Tracey Brooks

  1. Italy 2000: Story of the Kit

    For many people, fashion is one of the first things that springs to mind when discussing Italy. The Italian appreciation of style, the way things look, is unique; time spent in any of the country’s major cities confirms as much. This aspect of the culture is sometimes seen in club football on the peninsula, though it’s often proved a more difficult assignment to incorporate at international level.

    Italian Style Injected into the National Kit

    The Italy national team, like all national teams, have a set look, at least when it comes to colours involved, which generally limits their stylistic options. However, in the first tournament of the new millennium, Euro 2000 in Belgium and
    Holland, the Azzurri took to the field in one of the most eye-catching kits seen in recent times.

    There were several reasons behind the kit’s appeal. Firstly, it utilised a slightly different hue of blue to the traditional Italy kit. Secondly, the shirts were much tighter than the norm

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  2. Argentina's World Cup hopes rely on Lionel Messi performing

    Not all international friendlies tell the full picture leading into a major tournament, but Argentina’s problems on the world stage have been transparent for several years now. They might be possessed with star-studded names, but when all is said and done, there is only one player that continually drags them forward. And that is: Lionel Messi. 

    A 2-0 win against an Italy side going through a transition period a 6-1 demolition at the hands of Spain suggest things in Jorge Sampaoli’s squad are rather tumultuous. A lack of consistency, especially in World Cup qualifying, has been a present theme over the past 24 months.

    Although the Argentinean boss put out a weakened side, it was still staggering to see Julen Lopetegui’s men rip their opponents piece by piece, limb by limb in what can only be described as a massacre. La Albiceleste failed to create a game plan to stop Real Madrid star Isco, who carved open their midfield and defence, scoring a hat-trick of his own a

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  3. Sampdoria 2017-18: Story of the Kit

    When telling the story of a kit, there is usually a good amount of interpretation involved. How did the club arrive at such a colour scheme and design? Where does their crest come from? Why are they sponsored by this particular organisation? These are all questions that need to be answered, and answering them takes effort. However, Sampdoria’s 2017/18 kit requires little by way of research. In many ways, the kit tells its own story, and simply by looking at it from a few different angles one can easily gleam information about the club’s past and present.

    Origins of the Sampdoria Colour Scheme

    The most visually striking element of the kit is the colour scheme. It’s well-known, and it’s the height of football fashion. The base colour of the shirt is a dark blue, with a thick white horizontal stripe across the midriff. Within that stripe are two more horizontal stripes – one red, one black. These colours are both style and substance – they look good, and they also hint a

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  4. Why La Liga is miles ahead of the Premier League - and will be for some time

    The age old debate of whose league is better has been a familiar one in the new age media world. Which is unfortunate for Italian fans, who ruled supreme before the turn of 2000, trailblazing their way through Europe and winning major trophy after major trophy. But with Serie A’s decline, it has paved the way for La Liga and the Premier League to battle it out to be Europe’s number one.

    Both leagues have plenty to offer for different needs when watching football, but there are a number of factors which lead one to think that Spain’s league is far ahead of their competitors. 

    European football 

    When you take a look at the last 15 winners of a European or international trophy, ranging from the Champions League to the Europa League to the Super Cup to the Club World Cup, 14 have been from Spain.

    That doesn’t just include Barcelona and Real Madrid, but also Sevilla, who dominated the Europa League and won it three consecutive times under Unai Emery.<

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  5. Four Areas for Manchester United to Improve on During the Summer Transfer Window

    With only seven league fixtures to go until the current campaign comes to an end, Jose Mourinho’s men are sitting in second place in the Premier League and are 16 points behind soon-to-be champions and local rivals Manchester City. However, Manchester United will be aiming to finish the season on a high note in all competitions before they can retaliate within the transfer window.

    After producing vital victories over the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool as well as an unbelievable comeback against Crystal Palace over the last couple of weeks or so, Mourinho is now being seen in the eyes of the board and the supporters as the perfect manager to take the club forward on and off the pitch.

