Shirt: Torino (home)
Sponsor: Indesit / Beretta
Worn by: Rafael Martín Vázquez, Enzo Scifo, Luca Fusi, Walter Casagrande, Gianluigi Lentini.
It’s not feasible to write about Torino’s past without alluding to the Grande Torino and the terrible fate that befell them: the almost total annihilation of their squad in the Superga air disaster of 1949. At the time of the accident, Torino had won four scudettos on the bounce and were well on their way to adding a fifth. Moreover, the club comprised the backbone of Italy’s national team, contributing as many as 10 players for a game against Hungary in May 1947. Torino went on to win the title in 1949 after it was agreed that all clubs involved would field their youth teams for the four remaining games of the season, which was a fitting gesture.
Unsurprisingly, a period of decline ensued, but by the middle of the 1960s Torino had re-established themselves as a force to be reckoned with, culminating in 1968’s Coppa Italia triumph (this, despite the tragic death of star player Luigi Meroni in a bizarre motoring accident). A second Coppa Italia followed in 1971, and in 1976 Torino were crowned champions having wrestled the scudetto from the hands of city rivals Juventus. Indeed, I Granata had a good time of it throughout the 1970s: not once did they finish outside of Serie A’s top ten and every year but two qualified to play in Europe. Such consistency could not be sustained, and the 1980s represented a torrid time for Torino, although not without its highlights.
Torino have consistently worn maroon shirts, usually with white shorts and black socks but sometimes maroon. In the early 1980s they opted for maroon socks. From 1984 through to 1989 their kit was supplied by Adidas, who did a good job on it. Torino managed a second-place finish in 1985, four points behind champions Verona (bear in mind that this was when just two points were awarded for a win). Over the next three seasons they finished fifth, 11th and seventh consecutively, before being relegated to Serie B in 1989 after placing a lowly 16th. When the club gained promotion back to Serie A the following season, kit-making duties were taken over by ABM in an association that would last for the next three seasons.
The ABM manufactured Torino strip, worn between 1990 and 1993, is an exercise in minimalism. There’s no trim and no micro-patterning, just a plain burgundy-red shirt with traditional collars and a V-neck. Shorts were kept white but the socks reverted to black, giving the overall kit a better balance. The fit was loose, without being overly baggy, and the jersey looked as smart off the pitch as it did on it.
During Torino’s tenure playing in Serie B, white-goods manufacturer Indesit had been the club’s sponsor and remained so after their return to Serie A, whereupon they ended up a very respectable fifth. Thereafter, it was Beretta – purveyor of cured meats – who paid to have their name on the shirt, and they benefitted from the exposure when Torino made it into the 1991/92 UEFA Cup Final, only to lose to Ajax on the away goal rule. This was the season that saw Enzo Scifo joining the moustachioed Rafael Martín Vázquez in midfield. It’s been said that Vázquez never really settled at Torino, whereas Scifo – who had returned to Italy to redeem himself after failing to make much of an impact at Inter three years earlier – was more successful. The club finished third in the league, behind Juventus and champions AC Milan, thus qualifying for the UEFA Cup for a second year in succession.
Vázquez subsequently returned to Real Madrid, by way of Marseille, whereas Scifo went on to win the Coppa Italia with Torino in 1993, knocking out Juventus along the way. It was this iteration of ABM’s strip that was probably the best. Very little changed save for the addition of a rather tidy snap-fastened neck. Unfortunately, Torino clinched the Coppa Italia in Rome wearing their away kit, which was still nice but not great. In any case, it had been a very successful three years, and a testament to the managerial talent of the late Emiliano Mondonico.
In the summer of 1993, Enzo Scifo left for AS Monaco, goalkeeper Luca Marchegiani moved to Lazio, Walter Casagrande returned to Brazil, and Lotto took over as Torino’s kit supplier. Lotto’s shirts, as you may know, were made on the cheap and the badges and logos were often sublimated, rather than sewn on as separate, three-dimensional entities.
In 1996, Torino were relegated, wearing a kit manufactured by Lotto, and have been flitting between Series A and B ever since.
Words by James Evans: @JDEvans75