Category Archives: Soccer
Hey everyone, I am finally back online. I know its been a few months, but I have been tied up in school, and my new television program that I co-host and co-produce, Ultimate Sports Show (watch the entire first season here). But there has been a flurry of uni-related news these past couple weeks that I had to give my two cents about, so let’s dive right in
Yes the Washington Redskins, just over a month after Nike unveiled their slightly altered home uniforms the Washington Redskins unveiled their new 80th anniversary throwback uniforms which they will wear during two unspecified home games this season.
According to the presser from Nike – the uniforms are a modern take on the team’s uniforms worn in 1937. I for one think they do look sharp but have some Florida State overtones, ironically, the last Redskins anniversary uniform worn in 2002 and 2003 to celebrate the team’s 70th anniversary also bore a resemblance to the Seminoles. Overall, I really like these uniforms, the helmets, which are supposed to resemble the leather helmets worn back in the ’30s, have a nice touch with the matte brown paint. Overall though, I do not like them as much as the 70th anniversary uniforms, but these are pretty good.
Well, this certainly is a case of two steps forward, one step back. After splendid kits for 2010 and 2011, Arsenal have decided to add blue back to the home strip for the first time since 2000. That 2000 home kit is one of my favorites of all time. This one is by no means terrible, just a bit surprisng to see the blue come back. Overall, it looks sharp, and I am not one of those die-hards who insists Arsenal must have the same red shirt white sleeves home kit every single season. So change is refreshing, but I still prefer the 2011 kit. JJB Rating: 7/10
I do have to say, this kit is MILES better than this past season’s atrocity for the blues, however, one has to feel Adidas may have stolen a page from Umbro’s playbook, as this bears a strong resemblance to Chelsea’s centenary kit from 2005 but at least this year, the sponsor agreed to go for the gold so the kit matches. Overall, a sharp kit, I do wonder however if it will make its debut when Chelsea takes on Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final on May 19, normally Adidas teams will debut the next season’s strip on the world’s largest stage in the Final, as they have with Bayern Munich in 2010 and Chelsea in 2008. JJB Rating: 8/10
Hello Nurse was my first response when I saw this absolute beauty of a kit. I, like many other kit enthusiasts, wondered how Warrior sports – new to the kit game, would make Liverpool’s first kit, and they rewarded Liverpool fans with this retro number that harkens back to the European cup winning teams of the 1980s. The use of the Liver bird in place of the traditional club crest, which has angered some of the family members of those who tragically died in the Hillsborough disaster 23 years ago, the eternal flames in Liverpool’s club crest recognize those who died in the incident, however the tribute has been shifted to the rear of the shirt along with a ’96’ to commemorate the 96 lives lost. I for one love the kit, the only change it could use would be a switch back to Carlsbeg as the sponsor. JJB Rating: 9.5/10 (best Liverpool kit since 2006)
My first question about these kits to United fans – U MAD BRO? because these are the most hideous United kits I have seen in a very, very, very long time and the fact that they resemble a tea-towel makes me do this . The team claims it is an homage to the ‘gingham’ check pattern that pays an homage to the history of the cotton industry in the city of Manchester. To all Man U fans: do the right thing, boycott this kit by NOT buying one this season and let all the fair weather fans and bandwagon hoppers sport this atrocity. JJB Rating: 1/10 (because at least they got the colors right)
- In sad news, as I’m sure you all know, Junior Seau sadly took his own life last week, rather than draw judgement, I pray for his family and if you would like, watch this touching tribute to a great man whose life was tragically cut short. RIP Junior.
- Liverpool wore a special ‘Seeing is Believing‘ sponsorship in their rout of Chelsea this past week
- Texas Rangers rookie Robbie Ross forgot to change jerseys during a doubleheader against the Orioles
- Both Everton and Manchester City have agreed to deals with Nike to be their respective kit providers, Everton for the upcoming season, Manchester City for 2013-14
As an Arsenal fan, I am sheerly ecstatic about the return of the legendary Thierry Henry on loan for the next two months, and obviously, you can bet that I am getting his jersey.
However, I was led to wonder, Theo Walcott inhereited Henry’s #14 shirt after the close of the 2007-08 season, leaving Henry to choose a different number for the first time since he wore 17 at Juventus in 1999. Henry announced that he will take the #12 shirt, the same shirt he wore with the French National Team. Now this leads me to wonder, does anyone else think that in situations like this, where a legendary player returns to his old team, that he should be granted his old number? or should they have to follow the rules like everyone else? Let’s see some cases and decide.
There isn’t much better of a way for the man who was voted greatest player in Arsenal history by the fans to return. All Hail The King.
Legend: Paul Scholes
Scholes made a shocking return to Manchester United on Sunday, January 8, 2012, after retiring in May of 2011, and announced he would return for the rest of the season. Scholes old 18 shirt was picked up by new signing Ashley Young in the summer of 2011, leaving Scholes to wear number 22, which he had not worn since the 1995-96 season.
Verdict: The Ginger Prince’s case is somewhat more unique for these two reasons: A. He just left the team eight short months ago, and B. he has worn 22 before in his career, so in this case, I do NOT believe Scholes should be granted his old number back.
Legend: Michael Jordan
Returned in 1995 to the Bulls wearing #45 instead of #23 because his #23 was retired in 1993 when he retired.
Jordan made his triumphant comeback in 1995 after a failed career in baseball, but was forced to wear number 45 due to the “retired” status of his old 23. This did not last long however, as at the beginning of that legendary 1995-96 season, His Airness was granted his old number, and it came in handy, as the 95-96 Bulls had the NBA’s best single season record (72-10) and Jordan began his second run of three straight championships.
