Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Shirt Legend: Liverpool (home)

It's been a long time, folks. Almost a year has passed since our last Shirt Legend poll which aimed to find out what you thought was the best ever Scotland home shirt since 1964.

At the time of writing, 369 of you have registered your vote and the most favoured Scotland shirt so far is the one worn during the 1978 World Cup. We'd like to thank all of you for voting, especially to those of you on the Scotland bulletin boards, forums and fan sites for showing such an interest.

Now, finally, we bring you a new Shirt Legend poll which, as ever, asks you to choose your favourite shirt for a particular team - regardless of whether you support them or not. This is a poll for fans of football shirts and football kits everywhere, and this time we have something a little different for you.

Whereas before we've focused on England and Scotland, this time we're looking at our first club and it's Liverpool FC. So without further ado, let's survey the sixteen shirts in question before we ask you to pick your favourite.

[IMAGE REMOVED PENDING REPLACEMENT]

We begin by travelling back in time to 1969 when Liverpool wore Shirt A - a simple but very effective design replete with round white collar and cuffs, plus a white Liver bird badge. Very much in the style of the day, it was modified in 1976 to make it look more '70's' than '60's' (Shirt B).

Made by Umbro, the white collar became v-shaped and the badge turned yellow, yet the change came at a time when Adidas were transforming the look of football shirts everywhere with the use of silky material and features such as pinstripes. Within a few seasons, it would start to look out of date and the next change wasn't due until 1982...

When it did arrive, Liverpool FC finally had a kit that looked truly modern and was a firm favourite with many fans around the world. Again made by Umbro, Shirt C featured some new white pinstripes plus a new sponsor - Crown Paints, who replaced Hitachi.

By the mid-80's, pinstripes were becoming old hat and a new design was required, but rather than stick with Umbro, Liverpool turned to Adidas in a partnership that was to last eleven years. Their first offering, Shirt D, featured a vertical shadow pattern and the legendary three stripes of the manufacturer in white along the shoulders. Two years later, those three white stripes would extend all the way along the sleeves on Shirt E, plus there was a new stylised round neck collar, a new version of the club badge and a new sponsor - home appliance manufacturer, Candy.

Two years later in 1989, Adidas tweaked the design slightly by bringing in a curious shadow pattern based on a series of white pointed flecks for Shirt F. This was the shirt Liverpool would wear the last time they won the League Championship in 1990 and couldn't have been more different from the one that replaced it in 1991.

n the early-90's, Adidas changed their company logo and decided the best way to show it off was to plaster it over any new football kits they'd produced. Liverpool were among the first on the list and their new shirt (Shirt G) was nothing if not bold. With three huge white stripes draped over one shoulder and very little else of note, this was always going to be one of those 'love-it-or-hate-it' designs. Yet if fans weren't keen on the all-too-striking use of the Adidas logo, they probably wouldn't have been fond of the 1993 version either.

Shirt H had two sets of stripes attacking the chest from either side plus a splash of white and green around the collar and cuffs. Add to that a further reworking of the club badge (plus a change of sponsor to Carlsberg) and followers of The Reds had much to talk about, shirt-wise. In 1995, Adidas toned down the use of their three-stripe logo by reverting to a plain red shirt with a very wide white and green v-neck collar (Shirt I). It was to be their last for Liverpool for ten years and the shirt itself would last for just one season before Reebok took over the reins.

Reebok began their decade as Liverpool FC's kit designers with a shirt that seemed strangely devoid of the originality Adidas had employed over the previous eleven years (Shirt J). With a new 'flappy'-style white collar and white cuffs, it looked a little amateurish to be frank, yet over the next two seasons it came to be accepted on its own merits as Liverpool continued their fight to return to the top of English football.

Shirt K was something of an improvement in that it perfectly echoed the classic Liverpool shirt we featured right back at the beginning (Shirt A). The important thing with retro designs is that they should not only bear a decent resemblance to the original but also look modern too. This one ticked all the boxes where that argument was concerned and was a very respectful acknowledgment of a once great era in the Anfield club's history.

In the year 2000 it was a case of 'back to the future' as Reebok brought out a kit which definitely had both feet in the modern era (Shirt L). Back came the flappy collar but this time there was just a minimal use of white piping along the sleeves so as not to distract too much from the understated simplicity of the basic shirt.

Two seasons later, Reebok's new shirt (Shirt M) brought back the round collar last seen in 1991 (Shirt F) but removed all other traces of white (apart from the sponsor's name and other bits of shirt furniture). What remained was fundamentally a plain red shirt, yet on closer inspection the main piece of styling appeared to be a line of near-invisible red stitching running in a curve across the chest. Different, if nothing else...

Shirt N was to be Reebok's last, and to bow out they produced another minimalist design. Like the previous one, there was barely any white to be seen except for a strange shape on either side of the chest that could only be seen if a player lifted his arms up in the air. That aside, it was smart, stylish and certainly subscribed to the 'less is more' approach.

Adidas took over from Reebok as Liverpool's kit supplier two years ago, ironically just a matter of months after it had taken over Reebok itself. Their first new shirt for The Reds since 1996 (Shirt O) inevitably saw the return of the three white stripes down the sleeves, plus some curvy white piping that ran from the flappy collar all the way down either side of the body.

