Wash & Wear Test – Counterfeit vs Official

We put two Tottenham Hotspur shirts head to head in a battle of quality, longevity, shape, fit and colour. One counterfeit, one official. Which one kept close to the original purchase condition? We’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Shirts Unworn – Day 1

The images show that the counterfeit product is a close copy of the official shirt, although under closer inspection there are some issues with stitching and branding.

Shirts worn 10 times and washed 10 times

It didn’t take long for the counterfeit product to show its true colours. With only 10 washes the AIA logo has started to peel away. Stitching had also started to come lose around the logo and inside.

Shirts worn 15 times and washed 15 times

Once the signs of wear started to show on the counterfeit shirt – they didn’t stop. The logo completely peeled away and the ‘Authentic Nike’ badge also began to peel away from the fabric. You may also notice the fabric looks more worn.

Back Four Comments:

Counterfeiters are making products that are close copies of official products. Fact. But the Wash and Wear test shows how important it is to know how to spot a fake.
For the first few wears the Tottenham Hotspur Counterfeit shirt faired in a similar way to the official but then cracks started to appear. It’s important to look at the bigger picture with counterfeit product and not buy on impulse. Where was this shirt made, who by, in what conditions, is it fit for purpose and good value?

You can’t return a counterfeit product, you’re not protected, and your consumer rights don’t exist when it comes to fakes.

6 Insider Tips on How to Spot a Fake Football Shirt

Your club’s new kit has launched but how do you know the kit you’re looking to buy is the real deal? With so much choice available, Back Four want to make sure you’re not wasting your hard-earned cash and are continuing to support your club.

Back Four have years of experience in training law enforcement officers on how to spot a fake. Now we’re giving you full access, so you can see the warning signs, make the right decisions and stay on the right side of the law.

Back Four’s Top 6 Insider Tips

1) Price:

The biggest giveaway. Remember a bargain is never as good as it seems. If the shirt is 60% cheaper than it should be – it’s probably a fake.

Fake Football Shirt Website

The latest kit releases will never be marked-down and are generally not reduced until the full season ends.

Back Four Insider TIP: In our experience current season fakes are generally listed for around £30 when they should be £60-£70. This is the biggest clue when it comes to buying a shirt.

Wait for the official launch and look to buy from reputable retailers.

2) Quality:

Sometimes counterfeit shirts may look like-for-like, but the quality simply can’t be replicated. Look out for poor stitching, fabric quality, fit and sizing issues.

Examples of how to spot a fake

Back Four Insider TIP: Look inside the shirt at the stitching quality, particularly around the neckline and the badge. If it looks poorly made – it probably is.

Examples of how to spot a fake

The Kit manufacturer logos are printed onto the fabric with a fake, see above. It’s a cheaper way to do it, so something counterfeiters love.

Back Four Insider TIP: Look at the badges, icons and logo on the shirt. Counterfeiters will cut costs where they can, so when it comes down to attention to detail – they’re not winning any trophies.

3) Counterfeiters make Mistakes:

It won’t take too long to discover the simple (often comical) slip-ups that counterfeiters often make.

Examples of how to spot a fake

This shirt is missing the Nike ‘swoosh’ mark found on the real shirt.

Examples of how to spot a fake

A shirt made by Umbro but Puma branding on the tag – we don’t think so!

Examples of how to spot a fake

Adidas branding on an Under Armour sponsored shirt – a sure sign of a fake.

Examples of how to spot a fake

We hope die-hard Liverpool fans would spot this – a tag stating ‘home’, yet an away kit.

Back Four Insider TIP: It’s all in the detail. Ask advice from a friend or family member who may know the kits better and google the new releases to see how the kits should look – back and front!

4) Swing Tag Botch Ups

Swing tags attached to the shirt are a great indicator of a fake and one of the first we warn law enforcement teams about. Just because there is a swing tag doesn’t mean it’s genuine!

Back Four Insider TIP: First check the UPC sticker (Barcode sticker) on the tag. If there isn’t one – it’s a fake.

