Poignant 2019 PAOK fourth shirt honours fallen fans

FSC Approved – 2019 PAOK fourth shirt

A lot of people are understandably cynical about fourth shirts. No team needs a 4th shirt, and many could feasibly get away with just a home and away, but rightly or wrongly we live in an era where 4th shirts are commonplace.

If you’re going to make a fourth shirt though, you might as well make it as a tribute to your fans. Greek team PAOK did exactly that with their 2019 fourth shirt, and the design serves as a poignant reminder of a dark day in the club’s history which ought to never be forgotten.

On October 4th 1999 a bus carrying fans back from a match between PAOK and Panathinaikos in Athens crashed, killing 7 people. The club have made an effort to remember the fallen fans every year since the crash, and in the 2019 fourth shirt a touching tribute can be found in the form of the date of the crash written on the inside neck.

As a design, the 2019 PAOK fourth shirt is packed full of stunning details. An alternate crest featuring the club’s iconic double-headed eagle emblem stands tall in black against a beautiful grey base, and indeed further black details can be found throughout. 

The relatively reserved nature of the top half of the shirt is juxtaposed with a more striking tonal graphic on the bottom half of the shirt, showcasing the Toumba Stadium which has been the PAOK stadium for over 60 years. It’s a look which reminds me of Manchester United’s classic 1994 home shirt, which featured its own stadium graphic across the body.

Liverpool continue to pay tribute in their kits to the 97 fans who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster, and Manchester United commemorated the 50th year anniversary of the Munich air disaster with a special throwback shirt in 2008. PAOK’s 2019 fourth shirt sits alongside these moments, and shows the best example of what a 4th kit can represent.

Phil Delves

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