Tag Archives: Barcelona

“Més que un club,” Barcelona have a romantic status among fans and are a symbol of Catalan national identity. Find articles on Barcelona by Kieran Robinson.

Sartorial Soccer: The Art of the Football Shirt

ARTISTRY, FLAMBOYANCE & FLAIR were on display on London’s Brick Lane as the Old Truman Brewery played host to a celebration of football shirt culture.

The Art of the Football Shirt, a pop-up exhibition from Jacket Required, delivered a gloriously nostalgic trip through football’s flirtation with graphic design and fashion, whilst looking at the game in it’s social context and place in popular culture.

Juventus, Napoli, Sampdoria, Style, football, culture, art, design
Classic Italian styling

From the elegant cut and slim stripes of classic 80s and 90s Italian styling to garish efforts from Japan and Mexico, curator Neal Heard explored football’s relationship with music, politics, fashion and design.

Football, politics, East Germany, CCCP, St Pauli, Fiorentina, Che Guevara, Stockport County

In an age of Nike led functional uniformity, where Chelsea’s away strip is just a shade away from Tottenham’s home kit, the collection reminds us of times where football shirts were bespoke creations embracing graphic design and inspiring streetwise fashion labels.

For those attending the two-day exhibit, the items on display transcended sportswear and were more akin to religious artefacts. On entry, visitors were treated to a view of eleven of the game’s most iconic designs.

Football, art, design, culture, kit, England 1966, West Germany 1990, Brazil, Milan, Celtic, Argentina, classic
The Art of the Football Shirt’s most iconic designs

There was the instantly recognisable rose-red 1966 England World Cup winners shirt. Unsullied by corporate sponsorship, the triumphant top is burned into our collective consciousness even if Bobby and the boys lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy many years before our births.

We wistfully admired the classic West Germany shirt from Italia 1990. A classic from Adidas’ heyday and a shirt so good that even sworn rivals acknowledge it was a bit special.

The brilliant orange of the Dutch 1988 European Championships winners, Denmark’s Mexico ’86 Hummel humdinger, the light blue and white of Argentina and the Brazil 1970 shirt that brought Pele and  joga bonito to the world’s attention in vivid technicolor. All iconic international strips, all rightfully held in the highest of esteem.

Football, the international language of playgrounds, public houses and boardrooms has the incredible ability to prompt middle aged men to openly talk about fashion.

Classic football shirts, design, Peru, Luton Town, Everton, Bedford Trucks, Aston Villa, Scotland

“Oooh. Sampdoria,” they drooled.

“Ah. Nagoya Grampus Eight,” they knowingly nodded.

“Is that bloody Oxford United?” they choked.

Art, design, football, Tottenham, Oxford United, Ipswich, Saudi Arabia, Everton, Newcastle United, Sampdoria

The most iconic football shirts are instantly recognisable and familiar the world over. To the initiated, an Ajax or Boca Juniors home shirt is easily identifiable a mile away and although often imitated, the all-white of Real Madrid or the Blaugrana of Barça stand for more than just sport.

For the nostalgic amongst us, the functional template designs of today’s sportswear brands wildly miss the point. Who draws pride in a shirt that’s sole purpose is to draw sweat away from the body? The uniform blandness of modern designs leads us to the unwritten rule that no man past voting age should ever wear a football shirt in public other than to watch his team at a major final. Give me Umbro’s Euro 96 grey of Gareth Southgate over Nike’s navy blue of today’s England away strip any day.

The Art of the Football Shirt was an opportunity to celebrate rivalries and tribal colours where the majestic Manchester United “snowflake” sat shoulder-to-shoulder with the silver sartorial elegance of Liverpool’s “Candy” away shirt.

Manchester United, Liverpool, adidas, classics, away kit, snowflake, Candy, silver, blue
Tribal colours: Classic graphical football shirts from Adidas’ late 1980s/early 1990s heyday

As much as there were glaring omissions (who could ignore the 20th century’s greatest moment of design flair? No not the Coca-Cola bottle. The QPR home shirt?) this was a chance to marvel at our game at its most beautiful.