Fake swing tags

The UPC sticker should be exactly that – a sticker, not something pre-printed and used across all the tags.

Fake swing tags

The UPC sticker should include all wording correlating to the product. If the text is generic stating words like ‘ADIDAS JSY’ – it’s a fake.

Fake swing tags

Lastly, a size sticker is a flashing beacon for the law enforcement team – so look for this if trying to spot a fake.

Fake swing tags

Counterfeiters are lazy and looking to cut costs where they can, details like this are time consuming and add more expense. The more generic they can make the tag – the more fake shirts a tag can be used on.

5) Care Labels

Back Four Insider TIP: This is a simple one – check the care label for any numbers or marks written in pen or biro, as seen below.

Fake care labels tags

Counterfeiter factories do this as part of the counting process. 99.9% of the fake shirts we’ve seen have pen marks and it’s a clear marker for you.

6) Buy from reputable retailers:

If you want to be sure you’re buying an official product buy from a reputable retailer. You wouldn’t buy a child’s car seat from a dodgy website – so don’t put yourself at risk. Not only will the product be poorly made, in unknown conditions, by staff not working to health and safety standards – you’re also putting your card details at risk.

Official images can be stolen easily from official websites, so don’t let that con you. The shirt that turns up may not look the same.

Counterfeit retail sites

Back Four Insider TIP: When buying online look for the ‘http’ or ‘https’ at the start of the web address and the SSl certificate. Further details can be found here.
Over to you!

Arsenal Kit History: Why the Gunners Play in Red

The history of the Arsenal kit begins in 1886. Queen Victoria is still occupying the throne and professional football is in its infancy. The first football studs are just arriving on the market and we’re still 78 years away from the first Match of the Day.

The beautiful game is very different from how we know it today. But it’s also a time of change for football and a period of colossal importance for the English game.

And that includes the birth of one of its most successful clubs…

Arsenal Kit History: Forest Kit Out Dial Square

The history of the Arsenal strip began when three Nottingham Forest players – Fred Beardsley, Bill Parr and Charlie Bates – joined Dial Square FC, a team of employees from the Royal Arsenal armaments factory in Woolwich, Kent*.

Dial Square were struggling for cash, so Beardsley contacted his former club and asked for a donation. Forest duly obliged, sending a full set of kits to the newly formed side.

Dial Square Red-y to Go

That first-ever kit comprised of a dark red, long-sleeved shirt, white shorts and blue and white-hooped socks. It had a smart collar and three buttons on its front.

The goalie wore the same on his bottom half but with a cream hand-knitted woolen polo-neck jumper. Good luck getting the mud out of that.

In 1891, the side turned professional and climbed to the top division by 1904. However, financial issues hit and, in 1913, the club had to move to a new home – Highbury, north London.

With the move came a new name, Arsenal FC. Plus a local rivalry with one Tottenham Hotspur.

A legend arrives

In 1925, Arsenal acquired a new manager, Herbert Chapman. The Yorkshireman was a pioneer of the game on and off the field. He created the WM formation (a 3-2-2-3 system) and backed influential footballing movements, including the introduction of floodlights and numbered shirts.

He was also the man behind Arsenal’s modern look. According to Arsenal.com: “Chapman either noticed someone at the ground wearing a red sleeveless sweater over a white shirt or played golf with famous cartoonist of the day Tom Webster who wore something similar.”

Whatever the reason, the former Spurs player was the man behind Arsenal’s iconic red base with white sleeves.

Changes roll in

From that point on, Arsenal stuck to their guns, making only minor changes to Chapman’s kit design. At the beginning of the 1970s, came the addition of their cannon logo. And by the end of the decade, Umbro became their first manufacturer’s logo.

In 1982, JVC became their first shirt sponsor, followed by SEGA, O2, and Fly Emirates.

Finally, in 2002, Arsenal looked to appeal to a broader, more international market, adopting the clean, modern-looking club crest that the players wear today.

