FSC Approved – 2002 Benfica away shirt
Many teams in football have predictable colour schemes when it comes to shirts, but every so often a design comes along which mixes things up in a good way.
The 2002 Benfica away shirt subtly introduced orange into the club palette, and it paid off in a big way.
We all know the early 00s adidas template; a free, baggy fit which carried on the aesthetic of the late 90s, mesh panel sides which added an intriguing element to the overall look, and of course three stripes which actually extended more than just a few inches (looking at you, modern adidas).
In an intriguing way, the template offered a different flavour to what was occuring over at Kappa HQ. Kappa had recently released their formative Kappa Kombat range; a series of tight-fitting shirts which promised to revolutionise the football shirt world. That they would certainly do, but for many people and fans like you and me, the shirts adidas produced were simply more wearable on a daily basis. In that sense, early 00s adidas remains highly collectable today.
If your trace Benfica’s shirt history, you’ll notice that white was the away colour of choice for much of tehri history until 1997, when a black third shirt was introduced. This paved the way for the 2002 season, where the black and orange combo was born.
The away shirt had something of a ‘reverse Netherlands’ look, but it was a nice move in complement with the traditional red and white home. The typeface of both shirts at the time was also highly memorable, with a number style that directly linked to the mesh panels on the side of the shirts.
Since the 00s we’ve seen many black and red Benfica away shirts, but no further black and orange nods. I’d love to see a return of the look soon, though.