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Kitted out

On Thursday, Notts County play Juventus in their new stadium in Turin to celebrate a 108-year link between the clubs that originates with the sharing of the black-and-white stripes. Here, ESPNsoccernet looks back at how Juventus and others earned their colours.

Scotland (1872)

In the first ever official international match, between Scotland and England at the Hamilton Crescent in Glasgow in 1872, the home side consisted solely of Queen's Park players. The Scotland team had been selected by the Queen's Park captain, Robert Gardner, and - as he was unable to call upon Lord Arthur Kinnaird, of the Wanderers, and Henry Renny-Taylour, of Royal Engineers - the goalkeeper selected an outfield made up entirely of his team-mates.

With a Scotland team featuring only Queen's Park players, it followed, for financial reasons as much as any other, that they should wear the Queen's Park strip: dark blue shirts with white knickerbockers, plus red cowls.

Navy blue shirts with white shorts is now long established as the national team's strip - and in fact Scotland's rugby union team had played in navy blue earlier in 1872 - but it was not set in stone in the early years. In the late 19th century, Scotland for a time adopted a pink-and-yellow hooped shirt in tribute to the racing colours of Scottish Liberal peer Archibald Primrose, who became honorary president of the Scottish FA.

Genoa (1901)

Genoa Cricket & Athletic Club was founded in 1893 by a group of Englishmen and, as it was designed to represent English sport abroad, white shirts were adopted.

The white shirts remained in 1897 when the football branch of the club was founded, replacing the athletics branch, and Italians were allowed to join for the first time as they set about dominating the early years of the Italian Football Championship.

A change to a white-and-blue striped shirt followed in 1899 - the blue reflecting the fact Genoa is a port city - but they became the Rossoblu when, after the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901, they adopted the red and blue of the Union Jack as a mark of respect.

Juventus (1903)

Juventus had, from their foundation in 1897, played in short-sleeved shirts made from cheap pink cotton along with black slacks, but those kits faded in the wash. An Englishman working in the textiles industry in Turin offered a solution.

John Savage, who is said to have been a player for International Foot-Ball Club Torino as well as a member of the Juve board, told the club that the quality of shirts in England was higher and subsequently sent out an order for a new set to Nottingham. The order, apparently, was for another set of pink shirts, but those dispatched - purportedly by a Notts County fan - were in black-and-white stripes. It has been claimed that Juve were initially unhappy with the new kit but, having paid out, they had no choice but to adopt the new colours.

Corinthians (1910)

Corinthian Football Club, the great English side that embodied the ideals of the amateur game, were held in high regard throughout the world for both their skill and, during the most violent era of the game, their sense of fair play.

Corinthian earned admirers in Brazil when winning all six of their games during a tour of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and when a group of Sao Paulo labourers decided to found their own club in 1910, it was decided that they would take the English side's name.

In honour of the English team, Corinthians' original kit featured beige shirts but, due to their lack of funds and the cost of black fabric in the country, they had to settle for white shorts. The story goes that, through washing, the beige shirts quickly became white and the club were forced to alter their colours.

In 1920, though, they were finally able to afford the black shorts they originally desired and the white-and-black strip became the club's official colours. In 2010, to celebrate the club's centenary, they introduced a kit featuring a beige-and-white striped shirt.

Real Madrid were another club influenced by Corinthian and they adopted black shorts for the 1925-26 season. However, after losing 5-1 and 3-0 across two legs to Barcelona in their Copa del Rey quarter-final of 1926, president Pedro Parages decided to revert to the original all-white strip as he believed, according to the club's official website, "the other brought bad luck".

Fiorentina (1929)

Fiorentina were founded in 1926 and their first kit was red and white halves, based on the giglio - or Florentine iris - that appears on the badge and is the traditional symbol of Firenze.

Fiorentina evolved into La Viola after September 1929 when they played a friendly against Roma wearing purple shirts. The legend is that it was down to the washing of the shirts in a river - the red bleeding into the white to create a purple effect - but the reality, it seems, was that a director selected the colour purple as a deliberate ploy to make the team stand out.

Arsenal (1933)

When Arsenal began life in 1886 as amateur side Dial Square, they adopted the colour red after bringing in three Nottingham Forest players, who brought along their old kit. As the official Arsenal website reports: "Working to a tight budget, the club decided the most inexpensive way of acquiring a strip was to kit out the team in the same colour as the ex-Forest players."

Aside from a blue-and-red striped shirt in 1895-96, red shirts were a constant throughout the name and location changes of the club's formative years. The iconic red with white sleeves, though, did not arrive until 1933.

The great innovator Herbert Chapman had already introduced white hoops on the socks in 1931 to help players pick out their team-mates, and two years later came the famous white sleeves along with a brighter shade of red. It remains unclear how he happened upon the design, but the most colourful explanation is that it was plucked from Chelsea chairman Claude Kirby, who had been toying with a similar idea after seeing the famous cartoonist Tom Webster wearing a sleeveless blue pullover with a white shirt during a game of golf.

Brazil (1953)

Brazil's yellow kit has become perhaps the most iconic in football but, in the early years of the Seleção, white was the team's defining colour. The kit for the national team's first match in 1914 was white with blue bands around the elbows and, though a yellow-and-green striped kit was used for the 1916 South American Championship and the 1919 Taça Roberto Cherry, it did not remain.

