There are plenty of blogs that publish their list of best kits, and this one is no different. This is my personal list, and I’m serious about it. They’re not my favourite kits necessarily, but I think they all deserve respect.
Denmark’s Hummel kit shocked all of us who saw it for the first time at the 1986 World Cup Finals. It was outrageous, a combination of pin stripe and pointy arrows. It looked like three kits had been stitched together to make one. But worn by one of the most exciting young teams in football history, the kit turned out to be as innovative as the players who wore it.
Nottingham Forest / Adidas 1977-80
I still think that this was just about the perfect kit. It was better with the usual white shorts of course, but the beautiful simplicity of this adidas design is timeless and would look just as good now. The photo doesnt do it justice, as there was an almost velvety texture to the shirt which lent it a quality only too rare in kit design. And it helped that this was a fantastic Nottingham Forest side.
England / Umbro 1965-74
Umbro ruled the roost in the 1960s and this England kit typifies the classic simplicity which stands the test of time. This was an era, of Get Carter and The Italian Job. It was a time of fags and boozers and Michael Caine’s London.
Plymouth Argyle, 1968-71
This is a cracker. It’s the sort of kit that I used to design in my school notebooks back in the day. White with black and green trim – it’s a winner.
Scotland / Umbro 1978 World Cup
It breaks my heart to include this one, such were the circumstances of Scotland’s qualification for the tournament, but you have to admit that their kit was a classic. Just look at that triangular collar. Those Umbro sleeve stripes were set to become a common site on kits around Britain, and I’ve always liked a sock which is a different colour to the shirt and shorts.
Tottenham Hotspur /Le Coq Sportif 1982-83
Tottenham were big innovators in kit design in the early 1980s. Their 1982/83 kit by Le Coq Sportif was a classic, featuring the first ever shadow stripe in a shirt. The kit was unfathomably silky, and its iconic status was guaranteed in Spurs’ centenary year. The legendary Argentinians, Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricky Villa starred in the side which had won the FA Cup in the previous season. This might well be the most homo-erotic kit in the selection – the shorts were silky and very very short. Though not quite as short as in this photo. But still pretty short.
This shouldn’t work, but it does. You put together a yellow shirt, with a green collar, sky blue shorts and white socks, and you get Brazil. A classic variation on the Brazilian national flag, the kit was introduced after a public competition in 1950. It even has its own name; its known as the “canarinha” .
Coventry / Dundee/ Wales / admiral 1977
When this kit hit our eyes in 1977, we were taken aback before falling in love for the rest of our lives. This stock admiral three-stripe beauty was also worn by Bangor City, though Coventry’s brown away kit might be the most famous variation.
Birmingham City 1971-1975
There was a time when you could turn on The Big Match and you would know which team was playing even before Idwal Robling opened his mouth. To me , this will always be Birmingham City’s kit, even though the intertwined badge only appeared for those five years. It looks like a Bukta kit.
Chelsea / Le Coq Sportif 1981
Le Coq sportif gave Chelsea a pin stripe in 1981 and changed football kits forever. I wasn’t a fan of the stripe myself, but we should give them their due and admit that this new amount of detail in football shirts would be here to stay.
AC Milan / Lotto 1992
We were treated to regular Italian football in the early 1990s, first by S4C’s Sgorio, and then Channel 4′s ‘Football Italia’ programme. And very often it was this classic AC Milan side that we saw. This Lotto version of their kit from 1992 was my favourite with its uncluttered design and flattering white shorts and socks. And look at this photo from a game v Juventus. Nobody bothered with away kits in those days. And quite right too.
Cardiff City Umbro 1975-77
I’ve saved the best till last. This is my personal favourite club kit.