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Kitstory Episode #2: “The Dutch 88” (Holland 1988 Home Kit)

Bobby McFerrin whistling through the charts with “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” Milli Vanilli dancing like maniacs and Billy Ocean controversially asking women to get into his car. That’s right, 1988 – Tom Cruise was bartending in Jamaica one moment and then helping Dustin Hoffman pick up toothpicks the next.

In Snooker, Steve Davies was top of the world, Bob Anderson in the Darts, Steffi Graf won at Wimbledon and Holland were about to go into the Euro 88 Finals, looking to dethrone current champions France after they beat Spain 2-0 back in 84 (a tournament Holland failed to qualify for).

Holland released this iconic geometrically stunning home kit for the 88 Euro’s. It was made for the tournament and never played in again afterwards – a total 5 games played. But what a 5-game journey they had! The Flying Dutchman beating England and the Republic of Ireland in the group stages as well as their one loss to the Soviet Union, enough to see them through to the semi-finals.

A huge match with West Germany saw Holland’s Van Basten score an 88th minute winner, securing the 2-1 victory and a direct ticket to the Final – yes, the Euro’s were MUCH smaller affairs back in the day, only 8 teams competed. In the Final, it was revenge on their orange minds as they faced the Soviet Union once again – and with a tidy 2-0 victory, Holland were crowned the Champions of Europe.

For such a huge team, one of world football’s elites, this was Holland’s only EVER major trophy winning kit. This shirt now stands the test of time – legend status very much earned. Dutch icons Ronald Koeman, Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard all wore this shirt. This coupled with the fact it was one of the shortest runs in the kit itself sees it one of the world’s most sought-after kits to own, some selling for well over £500.

Orange is the historic national colour of Holland, which originates from one of the many titles of the ruling head of state, the “Prince of Orange,” a title created by emperor Frederick Barbarossa back in 1163 when every rich person and his dog were kicking off about owning land and castles and fancy cutlery sets. The lion is the national and royal animal of Holland and has been a mainstay on the crest since 1907. The “KNVB” is quite simply the same as “Football Club”, but in Dutch – Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (The Royal Netherlands Football Association).

Holland have infused their 2020/21 home kit with the soul of 1988, going back to their geometric roots to hopefully spur on Depay, Van Dijk and the lads to Euro glory once again next year. It’s quite the beauty, with a subtle lion hidden in plain sight within the pattern itself!

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Author, Jack Goodwin.