The popular story is that, after the World Cup on home soil in 1950 ended in misery with the shock defeat to Uruguay in the final at the Maracanã, Brazil retired their white kit with blue trim as they felt it bad luck and unpatriotic. The truth is that Brazil did continue to wear a white strip for some time afterwards - Manchete Esportiva pictured Didi on its front cover in a white shirt in March 1957 - but that defeat was indeed the birth of the famous yellow.

A competition to redesign the kit was held in the Correio da Manhã newspaper in the early '50s and Aldyr Garcia Schlee - a 19-year-old illustrator whose loyalties, ironically, lay with Uruguay - beat the other 300 entrants with a kit that reflected the flag: yellow shirt with green trim, blue shorts featuring a white vertical stripe, and white socks. Schlee, speaking to The Observer in 2004, said he retains "an unpleasant taste in the mouth" with regard to the Brazilian national team and that, when invited to meet the players shortly after winning the competition, he found them to be "scoundrels, drunks and philanderers".

Leeds United (1961)

Don Revie, though remembered as the dour and cynical manager of 'Dirty Leeds', was one of the game's most innovative thinkers, and his obsessive and superstitious character meant he left nothing to chance.

He joined Leeds as a player in 1958 and was appointed manager three years later, and one of his most famous acts after taking charge was to switch the club's longstanding blue-and-gold kit to an all-white strip in honour of Real Madrid. Leeds were then a second-tier club, and to adopt the colours of the club that had dominated the early years of the European Cup was interpreted by some as an act of arrogance. To Revie, it was a means of changing his players' mindsets.

"I am told the players looked at him at first as if to say, 'You must be mad'," his son, Duncan, said in Revie: Revered and Reviled, "but he just replied, 'We are going to be the best club in the world, just like Real Madrid'."

After a slow start, his methods brought rewards: Leeds twice became champions of England during his time at the club as well as winning the FA Cup, League Cup and two Fairs Cups.

Coventry City (1962)

Jimmy Hill, upon taking charge of Third Division side Coventry in November 1961, told the Daily Express that he had agreed to a job in the "ulcer-creating managerial seat" because the chairman was "young, progressive, and ambitious". That Hill would be allowed to implement his progressive ideas swiftly became clear when he launched his 'Sky Blue Revolution'.

Hill believed teams should have a brand image and so revived the club's famous colours - first seen in 1889 but abandoned after 1922 - in an all-sky blue kit, and he created the nickname 'The Sky Blues'. More original ideas came with the branding of 'Sky Blue Special' trains to away games, a Sky Blue hotel, Sky Blue Radio and a Sky Blue song with the following lyrics:

Let's all sing together
Play up Sky Blues
While we sing together
They will never lose

"If you wanted Coventry to be special, you had to be special," Hill later told the BBC, and the revolution lived up to its billing: Hill led Coventry to the top-flight for the first time in their existence in 1967.

Liverpool (1964)

Liverpool played in white and blue during their first three years but switched to their famous red shirts in 1896. However, it was only in the 1960s that the all-red kit came into effect courtesy of a piece of Bill Shankly psychology.

"He thought the colour scheme would carry psychological impact," Ian St John wrote in his autobiography. "Red for danger, red for power. He came into the dressing room one day and threw a pair of red shorts to Ronnie Yeats. 'Get into those shorts and let's see how you look,' he said. 'Christ, Ronnie, you look awesome, terrifying. You look 7ft tall.' 'Why not go the whole hog, boss?' I suggested. 'Why not wear red socks? Let's go out all in red.' Shankly approved and an iconic kit was born."

The all-red kit made its debut at Anfield in a European Cup second-round tie with Anderlecht. Much had been expected of the visitors, featuring as they did seven of the 11 Belgium players who had recently held England to a draw, but - as The Guardian report put it - "Anderlecht did little to enhance their formidable reputation" as a clinical Liverpool side won 3-0 before a roaring Kop.

"Our game against Anderlecht at Anfield was a night of milestones," Shankly later said. "We wore the all-red strip for the first time. Christ, the players looked like giants - and we played like giants. The introduction of the all scarlet strip had a huge psychological effect. I went home that night and I said to Ness: 'You know something... tonight I went out onto Anfield and for the first time there was a glow like a fire was burning'."

Red Bull Salzburg (2005)

When Red Bull completed its takeover of SV Austria Salzburg in 2005, it attempted to erase their history.

Founded in 1933, the club had already seen a name-change to SV Casino Salzburg as a result of a 1978 takeover, and initially there was little hostility to the news of Red Bull's interest - indeed, for most fans the investment was considered a cause for real excitement.

However, that euphoria turned to anger when rumours emerged that the club's traditional violet-and-white kit was to be replaced with a new look to reflect the Red Bull brand. Demonstrations and petitions followed, and there were indications that the old colours would be kept, but it soon emerged that the new kit would be red and white.

The Red Bull PR offensive continued to offend - there was even an attempt to claim the club had been founded in 2005 - and, after months of protest, there was a split among the supporters.

The group that wanted to preserve tradition, known as the Violett-Weiss, ultimately founded a new club in the seventh tier, reclaiming the name SV Austria Salzburg and the original colours. A statement on their official website reads: "Salzburg has its team in purple and white again, the 'Violetten', and the world is bit more colourful for it!"


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