The Art of the Football Shirt ran for two days between 26/27 July 2017. Neal Heard’s book, The Football Shirt Book: A Connoisseur’s Guide will be released in September.

Bob Marley, Nantes, football, design, art
The Nantes home shirt was apparently a favourite of Bob Marley’s

Flamengo, Lubrax, Dennis the Menace, QPR, BrazilThe fantastic Flamengo “Dennis the Menace” shirt

Tampa Bay Rowdies, Belgium, Rodney Marsh, soccer shirt, Admiral, Adidas, classics, design, art

New Order, Oasis, England, Bob Marley, Manchester City, football kit, design, music, world in motion
From Bob Marley to the Goldie Lookin’ Chain, the links between football and music are strong
Aberdeen, adidas, 1984, double, shirt, design, culture, classic
Commemorative shirt celebrating Aberdeen’s 1984 double-winning season

Grampus 8, Inter Milan, USA, classic football shirts

Politically inspired football shirts, Tibet, St Pauli, Fiorentina, art, design

Graphic design, football, arsenal, away kit, yellow, Liverpool, Manchester United

Classic football shirt design, art, fashion

The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London, art, design, culture, fashion, football
The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London
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El Arquitecto: Barcelona’s first great Luis Suárez

Two players, two different footballing ages, one famous name.

  • Luis Suárez Miramontes starred for Barcelona and Inter Milan in the 1950s and 60s
  • “The Golden Galician” won consecutive European Cups in 1964 and 1965 with Il Grande Inter 
  • Remains the only Spaniard to receive the Ballon D’Or
  • Won the 1964 European Championship with Spain
  • Led national side to World Cup Finals as coach in 1990

Ordinarily two players with careers taking place 50 years apart, would not be compared but for the coincidence of sharing a name now famous to football fans across several generations. Continue reading El Arquitecto: Barcelona’s first great Luis Suárez

The story of Total Football’s forgotten father

Twenty years on from his death, Vic Buckingham’s influence upon the way we see, play and think about football resonates to this day.

Largely overlooked in his homeland, yet widely respected on the continent, Buckingham is credited with shaping the thinking of some of the game’s greatest minds and laying the foundations of the “Total Football” movement.

Continue reading The story of Total Football’s forgotten father

Martin Ødegaard: The new Messi-ah? Or a very naughty boy?

It’s the stuff of boyhood dreams.

Whilst mere mortals pretend to be their idols on PlayStation or Xbox, Norwegian wonder-kid Martin Ødegaard has joined them for real.

At sixteen years of age and already a full international, the teenage prodigy had his choice of Europe’s top clubs before agreeing a £40,000 per week deal to join Ronaldo, Rodriguez, Ramos, Bale and Benzema at European champions Real Madrid.

Continue reading Martin Ødegaard: The new Messi-ah? Or a very naughty boy?

Top 20 footballers on Twitter

Forget the WAG, Bentley or Ballon D’or, the must have accessory for today’s footballer is a Twitter account with more followers than the Pope or the Dalai Llama.

Continue reading Top 20 footballers on Twitter

The False 9: Explained

The term “false 9” refers to a player playing in a lone-striker position who drops deep to search for the ball. The intention is to draw opposing central defenders with him and create a diversion for team-mates to move into space behind the defensive line and exploit chances to score. Continue reading The False 9: Explained

Tiki-Taka: Explained

Tiki-Taka is a set of tactics and style of play which aims to make the best use of space on a football pitch though precise, patient passing and the fluid movement of players between positions.

The aim is to monopolise position and possession of the ball, thus limiting chances for the opposition and creating regular chances for players to score.

When played well, it can lead to some of the most beautifully exhilarating scenes in sport, yet when plans go awry; it can also bring some of the most frustrating.
Continue reading Tiki-Taka: Explained