Kit of the Week #66: Roma Have It Licked

You’ve got to hand it to Nike and AS Roma.

Nobody weaves vintage material into modern day football shirts better than the US firm and in the Giallorossi colours of the Serie A giants, they have struck a rich vein of inspired kits based on the club’s impressive back catalogue.

Last summer, their partnership delivered arguably the best combination of home, away and third shirts seen on Planet Football and for the future 2020-21 Serie A campaign (whenever that should be), Nike have paid tribute to a cult kit from 40 years ago.

AS Roma, 2020-21, home, kit, Nike
AS Roma’s 2020-21 home shirt by Nike

AS Roma’s so-called “lollipop” shirt was one of the very first kits to realise the commercial potential of football shirts.

Known affectionately as the “ghiacciolo,” or ice pop in Italian, the shirts were produced by cult-brand Pouchain and designed by Piero Gratton, the man behind so many of Serie A’s most recognised badges including Roma’s very own vintage Lupetto crest, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

AS Roma, Pouchain, Lollipop
Roma’s original lollipop shirt was designed by the great Piero Gratton

Gratton and Pouchain had seen first hand how far American sports franchises had monetised their uniforms and set out to do the same in Serie A.

A Tribute to Piero Gratton

The lollipop is rumoured to have been inspired by the sun-soaked baseball shirts of the Houston Astros and featured as Roma avoided relegation in 1979 and then won the 1980 Coppa Italia wearing the away version of the design.

Houston Astros, AS Roma
Houston Astros’ baseball shirts are thought to have inspired the original lollipop shirt

Nothing sears a shirt into fans’ consciousness than an association with success, and over the past 40 years, nostalgia and lust for further titles have seen those Pouchain designs attain legendary status.

Nike’s 2020-21 AS Roma home shirts are a faithful update to the lollipop, featuring a bold band of gradually shifting colours that bring to mind a Roman sunset.

As the protracted 2019-20 Serie A campaign draws to a close, Roma debuted their new kit in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Fiorentina, as French midfielder Jordan Veretout dispatched two penalties to claim a win and continue their impressive form since the restart.

Nike, AS Roma, 2020-21
Another Nike shirt needlessly discarded in a park

This is the kind of modern/retro shirt that gets us excited at Sartorial.Soccer, and if rumours are true that this might be the final collaboration between Nike and Roma, then these are a fitting sunset to a partnership that has brought some of the very best Serie A designs in recent years.

đź›’ You can shop for this and all this season’s new releases at đź›’

AS Roma, 2020-21, Nike, Dzeko, Lollipop
Roma players celebrate Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Fiorentina

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