No. 88 – The Day they wore cream suits at Wembley
It was May 11 1996 when Liverpool travelled to Wembley to face Manchester United in the 1996 FA Cup Final, but despite the rivalry between the two teams, it was a fairly unmemorable game, rarely sparking into life. However, with just five minutes remaining on the clock and with extra time looming, David James tried to punch a corner clear. The ball landed just outside the penalty area at the feet of United captain Eric Cantona, Cantona twisted his body and struck a sweet volley through a phalanx of Liverpool defenders and into the net to win the match for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
However, the most memorable thing about the 1996 FA Cup final was Liverpool’s choice of white suits for their Wembley day out ‘“ those cream Armani Suits…. Ian Wilkerson wrote for the BBC after the game ‘œWhile fashion and sport are familiar bedfellows at Royal Ascot, it is rare that football’s end-of-season showpiece finds itself in the shadow of the clothes one team decided to wear on the day.’
Apparently David James had been modelling for Armani and arranged to have the team kitted out for the final, so off the players went to Wembley sporting their cream Armani suits, a decision John Barnes later claimed ‘œWhen you do something like that you better win’. Liverpool lost and the Spice Boys image took shape never to be forgotten. Jason McAteer speaking to the Independent after the game commented ‘œWe didn’t play in the suits, that’s the thing. If we had won the game it would have been different, they would have been our lucky suits. It was just one of those things. David James had a deal with Armani and was offered the suits. When they arrived they weren’t quite what we expected, but it was too late to change them. We probably didn’t help ourselves at the time because we were known as the Spice Boys and we did add fuel to the fire by wearing them.”
A day we’ll never forget but a day we are happy to forget….