Verdict: MJ almost singlehandedly transformed the NBA into a massively popular and worldwide league, so he is completely justified in getting his old number back.
Local Legend: Ben Wallace
Wallace left the Pistons in 2006 in poor circumstances after wanting a larger contract, which the rival Bulls were offering, however, nothing changed the fact that Wallace was a dominant defensive force during his six seasons in Detroit and was definitely a fan favorite. After three failed seasons in Chicago and Cleveland, Big Ben found himself on his way back to Detroit, but his familiar #3 jersey was picked up by 2007 draft pick Rodney Stuckey. Rather than rock the boat, Wallace took #6. Being a Pistons fan, it was obscure seeing Wallace in a different number, but I did not feel he deserved to ask for it from Stuckey.
Local Legend: Hugh Douglas
In mentioning the name Hugh Douglas around Philadelphia Eagles fans, you will always hear a warm reception. The monstrous defensive end is still highly regarded by the Philly faithful to this day even though he is long retired. What some do not realize is that Hugh Douglas spent ONE failed season in Jacksonville in 2003 before rejoining Philadelphia for his swan song in 2004. Douglas was given #53 upon his first arrival in Philadelphia in 1998, and when he returned during training camp 2004, he found Eagles linebacker Mark Simoneau was wearing his old number, Simoneau gladly gave up the number for a new one.
Verdict: Hugh Douglas was an absolute beast in his first five years in Philly (51.5 sacks with three double digit sack seasons) so I would say it was a nice gesture by Simoneau to grant him his old number back for his final year.
FINAL VERDICT: Really we are split 2-2 here, Douglas and Jordan got their old numbers back, Scholes and Wallace did not, so really, I guess unless it is a true legend, like a Michael Jordan, there is not a huge reason that an old legend, whether league famous or fan favorite, deserves his old number upon his return.
Its been a while since I’ve been on here, as usual, school is doing its best to consume my life, but after seeing some of the outrage of the past week, and the fact I’ve been off the grid for three weeks made me come back.
For those of you who are unaware, November 11 is Remembrance day in the United Kingdom. Akin to, and on the same day as Veteran’s day here in the United States. England commemorates their fallen heroes with the poppy, as seen below, however, each fall, the poppy sadly becomes mired in controversy and political red tape, and this year, its thanks to one, corrupt organization. You may know them very well, as they are FIFA, the worldwide governing body of international soccer.
Last weekend, teams in the English Premier League wore poppies on their shirts because of the international break the leagues are on right now.
For the international break, the England national football team submitted a request to FIFA to wear poppy patches on their shirts for their friendly against Spain on November 12, FIFA turned down the request as it would “be contrary to its rules against displaying political symbols”. This caused mass outrage from the footballing community, the Football Association (Governing Body of English Football) and English football fans in general. FIFA did finally relent after a personal intervention from the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William. FIFA allowed England to wear Poppies on black armbands during the match, players had orginally countered FIFA’s rejection with custom cleats made just for the matches this weekend against Spain and Germany.
To this writer, this is not the first time FIFA has caused ridiculous controversy over nothing. Honoring fallen military members is not a political message, it is a universally recognized sign of respect, and if FIFA wants to cause a big ruckus over political or religious symbols, why don’t they crack down on Turkey’s national team emblem?
The symbol on Turkey’s kits, which is drawn from their flag, is a symbol synonymous with arab nationalism and Turkey’s proud Muslim culture, yet FIFA has never raised a problem with the Turkish side wearing the symbol on their kit, what would happen if England decided to permanently include the poppy in their crest? Then what would FIFA do?
The ridiculous things FIFA has done in the past year, including this poppy controversy, Sepp Blatter’s reign of corruption, and the controversial awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar (Really? its over 100 degrees there in the summers), reflects a dark side that I as a soccer fan do not enjoy, I think the beautfiul game should be played free of red tape and politics, but in the world we live in, this is not true.
For the EPL enthusiasts, I watched the Newcastle United vs. Everton match last weekend, and it was an excellent match with a screamer scored by Newcastle’s Ryan Taylor. One thing I did notice though, was the difference in clothing choices between the managers, Newcastle Manager Alan Pardew was donning a classic black suit, with a Newcastle themed tie, whereas David Moyes was in full Le Coq Sportif warmups. This begs the question for me, if managers are dressing up in dress shirts, ties and traditional dress, why must they bother mucking it up by wearing their team gear and look worse? my favorite side Arsenal is victim of this as Arsene Wenger loves his puffy coats almost as much as George Costanza loved his.
Some of the worst dressed crowd include the following
Bolton manager and George Clooney’s long lost brother, Owen Coyle
Sunderland’s Steve Bruce
And Stoke City boss Tony Pulis (Come on, you resemble an American Football coach)
My request to EPL managers is this: please follow Alan Pardew’s lead, call your tailor, get a winter suit coat, and look classy on the sidelines.
- The Buffalo Bills wore their all white uniforms at home in last Sunday’s 27-11 loss to the rival New York Jets, the last time Buffalo went white at home was in the 1986 season.
- Michigan State and North Carolina went with camouflaged themed uniforms last night in the Carrier Classic aboard the U.S.S Carl Vinson in San Diego
- The San Diego Padres unveiled their new, slightly tweaked uniforms in their first redesign since 2004, and their third new road uniform in three seasons.