Finally this year, Shirt P arrived with a much less fussy look that featured shortened Adidas stripes and a nifty stylised v-neck collar. Arguably their best for some time, Liverpool's current shirt strikes the perfect balance of style, simplicity and modernity.

But enough of our waffle. It's time for you to place your vote on which Liverpool home shirt from the last forty years is the best. Simply click on your preferred choice below and hit 'Vote' - it's as simple as that. Like all our other Shirt Legends (see menu right), we'll keep the poll running open-endedly so that we can catch as many of your votes as possible.

Which is the best Liverpool home shirt since 1969?
Shirt A
Shirt B
Shirt C
Shirt D
Shirt E
Shirt F
Shirt G
Shirt H
Shirt I
Shirt J
Shirt K
Shirt L
Shirt M
Shirt N
Shirt O
Shirt P
Free polls from Pollhost.com

We'd also like to hear your comments on why you particularly like or dislike any of the shirts shown, so don't forget to tell us your thoughts.

And one last thing - we know many of you out there like to play "Who's that in each of the pictures?" whenever we do our Shirt Legend polls. If that applies to you and you'd like a list of all the players featured by way of an answer sheet, drop us a line to info [at] spaotp [dot] com and we'll tell you all you need to know.

For now, our thanks go to friend of SPAOTP Kris Jones for helping to research the images you've seen above and also to you for taking part in our Shirt Legend vote!

13 comments:

Anthony said...

A toughy this one. I've gone for D the one we wore when we one the double in 86. It's the one that has the most memories for me as a kid. I watched that FA Cup final for months and months on VHS.

F(?) - the shattered glass one - is a really funny one. I hated it at the time, but now I'd really like to have one to wear.

I don't think we've had a really iconic kit for a while now. Reebok were rubbish. I was hoping Adidas would bring back some flair - but all we're realling getting is template kits. Though I do like our current grey away kit.

Chris O said...

Thanks very much for being the first to step up to the plate, Anthony!

Shirt D, eh? A wise choice - one of the better ones, I'm inclined to agree. As for F, I really can't get on with it at all, and I have a 'glass half full' approach to most things!! Sorry and all that... :)

I agree with your closing paragraph too. I think Reebok were fairly hopeless in many ways and Adidas should be producing custom-made designs for Liverpool rather than relying on templates.

Not sure about the current silver-grey away kit though... :)

Obsidianrock said...

I had to choose "O" although I'm inclined to pick one that a little older because it seems like I'm just going for one the most recent ones. So if I had to go back in time a little more I would probably pick "H".

I will not venture to make a guess as to who is in the picture because I'll probably make a fool of myself.

Chris O said...

lol... No problem, obsidianrock! Each to their own!

There's nothing wrong with going for a recent shirt, if that's what you prefer. We won't criticise anyone here...!

Already we can see a broad range of choices being made. I think this vote will be less clear cut than the previous ones...

Colin Smith said...

As Anthony said, this is a toughy. I wavered between E and F because E was the jersey Liverpool wore on my first and only visit to Anfield as a youngster when I got a tour of the trophy room and stood next to Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish and had my photo taken with Bruce Grobbellar. I saw four European Cups being carried up the stairs that day.

But I went with F because Adidas recently re-released that jersey and I wear it from time to time now. I've even had a few compliments on it.

As an aside, I really like this year's away jersey with the grey checks.
http://tinyurl.com/58jpk6

Chris O said...

Great memories, Colin. Happy days at Anfield, eh? :)

If I had the choice between E and F, I think I'd go for E as, sadly, I'm not so overly fond of the white flecks on F, but I can see how it has now become a cult classic.

Still struggling with the new silver/grey away shirt though... :-)

Anonymous said...

Reebok was not a great lot. Adidas all the way. Latest designs rock but for nostalgia and retro feel It would be between the E-F (My very first shirt given to me by my uncle back way then) Candy Candy we want Candy! Plus they rocked in silver grey which brings me to the latest away shirt - Now that's a shirt! Good thing we aren't rating the away kits cos yellow and Beige and the odd green ones are shockers! Up there with flourescent Chelski yellogreenatio

hansenisgod said...

I've gone for B as that was the one being worn the first time I stood on the Kop. I still have mine with the number 6 sewn on the back. I do like the current shirt (P) aswell though.

Chris O said...

I agree with your Reebok comments, Anonymous. And if I had to choose between E and F, I'd have to pick E... couldn't really get along with the white flecks on F!

Hansenisgod - B was certainly a classic and was the first one they wore during my lifetime. And I agree - the current one is their best for a long time, in my opinion.

Benny (Singapore) said...

I have always like design C...that was the period I was really enchanted with their play.

BTW, any idea whether design C is still on sale? Let me know if there is. Thanks.

Chris O said...

Hi Benny,

The best I can find at short notice a replica shirt that's available via Toffs. Click here for more details.

Benny (Singapore) said...

Thanks Chris! Too bad the "Umbro" logo is missing...making it a little "imperfect"...thanks again.

AlwaysTryin'ToTakeMeCrystalFootball! said...

I'm for shirt N. The version with the Instanbul Final logo is a reminder of a victory that will live for all time! YNWA

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