1986 was a fantastic season for the reds as the club won the League title, FA Cup
and Charity Shield. 1986/87 however was a major disappointment. Liverpool failed to
retain either the League title or FA Cup, and whilst wearing the white away strip, lost to
Arsenal in the League Cup Final.
Throughout the 60s and 70s, Liverpool utilised a white away strip to avoid colour
clashes, but this was replaced by yellow/gold from 1981 onwards. The arrival of Adidas
in 1985 however saw the return of the bright white alternative strip. Unlike the
understated self-promotion of Umbro, Adidas were determined to impose their image
on the club, and the company’s ‘three stripe’ design was plastered all over the
shoulders, sleeves and shorts.
This shirt was worn by Ronnie Whelan in 1986. Whelan donated this shirt to his builder
to thank him for his sterling on his property a few years later. The shirt has been heavily
worn, possibly in every game of the season, and shows serious signs of wear and tear.
In contrast to the white away shirts of the 70s, the new material stayed ‘whiter’ for
longer, and did not ‘fade to grey’ like the earlier Umbro designs.
Once again there were two different types of sponsorship logos worn by the players; a
double-lined version (shown above) and a single-lined version. The general consensus
amongst collectors is that the single-lined sponsored version is slightly rarer; however I
only seek one of the designs as the two shirts are otherwise identical. Genuine match
worn shirts feature an embroidered Adidas badge (with two registered ® trademarks)
and an embroidered Liverbird. No long sleeve replicas were ever released.
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