- Leo Messi is now a truly elite soccer player, as he has been given his own logo
- Ukraine and Poland unveiled new soccer jerseys
- Spain unveiled the beautiful new kits for Euro 2012 in their 1-0 loss to England at Wembley stadium earlier today
Well we are now ankle deep into the world soccer season, there have been great games (Barcelona 2-2 AC Milan in Champions League) bad games (See Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal) great goals and awful misses (your faithful author made that awesome .gif.) But with this, I decided to make a Top Ten, similar to my Top 15 Kits for Non-Soccer fans article from last season, this season I decided to go with the Top Ten most fashionable kits, that look great on and off the pitch. Here they are (in no particular order)
Everton Home Goalkeeper
There has never been a goalkeeper jersey more worth buying than Everton’s 2011-12 army inspired kit. Worn by American ‘keeper Tim Howard, this camoflauge affair will easily be one of the more recognizable goalkeeper jerseys of the past few years. Tim Howard is ready for war between the posts and on the pitch.
QPR Third Shirt
QPR is celebrating their return to top flight soccer by replicating their famous shirt worn in 1975-76, when they were beaten to the old First Division title on the final day of the season by Liverpool. The checkerboard design and asymmetric shoulder both look excellent. I do hope that QPR stay in EPL long enough to secure a different shirt sponsor than the below average Lotto however.
Aston Villa Away
Last season, Villa tried out their checkerboard motif on both the home and away kits, this season they blew the lid of last season by going full gray check on a white shirt, which looks absolutely excellent. The only deterrent is the somewhat ugly Genting logo, if only Aston Villa had stayed the non-profit route and kept Acorns children’s hospice, easily their best shirt sponsor in recent memory.
Arsenal may have started the season contrary to their motto of Forward, by finding themselves at 17th in the table, but nothing changes the Gunners sense of style, and Nike’s respect to keep tradition intact. A red shirt with white sleeves, how EVERY Arsenal home shirt should be. To celebrate the 125th season, the team integrated their current logo into this new retro design, incorportating the teams first motto of “Forward”
Manchester City Home
For 2011, Manchester City looked directly to the fans for inspiration. The shirt features a soundwave pattern created from a recording of team anthem “Blue Moon” being sung inside City of Manchester Stadium. Smart move by the team looking inward for inspiration, and reflecting not only on their fans, but the city of Manchester’s musical history.
Porto absolutely flourished last season under new boss Andre Villas Boas, going undefeated in league play and winning the UEFA Europa League. This year their shirt looks impeccable. The amount of blue and white stripes is just right, and even the ridiculous amount of sponsor logos (there are 4 in total) the shirt still looks excellent.
AC Milan Third
For this kit, Italy’s most famous football club took inspiration from the one thing that is more important than soccer in Milan, fashion. The black is met with classy gold accents for the Adidas and the modified badge. The subtle Italian flag motif across the front is an excellent way to showcase national pride and keep the shirt from being dull.
Pop Quiz: when was the last time Liverpool had a black away shirt? Common knowledge would say 2009-11 has provided two black aways and a third, however, Liverpool classifies their 2009 shirt and this season’s shirt as phantom and storm grey respectively, meaning the correct answer is 2010. This year’s phantom affair is the best away kit merseyside has seen in a while, even better than their phantom and gold kit from 2009. The Deep Grey seems to shift color in the light, with excellent silver and red accents make for a beautiful kit.
Now, as I have been saying since May, this is muddled by the Qatar Foundation sponsorship, but overall the shirt is absolutely excellent. Barcelona have not had a dark away kit since the 2002-03 season when they wore navy blue. The kit is simple, the black is classy, and the yellow really make it pop.
Ah the beauty of cross-sport references. They can be executed quite well when done right, and the examples below are just the tip of the iceberg.
Foccer Shirts – NFL Team themed Soccer Jerseys
Sponsor: Dallas based American Airlines
The pinstripes on the away look excellent, and the home I would have added two Cowboy stars a la mid-90’s Juventus
Sponsor: Philips – who sponsor the home of the Atlanta Hawks, Philips Arena. My choice would have stuck with the local company and gone with Delta Airlines, but that sash and one red sleeve look awesome.
Green Bay Packers
Sponsor: Green Bay based Miller Brewing Co
New England Patriots
Sponsor: Stadium sponsor Gillette.
I like how they used the old NE logo instead of just the Flying Elvis logo.
Sponsor: Stadium sponsor Qwest.
These are my favorites, and I especially like the clash lime green and navy blue hoops, a look similar to their stadium brethren the Seattle Sounders
Sockey Jerseys – NHL Team themed Soccer Jerseys
Sponsor: Arena sponsor Honda
I think the best part about these is the use of the wild wing logo instead of the new stylized D, and the fact that the change uniform pays homage to the teams original uniforms
Sponsor: Arena sponsor United Airlines
I think these look pretty good, especially the home due to its homage to the Blackhawks barber pole designs of the early 20th century.
Sponsor: Arena sponsor and Dallas based American Airlines
The home looks good, if not a bit plain, but the away I am not a huge fan of with the striped sleeves and plain body.
Detroit Red Wings
Sponsor: Detroit based Chrysler
I think these do look good, but resemble polo shirts more than anything, I know that the Wings have very simple uniforms, but there could be some striping or something on these, too plain for me.
All these crossover jerseys are just a taste of what a sports fan who is a graphic designer can do, if any of you have designs like this you would like shown off, please contact me and send me the images and I’ll be glad to post them.
We head to Merseyside for today’s entry in the My Favorite Kit series, its Liverpool’s stunning 2006-08 kit.
