La Liga Lowdown
Spain: The Stories Behind The Shirts - 1990/92 Barcelona
Written by Román de Arquer
When talking about Barcelona’s 1990-92 home shirt, there’s one name that stands out head and shoulders above the rest: Johan Cruyff.
The truth is he never wore this classic shirt, and it wasn’t even designed by or for him; so you might be asking yourself “why remember Cruyff?” Only because he was the genius behind one of the most successful periods in Barça’s history.
He was already considered an icon by many fans because of his outstanding quality as a player, but he became a true legend for Barcelona as a manager when he turned the team into a dominant, winning machine. It wasn’t just about the victories, though – in fact, it was more about how they were achieved; with beautiful possession-based football that would become the club’s trademark style in years to come. Cruyff’s legacy undoubtedly started to shape Barça the moment he stepped foot into the dressing room as a coach, in 1988.
All of this was backed by trophies, important trophies. Barça won four consecutive league titles in Spain from the 1990-91 season to 1993-94, three Supercopas de España, a Copa del Rey, a UEFA Super Cup, a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and, in 1992, Barça’s first ever European Cup (more commonly known now as the Champions League).
In that historic game for the club, the Catalan team defeated Sampdoria 1-0 in the final at Wembley, thanks to Ronald Koeman’s wonder-strike free-kick in the 112th minute. This was a squad which included many truly tremendous footballers, such as Michael Laudrup, Hristo Stoichkov and a young Pep Guardiola, just to name a few. They are remembered in Spain as the ‘Dream Team’.
One quirk of this match is that both sides played with their change strips that day because apparently the home kits were too similar. Barça were in flashy orange for the game itself, but changed into this classic ‘blaugrana’ jersey to collect the trophy. Their photo holding the European Cup is iconic to many culés, partly because the blue-and-red shirt contrasted so much with the bright orange shorts.
The shirt was designed by Meyba, a Spanish sports brand which was curiously better known for its swimsuits. But they were quite popular among teams in Spain in the 1980s and early 1990s, also providing kits for teams like Atlético Madrid, Real Betis and Espanyol. This particular version was the last home kit they created for Barça, as the Catalan club would switch kit manufacturer to Kappa in subsequent years.
The design of this Barça jersey is quite striking with wide bars of colour, formed of thinner shiny bars which make it even more eye-catching. It also combines a collar with a V-neck, and includes a peculiar zig-zag pattern that goes down the sleeves, another detail which stands out from the overall design.
It’s also worth pointing out that the shirt had no sponsor, and as a matter of fact, Barcelona wouldn’t have one until an agreement was reached with UNICEF in 2006, a partnership which still exists to this day. The only exception to that rule was a temporary sponsor for a tour of Japan in 1990, when Barça’s shirt sported the logo of Japan Airlines (JAL).
You really don’t see shirts from this vintage that often, but whenever you do spot a culé wearing this gem, ask them about Cruyff or about the ‘Dream Team’, and you’ll see how their smile widens, and they begin to recall those wonderful years...
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You can also check out all of the shirts in this series, on the CFS website: http://www.classicfootballshirts.co.uk