In the second edition of The Football Pink’s Greatest… series, we had our contributors choose and write about their favourite kits. What follows is a great range of eye-pleasing works of art.
Sarah Cooper – Nigeria (2018)
When it comes to football kits, for me the brighter and whackier the better. Rather than plum for one of those crazy 90s kit, I’ve chosen the 2018 Nigerian national team kit. It doesn’t have any significant meaning for me, it’s just nice on the eyes. When anyone mentions favourite kits this one springs to mind. Its original, stylish, and what I feel is a modern interpretation of the whacky abstract kits of the early 90s.
A colour scheme of white, black and lime green; anything in lime green is a winner for me. A chevron style pattern with fuzzy edges covers the shirt. I find it lively and energetic to look at and apparently it was designed to reflect Nigerian culture too.
Interestingly this kit can appear to play with your eyes. Is it green with white chevrons or white with green chevrons? It’s the same with the sleeves, black with white chevrons, or white with black, who knows? It’s great either way.
A perfect combination if ever there was one, fashion-forward and one that I hoped a few more teams might follow suit with, including my own. But I’m still waiting on that one.
Matthew Gibbs – France (1982)
When people say modern football was better in the old days, there’s one thing they are absolutely right about- the football kits. For me, the 1980s represent the absolute pinnacle of football kit quality. This was the heyday of Adidas kits; they were mostly simple designs but were the epitome of cool. Special mentions must go to Denmark’s 1986 Hummel strip and Birmingham City’s classic Adidas strip from 1980, but the greatest kit to ever grace a pitch must go to the 1982 French World Cup shirt.
While it helps this was the era of Michele Platini in his pomp, any world-class footballer (and not yet corrupt politician) makes a kit look good. The deep blue is unmistakably French and the use of the almost 70s sleeves design helped anyone who wore it look doubly as cultured.
Made famous by that effortlessly cool image of Jean Tigana and Gerard Tanvion, everything about the shirt oozes style. From the white and red pinstripes, to the use of the classic Adidas Trefoil logo and oversized Gallic rooster, everything on that shirt worked perfectly.
That 1982 France kit was a thing of beauty.
James Young – Manchester United away (2003-05)
Since winning the treble in 1999, Manchester United had moved on as a football club. Peter Schmeichel had been sold, as had David Beckham, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke. United’s kit deal had also been sold as well. Nike was now United’s new kit manufacturers after a loyal stint with Umbro stretching back to 1992 had come to an end. Although United weren’t quite the same force in Europe post 99′ until 2008, they still had a good side that was worthy of some nice kits.
For the first few years, Nike didn’t let United down with their designs. The all-black away shirt that United had between 2003-05 was incredible. The white Vodafone sponsor in the middle supplements the rest of the shirt so well alongside the white trim. It’s one of the best kits that Nike has ever produced. Perfect for European nights, perfect for battle, looking proper classy. Unfortunately, United couldn’t quite match their style with success on the pitch. This shirt is unfortunately known as the one that United lost the FA Cup final to Arsenal in at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. However, it was the shirt that Cristiano Ronaldo wore on his Champions League debut away to Stuttgart. Every cloud…
David Nesbit – Tottenham Hotspur (1980-82)
The greatest-ever kit, in my opinion, is probably Tottenham Hotspur’s home kit as worn from 1980-82.
A very simple yet magnificent design by manufacturers Le Coq Sportif, the shirt was all-white with a plain dark blue trim around its sleeves and collar, which was shaped in a v-neck. In the middle of the chest was the Tottenham cockerel emblem, while the Le Coq Sportif manufacturer’s logo adorned both sleeves.
The shirt was made of shiny material, as was often the case in that period, so seemed to reflect either the sun during afternoon matches or the floodlights in evening ones. The shorts worn were normally dark blue (and shiny) with once again the cockerel and manufacture’s logo present. Occasionally, Spurs would wear white shorts with the white top and if anything this combination looked even better.
The 1981 FA Cup was won in this kit, and it was a period when players such as Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles, Garth Crooks, and Steve Archibald wore it with pride, and simply looked fantastic in doing so.
Andrew Haines – Oldham Athletic (1966-71)
To choose a favourite kit of all time is no simple task and even less simple to choose the kit of a club that is not your own. So, I haven’t. Although, the home and away kits of Germany in 1990, in particular the home kit, ran a very close second to my choice. As mentioned in my greatest goal of all time ramblings, I’m a lifelong supporter of Oldham Athletic. To many, or at least those who pay attention to lower league football, Latics are quintessentially blue and white.