This kit is notable for a variety of reasons
- First Liverpool Adidas kit since 1995
- The first true EPL kit I ever purchased (With Gerrard on the back) (see photo below, taken in 2007, you can see the nape of the Adidas and Carlsberg)
- Worn during Liverpool’s return to the Champions League Final in a rematch with AC Milan (which they ended up losing)
- Most recent Liverpool home shirt to feature a collar
First, let’s discuss the shirt. The completed Adidas stripes are something that will always stick with me (because now they are all fragmented) The collar was an excellent touch to add that retro feel. The white piping was good, and not too invasive. Finally, the classic simplicity of one of the best shirt sponsors in the EPL, Carlsberg. This shirt is what other Liverpool shirts should base their designs off of.
This team also had a number of notable personalities
This Liverpool team was filled with a variety of colorful characters to start the season. Young captain Steven Gerrard was in the prime of his career. The team just signed Dutch workhorse and future Kop favorite Dirk Kuyt from Feyenrood. Defensive mainstays included Sami Hyypia and the midfield maestro, Xabi Alonso. Up front you had the towering Peter Crouch coming in off the bench, and one suprising new signing. One Craig Douglas Bellamy, signed from Blackburn. Bellamy had quite the rap sheet with Liverpool – adding to his mile long list of bad behavior off the pitch.
- In November, he was accused of assaulting a woman in a Cardiff Bar
- In February, he attacked fellow teammate John Arne Riise with a putter while the team was training in Portugal (earning him the nickname “The Nutter with the Putter” and costing both of them two weeks wages)
Finally, the team finished out the motley crue with the addition of Javier ‘Monster Masch’erano from West Ham in the winter transfer window. The young Argentinian quickly partnered with Xabi Alosno in the center of the midfield and the two became the pair of deep lying playmakers the team needed to push for Champions League Glory.
This kit was worn when Peter Crouch scored arugably the most exciting goal of his career
Speaking of Champions League, the team came so close to reaching the great heights of the 2005 season by reaching the final again, but were bested by AC Milan.
This shirt carried over into the 2007-08 season, The year which Fernando Torres joined the club and scored 33 goals in all competitions during his debut season
The club also signed fellow striker and WWE Superstar Triple H – WHOOPS, I meant Ukranian Andriy Voronin
The resemblance is uncanny, no?
In total, this is one of my favorite kits for a variety of reasons. It serves a sentimental purpose as being the first kit I purchased with an official name and number. The design is classic, and it was worn by a very enigmatic group of players (personality-wise it was the most exciting Liverpool squad since the Spice Boys of the mid-1990’s.) Finally, the team almost reached great heights during the 2006-07 season.
I am going to try my best to have another article up by this weekend as I head up North for the week of 4th of July and will be away from the computer. Stay tuned for more and get excited as the new start to the world soccer season (July 1) is Friday! – J
Yes, as usual, I have found possibly the most obscure way for JJB to pick the Champions League Final – through the teams kit providers and their past 5 home and away kits, together, these will combine to create ratings score based on criteria that only I am fully aware of leaving this to be arbitrary, but a good way for a Jersey Blog author to form an opinion on the final.
- This is a dream final for Nike, as Barcelona and Manchester United move more than 2 million kits combined PER YEAR for the Oregon based firm
- Barcelona has the longevity, as they have had Nike since the 1997 season
- But Manchester United has the money, as when they agreed with Nike in 2002, it was the largest kit deal in history at the time
- These are two teams that often do not fall under Nike’s template rules that are used by many clubs as these teams are so important in world soccer.
Barcelona 2006-07 Kits
First season the side had UNICEF as a shirt sponsor, in prior seasons Barcelona had no sponsor at all, but this actually recognized the clubs annual agreement to donate 1 million Euro/season to the organization in exchange for advertising the foundation on the shirts.
Home: a solid if not bland Barcelona effort, less stripes than previous kits, but the gold font for player names and numbers was an excellent touch.
Away: A very vibrant orange, this continued Barcelona’s trend started in 2005, having very colorful change kits which continued all the way through the rest of this countdown. A step up from yellow and has a very Barcelona feel to it
Total Score: 15
Manchester United 2006-07 Kits
Home: A highly underrated Manchester United shirt flanked by new sponsor AIG. The white trim looks good and the gold was a great additional touch. Rating: 8/10
Away: Too plain for some, but two thumbs up from me, the Black outlined club badge is easily the best part, and the white black and gold is an undervalued color combination. Rating: 8/10
Total Score: 16
Barcelona 2007-08 Kits
Home: Kit had an excellent crest flanked by olive branches to celebrate 50 years of playing in the Nou Camp, a more traditional feel to it than the prior years kit, as good as the gold numbering looked from the prior season, yellow was a better choice.
Away: Excellent sky blue and slime change kit, collar added a nice feel and the alternating blues used for the striping made it even cooler
Total Score: 32
Manchester United 2007-08 Kits
Home: A plain, simple Manchester United shirt, all red, plain crest, worn during two seasons of absolute glory and worn by Ronaldo during his astonishing 42 goal campaign.
Away: To put simply, probably United’s best away kit of all time, with its biggest rival from four years prior, easily the best change kit in EPL and is incredibly difficult to find today.
Total Score: 35
Barcelona 2008-09 Kits
Home: For a further, more in depth description, read here but simply, one of my favorite kits of all time.
