The fabric of memory, wrapped around the shoulders of giants. In this, an ongoing series, we look back at the colours, patterns and textures that defined some of the most iconic moments in the history of clubs from around the world.
Photography by Neil Bedford
Perhaps, in time, Luis Enrique’s starting XI of 2014-15 will come to be known as Barcelona’s Dream Team. The addition, at the beginning of this season, of Luis Suárez and Ivan Rakitić to an already stellar lineup has led some to suggest that his charges could yet surpass the dizzy heights reached during the Guardiola revolution at the start of this decade. Yet, as pragmatic as the current Bayern Munich manager may be, you can’t help but feel he might have something to say about that. For he, alongside the likes of Ronald Koeman, Michael Laudrup and Romario, was the midfield lynchpin in the side that still holds that illustrious title, for now at least. 1992 was the year that Italian manufacturer Kappa took the reins from Catalan stalwarts Meyba, and marked four years since the triumphant return of Johan Cruyff as manager of the Blaugrana. And just as he had ignited the Camp Nou turf in the mid-seventies with his uncanny manipulation of space and time, he would lead the Catalans to four consecutive La Liga titles between 1990 and 1994, a European Cup, two Supercopas and a Copa del Rey.
With the advent of the Premier League just around the corner, the early nineties arguably represented the last hurrah for football as we once knew it: a time when managers were given more than one season to prove themselves, and when central defenders were still capable of being a club’s top scorer. United’s Cup Winners’ Cup success in 1990 was Alex Ferguson’s first silverware in four year at the club, and the true beginning of a managerial reign that would go on to define the next 20 years of English football. Perhaps more remarkable, however, were Steve Bruce’s 13 league goals in that same season, which equalled Brian McClair’s tally at the top of the scoring charts. Of course, the famous Class of ’92 would ultimately flourish in the Umbro-manufactured kit that succeeded the partnership between United and adidas. With the iconic relationship set to be restored at the beginning of next season, however, both will be hoping to establish a legacy for the twenty-first century.
The ball drops out of the clear Glasgow sky and, for a second, time stands still as Zinedine Zidane swivels to meet it with a graceful swing of his left boot. Such is the perfection of Zizou’s volley that the Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper, Hans-Jörg Butt, can do nothing but stare, transfixed, paralysed and open-mouthed as it flies into the top right-hand corner of his goal. From the other end of the Hampden Park pitch, a defensive triumvirate of Ivan Helguera, Fernando Hierro and Claude Makélélé rush to mob the Frenchman. It was moment of magic, a goal worthy of winning any game; we were just lucky that it happened to be the 2002 Champions League final.
Yes, we all remember the luminous Nike effort of the late ’90s, but what is often forgotten is that white was just as pivotal to Dortmund’s decidedly golden age. In the space of two seasons between 1995 and 1997, a dream team comprising Matthias Sammer, Karl-Heinz Riedle andbelieve it or notPaul Lambert claimed the club’s first Bundesliga title, before going on to stun Juventus in Turin and secure a first European crown.
1983, the year that marked the introduction of United’s new bold, typographic crest, was the beginning of a memorable couple of seasons for the club. Not only would Arthur Cox lead them out of the Second Division and back into the big time with a team built around the flair of Chris Waddle and Kevin Keegan, but Tyneside would also bear witness to the emergence of two future stars of the English game; Peter Beardsley arrived from the Vancouver Whitecaps ahead of the ’83-84 season, while Paul Gascoigne made his St James’ Park debut as the ’84-85 season drew to a close.
Oh, the days when teams would get two seasons out of a kit. And if that thought makes you nostalgic, wait until you see the shirt manufacturer. Hummel will always have a special place in the hearts of sportswear aficionados the world over thanks to ‘that’ Denmark jersey, produced for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, but this effort for Ossie Ardiles, Glenn Hoddle and co is equally special.
All shirts sourced from www.classicfootballshirts.co.uk