Continuing our 1980s week Kevin Henning looks back at a decade of fantastic fabric.
One of the most exciting teams of the World Cup, packed with players such as Allon Simonsen, Jesper Olsen and Michael Laudrup, Denmark were dressed in this beautiful design from Hummel. A design that was to be re-cycled for the likes of Aston Villa, Coventry City and Southampton, none were a patch on the original as the Danes played some exquisite football in the group stage beating Scotland, Uruguay and West Germany with a total of nine goals in three games before crashing 5-1 to Spain.
After this Umbro effort in the mid-eighties, Watford should never have felt the need to produce another kit. At the mere mention of the word Watford, I can still see John Barnes and Luther Blissett tearing Canon League Division 1 defences to shreds as Watford shocked the country by finishing second to Liverpool and reaching an FA Cup Final. The chest band and iconic solvite sponsor make this colourful design stick in the memory.
As a Mancunian of the red persuasion, I don’t really know why our kid paraded around in this shirt during my childhood. I seem to remember he swapped it with a lad on the estate for a Rambo knife although where he got the weapon from, I’ve no idea.
He returned from the swap deal with Draper Tools emblazoned across his chest and I was immediately smitten with the bizarre tree based club crest.
Norwich City 1986-87
Another Hummel trademark in the 1980’s were the “go-faster chevrons” down the sleeves and shorts of their kits. This simple Norwich City outfit was fresh and bright and incorporated the Canaries colours perfectly. It was the beginning of a lifetime soft spot for the Norfolk side, although little did I know at the time what influence the sponsor would have on my adult life.
Not a popular strip at the time with Evertonians, this Le Coq Sportif outfit seems to have been the Toffees kit for the entire decade rather than the single season it lasted. The chest panel is a strange inclusion and may be the reason that Gary Lineker decided to quit at the end of the ‘85-’86 campaign. I liked it though, and due to the fact that we’re being all nostalgic, I reckon it’s an eighties classic.
Newcastle United (away) 1985-88
I’ve often wondered whether the Geordies came up with the idea for a grey away kit because they couldn’t see past black and white so mixed them and voila!
The chest band was an Umbro trademark on numerous kits of the time but fitted perfectly on Newcastle’s shirts because it gave them the chance to include some black and white. The Newcastle Breweries blue star is possibly the greatest sponsor in English football history and all in all, this strip screams “MIRANDINHA!!!”
West Ham United 1983-85
The claret and blue of West Ham never looked better than it did on this Adidas effort of the early eighties. The classic understated ‘Hammers’ badge fits perfectly, the v-neck looks the part and it’s a shirt that would sell out within minutes should it make a comeback today. Also the last United shirt worn by the legendary Trevor Brooking.
Queens Park Rangers 1985-86
Not content with having the coolest kit around, QPR only went and made it even better by landing Guinness as a sponsor! Often spotted adorning the back of cult musician Pete Doherty, this classic Adidas design is probably the only other team shirt I’d consider wearing myself. It would top almost any list of best kits I could come up with.
Manchester United (away) 1984-86
As a blue, I shouldn’t really include this but considering the amount of time I spent watching my brother trying to imitate Frank Stapleton makes this the one shirt that most makes me think “1980’s football”.
Worn in the 1985 FA Cup Semi Final replay versus Liverpool at Maine Road, I can recall the words of Brian Moore as a screamer from United’s “Captain Marvel” flew into the Liverpool net to send the Red Devils to Wembley – “Robson! Grobbelaar didn’t even smell it!”
Dundee United 1984-89
Despite the sponsor changing a couple of times, this (to coin an ‘80’s phrase) proper ace kit lasted a full five years on the backs of the Tannadice team and was worn in the 1987 UEFA Cup final defeat against IFK Gothenburg.
The tangerine and black Adidas strip represents a glorious era for the club when players such as Paul Hegarty, Jim McInally, Paul Sturrock and the wonderfully named Maurice Malpas strutted their stuff against Europe’s finest.