Away: First yellow kit since 2005, the blue and red stripe over the crest and UNICEF symbol was a very unique touch to add some flavor
Total Score: 51
Manchester United 2008-09 Away Kit (Home was worn for 2 seasons, 07-09)
Home: see above
Away: Another underrated white Manchester United kit, the blue and red created a different style of kit, nice, but a bit on the simple side, still a classy shirt however
Total Score: 53
Barcelona 2009-10 Kits
Home: An excellent return to stripes for the Catalonians, flanked by a yellow collar, and a good amount of stripes, the kit is not discussed by fans much but easily a great template for subsequent Barca shirts
Away: There is something about this salmon/mango/pink/orange sherbert, whatever you want to call it kit that will always keep my attention, maybe it was because the color seemed to change depending on the light, but it will always stick out to me as a good looking shirt because you can’t pick exactly what color it is.
Total Score: 67
Manchester United 2009-10 Kits
Home: For the first time from Nike, something that can be considered shite by United standards, I do understand its an homage to the early 2oth century, but in my eyes, just a garbage kit, and chevrons are so 2006
Away: Recieved many complaints from supporters as the royal blue resembled Manchester City’s sky blue by just a little too much, but I actually liked the kit a good amount, but pales compared to its prior three bretheren
Total Score: 66
Barcelona 2010-11 Kits
Home: At first, I did not like the yellow collar and sleeve trim, but it grew on me as the season wore on, but Barcelona should NOT wear red shorts, blue is a must.
Away: Again, the mint green was something I was a bit hesitant with at first, but it actually was a great and vibrant color. My favorite feature of the kit is the diagonally divided red and blue rectangle, its Barcelona’s home colors which you typically never see on an away kit unless its the club crest, I wish more clubs would try something similar.
Total Score: 82
Manchester United 2010-11 Kits
Home: I am not a big fan of new sponsor AON, and this kit left something to be desired for me, an update from the previous season’s home, but it definitely left me wanting more, the 2011-12 home kit however, looks a lot more like a proper Manchester United home shirt.
Away: I was absolutely disgusted by this shirt at the start of the year, but it grew on me substantially once I saw it on the field. The chevrons are still in effect from the 2009-10 kit but have Nike’s ripple effect to them, and have been moved to the sleeves. This shirt is also prominent as it will be worn in the Champions League Final match on Saturday which could be Paul Scholes’ last game for United.
Total Score: 81
Manchester United 81
That’s all she wrote folks, according to this author, and the historical kits of both sides, Barcelona wins by a late comeback 82-81 and by a changing of the guard in 2009/10. JJB can officially predict a Barcelona win. Me writing here as Jay Sarkar, I personally pick the following
Barcelona 2 – 1 Manchester United
I say the Red Devils put up more of a fight than they did in Rome in 2009, but this Barcelona side is too good to overcome.
Saturday marks a sad day for me, as worldwide club football comes to an end, and I am held until mid-July when friendlies start up again, but still stay tuned for a summer on new content here at JJB.
Just like with the Super Bowl post back in February, I’m going through the past ten UEFA Champions League Finals with a uni-centric perspective and seeing how often the better dressed team wins the CL Final. Now for those who are familiar with soccer kits know that unless the two teams clash, the teams are allowed to wear there home uniforms in a game, so I will mark any specific uniform changes along the way, let’s see if this will dictate who will take the title at Wembley a week from Saturday.
2001: Bayern Munich 1-1 Valencia (5-4)
Believe it or not, this was Valencia’s second consecutive UEFA Champions League Final in as many years (They lost out the year before to Spanish rivals Real Madrid.) This was an interesting affair between two well dressed teams. For Bayern Munich, they were in the midst of their fourth decade of partnership with Adidas, as of 2011 they are entering year 51.) One note: Bayern decided to debut their 2001-02 kit for this match. You will notice this is a common theme for some of these matches involving Adidas sponsored teams. (This is the 2000-01 strip)Sponsors Opel were not over imposing and the all red ensemble with the traditional Adidas tri-stripe was classy as usual, the white collar and sleeve accents added a great touch to the kit. On the other side, Valencia was still in their Nike heyday (prior to their Kappa-induced hell) Like many Nike teams during the 2000 season, they were given a collared top, and the stripes were not imposing nor was the collar detail. Overall however, Bayern was easily the better dressed team, and managed to win in penalties 5-4. Better Dressed Teams: 1-0
2002: Real Madrid 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Real Madrid returned to the Champions League Final for the second time in three years in 2002, and were pitted against Bundesliga side Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Real Madrid were in the midst of their year long centenary celebration, donning a classic all-white kit with no sponsor, leaving ZZ Top and the rest of Los Galacticos looking extra sharp. Bayer Leverkusen on the other hand were sporting an AC Milan like kit, and were being led by a young Dracula-esque bulgarian who now plays for a certain team in England, yes, Dimitar Berbatov before his english adventure led Leverkusen to the CL final. Now one problem I have with Leverkusen from the very start is that their NAME contains a sponsor in it – Bayer – as in Bayer aspirin, this was amplified in the 1990’s when Bayer aspirin was the shirt sponsor. Regardless, after the sponsor was swtiched to RWE the kits looked a bit better, but could not stack up to Los Blancos classic look. Madrid completed a great comeback with this excellent Zidane goal, and led the side to their record 9th European Cup championship with a 2-1 win. Better Dressed Teams: 2-0
2003: AC Milan 0-0 Juventus (3-2)
