With the world swept away with World Cup fever, we asked our vintage product coordinator, and HUGE football fan, Damien Watt to give us his run down of the best football kits every to grace the pitch...
2 years ago, if someone told you that Trump would be the American President, UK voted themselves out of the EU and the English National Football Team had reached the Semi-Finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, I’m sure you would have politely told that person to f*** off. YET HERE WE ARE AND FOOTBALL IS COMING HOME (maybe).
It could be the heat, or because someone was standing on a table at 5 hours after the game at the pub trying to make everyone sing ‘Football’s Coming Home’ for the 15th time (you know who you are), but it’s easy to see that this summer's football fever is more contagious than ever. With England only 2 wins away from immortality (hopefully), I thought it would be only fair to share my favourite football kits from the beautiful game.
10. USA 1994-96 Away
This ‘fake stone washed denim’ kit raised some serious eyebrows with host nation USA at the 94 World Cup. With USA’s young “soccer” history, the kit did no favours to their credibility. Surprisingly, USA advanced through the group stages beating Columbia en route, only to crash out to eventual cup winners, Brazil, with a 1-0 loss. Gaining some respect en route despite looking like muppets. All kinds of ugly but certainly iconic.
9. Northern Ireland 1990-93 Away
One of the more abstract patterns ever created, the ‘90 Northern Ireland away kit is a Craic’ing (so sorry) design. It reintroduced blue to the ‘Norn Iron’ away shirts, a reminder of Ireland's early heritage, and was used for the qualifiers of Euro 92. Unfortunately Northern Ireland failed to qualify, at least they looked tidy.
8. 1995-96 Arsenal Away
This kit is probably the second best thing to happen to Arsenal during the 95-96 season (signing Bergkamp takes the biscuit). Only the 90s could produce a professional kit design that features a lightning bolt. This paired with the JVC sponsoring did create some divide with fans, some claiming that the shirt looked like a badly tuned TV. Ironically this claim also reflects Arsenal's last seasons performance. #Wegnerout
7. Cruyff Two Stripes, 1974 Home
Yes, it is the Netherlands 1974 kit, but this is something a tad more unique. You see, Johan Cruyff was no regular player, he is often regarded by many as Europe's first true football superstar. So when it came to the ‘74 World Cup there was a slight issue, the Netherlands kit was designed by Adidas but Cruyff was sponsored with Puma. Cruyff being extremely loyal to Puma, refused to play with the 3 Adidas stripes on his shirt. The Dutch FA bowed to Cryuff’s demand, and allowed him to play in a bespoke kit with only two stripes, the rest is history!
6. FC St Pauli 2015-16 Away
If you aren’t aware of St Pauli or their fans, they are pretty top notch. Known for their commitment to social activism, they have done some pretty amazing things over the years. From continually fighting against racism, fascism and homophobia in the stands to supporting the Lampedusa refugees. The club even open the stadium doors to 200 anti-G20 protesters in 2017. During the 2015-16 they showed their support in the LGBT community by including the rainbow stripe flag to the sleeves, inside logo and even the captains armband. Class act.
5. SS Lazio 1982-83 Home
Classic kit manufacturer, Ennerre, came up with this wonderful design for Lazio. Dropping the club crest, they incorporated the eagle logo into the shirt itself and paired with some great font work by sponsors Seleco. Bold move dropping the crest, but it paid off, bellissimo!
4. Liverpool FC 1989-91, Away
Liverpool's 89-91 kit is all sorts of wrong, yet somehow it all comes together so well. Maybe it's the bright red trim and logos, maybe it's the silver and grey ombre scaled diamonds. Who knows? Either way Adidas created a sound away kit for there premier league winning season of ‘89. It was also the last time Liverpool won a premier league title, that’s over 10307 days ago…sort it out.
3. England 1990-92, Home and Third Kit
If you read my previous blog post you will see that this kit has a fond place in my heart. Featured in “The World In Motion” video, THE best football anthem of all time, this mishmash of diamonds and classic umbro sleeve tape is iconic. Designed for Italia ‘90, it was also the last time En-ger-land made it to the semi’s.
2. West Germany 1988-90 Home
A tasteful design from the 80s that is timeless, this kit does so many things right. The ‘ribbon’ of the German flag in it’s unique layout, the unaligned Adidas trefoil and German logo, and the three stripes on the shoulders. It showed that football kits could push design boundaries without looking like sick 2 years later. This was also the kit worn when West Germany lifted the World Cup at Italia ‘90, marking their last cup game as West Germany before the East Germany jumped on their tailcoats and integrated after the German reunification in 1990. What a swan song!
1. England 1966, Away
No fancy designs here, just the iconic classic.
For those that might be out of the loop, this was the kit that England wore in the 1966 World Cup. Not only did England host the competition but they bloody well won it, beating Ze Germans 4-2 in an extra time thriller in front of 96,000 fans at Wembley, which also happens to be the UK's most watched event with a casual 32.3 million viewers.
Unfortunately it has been England's only World Cup win despite having the golden generation of the early 2000’s. Not to worry though, because this year, IT’S COMING HOME!