On This Day 1978: The Risk Business looked at how replica football strips were becoming more popular.

"Parents with children who support Liverpool are relatively lucky."

"No self-respecting fan would be seen dead in last year's kit."

This “Foot Center” football apparel advert from a 1994 edition of France Football is quite the curio.

Featuring the style of adidas France kit that Zinedine Zidane made his international debut in - and what a debut - along with the Bordeaux design he was togging out in at the time, the great and the good of French, European and international football are well represented.

Recently shared by football memorabilia collector John Daniels, these antique “Athletic Manufacturer” catalogue pages give an insight into the football outfitting scene of 1904.

The Frank Sugg brochure features striking shirts in wonderful fabrics such as merino and flannelette, with countless combination options on designs, cuts and necks - button and lace-up, of course, and “Shakespeare” collars. If anything, it could be said that - sublimation of graphics aside - a truly bespoke kit was easier to come by 117 years ago than it is today!

One mode of escapism from all 2020 has brought - and much 2021 will bring - is to immerse ourselves in another football kit era. The beginning of Admiral’s heyday is as good as any.

These 1974-75 season catalogue images provided by The Glove Bag on Twitter contain some wonderful treats. A cheerful Peter Shilton goalkeeping range on the eve of a status quo-maintaining European Common Market membership referendum might raise a wry smile, and there are plenty of iconic kit designs replicated the Bert Patrick (RIP) way, but it is the tracksuits which really draw the eye.

The history of German brand Erima is complex and intertwined with that of adidas. At the very least, Erima should be as respected for its football kit manufacturing pedigree as the Brand with the Three Stripes is, certainly over the 1970s.

These catalogue pages show that Erima is so much more than the reputational cheap alternative to Trefoil-carrying equivalents.

adidas catalogue pages from the late 1970s and early 1980s really are something special. There’ll be filler, of course, but enough gems to carry the rest.

Highlights here include fetching teamwear shirts with side panels that continue up into what look like the straps of a rucksack - rucksack not included - and and array of footwear that’s black with green adidas stripes.

A lot is made of Tottenham Hotspur being the first team to wear jarringly long shorts in the 1990s, but as these 1991-92 season “Replica World” catalogue pages demonstrate, this was purely by virtue of Spurs wearing a kit from Umbro’s new range early, in the 1990-91 season’s FA Cup Final.

Manchester City, Chelsea, Luton and Sheffield United shorts pictured here - amongst others - were similarly lengthy, as were Spurs’ own yellow Away examples, albeit worn a little tightly in these images.

When we think of Puma in a football design sense, we may generally think of boots. This catalogue from 1977 suggests that was even more the case four decades ago.

The puma flash motif appears on all these examples, with Berti Vogts-endorsed versions having this feature in amber and light blue. All the boots are black in the main - it was 1977, after all - but the white appears heavily on the Weisweiler Champion model, and the (Jupp) Heynckes Meister has a little green embellishment too.

It’s quite a phenomenon that, somehow, a football kit fan’s interest is similarly piqued by something new and something familiarly vintage.

These 1994 “Soccer Master” catalogue pages, which were brought to our attention by Jimmy from The Glove Bag, are fittingly goalkeeper apparel-heavy. With adidas and Umbro shirts which equally scream “mid-nineties” and “don’t hesitate to wear me on Hackney Marshes the moment the pandemic’s done”, and trefoiled and double diamonded work of art gloves, our current era somehow holds a mirror up to the USA-hosted World Cup’s epoque.

We’ve covered the mainstream hits of this 1992 Bourne Sports catalogue, but here’s something for the even more discerning follower of late 20th century football design. The non-single release album tracks, if you will. And there are some gems.

What could be more niche than a 1992 Hummel collection? Featuring the Denmark shirt worn as the side conquered Europe after a late call-up, striking FC Lugano Home and Away shirts, and even an English Football League shirt worn in a humbling defeat to the Italian Serie A. And yes, Sunderland, Real Madrid and Benfica too.

Classic Football Shirts