In many ways 1994 signalled a turning point in the worlds of football and kit design. It was a year dominated by that summers World Cup, held for the first time in a traditionally non-football-loving part of the world.
Names like Zidane and Ronaldo appeared on the international stage for the first time as Baresi and Gullit bowed out. The iconic Adidas Predators released, forever changing the way boots were sold and marketed. And in the world of kits…
The 94 World Cup would introduce the world to the concept of the widespread use of kit templates. Three years on from introduction of Adidas’ EQT range - characterised by large angular bars across the shoulder or chest - Adidas introduced the wider footballing world to the concept of mass templates, with four different sides carrying the same design.
Having only gotten into the manufacturer of football kits a decade earlier, Nike were still a long way from being a global force in the kit world. While 8 of Brazil’s World Cup winning side wore Nike Tiempo boots. No sides wore Nike kits at the tournament.
1994 was in many ways more of a Wild West scene than we are used to today - It was a time when Real Madrid were outfitted by Kelme and Barcelona by Kappa. The World Cup finalists wore Umbro and Diadora and the competition proved that it was still a time when the best players didn’t always play for the best teams, let alone teams you’d even heard of.
So here’s how 1994, a remarkable year in football, played out.
April 10, 1994 - Nigeria
April 10, 1994 - Nigeria win AFCON, beating Zambia 2-1 a year on from a plane crash that devastated their opponents team. While Zambia wore a familiar barred Adidas EQT template, Nigeria wore a pretty iconic bespoke away kit.
17th April 1994 – Milan
17th April 1994 – Despite scoring just 36 goals in 34 games, Milan claimed the Serie A title with two games to spare. The 94/95 season would see them swap sponsorship from panettone producer Motta to Opel, who’s name would feature on the sides shirts for the next decade.
23rd April – Paris Saint-German
23rd April – Paris Saint-German with Ligue 1 with games to spare. They wore a Nike design most notable for its absolutely massive sponsorships, a common them for the kits of the relatively strapped for cash PSG of the early 90’s.
30th April - Ajax
30th April - Ajax win Eredivisie with game to spare after win at Herenveen in a season that saw the debuts of 17 year olds Patrick Kluivert and Clarence Seedorf. The year would also see the young side begin their campaign that would end in Champions League glory in 1995.
April 20th Sampdoria
April 20th Sampdoria lift the Coppa Italia after a resounding 6-1 win against Ancona. New man and marquee signing Ruud Gullit was instrumental in the midfield as Attilio Lombardo won the golden boot.
May 1st – Manchester United
May 1st – A win at Ipswich sealed Manchester United’s second Premier League title on the bounce in a season where they wore three fantastic kits. The pick of the bunch for many was the menacing all black kit, the first of its kind ever officially sanctioned in English football.
7th May – Bayern Munich
7th May 1994 Germany – Bayern Munich clinched the Bundesliga with a final day 2-0 victory over Schalke. Always closely associated with Adidas, Bayern’s kits had featured the iconic EQT bars since its 1991 introduction but the 93/94 kit took things to whole new level.
11th May - Inter
11th May 1994 - Inter lifted the UEFA Cup after victory against Austria Salzburg. The season saw Inter carry the iconic logo of Italian fashion brand Fiorucci, the last company to sponsor Inter before Pirelli’s mammoth stretch.
May 14th – Manchester United
May 14th – In an all Umbro final Manchester United beat Chelsea 4-0 to win the FA Cup and become only the fourth side in British history to complete the domestic double.
May 15th - Barcelona
May 15th - Barcelona clinched the title on the most dramatic final day in La Liga history. The title was ultimately decided by a last minute missed penalty for Deportivo La Coruna that handed Barcelona the league.
May 18 – AC Milan
May 18th – AC Milan beat Barcelona 4-0 in the Champions League Final to claim their fifth crown. Tradition dictates that AC Milan wear all white in European cup finals and that’s exactly what they did, wearing a design specially made for the occasion.
July 17th – Brazil
July 17th – After starring throughout the tournament, Baggio’s iconic penalty miss helped Brazil win its record fourth World Cup. The final would be the last time Italy wore Diadora after a decade long association. They were picked up by Nike that year with Brazil following three years later.
August 31st - Velez Sarsfield
August 31st - Velez Sarsfield won their first ever Copa Libertadores after a tense penalty shootout against São Paulo. Velez, as ever, took the pitch in their iconic chevron design, first worn way back in 1933.
December 1st – Velez beat AC Milan
December 1st – In an historic 2-0 win for Carlos Bianchi’s side Velez beat AC Milan to become the third South American team in a row to triumph over their European counterparts.
28th August - Clausura
28th august - Clausura. Despite Adidas beginning to faze out the trefoil logo in 1991, many clubs around the world were still utilising the old design. Having also worn EQT designs previously, Independiente opted for a trefoil design on their way to clinching the Clausura championship.
December 18th - Palmeiras
December 18th - Brazilian League - Palmeiras, with a side including up and comers Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos and Edmundo, cruised to their second Campeonato Brasileiro victory in a row while wearing a beautiful design by Brazilian sportswear manufacturer Rhumell.
December 19th - River Plate
December 19th - Apertura – An Enzo Francescoli inspired River Plate clinched the Apertura championship without losing a single game. The Sanyo sponsored shirts worn that year have become some of the most coveted River shirts ever.