82. Hummel 'Major' (1988-91)

Graphic showing examples of the Hummel 'Major' shirt template

With 18 templates gone in this countdown of 100, it was never my intention to write a review of what you've seen up to this point. With the arrival of this Hummel design from the late 1980s, however, I more or less can.

Having ripped up the rule book with its magnificent half-and-half Denmark shirts at the 1986 World Cup, Hummel were left wondering what to do next. The unavoidable truth of the matter was that they had to go backwards before they could go forwards again. That's not to say that this template shows a decline in standards, necessarily; merely that a counterpoint to the Mexico 86 styling had to be found by way of contrast.

To achieve this, Hummel took some Seventies nostalgia and added a liberal dash of contemporary panache to create the shirts Denmark wore at the 1988 European Championships. Typically complex in the way only Hummel designs can be, we're reminded of many of the elements that have cropped up elsewhere in this series so far.

From left: Brøndby (1988-91 home), Denmark (1988 home and away), Norway (1989 home and away).

To start, there's the winged collar, which, in itself, was somewhat unfashionable 34 years ago. It was connected to a triangular inset that wouldn't have looked out of place back in the era of Derek Dougan and Denis Law. Then there were the two horizontal bands across the midriff which, as mentioned before, evoked memories of the period when football shirt design first opened its eyes and yawned at the breaking light.

A shadow pattern made up of repeating, alternating quadrilaterals added a more subtle layer of detail, while the piping on the shoulders continued a trend that had started in the early part of the 1980s. One could even suggest that the pairs of Hummel chevrons on the shoulders and sleeves were a further evolution of the logo taping that had arrived in the late 70s.

Hummel shadow pattern, 1988-91.

In short, this was a tapestry of different elements plundered from the recent history of football shirt design, woven together and made harmonious - nay, wearable - as the 1990s approached. It's what Hummel did so well with their design for Mexico '86, and proved without doubt the time and effort that went into this template.

After all that, it would be nice to say that a great many teams wore it around this period, but alas, that's not the case. Aside from Denmark, it was only Norway who followed suit on the international stage, and their home and away kits only differed in the amount of navy blue that was employed (save for some extra shoulder piping and restyled chevrons on the sleeves). Brøndby were the only club team to adopt it, and very fetching they looked too in their traditional colours of yellow and blue.

As it is, this template remains somewhat overlooked in the pantheon of great football shirt history. Overshadowed by its modern-for-the-Eighties predecessor and rarely seen outside of Scandinavia, it's not that easy to find a sizeable number of people holding this design in high regard. Had it been seen in the English First Division all those years ago, we might be talking now about a retro classic. Sliding doors, and all that.

Update:

Once again, the football kit community has come up trumps with another addition to our countdown series - specifically Luís Subbuteiro, a Kitbliss follower from Portugal.

Luís read this article about the Hummel 'Major' template and remembered that during the 1989-90 season of the Primeira Divisão in Portugal, Feirense wore the very same design - but in blue and white.

To prove the point, he sent a picture of the team from Santa Maria da Feira in their home strip, and quite wonderful they look too.

My sincere thanks therefore go to Luís, and don't forget, if you know of any other teams that wore this template, please do get in touch with as many details as you can provide. Thank you!

[Chris.]

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