THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Notable kits of yesteryear

Alaves15020 February ~ In Liverpool's first European final for more than a decade, the UEFA Cup of 2001, their opponents, Alavés of Spain, wore an odd Boca Juniors-style shirt. The Basque team's fans were as surprised as everyone seeing their traditional blue-and-white stripes substituted in the club's most important game in their history.

During their unlikely run to that year's final – in which they knocked out Inter, Kaiserslautern and Rosenborg, among others – the club had featured another "creative" kit: a pink shirt with all the club members' names printed in it. The red Liverpool shirt meant it was impossible for them to wear that kit at the final in Dortmund, so they decided to play with a brand new design: a blue shirt with a horizontal yellow band. This kit also had the members' names printed on it and the sponsor was Rioja Alavesa, a tourist area near the city of Vitoria famous for its red wines.

The match was one of the most exciting finals in recent history, with Liverpool winning 5-4 after extra-time. Jordi Cruyff – Johan's son – was one of the scorers for the Spanish side, the others being Iván Alonso and Javi Moreno (2), who later played for Milan and Bolton.

Alavés had been in the Spanish top flight for the previous three years, but only two seasons after that Dortmund final they were relegated and are now struggling in the second tier. Unpopular as it was then, the odd blue-and-yellow shirt has become a reminder of the club's most glorious era, and now it is almost a rare collector's piece. Antonio Mateo

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