    On the other hand, following the embarrassing defeat to La Liga side Sevilla, leading to the club exiting the Champions League, he’ll need the full backing of the board as the Red Devils are still lacking a few game changers and world class players before they can challenge for any major hon

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  6. Barcelona 2008-09: Story of the Kit

    For most football clubs, the motto is fairly unimportant. Even the most ardent of fans could be forgiven for not knowing theirs. If visible at all, it usually sits on or around the club crest in small font. The motto is out of sight, and out of mind. Barcelona aren’t most football clubs, however. Indeed, according to their own motto, they are ‘More Than A Club’.

    These words – ‘Mes Que Un Club’ – aren’t trivial; they have embodied the club throughout its long and storied history and are considered to be so essential that they are painted into their stadium’s seats. Fans can’t help but notice the motto when they enter the Camp Nou.

    Barcelona are more than a football club in the sense that they represent something beyond the pitch. They are, for many, a cultural symbol of Catalan nationalism. Hence, following the fallout from the Catalan independence referendum in 2017 that saw voters beaten by Spanish police, former Barca captain Xavi Hernandez came out publicly to state h

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  7. The Scudetto race is back on after Juventus dropped crucial points

    While other leagues around Europe have been concluded as early as December of last year, one remains strong with two teams going toe-to-toe for the title. The country is Italy and the league is Serie A, with Juventus chasing their seventh consecutive Scudetto, while Napoli are in search of their first league title since 1990.

    What has been truly magical is how these two teams have not eased the pressure on one another at any point throughout the season so far. Even when Juventus took the lead for the first time during the campaign after Napoli’s collapse to Roma, the Neapolitan club kept their faith and just made sure they picked up points in their following two games.

    In what has been the strangest result of the entire season, Max Allegri’s men drew 0-0 to SPAL Ferrara away from home - a team that is battling relegation and has conceded the joint-third most amount of goals in the league.

    The Bianconeri, as expected, had 65% possession during the 90 minutes, but

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  8. Fiorentina 1998-99 - Story of the Kit

    Fiorentina’s purple kit is among the most eye-catching in football. It’s simple, but unique. No other team in Europe’s major leagues wears the colour, which stands out as a beautiful rejection of the more traditional blacks, blues, reds and whites on show throughout Italy, England, Spain and Germany. Rather fittingly, the dark purple – which informs the club’s Viola nickname – was born amid majestic surroundings.

    Fiorentina’s Purple Colour Scheme

    According to folklore, Fiorentina became Viola by accident. Originally their shirts were a more conventional – and frankly less interesting – vertically split half-red, half-white. But, during a trip to the River Arno, which snakes underneath the Ponte Vecchio and through Florence, a fatal washing error saw the two colours combine to form a purple hue. The new look was welcomed, and has remained in place for almost 90 years since.

    The kit fits in perfectly with the city itself. Florence is widely regarded as one of the mos

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  9. Ashley Young deserves his England call-up after stellar performances

    Gareth Southgate announced his England squad this week ahead of the international friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy, and there were a few surprise names called up - one being Manchester United’s Ashley Young.

    If you have watched him regularly throughout the season, then it’s not that much of a surprise, but to the outside viewer, they might well be asking why the England manager has recalled someone who last played for the Three Lions in 2013.

    Young has been a typical Mourinho player since the Portuguese boss took over: hard working, never-let-die attitude, and the versatility to play in a number of positions when asked upon. Mourinho likes his players to have loyalty and the
    Englishman has shown this through his open mindedness of playing in systems and areas of the pitch which were previously unfamiliar to him.

    There have been a number of stellar performances shown by the former Villan, but none better and handled with more grace than the one aga

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  10. Leeds United 1970s - Story of the Kit

    leedsLeeds United’s greatest accomplishments are associated with their all-white kit. When in 1969 they won the English top flight for the first time in their history, they wore all white. When they repeated the feat decades later, in the season preceding the First Division’s rebirth as the Premier League, they wore all white. And, when they reached the final of the European Cup in 1975, and the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in 2000 – you guessed it – they wore all white. But it wasn’t always this way.

    It will be hard for any true Leeds fan to read this, but the club’s initial colours were blue and white and based on Huddersfield Town’s design. This link came about through Hilton Crowther, the former chairman of Huddersfield who went on to become a key figure in Leeds’ formative years. His idea was for the two sides to join forces; when this ambition was scuppered, he left the Terriers and became chairman of Leeds.

    The Revie Plan

    The club wouldn’t wear an all-white kit

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