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The Lightweight 1980-2002
All these team numbers were first issued between 1983 and 1984. However, this page does not actually contain one hundred teams. A closer look will reveal that there are a lot of gaps between 395 (on the previous page) and 440. This was always a mystery to me because I owned all the UK catalogues for the period 1981-85 as a child and these numbers did not appear in any of them. Nor do they appear in the Italian catalogues. So what were they? As usual, we have some clues, including a couple of team boxes that have recently come to light.
The two teams to surface recently were 395 France, and 417 Genoa. France was identical to the contemporary ref 461, while Genoa was the ref 72 with a badge. So why do they also appear here? The clue is in the teams that around them. 397 Uruguay, 398 Sampdoria, 410 Brazil, 412 Poland, 415 Italy, and 416 Holland are all in the Special Italian C100s series. These teams were sold in special boxes in Italy painted to a higher level of detail with club badges etc. These were originally heavyweight, but eventually gave way to machine printed lightweight versions. Details of the teams can be found in the The Italian Production Appendix. What is very interesting is that the Italian catalogue of 1982-83 showed just four teams in the new lightweight figure, France, Spain, Uruguay, and Sampdoria. If France was 395, and Uruguay and Sampdoria were 397 and 398 respectively, this suggests that 396 was the original number for the new Spain (usually 433).
Sadly, this transfer of numbers doesn't quite work for the 400s, but there are eleven missing numbers here (406-409, 411, 413, 414, 418-421) and eleven other specials to fit in (Argentina, W. Germany, England, Fiorentina, Inter, Juventus, Lazio, Milan, Napoli, Roma and Torino). That looks too good to be a coincidence.
There is less evidence regarding the later numbers, but those from 426 onwards were probably a range of Spanish teams, because all the numbers remaining (424, 425, 431, 439, and 440) are Spanish league sides. The release of these teams coincided with the World Cup in Spain, and I guess they were produced to cash-in on that interest. The Spanish did produce their own team range under licence, using their own numbering system (see the International box sets page). It is possible that this whole range was moved across to the standard range before SSG realised that many of the teams were identical to those already being produced.
Valencia (Spain) 1983-86
Machine print appears in the 1992 Italian catalogue
Cameroon 1983-87. Then 1991-92
Machine prints with and without trim exist.
Kuwait - Produced as a 1982 World Cup side, but only in the UK catalogues in 1985-86
Honduras - As with Kuwait, this was a 1982 World Cup side, but in the catalogues 1985-86
Brazil 1983-98 This long running kit has several slight variations.
Has two different machine prints
Machine print appears in the 1992 Italian catalogue.
Italy 1986-96 The number is earlier than 1986, but it only appears in the English catalogue at this date.
Holland (Netherlands) 1983-88
Genoa with badge. Part of the C100s range, and not catalogued under this number - but a boxed example has been sighted.
1992 sock change.
Real Sociedad (Spain) 1983-86
Spain 1983-85, then 1987-93
Valladolid (Spain) 1985-86
Algeciras (Spain), Atletico Bilbao (Spain), Brentford, Exeter City. 1983-96 (sock change from 1992)
Original wicket striped version with black socks (to 1991).
White sock version had thick stripes.
Late 1980 versions.
Napoli with badges (late 1980s)