Retro Asics football shirts
One of the few Japanese companies who have been successful in the worldwide arena of sport are Asics. Formed in 1949 in Kobe by Kihachiro Onitsuka, the firm began life as Onitsuka Tiger manufacturing basketball shoes before moving into a variety of other sports.
In the 60s the company gained a strong reputation within athletics before, in 1977, it merged with two other brands to form Asics (the name is actually an acronym of the Latin phrase “anima sana in corpore sano” which translates as "Healthy Soul in a Healthy Body”.
Asics made a brief but memorable impact in the British game supplying some very stylish designs in the early-mid 1990s for the likes of Blackburn Rovers (who won the 1995 Premiership wearing Asics), Newcastle United, Stoke City, Leeds United, Norwich City and Sunderland amongst others. They also provided strips for the Northern Ireland national side. All of their strips had a reputation for strength, quality and simple, effective designs.
Sadly for football kit aficionados the company made a business decision towards the end of the 90s to move away from football apparel and focus once again primarily on their initial core market of footwear where they excel. However recent years has seen them appear once again in the clothing world supplying outfits for many sports including cricket, basketball and netball.