Huh. It’s been a while since I did one of these. It’ll be a while before I do another. As such, it’s your lucky day! TWO FOR ONE MONDAY! And it’s not even Dr. King’s birthday yet (though it may be one of yours; I’m not sure).
To start, we’ll look to the contested island of Cyprus. Apparently, there was European success at APOEL before this year. Way back in 1963, APOEL beat SK Gjøvik-Lyn 7-0 in the qualifying of the Cup Winners’ Cup. The fact that they were dispatched 18-1 by Sporting CP in the actual first round should just be viewed as a footnote. Further successes followed in 1976 (beat Iraklis 2-0, lost to Napoli 3-1), 1986′s European Cup (beat HJK Helsinki on away goals, withdrew rather than face a Turkish squad), and even in 1993 when APOEL beat Bangor City before losing to PSG.
You may ask yourself, what did APOEL wear while beating Bangor City and losing to PSG? Well, this is the confusing answer.
What the hell is this? Did the Swedes buy out the waist area for flag propaganda? Was Nicosia about to secede from Cyprus and look to become an American protectionate (hence the stars on a navy field on the left shoulder)? And what’s with the two down arrows? One may be covered by the collar, but I know it’s there. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Being 1993, if course, this shirt is filthy with sublimated print. I’m guessing it’s repetition of Mitre’s logo, but I can’t tell because it’s all over the place. Sure, this shirt would be great for a nighttime walk with the dog, but this is overkill otherwise. Then there’s that damn badge. Does VISA of the ’80s know they got ripped off? And those letters. It doesn’t even look American. How could they expect to get US protection when they don’t even use the right alphabet? Sheesh.
I digress. Or diverge, I guess, since it’s simply to dive into bitching about another shirt. This time we fast forward a few years and trot ourselves to another part of the globe: Malaysia.
The year was 1998. Penang FA–nicknamed the Panthers–were freaking awesome, at least as far as Malaysian football goes. For the first time in the history of the club, they won the M-League. Some may sneer and say, “hey, such a competition only existed since 1993, so it’s like only looking at Premier League records in England”. To that, I say “Yeah, you’re right. But Whatevs”. Because I know something that they don’t know yet. I know about the awesome shirt that pushed them to that first ever title.
Now you do too. Guess my secret is out of the bag.
Manufacturers if the world, why do you do the following two things: Why do you A) use stripes of varying width, and B) not use symmetry? The symmetry thing is what really gets me every time. I understand that in the upper torso it’s blue on one side and yellow on the other, but why can’t the sleeves be alike? Before you answer that they are, just opposite colors, I invite you to look at the very top. Yep, yellow on both side. Therefore not in symmetry. Assholes. Of course, I wear socks like this, so maybe I’m the asshole for hating on this shirt.
What I must add is that while I have no love for this shirt, Panang fans must. 1998 was the first year of a five year glory period where the team won the top league twice and finished second twice. They also won the cup once. Since this is where that great run started, if I were a fan of Panang, I would be urging my club to bring this shirt back. Because whatever they are wearing now ain’t working. Back to back last place finishes leave them in the third tier of Malaysian football for 2012. At least there are no relegations from the FAM League, right?
Finally, thanks for reading.