Where to Buy Retro and Classic Arsenal Kits

To find the very best retro and classic Arsenal kits, head to FutbolMarkt. There you’ll find an ever-growing collection of Arsenal kits, signed items and memorabilia. You can also sell your old memorabilia and even discuss the latest football news. It’s where real football fans congregate.

Main photo credit: Wikicommons/Ronnie Macdonald

*Now south east London.

First Shirt Sponsor In Football: Who Were the Pioneers?

Sometimes a shirt sponsor is so iconic that it becomes unbreakably tied to the club.

Say Sharp to me and I don’t think *checks Google* electronic brand. I think of the Man United sides of the 1980s and ‘90s.

Similarly, JVC, Coors and Holsten are more connected, in my head, to Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham than to their actual products. (Answers in the comments below – no cheating).

But more often than not, shirt sponsorships range from utterly forgettable to downright eye-sore.

So, where did they come from? Who had the first shirt sponsor in football?

Who Had The First Shirt Sponsor In Football?

Strangely, for such a ubiquitous fixture on the kit, the debate over which team had the first shirt sponsor in football rages on.

Some point to the Uruguayan club side, Peñarol, who are said to have had a logo on their chest as far back as the 1950s. But that theory isn’t universally accepted.

Other sponsorships seem to have popped up across Europe shortly after. But again, there’s no consensus on who, where and what.

What is generally agreed upon is that a collaboration between student-favourite drinks brand Jagermeister and German side Eintracht Braunschweig sparked the widespread use of shirt sponsorship as we know it today.

Their deal in the early 1970s, in which the liquor brand paid somewhere between 160,000 to 800,000 marks, was a game-changer. Shirt sponsors weren’t allowed at the time so, instead, cheeky Braunschweig ditched their traditional lion logo and replaced it with Jagermeister’s stag.

The German FA, seeing there was nothing to be done and the cash windfall that could be coming, gave the green light for shirt sponsorships in the German league just a few months later.

Who Had The First Shirt Sponsors In the UK?

The first shirt sponsorship in the UK was adopted by Kettering Town in January 1976.

Bold as brass, the pioneers in Kettering strolled out onto the pitch in a match against Bath City with ‘Kettering Tyres’ across their chests. In recompense, they received a “four-figure fee” – not too shabby for a Southern League Club at the time.

The FA weren’t happy and told Kettering to remove their sponsorship. Instead, the club removed just four letters, claiming Kettering T stood for Kettering Town.

The FA weren’t convinced and threatened them with a £1,000 fine unless the full logo was removed. And so it went.

However, other clubs saw how lucrative shirt sponsors could be and lobbied against the governing body. In June 1977, the FA relented and shirt sponsors became a permanent fixture in Britain’s beautiful game.

Do National Teams Have Shirt Sponsors?

Thanks to pioneers such as Peñarol, Eintracht Braunschweig and Kettering Town, every club side in the world wants or has a shirt sponsor.

But what about national teams? In truth, many have sponsorships and partners.

But FIFA have ruled against allowing shirt sponsors in international games. Which is why national team kits remain nice and clear.

To pick up classic and vintage football shirts – with or without sponsors – head to FutbolMarkt’s Marketplace, where you’ll find real football fans selling pre-loved kits.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to discuss the latest football news and breaking stories, join the FutbolMarkt community.

Main header: The shirt Ryan Giggs wore in the 1992 FA Youth Cup final. Credit: Wiki Commons/Edwin.11

History of the Sporting Lisbon Home Kit

A galaxy of superstars has donned the famous green and white hoops of Sporting Lisbon.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Fernando Peyroteo*.

And, apart from relatively minor differences in style, they’ve all worn practically the same home shirt.

But has this always been the case? And what is the history of the Sporting Lisbon home kit?


History of the Sporting Lisbon Home Kit

Well, it begins in 1902 with a side named Sport Clube de Belas. Destined for a brief but spectacular existence, Belas wore a white shirt and played in front of thousands including the royal family.