For Juventus, this was a continuation of the success during the 1990’s, they rebounded from the loss of players such as Zidane and Eddie Van Der Sar and reached the pinnacle of European cup competition for the first time since 1998. For AC Milan, they were returning to the promised land for the first time in nine years. This marked the first and most recent all Italian final (Thank God, because Serie A is unbearable to watch today.) Kits wise, AC Milan came in in a standard white Adidas away (very similar to this year’s bar the sponsor) and Juventus came in in their standard black and white stripe, but were still under contract with Italian kit company Lotto. Due to Lotto’s logo creep, Juve’s jersey was far too busy, as you can see on Edgar Davids above. The Scudetto is off center, the CL patch is muddled by the red lotto logo, and TAMOIL was a horrible looking sponsor for Juve’s color scheme. AC Milan‘s simplicity takes the cake, much like AC Milan took this snoozer into penalties and won the match. Better dressed teams 3-0
2004: Porto 3-0 Monaco
This final was an absolute nightmare for the UEFA bigwigs, as they had no marketability as both Porto and Monaco were relative unknowns when it came to the world’s premier international club competition, but a young manager by the name Jose Mourinho worked his magic and parlayed the title into his gig at Chelsea. Porto has been with Nike for years and has had that marine blue and white shirt every subsequent season. AS Monaco were the original pioneers of the split kit which has been copied by other teams. Overall, I can’t go against a kit as unique as Monaco’s and since Porto destroyed them in this game, this is the first time the better dressed team lost. Better Dressed Teams: 3-1
2005: Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (3-2)
The game that was crowned the best Champions League final of all time by many, Liverpool sporting their traditional all red look (with longtime sponsors Carlsberg) and not so longtime kit provider Reebok (1996-2006) combined to make a not imposing, nor memorable Liverpool kit, but it will be known that it was worn when the side took the field against AC Milan down 3-0, and managed a miraculous 3 goal comeback in six minutes to force penalties. Much like 2 years prior, AC Milan took the field in all white kits with sponsors Opel and Adidas, the only difference being they had the scudetto (Juve did in 2003.) Liverpool’s miracle comeback and classic look were enough to propel them to their only Champions League title of the decade and a 3-2 victory in penalties.
Better Dressed Teams: 4-1
2006: Barcelona 1-0 Arsenal
Ah 2006, the year Arsenal FINALLY reached the pinnacle of the Champions League and were set to face Barca in the final in Paris. Arsenal wore what is one of my favorite yellow Arsenal kits in the match with their change grey shorts. Barcelona wore their traditional blue and red striped shirts with just a hint of yellow (bottom left corner of the shirt.) Now if this matchup had been reversed, with Arsenal wearing their first choice kits and Barcelona in their change strip then Arsenal would get the win, however, no change kit can top Barcelona’s classic, no sponsor look (this was the last game before Unicef took over) and Barcelona won the match 1-0. Better Dressed Teams: 5-1
2007: AC Milan 2-1 Liverpool
A rematch of two years prior, Liverpool returned in a much better kit from Adidas than the Reebok strip they wore in Istanbul, however, this would not help them. AC Milan took the field for their third Champions League Final in five years wearing a very similar white kit to the ones of past games, but this time with new sponsor BWIN.com. This Liverpool kit is one of my favorite Liverpool home shirts, the collar looks excellent and the white piping is not invasive. You may notice AC Milan has a similar kit template but without the collar. Unfortunately, Liverpool lost this game 2-1, taking bland AC Milan to their 2nd CL title of the decade in fairly boring fashion. Better Dressed Teams: 5-2
2008: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea (6-5)
Finally, the all-England final that many soccer fans had been craving, and it was between EPL top dogs Chelsea and Manchester United (Both teams combined have won every EPL title since the 2002-03 season.) Remember how I mentioned earlier about Adidas teams sporting new home kits in the final? That is exactly what Chelsea did in this game, they ditched the top they had been wearing for two full seasons to debut their 2008-09 kit, which did not look terrible, but introduced Adidas dreaded new incomplete stripes concept. Manchester United on the other hand were wearing probably the most recognizable home kit of the decade, as they achieved some of their greatest successes in the shirt. My favorite feature is the racing stripe that adorned the back. This is a pretty easy matchup here, Nike gave United one of their best home kits where as Chelsea was just so-so, but this match was one of the most exciting in recent memory, coming all the way down to a John Terry slip and miss to win the game for United. Better Dressed Teams 6-2
2009: Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United
Of this list, not only is this possibly the best matchup, but it shows both teams at their uniform best. Barcelona’s 2008-09 110th anniversary kit is one of my favorites of all time. The split design was a nice change of pace but was done by Nike in a very classy fashion. On the other side, Manchester United donned an alteration of their change kit, as their royal blue shorts would have directly clashed. However, this was a look the team had worn before and looked great on the pitch in Rome. United’s play however was not as good, as they lost to the better team, and to the better dressed team. I can’t take white on white over that stellar split look, and Barcelona took the match 2-0. Better Dressed Teams: 7-2
2010: Inter Milan 2-0 Bayern Munich
And finally we reach the most recent matchup, the battle of the stripes, Red vs. Blue, Germany vs. Italy, this looked like a good matchup going into the final and was close bar Diego Milito’s sublime form and two goals that won the game for Inter. Much like 9 years before, Bayern continued the Adidas tradition of introducing the next season’s shirt during the CL Final. The team’s 11oth anniversary kit looked fairly sharp but could not hold against the power of the Nerazurri’s black and blue. Inter was finally given a kit by Nike that had no riff-raff, simple black and blue stripes, no odd pattern, a very traditional shirt for the Mourinho coached side that claimed the Treble with 2-0 victory, looking great doing so.
Better Dressed Teams: 8-2
2011: Wait until next week for my full Manchester United vs. Barcelona breakdown and how I determine the winner for the May 29 matchup at Wembley.
