Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Good, The Bad, The WTF *Now Doubly Updated*

Color me impressed. Initially, I thought the eBay listing for this week's shirt was full of bunk. After a good five minutes of interweb searching, I find out it's only halfway full of bunk. Good on you, eBay seller sunglasses-de.

Back on September 11, 1991 (make your own joke here), Germany visited England for a friendly. Because both teams wear white, Germany was compelled to put on its away shirt. Adidas had reworked the away shirt since the last time the two teams met in World Cup 90, and had brought it in line, design-wise, with the home shirt that Germany won the World Cup in. That was a mistake. How bad of a mistake? See for yourself below.

Ay yi yi. I would curse in German, but I have no idea how to do those extra-squiggly B things on my computer. Even as a life-long Dolphins fan, I realize that there are just some times you don't go with this shade of green. Like when the rest of your outfit consists of red, black and yellow. Mind-numbingy hideous.

As the eBay seller correctly points out, this version of the German NT shirt only saw pitch time once, in that aforementioned friendly against England. From there he extrapolates that since he only remembers players wearing long-sleeves that night, and this one has a number on it, this must be some über-rare shirt that's worth a thousand pounds. Mmm, okay.

As you can see from this lovely back shot that's not exactly a number style that would be hard to replicate. I'm sure any screenprinter from 1960 on could heat-transfer that on there for you without much of a problem.

So where does the high price come from? Well, the seller thinks this might be a training shirt. He has no proof to back it up, only the high price and the hopes that someone fails at reading comprehension. Good luck, German dude!

Looking at this shirt leaves me with one question. In the hopes that someone will be able to answer it, I will gift a youtube for you below. Where did Germany pull this color green from for its away shirts? Why did they used it for so long before dropping it of late as their second shirt color?

Update: Bill, from the wonderful Bill Sports Maps (so good, even my mom sent me a link to it), answers my question. He earned you a video!

Germany wore green as their second jersey for many years, in honor of Ireland. Ireland was the only national team willing to play Germany, right after World War II, as the rest of the world was still mad about the whole Nazism/genocide/invasion thing.

As promised, a gift from the youtube. As you probably know, Jurgen Klinsmann arrived at Tottenham in the mid-'90s with the reputation as a bit of a diver. He jokingly played into that stereotype with his diving goal celebration once at Spurs. I think the reputation came from England fans, peeved at losing in PKs to Germany in the 1990 World Cup, who watched the Final and saw this. Behold, one of the greatest dives I have ever seen.

Second (and maybe final) update: I've done some digging on the subject and come up with the following possibilities. Unfortunately, none are definitive, as such a reason has been lost to the sands of time.

1. what Bill said (which is disputed everywhere it is brought up)
1a. That Ireland were the first team to agree to a friendly after WWII. Plausible, I think.
2. That it is out of respect for Ireland staying neutral in WWII. Why not the Swiss red then? Besides, Ireland was still under the yoke of commonwealth until 1949.
3. German passports were green. Whatever
4. The DFB colors were green and white. (from the DFB, but based on supposition since no one wrote down why they did so)
5. West Germany's capital was Bonn, in the Rhineland. Rhineland's traditional colors (from heraldry) were Green and Silver. This information was based on the idea that one very strong man (whose name I forget) was in charge of everything. You may count this as the historical perspective.

I guess the real answer may never be known.


The Fan's Attic said...

there's too many visible balls on the pitch.

Klinsi could have won a Golden Globe for overembellishing. To be fair though, I think it was a foul, just not a red card.

Andrew said...

The ref was paid by Ze Jehrmans. He threw that red with such panache and then threw up the Sieg Heil.

As for the shirt, NAILED IT!

jjf3 said...

from all bunk to only halfway bunk

that's like 200% improvement!


Anonymous said...

I'm skeptical of that Ireland/Germany/Green story...

I seem to remember reading a thorough breakdown of that somewhere before.... It's a nice story, but when you look at the dates they've played and whatnot, it doesn't actually pan out.

ü75 said...

Sven does have a point. Germany's first match after WWII was a friendly against Switzerland in 1950. Germany also played Turkey and Austria before playing Ireland. It could be that Ireland was the first to agree to play Germany, but could not schedule the match until after the others.

I don't know. Does anyone have a definitive answer?

ü75 said...

Also, browsing through that link, Germany played matches, "friendlies", up until 1942. Why didn't other countries just say no?