Adidas reach the traditional retirement age today. In honour of their 65th birthday, we could have recalled their finest bits of cloth over the years. But seeing as I don't want to spend a post writing about how beautiful various bits of garments are, I have gone a different way and remembered five of their worst efforts in their 65 year history.
In the interests of full disclosure, the author of this piece was never a fashion journalist, has never claimed to be a one, and this article may well be the final nail in the coffin for any aspirations he may have ever had of being one.
He has had to lean heavily on Balls.ie's fashion department, who is busy doing posts on cyclists shouldering each other.
USA's Away Jersey from 1994
The early 90s was the golden age for shite jerseys. And one of the most oft castigated is this offering from Adidas. It has been suggested that this was the Germans' rather scurrilous attempt to sabotage association football in America.
The one American player from that era that everyone can remember, Alexei Lalas, initially thought that the jersey were a joke. Alas, there was to be no happy ending as there was for the Ajax players last season. These jerseys were the real deal. America wore them when they defeated Colombia in the tragic encounter in the second group game.
Some American soccer fans remain traumatised by the jerseys, however. The scars have never fully healed.
Liverpool Goalkeeper Jersey, 1995-96
A deeply offensive jersey, this cartoonish jungle yoke looked like the sort of thing a tasteless hippie would prance around in. It was, however, an oddly appropriate get up for David James (then deep in his 'making mistakes every second game' phase) to walk around in.
Chelsea Away Jersey, 2007-08
Someone in Adidas' big jersey plant in Europe obviously dropped a highlighter on Chelsea's away jerseys for the coming season. He evidently concluded that the only thing that could be done to cover up this mistake was to highlight the entire jersey.
The early 90s have already received a casual, absent minded kick earlier on this post. Conventional wisdom holds that jersey makers went through a strange phase in that era. They felt they hadn't done their jobs properly if they didn't add weird little squiggles and eccentricities into their designs. The Schalke jersey from the 1992-93 season is one of the finer examples of this phenomenon.
If someone was tasked with the challenge of producing a jersey that gave off a 'bruised banana' effect, then he or she delivered on this to a tee. It quickly became known as such.
This jersey's predecessor as Arsenal's principal away jersey was on show of one of the most memorable nights in the club's history on 26 May 1989. This one was there the night Arsenal lost to Wrexham in the 1992 FA Cup. It feels fitting somehow.