Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Football shirt culture #1 FC Barcelona

The great Johan Cruyff who starred for Ajax and Barca.
Football shirt culture #1 FC Barcelona
I wasn’t sure what was more iconic – Barcelona’s simple and sponsor-less shirt or Johan Cruyff in those famous red and blues. Incredibly, it is believed in Catalonia that the colors were the connection of the club’s very first president and owner Joan Gamper who was Swiss and rooted for Basel. It is incredible that you might want to check Basel’s colors.

At the start, I hated the sponsors on the shirts of football clubs. At first I thought that they were contrived and they didn’t look good on them at all. Perhaps that was borne out of my being such a huge fan of the New York Cosmos.

"Més que un club" or “More than a club” as they say in Catalonia. So the sponsor-less shirt had that appeal. They were a rare minority who eschewed corporate sponsorship. I eventually managed to get that Barca shirt. I guess I had to thank Romario for that.
Lucky to have the first Barca shirt w/UNICEF

In 2006, Barca finally got a sponsor. However, instead of the sponsor paying them, it was the other way around. The club paid £1.5 million to UNICEF to help combat AIDS in Africa. More than a club indeed. If you ask me, the UNICEF in front has got to be the coolest for a football shirt outside the Seattle Sounders' XBox.

Here’s the first shirt with UNICEF in front.>>>>

The following year was the 50th anniversary of Camp Nou and they commemorated that with a special logo around the Barca crest. The club motto of "Més que un club" appears on the neckline. The shirt, from Nike, also had a label at the bottom that written in Spanish about the anniversary.
The Camp Nou 50th anniversary shirt. 
In 2011, for the first time in the club’s history, they relegated UNICEF to the back and instead put “Qatar Foundation’ in front. For the life of me, I cannot wear the traditional red and blue with that in front. Yes, I know that the departure was so the club could help pay its debt nevertheless.... I though that the UNICEF sponsorship spoke volumes of the club's good intentions. Over time, I eventually fell in love with the black kit and have both the short and long sleeved versions.

The first release of the black Barca shirt. Got it in Kuwait thanks to a huge discount.
Now the new 2012-13 kit is radical in its changes. The lines that separated the red from the blue are now softer and bleed into one another. The material in itself, made from recycled pep bottles is truly amazing. The “Qatar Foundation” is growing on me.

So how many Barcelona shirts do I have? Seven variants.

Is Barcelona the only club to wear UNICEF? Nope. There's Danish side Brondby that once upon a time had players like Michael Laudrup, Peter Schmeichel and Daniel Agger.


  1. I only have a Barca shirt... for now.

  2. barcelona is fantastic football team, I think fc barcelona the best football team in the world for all time.

  3. Awesome selection of soccer shirts! The globe of soccer shirts seems to have gone a little mad these days since the whole fraud to do with markets and inexpensive costs, but create no error about it, it's still large company.
    discount football shirts

  4. Barcelona shirt color change is getting bigger, but the overall style of the same. My favorite in recent years football kit.