The Story of Lazios Iconic Eagle Design
You know the shirt, but what’s behind one of the most notable designs in football?
Lazio and the eagle
Every team has something signature about their kits.
Juventus and their monochrome stripes, Napoli and their 3000 sponsors, Fiorentina and their clean violet primary colour. The list goes on. However, one club has something special, and it’s something that only appears every now and then. That team is Lazio, with their stunning Eagle design running across the shirt. This stylised eagle design has appeared on officially branded scarfs, as a replacement for the eagle and shield badge and every unofficial piece of Lazio memorabilia that you can imagine.
Why does Lazio have an eagle on their shirt? Does it carry any important meaning? Let’s find out.
The early 1980’s were a depressing time for Lazio. Relegated to Serie B in 1980 for a betting scandal, they were not an inspiring team to watch. In the 1982/83 season, Lazio’s kit manufacturer changed from adidas to an Italian company called Ennerre, and they tasked designer Otello Cecchi to come up with an inspiring new design. What a job he did. In the now iconic design, Cecchi placed a dark blue eagle running across the front of the shirt, separating the background colours of white and sky blue. The navy wings also ran around to the back of the shirt and sleeves as well. They also used the template for their away kit, with the primary colour being a Dark Spring Green and the eagle being a clean white. The goalkeeper versions of this eagle design include a grey/navy one, a dark navy/white one and a weirdly bizarre sky blue/orange design (with the eagle in this one being the same navy as the home shirt).
Despite the popularity of the design, it did not return until the 1986/87 season, with the home shirt featuring little changes (apart from the “Cassa di risparmio di Roma” sponsor). However, the away shirt went for a new colour scheme. This kit featured the same navy for the eagle, however the primary background colour across both the shirt and the shorts was a slick shade of yellow, with small streaks of white breaking up the eagle’s wings. It was unique, stood out and looked good.
Shockingly, it took another 29 years for the design to resurface, this time for the 115th anniversary of the club in the 2015/16 season. Macron didn’t change much, although they increased the size of the eagle and the wings, so it was more noticeable and intimidating on the shirt. The away shirt featured a sky-blue eagle on a black background, a first for this template. There was also a beautiful version of this template for the goalkeeper kit, this time featuring a white eagle and a stunning shade of turquoise.
Finally, in the most unique version of this design, we have the kit worn only in Lazio’s Europa League campaign, which featured a black eagle on a charcoal background (making it incredibly subtle and tasty). The badge in this version was also blacked out. This kit caused some controversy after French newspaper Le Monde accused it of having fascist connotations, with the headline of their article being ‘Lazio will play in blackshirts’, a reference to the uniforms of the paramilitary section of the Italian fascist party in the 1920’s and 30’s.
Finally, we jump to the 2018/19 season. Macron again re-released the same exact design as the 2015/16 home shirt, apart from some small changes to the collar. The goalkeeper kit to go with the home shirt was the black/sky-blue design featured in that season as well. Strangely, Macron didn’t bother with the eagle template for any of the other kits, a baffling decision considering the popularity of the design.
So, what is the future of this template? Well, there is always an expectation of a Lazio home shirt featuring white or sky-blue as the primary colours, but the away and third shirts have the freedom to try other colour schemes, such as a black primary colour with a gold eagle, or even just a remake of the classic yellow/blue design from the 1986/87 season.
Let me know what colour schemes you’d think would work on my Twitter!