Friday, June 15, 2007

Digging in the Vaults: Atletic Bilbao Centenary Shirt

This little number is the Athletic Bilbao centenary shirt from 1998. I really like this shirt, I know it's really loud, but I don't really care. Bilbao's Basque-only policy is pretty admirable and they are one of only 3 clubs in Spanish football (the others being Real Madrid and Barcelona) that have never been relegated (that is in jeopardy at the moment). Perhaps best of all, they are one of a few clubs that don't wear any ads on their jersey. I hope they stay in the Primera Liga so that the no-ads policy can continue. I'm sure that if the club loses the revenue of not being in the top flight, they might compensate by getting a sponsor for their shirt.

The jersey is made by Kappa, whose male/female logo is pretty cool. Their logo is sewn on the right chest as well as running up and down the sleeves. The shirt is also a departure from the usual Bilbao home shirt, which has red and white vertical stripes. There is a huge dragon-like logo on the front of the shirt, and the back looks like the the back of the dragon if you look at it from the right angle. On the back of the shirt is the name and number of Bilbao stalwart Joseba Etxeberria. To top it off there's a special logo commemorating the centenary on the collar placket. This article says that Bilbao also had a second Centenary shirt in 2004, which looked like this. Not sure how they can have two centenaries but I have to say that second one is pretty hideous.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Catalan Controversy

There was an interesting football kit related incident in last week's international friendly between Spain and Latvia. It seems that two players on Spain's team, Xavi and Carles Puyol, turned the top of their socks inside to hide the trim which is the color of the Spanish national flag. Xavi (#8) and Puyol (#5) are both from Catalonia, which is fiercely proud of being an "Autonomous community" within Spain. In this article, Xavi says that the suggestion that he and Puyol did this deliberately as a show of Catalan unity is to start a "ridiculous and malicious debate(s)." The photo from the match above shows that this has to be more than a coincidence. I personally dig it, and if Catalonia really is autonomous , UEFA should let their national team, which already plays friendlies, to play full internationals. It would be interesting to see how an all-Catalan team would do on the international scene.