Important Note: funny how every odd year since 2005 that we have had a rematch of teams isn’t it? Liverpool and AC Milan played in 2005 and 2007, and Manchester United and Barcelona played in 2009 and 2011, I wonder who will take over for 2013 and 2015.
As many soccer fans probably know, new kits are abound from many teams, so here is a continuation from my last update.
Barcelona Home and Away Kit
The day of reckoning has finally come for Barcelona, they finally added a kit sponsor to their shirts, and the shame is that it looks TERRIBLE, it looks like a font stolen from Windows 95 and looks very slapdash. For the Home kit, Nike’s new stripe pattern looks fairly horrendous, and almost resembles piano keys. In addition, rather than just keep Unicef without showing sponsorship, Barca went the unclassy route of putting a rear sponsor, which as much as I support UNICEF and its cause, should not be on the kit, it makes the best club in the world seem like some mid table La Liga side. Overall, I would say in protest, the home kit looks AWFUL by Barcelona standards, however the away, solely because it is black and simple, will be a big hit with supporters, if only it had the UNICEF logo. Overall Rating: 7/10
Bayer Leverkusen Away Kit
The Power of Beige is being embraced by Bayer Leverkusen for 2011, in my opinion, as much of a snooze-fest as this looks like, it feels like an improvement to me over the most recent change shirt. The interesting aspect is that the beige panelling runs like an n around the shirt. I am interested to see this on the field, but I have to say, it does bear a resemblence to Leverkusen’s rivals in Munich change shirt. Overall rating: 7.1/10
Bayern Munich Home
Speaking of Bayern Munich, this is their new home kit for 2011 (They announced they will be keeping their same away kit for the 2011/12 campaign.) I personally enjoy the addition of Gold (Bayern claims it celebrates 50 years of partnership with Adidas, which is all they have to celebrate this season.) I think it looks much simpler than the Anniversary kit of the past season and for Bayern that is a good thing. It is also aided by the simpicity of the T-Mobile sponsorship logo. An excellent kit for the German Giants. Rating: 8.5/10
Bolton Home Kit
WHAT is this? to me it resembles a geometric problem and it should belong in the 1990s. Sadly, Reebok has managed to grace us with more crap for Bolton. Rating: 2/10
Borussia Dortmund Home and Away and Third Kits
First, Dortmund wins the Bundesliga, then Kappa reveals their excellent new kit lineup. The Home (Yellow with dots) looks great, even with the sponsor breaking up the dots, and it is cool how they become more concentrated further up the shirt. The Away is my personal favorite, the yellow fading into black looks EXCELLENT, and is even cooler with the shorts, but looks great as a shirt by itself. The third kit is plaint, but looks incredibly classy. Great Work Kappa, great work. Rating 9/10
Hamburger SV Home Kit
Hamburg are lucky enough to have Fly Emirates (one of the classiest looking sponsors) to adorn their shirts, because if they didn’t, this could be mistaken for a Netherlands kit, which does not take anything away from it. However, since HSV’s official colors are blue and black, I wish they would tone down the overbearing amounts of red on the home, but one fun note – look at the sleeves, that is practically a dutch flag. Regardless, a simple and decent looking kit for HSV. Rating 7/10
Manchester United Home Kit
This has not been officially unveiled, but this is a screen rip from United’s website, so its all but confirmed to be the next home shirt for the new EPL champions. I think this is a large step up from the current season as it does away with the dodgy collar and unnecessary white trim adorning the shoulders. One rumor is that the red sleeve cuffs may fold up to reveal a design similar to the collar, much like the new France shirts allow for. If this is true, I think its a cool feature for fans, but it would look odd on the field if six men cuff the sleeves and four did not. A step in the right direction for United and another solid home shirt for the Red Devils. Rating: 9/10
Olympique Marseille Home and Away Kit
Well Adidas continues to show their creative side with Marseille’s kits this season, however this year they did not listen to Bob Marley records and eat the brownies prior to designing these kits. The home is simple and has some veyr nice light blue shading effects, the addition of a collar is an always classy touch also. The away is pulling a design cue from the 90’s, the background of the shirt are a collage of important people and places in OM’s history, Manchester United had a few similar designs in the 1990’s under Umbro. However, The light blue and gold make for a unique and cool color combo. Rating 8/10
Olympique Lyon Home Kit
Lyon enters their second year with Adidas and continue to reap the benefits of this new partnership. The most noteworthy feature of Lyon’s new home kit is the watermark Lions in the red and blue detail. Part of Lyon’s crest, this is a cool, subtle addition to a classy home kit, however, I do have one question regarding logo creep of another French symbol. Regardless, a solid kit for a consistent Ligue 1 side Rating 7.5/10
As a Celtic supporter, it pains me to do this, but I am forced to. Rangers are sporting new Umbro kits with second year sponsors Tennent’s and they actually look quite good. The white trim is used properly in the collar and shoulders and the rest is royal blue. A very simple kit, but looks very classy for one half of the old firm. Rating: 8/10
P.S: FYI, Celtic is wearing the same kits as this season for 2011/12
As the list of Top Tens on JJB keeps on growing, it means I am becoming more unique with the countdowns, in this case, we have the oddly specific case of under appreciated kits of the previous decade. To meet criteria, much research was done to make sure no one lauded these as even close to team’s best kits, and nor were they considered absolutely hideous. To quote Dr. Evil (starts at 1:11) These are the diet coke of kits, the margerine of kits, basically ones deemed just average by most but that I think deserve justice.