Despite their undeniable popularity, the side would only play a handful of games together and disbanded shortly after.

A New Club is Formed

Two years later, members of that Belas side decided to form a new team, this time naming it Campo Grande Football Club.

Ambitious, but not so imaginative, Campo Grande simply adopted the white colours of Sport Clube de Belas.

It didn’t take long, however, for cracks to form.

Some wanted to take their sporting endeavours seriously. While others were more interested in pursuing the social aspects. And so the club split.

From its ashes rose a new side – one that would go on to become one of Portugal’s most successful – Sporting Clube de Portugal.

With its foundation on July 1, 1906, came a new look, the addition of a rather fetching green.

Hoops Make Their Debut

Initially, Sporting divided their strip down the middle. A green half and a white half. The design was named the “Stromp” after club founder, Francisco Stromp, and the style and name are still used for some of Sporting’s alternative kits.

But somewhere in the late ‘20s or early ‘30s, Sporting ditched the Stromp for their home kits and adopted hoops, taking inspiration from Sporting’s rugby team. And the design change stuck.

Since that point, the Leões have remained relatively consistent in their kit design.

The year 1981 saw the introduction of a kit manufacturer’s logo. Puma’s leaping cat. Which was replaced a year later by the rooster of French brand, Le Coq Sportif.

The final major change came in the 1987/88 season when Danish company Hummel took over. And, for the first time, a full-time shirt sponsor was introduced.

Claiming this prestigious spot was Portuguese air-conditioning company, FNAC. No, probably not as exciting as it could have been. But a historic look none-the-less.


Where Can I Buy or Sell Vintage Sporting Lisbon Kits?

Buying or selling a vintage Sporting Lisbon kit is easy. Simply head to FutbolMarkt’s Marketplace. There, you’ll find an extensive collection of football memorabilia, sold by football fans just like you. Can’t see what you want? Not a problem. Simply head to the Wanted Items section and put a call out. Someone will get back to you soon.


*Fernando Peyroteo is Sporting CP’s leading scorer with 544 goals in 334 appearances. At 1.63 goals a game, he’s got a better scoring record than Pele at Santos (0.98), Lionel Messi at Barcelona (0.88), and Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid (1.03). Stats correct as of January 2, 2020, from FIFA.com.

Main header: Sporting Lisbon/Facebook

Barcelona Kit History: Mystery Behind The Blaugrana

With one of the most iconic shirts in football, FC Barcelona can also lay claim to being one of the most successful clubs in the sport with legends like Ronaldo, Messi, Ronaldinho and Maradona wearing their colors. With their blue and maroon stripes (and lately also squares), the origin of the Blaugrana colors is a story of much debate.

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The most common theory is that the colors originated from Joan Gamper, the founder of FC Barcelona, and his love for his previous club FC Basel. A quick look at the Swiss team’s kits offers this theory much credence.

However, other theories. Probably the most improbable would be that a board member’s blue and maroon colored pencil inspired the kit during a board meeting in late 1899. Another is that two of the club’s early players, Englishmen Ernest and Arthur Witty, once brought back their local Merchant Taylors’ School Rugby shirts for all of the FC Barcelona players – who consequently donned the shirts for a match and the start of a long blue and maroon shirt history.

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The stripes of the shirt have also had a long-standing history. Aside from the 2015-16 season (horizontal stripes) and the current 2019-20 shirt (checkered), the stripes on the shirt have always been a consistent vertical. It’s no surprise that fans have often protested with these changes away from tradition.

Another important part of the shirt history is the sponsor. Until 2006, FC Barcelona were one of the few clubs left in professional football without a shirt sponsor emblazoned on the front of their shirts. The change was attributed to Joan Laporta’s board, who reached an agreement with UNICEF for the first shirt sponsor in the club’s history. Qatar Airways followed in 2011, followed by Rakuten in 2017 – along with Beko as their shirt sleeve sponsor.

