Almost Weekly Blog – 20th September

Posted by John Devlin

Thanks to various commissions I’ve been drifting away from British leagues’ kits just lately and focussing on the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and the Champions League. I’m not the world’s biggest expert on foreign strips so I’ve found it fascinating looking at the different designs and especially colour schemes, favoured on mainland Europe. One of the biggest surprises was the prevalence of green in Germany’s top flight with Wolfsburg, Borussia Monchengladbach, Hannover and Werder Bremen all wearing the colour. Very strange considering in England we only really have Plymouth who sport green. If anyone’s got any theories behind this I’d love to know.

Its also interesting to see who are the most favoured kit manufacturers. Germany has several, of course, adidas and Puma designs but also plenty of smaller companies. Italy is the biggest eye-opener with quite a few Macron and Errea (both Italian firms) kits. Funny as in the UK both companies have come in for some criticism from supporters over the quality of their products.

One of my favourite kits in the Bundesliga is the VFL Bochum home kit – look out for a Kit Cupboard feature on this soon. Incidentally, I’ve just added a new Kit Cupboard article on Luton Town’s current home kit. You can read it here: http://www.truecoloursfootballkits.com/articles/the-kit-cupboard-luton-town-home-kit-2009-10

Another mystery is why certain Champions League teams still insist on adopting new home colours as first choice in the competition. I’m thinking primarily of Marseille and Lyon. If anyone can clear this up and let me know for sure what these club’s first and second choice kits are in the Champions League I would be very grateful.

marseille-cl-shirtThe Marseille kit is a real oddity – it features the standard adidas template as favoured by Middlesbrough and Derby amongst others this season but seems to be constructed from a sort of shiny, plastic fabric complete with fingerprint pattern. It’s certainly one of the strangest looks I’ve seen for a while.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Southend vs Leeds match (followed by a top notch curry). The seats were right on the side of the pitch so not the best for watching the action (a 0-0 draw, so there wasn’t that much drama!) but great for seeing the kits close up! Its amazing how you get a different perspective on kits when you see them in action. Southend wear a smart navy blue version of the Nike template sported by Aston Villa but the Leeds Macron kit is not so impressive in the flesh. Very baggy, it looks 5 or 6 years out of date. Comparing it to the Serie A Macron kits it is worlds apart. They seem bang up to date and very contemporary.

I’m working on plenty of new features for the site – still in the process of adding the True Colours books’ kits – this will take some time – but I hope to soon be finishing the Admiral feature I’ve been working on and adding some new kit history sections.

Finally, I was recently asked to contribute to a Leicester City fansite, www.bentleysroof.co.uk. Its a great site with a healthy interest in kits. This is the piece for which I donated some graphics:

www.bentleysroof.co.uk/classic-city-kits-the-admiral-twin-pin/#more-1495

Thanks again for everyone who entered my recent competition – there will be another soon…


13 Responses to “Almost Weekly Blog – 20th September”

  1. Jon Says:

    Just a minor correction, Hannover don’t actually wear green as a first choice kit, their home colours are usually red with black shorts, but they have worn green change kits on many occasions, including this season’s white and green striped away kit. But yes there is a fair bit of green in the Bundesliga, well, green used to be a popular choice as it was the German national team away kit for several decades.

    The French clubs in the Champions League really baffle me with their decisions to wear totally different colours as home kits. Lyon had a fluorescent yellow kit last season, whilst Marseille had gold, both totally contrasting to their usual all-white kits.

    Anyhow this season Lyon are wearing navy with blue and red trim at home in the Champions League, with their domestic home kit being the second choice. Marseille are of course wearing that shirt made out of duct tape (!!!) at home, but I’m guessing they will wear sky blue as their change kit. I won’t know that until they play against team in grey, or even black!

    Talking of France, along Leeds and out of date kits, check out Auxerre’s new kit made by Airness (who once made kits for Fulham a few years ago). It is almost a complete copy of Leeds’ Nike shirt from 2002, yes, 2002, complete with blue stripe going from the sides and around the back, and identical collar. The only noticeable difference is the addition of some blue pinstripes.

  2. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Jon – good holiday? Thanks for your comments, I probably didn’t make myself clear, I was aware that green only featured in Hannover’s away kit – its just odd that it is so common in Germany. Good point abut the national away kit though.

    Glad I’m not the only one confused by the CL kits! Bayern normally wear white in CL don’t they? But this season are wearing their standard red kit. I guess Lyon will wear their white shirt as an away kit as their normal away is very dark (just like their CL kit) and therefore wouldn’t be of much use as a change strip.

