Nick’s mission here

Here are some more articles we thought you would like:

Order your Cape Verde shirt here 

The Football Shirt Collective - Best of 2012

The Football Shirt Collective - Africa

Follow us on twitter

Cardiff City - from blue to red

Over the years, long car journeys to remote away grounds have provided plenty of opportunity to explore the existential conundrums which underline being a football fan. What really makes a football club? What is the intangible source of identity which keeps drawing so many of us back to the terraces, week after week, season after season?

It’s a difficult one, and I am certainly not going to pretend to have the answer.

But I am certain that one source of that identity is the shirt. To borrow and then unashamedly extend an overused cliché - managers and players come and go, fans eventually pass on, new grounds are built and memories fade. But the shirt…..the shirt never disappears.

Unless you’re Cardiff City.

I’m sure even non-Cardiff fans felt a twinge of regret when they discovered that the club’s new Malaysian owners have decided to change Cardiff’s traditional blue kit to red. There are so many stories on this site which show how important football shirts can be – the memories they capture, the feelings they arouse. Surely the shirt is sacred, not to be meddled with?

As an Arsenal fan, the importance of the colour red extends far beyond the club. This positive associations with my club colour (pun intended) every day life.

Table football? I’ll always go for the red team. Red or blue trim on those new trainers? No contest. Even hair style - who can forget Freddie Ljungberg’s red hair streak tribute, quickly adopted by many fans? A sign of his commitment to the club, embraced by thousands.

My point is this – the colour of a club’s shirt goes way beyond the practical identification of players on a pitch. It’s at the very core of what it means to support a team; City’s Blue Moon; The Black and White Magpies of Newcastle; Arsene Wenger’s Red and White Army; the Red Devils of Manchester.

And the Blue Birds of Cardiff.

By this decision, regardless of what may be very well founded commercial reasons, the management of Cardiff City have torn the identity of that club apart.

We live in the era of big money and that brings benefits. Clearly we need to accept some downsides, but there still need to be lines that rich sheikhs and Malaysian billionaires won’t cross.

On this occasion, it hasn’t just been crossed. It has been turned from blue to red.

Jamie Slavin

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: http://www.uksoccershop.com)

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
(Source: http://www.footballpictures.net)

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.

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
puzzle.

Hoggy

Nigeria – collar dollar bills

The Super Eagles have long been everyone’s favourite plucky World Cup wildcard West Africans - ever since they topped their group in 1994 and were two minutes away from knocking out eventual finalists Italy. This is before Il Divin Codino himself, Roberto Baggio, scored a last minute equaliser and then an extra-time winner in the Second Round as part of his quest to singlehandedly drag an underperforming Italy into the final, before ending the tournament as Diana Ross began it by blasting his penalty about half a mile over the bar to cede the trophy to Brazil.

But anyway, back to Nigeria.

In 1998, they had the core of their impressive 1994 squad intact, two outrageous geniuses in the forms of Jay Jay Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu, and an absolute nutter with a hairstyle to match their kit colour in the legendary Taribo West.

Now, many put their 1994 exit down to their, frankly, atrocious kit design. Adidas had decided for some reason to put what I can only describe as bizarre dollar bills all over the area surrounding the collar, and then absolutely all over the away kit as well. 

Nigeria (adidas) 1994

Nigeria (Adidas) 1994

Thankfully, 1998 saw the Super Eagles bounce back in a classy and classic plain light green number with white trimmings, and they did not disappoint, topping their group and dumping out Spain in a 3-2 win in the process. Unfortunately their 1998 dream was to end in the Second Round again, succumbing to a 4-1 loss to a strong Denmark side containing both Laudrup brothers. But luckily this time they did it in style thanks to this iconic kit.

Nigeria (Nike) 1998

Nigeria (Nike) 1998

So, Mr West et al, for adding a bit of African flair to France ‘98, we at the Football Shirt Collective salute you.

Jake Hoskyns

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