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Throughout their long 120 year history, Barcelona has had just three shirt suppliers. Sponsorless until 1982, they were then supplied by Meyba from 1982 to 1992, Kappa until 1998, and by Nike ever since.

A final point in the history of the FC Barcelona home kit are the shorts. Interestingly, the first shorts were white, followed by black, with blue only coming into play from the 1920s. Since then, the majority of kits have had blue with the occasional black, or maroon being used on odd occasions.

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Real Madrid Kit History: The Road to Becoming Los Blancos

Arguably the most successful football club in the world, the undisputed Kings of Europe with 13 Championships and the only team to have successfully defended their UEFA Champions League title, not once but twice in a row, Real Madrid are a team with a great history and a kit that has always been recognized globally.

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Since the club was founded on the 6th of March 1902, the team has worn an all-white uniform. The origin of this practice coincides with the introduction of football to Madrid. To participate in a match the “primitive” players took off their regular clothes and played in their underwear: a white undershirt and white shorts. Teams wore colored bands across their chest to differentiate each other, but they fell off easily and so new uniforms had to be found. As the first club in Madrid, the Madrid Football Club retained the right to wear all-white as their uniform.

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The sole exception to this was the year 1925 when they wore black shorts in order to replicate one of the most famous teams of that time: London’s Corinthian F.C. This experiment lasted only one year though because during that season they were eliminated from the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) by Barcelona with a 1-5 loss in Madrid and 2-0 loss in Barcelona’s stadium. Because of this the president decided that this kit brought nothing but bad luck and the team returned to their all-white uniform.

Minor changes have been made to Real Madrid’s kit through the years. Buttons were added in the early 1940’s as well as the club’s crest on the left breast. In 1947 Real Madrid became the first team in Spain to wear numbered shirts.

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The club’s crest has also changed from the first design to what we know now. It started as a simple design that featured the club’s initials “MFC” in dark blue which after a few years evolved into a more streamlined design featuring the initials inside a circle. In 1920 King Alfonso XIII granted the club his royal patronage in the form of a title: Real Madrid. and the king’s crown was also added to the logo. During the civil war all the royal symbols were eliminated and the crown in the logo was removed and replaced by a dark mulberry band of the region of Castille. After the end of the war the crown was restored and the mulberry band was retained while also making the crest full color.

Juventus Kit History: Story Of The Black And White Stripes

Juventus Football Club, La Vecchia Signora (The Old Lady) from northern Italy is one of Europe’s classic teams. Legendary players such as Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane and now Cristiano Ronaldo have taken the field at the Delle Alpi (now Allianz Stadium) wearing the iconic black and white striped shirt.

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It all began in 1897 when the club was founded in Turin by a group of students. The original uniform that the first Juve team wore was, surprisingly, white with a black tie. They played with this plain uniform for two seasons and then, to stand out from the other teams, a pink shirt with a black tie was introduced. The father of one of the players had made the shirt but they soon faced the issue of the color fading after continuous washing. This made it necessary for the team to look for a replacement.

It was in 1903 that one of Juve’s players, Englishman John Savage, called up his contacts back in England to find new shirts in a color that wasn’t so prone to fading. Savage got in touch with a friend who lived in Nottingham and was of course a fan of local team Notts County, and he shipped out the black and white striped shirts worn by “The Magpies” (Notts County) straight to Turin. Juve have worn those colors ever since – considering them to be powerful and aggressive.

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Changes to the kit since 1903 have been minor. In 1979 Juve for the first time added the manufacturer’s logo to the jersey (then Kappa). 20 years later they changed their shirt supplier to Lotto, then Nike and now Adidas until at least 2021.

Another element that has changed in Juve’s kit through the years has been their sponsors. They have had 14 different shirt sponsors since 1981 when they proudly wore Ariston’s logo. The latest partnership they have is with Jeep, this deal will go on until at least 2022.

So there you have it. The “Old Lady” has worn the same colors for most of their history. This iconic shirt is sure to be recognized anywhere in the world, especially now that they have Ronaldo on their ranks.