    I’ve just finished Serie A kits now – the frequent colour there is a dark red/maroon with Roma, Liverno, Cagliari, Bologna and Genoa all sporting it. Any idea why this colour is so popular in Italy?

    Also, no Umbro in either the Bundesliga or Serie A!

  3. Jon Says:

    Yup was a good holiday thanks. Also there’s a few more green kits in the German second Bundesliga, with Greuther Fürth wearing a Celtic-style strip, 1860 Munich have a green and black away kit and Augsburg also favouring green in the event of a colour clash.

    Bayern are another culprit for wearing different home colours in Europe – last season’s was white, the previous season they wore black and the season before that was maroon. 98/99 was the strange season for Bayern kits, as not just did they wear a silver and maroon kit in the Champions League, but domestically their home kit was all navy with a red horizonal stripe, a kit adopted the previous season.

    It wasn’t the only curiosity in Bayern’s history, as well as adding blue to the kit during the 90’s and at one stage having almost identical shirts to Crystal Palace, they wore a burgundy and off-black kit in 2001, an Arsenal-like effort in 2003, and up until last season a hooped shirt!

    In Italy I’ve noticed maroon being popular, a number of other clubs recently relegated from Serie A also wore maroon (Torino and Reggina). Not sure why it’s popular though.

    And as for Umbro, well it’s kind of strange to see them not supplying any teams in those two leagues. Bochum did wear an Umbro kit a couple of seasons ago in the Bundesliga, and last season Siena wore Umbro, but have recently changed to Kappa. Still least they are still evident in Spain, where Athletic Bilbao recently changed to Umbro after making their own kits for a number of years (Málaga also wearing Umbro since 2002).

  4. Mark Jessop Says:

    Hi John, Glad to see that you’re branching out into euro kits, the Marseilles ( or l’Olympique de marseilles to give them their full title) kit looks fairly awesome.

    If it would be of any help with your research I have Panini albums from 92-93 season for Italy, Holland and Germany together with a handful of European football mags which you are more than welcome to. Just let me know.

    All the best.

  5. john b Says:

    just thought i’d throw in some classic foreign strips-ajax,never seem to have a bad home kit,ac milan when ray wilkins played for them,think pooh made the kit,nice thin stripes.Flamengo in 84(adidas) red and black hoops-fantastic especially when worn by zico.juventus when kappa made there kit in the early 80’s.Sampdoria is another great design.napoli’s strip when maradona played for them.always thought italian strips were very stylish.

  6. John Devlin Says:

    Some good shouts there John – I guess I’ve focussed so much on British strips I’d forgotten how many iconic continental kits there are. Mark, I may well call on you – I’m not planning to look at foreign kit history too much, just concentrate on the current ones and any memorable ones from the past – but I’ll bear your offer in mind. The Italian kits are very nice indeed. Looking at La Liga next…

  7. Ian Says:

    Good to hear that the Italian Macron kits are looking fairly decent. West Ham are due to switch from Umbro to Macron next year so I hope we’retheir flagship side for the UK and they doa decent job.

  8. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Ian, I was a little nervous about the Hammers switching to Macron after seeing the Leeds kits but some of the Serie A ones look really good. I think its all in the fit – a big baggy shirt just looks outdated now.

  9. amir Says:

    Talking of French kits, am I the only one who has noticed that goalies in France, especially the big teams (Lyon, Marseilles etc.), tend to wear the club away kit at home and the home kit away?
    Sponsors match up even if different for outfield players’ home and away, so I assume that they are purpose made.

  10. amir Says:

    Bochum’s current kit can not match their ‘legendary’ kit from the mid/late 90s. Inspired by sponsors Faber, a lotto company based in Bochum, the kit was half white and half Joseph’s dreamcoat. The kit maker I can only speculate at uhlsport.

  11. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Amir – I like the sound of that kit! I shall try and track it down…

  12. amir Says:

    Talking of european teams that wear green, anyone one else read this?
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/8270594.stm

  13. Jon Says:

    I’ve noticed that too amir, also there have been a number of instances of goalies in the French league wearing kits which are marketed in the teamwear catalogues as outfield kits! All very strange, it was also quite common in Italy as well in Serie A, though not so frequent now.

    And talking of that Bochum kit, here’s a pic…
    http://www.oldfootballshirts.com/img/season_shirts/vfl-bochum-home-shirt-1997-to-1999-s_3277_1.jpg

    The away (half-blue) and third (half-red) shirts were of identical design, with the keeper shirts featuring a rainbow chest band and Faber lotto logos all over the sleeves. According to a few German friends these kits were the subject of much ridicule amongst rival fans, and also are connected to the team’s relegation from the Bundesliga in the 98/99 season.