There was, believe it or not, a time in England when playing football was seen not as a pro – but a con. It was viewed by many as the game of the working-class, a vulgar, masculine mud bath- far from the stylistic virtues we now associate with the beautiful game. After all, it was the late 80’s- a decade of football marred by three tragedies. The Bradford City stadium fire on 11 May 1985, 18 days later the Heysel wall collapse and the Hillsborough disaster, 15 April 1989. English football had hit rock bottom.
Liverpool, though, were thriving- despite their involvement in two of those aforementioned disasters. Under the guidance of Paisley and Dalglish, the scousers lifted 10 league titles, 2 FA cups, 4 league cups and 4 European cups in 14 years (1976-1990)- cementing their place as the most formidable team in the land. This iconic shirt was worn in the victorious 89/90 First Division season. It would be their last league title. Dalglish at the helm, Liverpool won the league by 9 points with club legends such as Ian Rush, John Barnes and Peter Beardsley sporting the jagged, blood-red design. Football shirt culture hadn’t really begun then- it all started during the marketing revolution of the Premier League. Most sides just stuck with their simple colours, a badge, sponsor and maybe a couple of stripes. This Liverpool shirt was one of the first patterned shirts, and was considered one of the trendiest, most stylistic shirts at the time.
The retro Adidas logo holds a special place in the heart of kit collectors like myself. It’s made a comeback in sportswear as a whole over the past 5 or 10 years, so football tops where the logo was new during the shirt’s use bring this unadulterated, old-school aura. While the previous shirt we looked at (Buriram United 18) was perhaps over-sponsored, the Candy advertisement here is neat, smooth, and the font fits in with the playful nature of the shirt. A legendary tee, it must be said, and an emblem of scouse dominance- something which Liverpool will need to rekindle in Madrid on Saturday.
Comfort : 4.5
Aesthetics : 9.5
Retro factor: 9.5
Overall rating: 9.5