Man United Kit History: Behind The Red Devil’s Colour Change

For many years now Manchester United has been ranked as the most valuable football club in the world. According to the English newspaper The Independent, the team was worth 3.255 billion Euros as of 2018. This is the result of a global branding effort that has made their kit the most recognized globally. But did you know that the “Red Devils” once wore green and yellow uniforms? Or that a blue cord once adorned the white shirts of the Manchester United players?

giggs man utd

Formed in 1878 as the Newton Heath LYR Football Club by the Carriage and Wagon Department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, they played mainly against other departments and rail companies. Back then it was common for players to wear whatever they had, and players were distinguished by their caps, not their kits. Although there is a mention from The Sportman’s Yearbook from the 1879/80 season that has the team wearing a white shirt and a blue cord.

In 1980 they competed in their first recorded match wearing the railway company’s colors: green and gold. According to historians these shirts were made of cashmere. They wore those colors up until the 1887/88 season when they wore red for the first time, red and white to be exact.

In the 1893/94 season the relationship between the football team and the railway company was strained and perhaps as a last ditch effort to maintain this relationship the team wore the company’s colors once again, the kit for the season was a green and gold striped shirt.

The team struggled financially for almost a decade before being acquired by Captain Harry Stafford in 1902. Together with other investors they decided to change the team’s name to Manchester United. It was during this season that the Red Devils started wearing the solid red kit with white shorts and black socks that they are known for throughout the world.

Stay tuned for more KitStories on FutbolMarkt!

PSG Kit History: The Tale of The Famous Hechter Jersey

Established on August 20, 1970, PSG is Ligue 1’s one of youngest team in absolute terms. Compared to 136-year-old Le Havre or 109-year-old Marseille, the Paris side are relative teenagers in fact. Born after the merger between Stade Saint-Germain and some 20,000 Paris sportsmen, eager to see a great football club in Paris and Stade Saint Germain, Paris Saint Germain have always represented both Paris and Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

The colors of PSG jersey, taken from club’s coat of arms, are the traces of this merger. The red of Eiffel tower and the blue background are traditional colors of Paris, and are representative of French revolution. Red is associated with Saint-Denise and blue with Saint-Martin. The wink of white gives recognition to the coat of arms of Saint Germain en Laye. Fleur-de-lis, a royal symbol, and cradle remind that Louis XIV was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye while Eiffel tower recalls the beauty of Paris.

PSG arrived, the first season of 1970/71 in the French second division, wearing red jerseys with blue and white collars, white shorts, and blue socks. This jersey continued with minor changes until the 1972/73 season. In 1973, Daniel Hechter became club president and designed what is now famous as the “Hechter Jersey”: a dominant blue, a vertical broad central red band framed by two white lines. This look was inspired by Ajax’s jersey. Except for 1974/75 season where the colors were reversed, PSG made the “Hechter Jersey” its home identity until 1982. 

Under the leadership of Francis Borrelli, the Hechter Jersey was put on for away games. Paris now donned for home games in white with red and blue vertical bands on the side – the outer jersey in the last three seasons. Players who have marked the history of PSG in the 80s –Luis Fernandez, Dominique Bathenay – are associated with white jersey with red and blue bands on left side.  It is with this jersey, PSG won its first Cope de France (1982), pocketed the second cup (1983), and won the title of Champion of France (1986). The Hetcher jersey, which was demoted to an away jersey, was replaced for two seasons in 1988-1989 by blue jersey with diagonal strip.   

The Hechter Jersey returned as home identity in 1994 and has remained as home jersey since then. PSG stars such as Ronaldinho, Pauleta, Rai were seen in the Hechter in 90s and 00s. Popular with fans, gray jersey came in sight, as outer jersey, in 1999/2000 and made a comeback following season. The Hechter shirt saw numerous pinnacle moments including UEFA Cup Winners in 1995/96 and this jersey, with its vibrant and iconic colors, has remained the true soul of Paris Saint Germain.

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