This was the shirt of the Australian football team from 1990 to 1993. It was made by a company called KingRoo.
The accepted position among Socceroos fans is that you are not supposed to like this shirt. According to them, you are supposed to be embarrassed by this shirt. When former captain Paul Wade appeared on Santo, Sam and Ed’s World Cup Fever during the 2010 World Cup, he wore the shirt to demonstrate that he still had it because no opponent ever wanted to swap shirts with him.
Well, I would like to call to order the first meeting of KingRoo Anonymous. My name is Daniel and I like this shirt. In fact, it’s one of my favourite sporting shirts ever. I like that it’s abstract and complicated. I like that it isn’t just block colours or stripes. I like that the size of the recurring pattern was greater than the size of one shirt so that not every shirt was the same design.
I saw the Young Socceroos play in this shirt in both the 1991 and 1993 World Youth Cups, finishing fourth at both. I saw the first ever Golden Goal in any competition in the world scored in this shirt (Anthony Carbone for Australia v Uruguay in the quarter final of the 1993 World Youth Cup at Lang Park, Brisbane).
The prevailing wisdom is that sports shirts are supposed to be simple. You don’t want anything too busy or too radical. Sometimes that criticism is correct. Shirts that have unconnected series of stripes or arrows or lines often are a mess because the designer has tried to make an abstract design using concrete shapes.
But this shirt is a proper abstract. I like looking at it when it is lined up for a national anthem and I like looking at it when it’s making a break down the touchline.
Just to show I’m not a one trick pony, I also like the block gold shirt that Australia wore at the 2006 World Cup. It was a classic look that was hard to get wrong. I am less keen on the 2010 World Cup Socceroos shirt, mainly because the colour on the arms didn’t flow on to the colour over the shoulders. The lines jarred into each other and turned the body into a box shape.
But enough of those. My favourite Australian football shirt was the KingRoo shirt of the early 1990s and I wish I could find it now in a XXL.