We love our football here at YPT, even more so during a global pandemic as it’s pretty much the only form of decent entertainment available. As a result, we’ve become increasingly interested in football shirts – especially the weird and wonderful. I personally started collecting football shirts over the last few months, with my collection already hitting sixty shirts! It’s safe to say it’s becoming quite the addiction!
I thought I’d start showcasing some of my favorite shirts from years gone by, and since we’re huge Soviet buffs there’s no better place to start! So here’s our rundown of our favorite Soviet Union National Team shirts from the past.
HOME SHIRT – 1920’s?
Where better to start than one of the earliest kits the Soviets wore way back in 1927. The history of this shirt is pretty much unknown. The photo was supposedly taken in 1927, however official records show that the Soviets didn’t play a single recorded game during that year. It’s possible it could have been worn during a 3-0 victory vs Turkey in Moscow in 1924, but it’s equally as likely it was worn in an unofficial match in that year.
The shirt itself is wacky. The classic red colour is paired with a yellow trim. The ‘CCCP’ lettering is in a unique stacked style, but still looks a clean design. It has to be said that the main feature of this shirt is the huge V-neck design – No doubt so the players can show off their scary looking Siberian chest hair! Anything to gain an advantage I suppose. Soviet Union shirts from this period are as rare as rocking horse shit, so if you own one or somehow come across one – buy it! These shirts will be worth thousands!
HOME SHIRT – 1964
The next shirt we have is the 1964 home shirt. This shirt was worn during the 1964 European Nations’ Cup Finals in Spain where the Soviets were coming in as defending champions. After brushing Denmark aside 3-0 at Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium in the semi-finals, they were rewarded with a spot in the final against the hosts Spain.
The final was contested at the world famous Santiago Bernabéu in front of a crowd just shy of 80,000! In a tight knit affair the hosts took the lead early on in the sixth minute, only for Spartak Moscow legend Galimzyan Khusainov to equalize just two minutes later. In agonising fashion, the Spaniards took the lead with minutes to go in the match when Marcelino headed the ball past one of the best goalkeepers ever to play the game – Lev Yashin.
The shirt itself is super plain but in a good way. Football shirts these days are basically walking advertisement boards, but this one is a beauty! No ads, no sponsors, no company brands just a good old fashion design. In the usual all red colour, with the ‘CCCP’ lettering spelled out over the chest in white. It’s a magnificently simple shirt, but definitely a real classic.
HOME CUP SHIRT – 1988
The Soviets were very successful donning this shirt. It was worn during the 1988 summer Olympic games in South Korea. They breezed through their group unbeaten which included games against the USA, Argentina and hosts South Korea. They then went on to ease past Australia in the quarterfinals before defeating Italy in the semis in an enthralling game which the Soviets won 3-2 after extra time. This set up a final against Brazil, arguably one of the best teams on the planet at the time.
A crowd of 74,000 packed into the Olympic Stadium in Seoul to witness this huge match. After a cagy opening half an hour the Brazilians broke the deadlock through Romario, who would go on to World Cup stardom at USA ’94, becoming the tournament’s top scorer. Igor Dobrovolski pulled one back from the spot mid-way through the second half to send the game into extra time. The stage was set for a hero, and on the night that man would be Torpedo Moscow youngster Yuri Savichev. He fired home the winner for the Soviets which saw them pick up the gold medals!
The design of this shirt makes it a real classic! Produced by Adidas using the standard red base colour, the white trim and collar compliments the shirt well. The ‘CCCP’ spell out is bold, and stands out. It’s a visually stunning shirt to look at, so stunning in fact, 30 years later this shirt template served as the model for the Russian national team shirt worn at the 2018 World Cup. An original shirt from 1988 recently sold for £100 ($133), so it’s definitely a desirable shirt for collectors.
Away Shirt 1982-1984
This shirt was primarily worn during the 1982 World Cup finals hosted by Spain and in the following European Championship qualification stages. It wasn’t a great showing by the Soviets at this World Cup. They were drawn in a group alongside Brazil, Scotland and New Zealand where they managed a second-placed finish to advance to the second round.
In interesting fashion, rather than a straight knockout game you’d usually find, the second round consisted of four 3-way round-robin groups. Drawn against Poland and Belgium, the Soviets were expected to qualify from this group with relative ease, however after only beating Belgium 1-0, and Poland beating them 3-0, it set up a must-win game against Poland. The game was a drab 0-0 draw, which saw the Soviets knocked out on goal difference.
This shirt is one of my personal favourites. I think Adidas nailed it with this one. In the usual colourway of red and white, complemented with a pinstripe design it’s a really clean and fresh look. Again, with no sponsors or advertisements the ‘CCCP’ lettering really stands out in the bold red colour, whilst the badge really stands out on the black background. This is a shirt I’d love to get my hands on, however, like pretty much all Soviet football shirt they don’t come cheap! They’re pretty rare, and when one does pop up expect to pay anywhere between £120-£200 ($160-$265) for it.
Home Shirt 1989-1991
The holy grail. This shirt is truly iconic. I don’t think I need words to explain why, just look at it! It’s a real masterpiece. This shirt was released for the disastrous 1990 World Cup in Italy where the Soviets finished rock bottom of their group which included Romania, Argentina and Cameroon. This proved to be the last ever time the Soviet Union appeared in a World Cup, as the regime fell only a year later. However, this shirt ended up being replaced by a different design for the finals so it thankfully won’t go down as the shirt where it all went wrong for the Soviets!
This football shirt has become a real collector’s item – and it’s not hard to see why! The crazy red and white pattern has become iconic, but it’s hard to come to a conclusion as to why they settled on this design. Nonetheless, you’ll probably never see a football shirt design like this ever again.
It seems that every collector is looking to get their hands on it. It’s certainly on my list. Although not as rare as the older shirts, it can still be pretty difficult to source one of these beauties. If you do eventually find one for sale, you better be ready to part with a big chunk of money. Depending on size and condition these shirts can fetch anywhere between an eyewatering £250-£400 ($330-$530)!