Tag Archives: Manchester United

Manchester United news and commentary from 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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Six of the Best: Bald Goalkeepers

WILLY CABALLERO has started the season as Pep Guardiola’s first choice goalkeeper, replacing Head and Shoulders’ poster boy Joe Hart as Manchester City’s number 1.

Manchester City's Willy Caballero
Willy Caballero celebrates City’s League Cup victory

After Zinedine Zidane, the original Ronaldo, Bobby Charlton and Ray Wilkins, we’ve become used to brilliantly bald outfield players, yet up until recently, the sight of follicly-challenged goalkeepers has been a relative rarity.

Following many years in the sporting wilderness, slap-headed stoppers are becoming increasingly common in the game, yet Caballero 34, is still one of a comparatively select band of bald goalkeepers.

Continue reading Six of the Best: Bald Goalkeepers

Foxes’ title tilt “result of hunt ban”

Leicester City’s unexpected Premier League title bid is a “natural consequence” of the ban on fox hunting according to a leading pro-hunt figure.

Claudio Ranieri’s men have upset the odds this season, coming from 5000-1 outsiders to Premier League favourites, in a title campaign which has forced pundits and fans alike to challenge everything they thought they knew about football.

But Mike Hunt, 69, of the Highbury & Islington Hunt, has a theory to explain the Foxes’ audacious title bid:

“Leicester City’s title bid is a natural consequence of the ban on fox hunting.”

“Since the Hunting Ban came into force in 2005, we have seen a proliferation of foxes in our towns and cities. They have become less fearful of humans and more confident in their environment.”

“Last season we began to see a more confident Leicester City, though at the time, their focus was on survival. Yes they hunted well but mainly in Leicestershire,” Hunt continued.

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“This season, the Foxes have become more confident in urban environments making successful raids into Manchester and London. It is the sheer audacity of these Foxes which has surprised most people.”

“It’s as if they do not know their place in the food chain.”

In a season of unprecedented unpredictability, the Foxes have so far out-foxed Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and with just 8 games to go, they are 5 points clear of the chasing pack.

The emergence of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kanté have been obvious factors in the Foxes’ rise to the top, but much credit must be given to Ranieri and predecessor Nigel Pearson for moulding a squad of players hungrier than their more fancied opponents.

In contrast to his “tinker-man” reputation, Ranieri has kept a settled team throughout the season allowing players to form instinctive partnerships and foster a team spirit which has translated itself to the stands where the King Power Stadium has become a fortress for the Foxes.

Leicester have played to their strengths, utilising the pace and power of Vardy and Mahrez in a counter attacking 4-4-2 formation, these days a rarity in Premier League football.

Whether Leicester City can win the title remains to be seen but this season will be remembered as the year the hunters became the hunted.

Embed from Getty Images

You are the boss: Who do you choose? Rooney, Charlton or Lineker?

You are the England manager and with 10 minutes remaining of a vital European Championships clash, your team is heading for another unceremonious first round exit.

Who will you choose to rescue the Three Lions?

Rooney, Charlton or Lineker? Continue reading You are the boss: Who do you choose? Rooney, Charlton or Lineker?

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?

Clubs play fair on Living Wage

In 1890, Luton Town Football Club became the first team in the south of England to pay its players, heralding the dawn of professionalism and the end of the age of the Victorian footballing gentleman amateurs.

124 years later, following last season’s promotion from the Conference; the Hatters have become the first Football League club to agree to pay its entire workforce the Living Wage.

Continue reading Clubs play fair on Living Wage

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

Time for fans to make a stand

From Wembley, to Old Trafford, to the Emirates, every weekend, tens of thousands of fans choose to stand in front of their seats in English football’s all-seater stadiums; prompting calls for the introduction of “safe-standing” sections in Premier League and Championship stadia.

In August, the Liberal Democrats made a pledge that they would allow clubs to introduce standing sections to English stadia in their 2015 General Election manifesto. Rather than a return to the vast expanses of terracing seen in the 1980s, the party proposes the adoption of the “rail seating” system already in operation in top European leagues such as Germany’s Bundesliga.

Continue reading Time for fans to make a stand

Ready to Launch: Indian football set for lift-off

The much-anticipated Hero Indian Super League kicks-off tomorrow (Sunday) with the 8 team, 10 week tournament seeing Atlético de Kolkata host Mumbai City FC at the beginning of an exciting new chapter for sport on the sub-continent.

Peter Reid, Freddie Ljungberg, Nicolas Anelka, ATK, Atletico de Kolkata, Mumbai City FC
Atletico de Kolkata take on Mumbai City FC in the first match of the Hero Indian Super League. credit@wikipedia

Atlético de Kolkata, co-owned by La Liga champions Atlético Madrid and cricketing super-star Sourav Ganguly, must seek to unite a city usually divided by the East Bengal v Mohun Bagan “Kolkata derby.” Continue reading Ready to Launch: Indian football set for lift-off

Billionaire benefactor backs local boys’ goals

Non-league Salford City, backed by billionaire businessman Peter Lim, Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers, are planning to achieve Championship football within 15 years.

La Liga giants Valencia and Evo-Stick Division One North side Salford City may seem unlikely bedfellows and whilst immediate ambitions may differ, the two clubs now share a common director and benefactor.

Continue reading Billionaire benefactor backs local boys’ goals