1995/96 saw the arrival of Stan 'the man' Collymore. He instantly formed a
formidable partnership with Robbie Fowler and the two players scored 55 goals
between them by the end of the season. The partnership was so strong, Liverpool
legend Ian Rush was deemed surplus to requirements, and left to join Leeds United in
the summer. The season closed with a mouth-watering, on paper at least, FA Cup final
against Manchester United. Expectations were high going into the game, but Liverpool
failed to perform, losing to a solitary Eric Cantona strike. The final will always be
remembered for the decision to dress the players in white suits. Had the players won it
may have been a different story, but dressing so flamboyantly and playing so badly,
simply resulted in wide-spread ridiculing of the club.
The final away shirt by Adidas, like the home shirt, was another clear reference to the
glorious past of Liverpool Football Club. When the club was formed in 1892, the team
wore ‘quartered’ shirts, white and blue in colour. The new away shirt was simply an
updated version of this kit, even opting for a 'granddad' collar to salute the 'old-school'
nature of the design.
This shirt was worn by Phil Babb in the 1996 FA Cup Final. Match details are
embroidered into the chest and Lextra patches, reading Littlewoods FA Cup, were
attached to the sleeves. The shirt has also been signed by the whole squad from that
day. Babb became Britain’s most expensive defender when he signed for the club in
1994 for £3.6million. Despite shining for Ireland in World Cup 94, and playing some
good football during his time at the club, Babb will always be remembered for the game
against Chelsea when he collided with the goalpost. The whole match-watching male
population gave a combined gasp of disbelief for what can only be described as the
most painful collision ever witnessed on a football field.
(above) Here is Babb wearing this exact shirt in 1996.
(below) The 'white' suits. I can't believe people made fun of us for this...
BEWARE: Finding a genuine match worn shirt from this era is extremely difficult.
Despite the common misunderstanding, Adidas DID release long sleeve replicas to the
public. Furthermore, there was no simple ‘big verses little’ Carlsberg comparison, and
both shirts had embroidered Adidas logos. There are many shirts in this style on eBay
that claim to be match worn but these usually turn out to be long sleeve replicas with
names and numbers added. There are however a number of tiny differences that can
prove the authenticity of these shirts, but I will not post these online to avoid fraudsters
gaining some useful tips in their quest to rip off the public.
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