Special edition shirts have become common place in football. No longer reserved for significant achievements or historic milestones, clubs are becoming increasingly creative in their justification for releasing a third, fourth or even fifth shirt. Cynics are quick to denounce these as thinly veiled revenue-raisers, preying on supporters and collectors who find it hard to say “no”. But it’s not always about hard-nosed profiteering, with charities the ultimate beneficiaries in some instances. Following on from the success of our 2020/21 article, we take a look at the special edition shirts released in Italy during the 2021/22 season and the motives behind them.
1. Lecce (Serie B) – a special edition 114th anniversary shirt designed in the style of their 1988/89 jersey. It was worn v Cosenza in March 2022 and subsequently made available for commercial sale. It was produced by in-house manufacturer M908, whereas the original was Adidas; a subtle change to the three stripes design on the sleeves warded off any potential lawsuit.
2. Pescara (Serie C) – a mash-up shirt released to celebrate 10 years of partnership between the club and manufacturer Errea, which features segments of the previous home jerseys from the decade. This, and a navy GK variant were worn by the first team in march v Cesena and can be purchased from Classic Football Shirts (£40 with code CFS20).
3. Juventus (Serie A) – a fourth shirt produced in collaboration with Brazilian street artist Edoardo Kobra. The geometric design was debuted by the first team against Bologna in April 2022.
4. Udinese (Serie A) – a third shirt to mark the 125th anniversary of the original Udinese sporting society (the football club was formed some years later). One of the shirts of the season and one that has seen lots of action, it is a simple black and white design featuring historic club crests in a vertical central band.
5. Pontedera (Serie C) – a vintage style lace-up shirt released to celebrate the club’s 110 year anniversary. The eye-catching design (by @rupertalbe) was voted for by fans and will be worn in the final game of the 2021/22 season.
6. Bari (Serie C) – the octopus-themed La Bari collection included a match shirt, GK shirt, warm-up jerseys and leisure wear. The outfield version took inspiration from Kappa jerseys of the 1990s; made available to buy in a limited run of 1,000, it sold out almost immediately.
7. Alessandria (Serie B) – a 110 year anniversary shirt in bottle green, featured gold trim and the civic crest. The design was, though, strangely reminiscent of the much-maligned 21/22 Puma template. The wider release included a vintage style warm-up top.
8. AC Milan (Serie A) – a fourth jersey produced in collaboration with streetwear label NEMEN. Worn once by the men’s (v Bologna) and women’s (v Empoli) teams in April 2022. The shirt formed part of a “capsule” release including pre-match and leisure wear.
9. Cittadella (Serie B) – a centenary jersey released two years late due to the pandemic. It evokes the colours of US Cittadellese, a forerunner of the modern club. It was worn once against Cremonese in February 2022
10. Carrarese (Serie C) – an Escape To Victory-themed shirt worn as a one-off v Modena in March 2022. The shirts were auctioned off to provide aid to Ukraine, though the inscription in the collar celebrating the 40th anniversary of the film’s release in 2021 suggests that they had originally been produced for another purpose.
11. Atalanta (Serie A) – La Dea’s annual Christmas shirt attracted controversy when it became apparent that it featured a silhouette skyline not of Bergamo, but of Turin. The outrage sparked amongst the fan base meant the shirt was never worn.
12. Vicenza (Serie B) – originally unveiled last season but never worn, the ICON shirt is a collaboration with fashion brand Diesel (with whom the club have an owner in common). Worn in March 2022 to mark the club’s 120 year anniversary, the deviation from traditional stripes attracted criticism from ultra groups.
13. Cremonese (Serie B) – it’s become an annual tradition for the club to wear one-off Christmas shirts, which are subsequently auctioned for charity. This year saw a Christmas jumper theme, with outfield and GK variants!
14. Sampdoria (Serie A) – an environmentally-friendly 4th shirt released for sale in a limited quantity of 1,000. The club’s unmistakable colourway is included in a vertical band. It was worn once in the match against Lazio in December 2021. Available to buy from Classic Football Shirts (£56 with code CFS20)
15. Parma (Serie B) – the club released a shirt to raise funds for the local children’s hospital, it was worn against Perugia in December and a limited run of 200 were made available for sale. The club also released a special edition GK shirt to honour their returning hero Gianluigi Buffon, modelled on the version he wore in his 1995 debut (available from Classic Football Shirts for £64 with code CFS20)
16. Torino (Serie A) – a 115 year anniversary shirt released in December 2021, featuring a subtle variant of the crest and bearing the date of the club’s formation. It was worn in the match against Empoli.
17. Palermo (Serie C) – a classy fourth shirt with historic versions of the club crest in sublimated detail. Produced for sale in a limited run of 1,000.
18. Napoli (Serie A) – the club have tested the bounds of what’s reasonable with a raft of special edition shirts in 2021/22. Their core three jerseys have variously been supplemented with European versions (gold trim), a navy version and each of those have been embellished with a finger-print portrait of departed icon, Diego Maradona. The navy ‘flame’ jersey and special edition Halloween jerseys were the only ones to depart from the core design.