Arsenal 2001-02 Away
An excellent away shirt for the Gunners that strived from the norm at the time. Since Nike has had the contract, Arsenal has alternated between yellow and blue away shirts typically, but after two years of the same yellow away, Arsenal went bold with gold. In my opinion, the shirt looked great, especially paired with navy blue shorts, and is remembered by the Gunners faithful as the shirt in which we last won an FA Cup/Premiership double. It also was worn in the away journey to Aston Villa in which Robert Pires scored arguably his greatest Arsenal goal (against the legendary Peter Schmiechel nonetheless.) I remember this shirt not only for its excellent color scheme but for the great success the team achieved in it.
Barcelona 07-08 Away
2007-08 was the formation of Barcelona’s current greatest team of all time. The team had officially moved on from the Ronaldinho stage to the Leo Messi stage, and were celebrating 50 years of occupying the largest stadium in Europe, Camp Nou. This kit was a breath of fresh air for a team who normally has some variation of yellow for their away (whether it be yellow, orange, gold, etc) so the blue was a great change. The sky blue was fitting of Barcelona’s free flowing style and was worn by the team in their most recent trohpyless season (which now seems like blasphemy.) It also marked Thierry Henry’s first season with the club and Ronaldinho’s last, overall, I think the blue and the “slime” combined to make an excellent kit.
Bolton 2007-08 Away
A surprisingly good kit from Reebok lifetimers Bolton. Barely anything changed from the year before except color and that was all that needed to change. The black was smart and simple, and even though Reebok had TWO logos within six inches of each other, it looked surprisingly okay, so I definitely give the design team at Reebok credit for finally giving Bolton a decent change kit that was definitely top ten in their change kits.
Borussia Dortmund 2008-09 Away
Plain and simple, I do not know a whole lot about BVB 09, but I do know how brilliant this sashed kit looks. The thing I applaud the most about it is that the sponsor EVONIK decided to be diagonal in line with the sash rather than break it up awkwardly and sit horizontal, because of that, this is one of the best sponsored sash kits I have ever seen, and Dortmund’s Black and Yellow color scheme only makes it better, so bravo to Nike for designing this excellent kit.
Everton 2009-10 Away
I know Everton recieved a lot of flack for this season’s hot pink change kit but if you go back just one season, LCS created a near perfect kit involving pink for Everton. Two major features are the LCS logo and the entire Everton crest were done up in pink, which is a nice touch to keep everything matching. The horizontal pink pinstripes also looked great on the shirt. Really my only complain is that the Chang logo stayed in white and was not also pink, but together, this made for an excellent change kit that was modern, but also a nod to Everton’s past.
Fulham 2008-09 Away
Fulham was another one of those smaller market teams that scored a Nike contract (Mainz, Notts County, Crystal Palace are among others) and the same year that Nike released Barcelona’s instantly recognizable split kit they gave Fulham the same treatment, with the key difference being the alternating colored sleeves. I really enjoy when teams try out mutliple color away kits like this, its something different and its usually warmly recieved. They did see great success however finishing 7th in the league and qualifiying for the following season’s Europa League.
Liverpool 2006-07 Third
The first third kit released under Adidas new contract with Liverpool in 2006, it took the design from Germany’s never seen away shirt for the 2006 world cup and smartly incorporated Liverpool’s secret third color of green (its been sparingly used in kits over the past three decades.) I also liked how it was not a traditional split kit (see Fulham above.) Liverpool fans will remember this kit was worn multiple times during the Champions League run to the final in 2007 where the team lost to AC Milan.
Manchester City 2008-09 Away
A surprisingly smart kit from French kit makers Le Coq Sportif, this was a nod to City’s past. The kit highly resembles an AC Milan kit but the white detailing does a nice job making it belong to City. Much like the Liverpool kit above, I also like how the black caves in on the stripes creating the crash effect. This shirt will best be rememberd as the first year under the neverending bank that is Sheikh Mansour and his investment group, as the team acquired Robinho from Real Madrid and nearly signed Ronaldinho from Barcelona, the team would not achieve great heights for a couple more seasons, but this shirt was the beginning of a new era for the Citizens and the blue side of Manchester.
Manchester United 06-07 Away
United, much like Arsenal, have a trend of away kits, usually alternating between white and black and occasionally blue. This United Kit especially stuck out, as the Red Devils first white change kit in four seasons and the first change shirt to have AIG as the sponsors for United. Now I think this looks excellent because of its combination of white black and old gold is smartly done. Now I do think they could ahve done something more than just thrown on the black panels, but it was used smartly to envelope the crest in black (something taken out of Liverpool‘s book. Compared to the chevron’s of the past few away kits, I have to say this has been one of the smartest done United kits outside of the brilliant 2007-08 race inspired kit.
West Ham 2005-06 Away
Now many of you might be thinking WHAT? how did something so seemingly mundane appear on this countdown? Well its quite simple, on a trip to England in 2006, I caught a replay of that season’s FA Cup on BBC amidst all the 2006 World Cup Coverage. Liverpool played West Ham in one of the greatest matches I had ever seen (even to this day.) And one thing that struck me was the crispness of West Ham’s away kit. All white, gold EPL felt, it all came together to make one hell of a shirt, worn by such “notables” as Yossi Benayoun, Matthew “Betting Man” Etherington, Robert Green and Dean Ashton. This shirt rounds out the countdown because I know that no one besides West Ham fans, or those who watched that magical game in Millennium stadium could tell me about the good looking kit.
I’ll be breaking down the CL final in due time and have some more feature articles in the near future, til then – J