AS Lodigiani: Are You England in Disguise?

England’s kit from the 1982 World Cup was chosen by GQ magazine as their greatest ever shirt. It features a deep V-neck, bold red and blue panels to the shoulders and the nostalgic Admiral logo. It is a shirt synonymous with Keegan, Wilkins and Butcher and another what-might-have-been summer of tournament football. For many, it is the pinnacle of retro national team shirts.

The kit won international admirers at the time too, most notably in the form of AS Lodigiani. Lodigiani were the “third” team in Rome, based at the legendary Stadio Flaminio, but playing in the lower leagues of the Italian pyramid. They were a club with a strong reputation for youth development. Later, Francesco Totti would spend three years in their academy prior to joining AS Roma.

Since the late 1970s, Lodigiani had been using the British company Admiral as the technical supplier for their red and white home shirt. In 1982, they took the unprecedented step of adopting the England shirt. Not just the colours or Admiral template, but a lock-stock adoption of the entire shirt, complete with Three Lions on the chest. In fact, so taken were they with the design that they used the inverted red away version too.

They took modest steps to personalise the shirt with the addition of a small Lodigiani club crest, placed just below the Admiral logo. But this was unmistakably an England shirt in Italy’s fourth tier.

Lodigiani kept these kits until 1985, during which time a subtle variant was produced after their youth team were victorious in the Giovanissimi Nazionale, the national under-15 championship. The augmented version featured a larger club crest, sewn over the Admiral logo, whilst the Three Lions were covered with a scudetto shield.

In a further parallel with the English national team, Lodigiani later switched supplier to Umbro, but were not tempted to repeat their emulation. From 1985 they reverted back to their traditional red and white shirts, and so ended one of the more bizarre episodes in football shirt history.

Thanks for reading – if you enjoyed this you might also be interested in the (mis)adventures of David Platt and Franz Carr in Italy’s Serie A.

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