The Kit Cupboard – Football League Centenary Classic 1987


The Football League marked its 100th birthday in 1988 with a series of special events and matches. The celebrations kicked off in 1987 with the Football League Centenary Classic match that saw a Football League XI playing a World XI at Wembley. The World side was captained by Diego Maradona making his first major appearance in England since the infamous ‘hand of God’ incident at Mexico 86.

As suppliers of the national team Umbro won the deal to kit out both sides and opted for these two designs; the Football League XI in white and blue and the World XI in all red. Football League badges appeared on each sleeve and on the shorts with the League side’s shirt sponsored by Mercantile Credit who also backed the Centenary Tournament the following year.

The match, attended by a disappointing 61,000 crowd, ended up in a 3-0 win for the Football League XI with goals from Bryan Robson (2) and Norman Whiteside. Full team line ups were:

Football League XI
Manager: Bobby Robson (England)

1 Peter Shilton (Derby & England)
2 Richard Gough (Tottenham & Scotland)
3 Kenny Sansom (Arsenal & England)
4 McClelland (Watford & N Ireland)
5 Paul McGrath (Man Utd & Rep of Ireland)
6 Liam Brady (West Ham Utd & Rep of Ireland)
7 Bryan Robson capt. (Man Utd & England)
8-Neil Webb (Nott’m Forest)
9-Clive Allen (Tottenham & England)
10-Peter Beardsley (Liverpool & England)
11-Chris Waddle (Tottenham & England)

16-Norman Whiteside (Man Utd & N Ireland) for Allen 45
13-Steve Ogrizovic (Coventry) for Shilton 60 min
15-Pat Nevin (Chelsea & Scotland) for Brady 67 min
14-Ossie Ardiles (Tottenham & Argentina) for Webb 76 min
17-Alan Smith (Arsenal) for Beardsley 83 min

World XI
Manager: Terry Venables (Barcelona)

1-Dasayev (Spartak Moscow & USSR)
2-Josimar (Botafogo & Brazil)
3-Celso (Porto & Brazil)
4-Julio Alberto (Barcelona & Spain)
5-Hysen (Fiorentina & Sweden)
6-Bagni (Napoli & Italy)
7-Berthold (Verona & W Germany)
8-Lineker (Barcelona & England)
9-Platini (France)
10-Maradona capt. (Napoli & Argentina)
11-Futre (Atletico Madrid & Portugal)

18-Zubizarreta (Barcelona & Spain) for Dassayev 45 min
15-Elkjaer (Verona & Denmark) for Lineker 45 min
12-Detari (Eintracht Frankfurt & Hungary) for Josimar 61 min
14-Larsson (IFK Gothenburg & Sweden) for Celso 70 min
13-Belanov (Dynamo Kiev & USSR) for Bagni 70 min
17-Stojkovic (Red Star Belgrade & Yugoslavia) for Platini 70 min
16-Zavarov (Dynamo Kiev & USSR) for Futre 83 min

Guest of Homour: Pele

14 Replies to “The Kit Cupboard – Football League Centenary Classic 1987

  1. Fantastic John!!!! Had a feeling these might crop up on TC 🙂 I remember watching this match, hoping to see some Maradona brilliance, but as I recall, the World XI were decidedly mediocre. I personally like both the kits, striking a nice balance of late 80s modernism but without the insanity of the early 90s.

  2. Ha! Thought you’d like it Rich! My memories of the whole event was that it was all a bit disappointing – of course you’ve got to remember that football in the 80s was at a bit of a low ebb. Wonder if the world will celebrate the centenary of the Premier League in 2092?

  3. This reminds me of The Scottish Football League centenary kits in 1990. The home was a light blue affair with darker mini saltires in a kind of ‘Ajax’ band down the front. It was very smart! There was an away one as well, which wasn’t so classy, reminiscent of the first Nothern Ireland kit in the 90s, but in red and black. Horrific.
    A special crest was designed for them, too. If I can recall that was quite nice ,

  4. I remember them Jonny – were they ever worn in a special centenary match? At the time some people were trying to pass them off as official Scotland away kits. Crikey, looking at them the Football League centenary efforts were far more restrained!

  5. Just shows the difference those last few years in the 80s made…from restraint to free for all! That Scottish Centenary outfit is a very typical 1990 umbro affair…very similar to the England 3rd of the time. It is great to see these centenary kits on here…I’d only just come to love football at that time so it’s very nostalgic…and nice to see something again which seems to have disappeared into the football ether.

  6. I think, though I’m not certain, that they were worn in a special match. It was Scottish Premier league players versus non-Scottish Premier League players, I seem to recall. Theo Snelders was in goals for the overseas team…

  7. I remember watching this on ITV – Brian Moore was the commentator. All the players were announced, Gridiron style, before they emerged from the touchline. I remember Maradona’s every touch of the ball was greeted with boos, supporters still smarting from his ‘Hand of God’ outrage a year earlier

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