The summer of 1991 was a watershed one for adidas in terms of kit design. The launching of the new Liverpool kits signified a real change of direction, as the traditional three stripes down the sleeves were replaced by very aggressive branding - City's kit that season was a very similar template.
The goalkeeping style - fairly constant in the 1980s - was also overhauled, with both the Liverpool home and away netminder shirts effectively featuring two of the new 'adidas Equipment' logos (normal and reversed) on the chest (far left, click for larger image). Again, City had a little-worn variant, which features in the team picture worn on this site's landing page. In 1992, Liverpool's kits were upgraded, with a new crest added, and the goalkeeper shirts were also refreshed. This time round, four different colours were worn, with David James incredibly donning a blue version against Sheffield United.
While the Reds were pretty much the only team to employ the design in 1991-92, the 92-93 version was fairly ubiqutious. Like Liverpool, Arsenal had four versions, including - strangely - red, worn by David Seaman away to Blackburn Rovers. The same basic kit was the Rangers first choice. Another variant, seen more on the continent and on the Republic of Ireland kit, had stripes at the bottom of the shirt. In addition to these, Marseille also had the chest stripes in two colours. Bayern Munich had a black version with green and blue trim while they also had a unique style, with the stripes made up of small white dots (below left).
And Cork City? Well, this is where (we think, anyway) it gets interesting. In 92-93, Phil Harrington wore a stripeless yellow version but, two years previously, the club were responsible for what could well have been the first airing of the design. Worn first by on-loan goalkeeper Craig Nelson against St Patrick's Athletic on February 27, 1991, it was the black, blue and green version with two adidas logos - the new Equipment one and the traditional trefoil.
Theoretically, there was no reason for the normal yellow GK kit (the same as Packie Bonner wore at Italia '90) not to be worn as St Pat's are red and white, but we have a theory as to how the change came about. Normal goalkeeper Phil Harrington had been injured in the previous game against Shelbourne - current manager John Caulfield went in goal - and his shirt may have been damaged. As Cork-based Three Stripe International produced City's kits under licence from adidas and presumably they were asked to provide a replacement at short notice. This new, yet-to-be-released shirt was presumably a prototype lying around, with the adidas Equipment logo already sublimated on. The felt City crest, adidas trefoil and Guinness wordmark were applied in such a way that they were all on the same piece of cloth and pressed on together, hence the double-branding. Beyond its few appearances in 90-91, however, the shirt wasn't worn again.