The 2001 Parma home shirt will make you long for the return of Champion

FSC Approved – 2001 Parma home shirt

Let’s talk about Champion.

Despite a history that stretches back over 100 years, the American brand have made little more than a splash in the footballing world in comparison to other companies. You won’t find anyone working with the brand in 2020, and their most recent high-profile partnerships were a couple of completely forgettable stints with Wigan Athletic and Wales in 2008.

To many shirt fans and football fans, Champion will be remembered for another, more aesthetically pleasing collaboration. Between 1999-2005, the brand produced shirts for cult side Parma, and unlike the Wigan and Wales stints the 6 years in Italy were entirely memorable…

When Champion arrived at the Stadio Ennio Tardini in 1999 they had big shoes to fill. A succession of big names in the football shirt world including Umbro, Puma and Lotto had all taken their turn to produce designs for I Crociati, and it would’ve taken a brave person to pet that Champion would manage to surpass them all in terms of legacy.

In terms of pure shirt design, I’d argue they did

Right from the off, the strength of the partnership was clear. Champion, like Kappa before them, played fast and loose with the use of their brand logo, opting for the wonderfully 90s approach of repeated logos down the entire length of both sleeves for their first Parma home shirt (a trick they repeated until 2003).

Notably, Parma also fully adopted the blue and yellow hooped look as the designated ‘home’ look, having favoured white as the home kit in previous seasons, and whether this was a decision driven by the club or Champion, it was a welcome one regardless.

One of the most notable Champion Parma shirt was the 2001 home shirt, which boasted a more orange shade for the yellow hoops, in combination with a subtle gradient for each hoop, blue and yellow. Even more noticeable was the “Joy Parmalat” sponsor variant, which perfectly described the feeling you have looking at any Champion Parma shirt.

And mercifully of course, the Champion logo did its thing without a care for the world.

Before I finish, it’s worth saying that 2001 was the first season that Japan’s greatest ever player Hidetoshi Nakata played for Parma. As far as cult players go, it doesn’t get much bigger than Nakata, and the fact his short but brilliant spell with Parma coincided with the Champion years is a gift we can only be thankful for.

The 2001 Parma home shirt isn’t just one of our favourite shirts of all time, it’s also available in our store in our big 20% Black Friday sale! Act fast before it goes, and whilst you’re there check out what else we have available.

What is FSC Approved?

What makes a football shirt good? It’s a purely subjective question, right?

Whilst there are indeed a lot of subjective elements when it comes to shirts, there are still factors to consider. Sometimes, a design is notable for its unique aesthetic. The colourway, pattern or construction may have gone where no shirt dared to go before it, or it might simply be a particularly good utilisation of a classic approach. Other times, a legendary player elevates a design to immortality, even if the design in question would’ve been hard to pick out of a crowd before.

Our series FSC Approved will be a lovingly curated list of shirts that deserve to be in the conversation as good, possibly even great football shirts, no matter who you support or what your taste in shirts is. Old classics, new contenders, if it’s FSC Approved it’s as close to a certified banger as you can get.

Phil Delves

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