However, that has not always been the case. In the beginning, the first 12 or so years of existence, the Boundary Park club played in red and white and for a period from the mid-‘60s to early ‘70s, Latics were blue and tangerine.
The latter of the two is my choice as between 1966-1972 Oldham became the ‘tangerine terrors’, or so they were nicknamed by the press, after sporting two brightly-coloured kits during that period.
I am far too young to remember any of that first-hand, but since then the colours have become almost ingrained in club folklore as much as blue and white; with many away kits since then adopting the same colours and fans have even created a chant for the kits to the tune of Yellow Submarine by the Beatles.
Perhaps this is, again, not an obvious pick. However, I like the idea that a whimsical decision to change the club’s colours to make the players slightly more striking for a six-year period has later become deep-rooted in its heritage.
Cameron Brookes – Barcelona (2005-06)
Ronaldinho, Eto’o, Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Deco, Larsson and Puyol all graced the blue and crimson striped jersey of Barcelona in the 2005/06 season. Need I say more? Well, it is a team that won the Champions League as well as securing the La Liga and Supercopa double for the second year in a row. In no small part due to the strike force of Eto’o and a Ballon d’Or winning Ronaldinho being at the peak of their powers. The simplicity of this shirt is what makes it so pleasing on the eye; the classic stripes underpinned by the Barcelona crest on one side and small Nike tick on the other, no shirt sponsor insight.
Barcelona’s best performance in this jersey was surely there 3-0 domination of Real Madrid at the Bernabéu. Donning the long-sleeve shirt Ronaldinho was simply untouchable in the star-studded El Clásico, netting two beautiful solo goals, whilst a then 17-year-old Lionel Messi was dribbling past his first of many defenders in his break-through season. It may be a slightly forgotten Barcelona side; overshadowed by Pep Guardiola’s tiki-taka dominance two years later. Yet, it was a team full to the brim of flair, style and fun; encapsulated by the gliding, graceful and at times ridiculous Ronaldinho.
Rodney McCain – Northern Ireland away (1982)
Football kits… they can be an emotive topic. I’ve seen some nightmares in my time – anyone remember Coventry City’s BROWN away kit by Admiral from the late 1970s?! Bloody awful. I can still picture the ginger-haired mop of Ian Wallace (Google him, kids…) charging around like a drab headless chicken in it….
Anyway, from memories of that nightmare to the greatest ‘eye-candy’ strip of all time: Northern Ireland’s “away” kit, worn during the Espana ‘82 World Cup Finals by such luminaries as Norman Whiteside, Sammy McIlroy and Martin O’Neill. It was manufactured, not surprisingly, by the “daddy” of kit suppliers, Adidas.
Not only have I always been partial to Adidas (much better designs than their rivals), but I’ve generally always favoured International team kits simply because they aren’t plastered with sponsors’ logos. The ’82 Northern Ireland kit was simply iconic, a masterpiece.
Adidas had been producing kits for the I.F.A. since 1977, but prior to this nifty number, the kit designs had been conservative and unimaginative. Now, here we were, heading off to sunny Spain wearing brilliant white shirts with green collars… and pinstripes! It helps if your gorgeous new kit also brings a sprinkling of ‘good luck’ with it… step forward Gerry Armstrong! On a warm Valencia evening, it was Gerry who smashed home the only goal of the game as we beat hosts Spain 1-0 to win our Group. Lookin’ good, feelin’ great!
Graham Hollingsworth – France (1998)
Like choosing which of my (so far) nonexistent children is my favourite, this was an incredibly tough decision. I ruled out anything from before I was born, including the beautiful Liverpool Crown Paints/Candy shirts of the ’80s, and the England Italia ’90 strip. I also felt it wouldn’t be right to include one I hadn’t actually seen in a game, so that meant none of the delightful Boca Juniors home kits from the last 15 years. A real shame.
Instead, I’ve plumped for the ’98 France home shirt. Not only is it a sight to behold, from the Royal Blue background, the three thin White stripes of Adidas contrasted by the thick Red block running horizontally across the chest, to the incredibly 90s style collar. It brings back great memories of my first international tournament, and witnessing the majesty of Zinadine Zidane as he glided effortlessly across the pitch, dictating games with his exquisite skill, touch and passing. It is a shirt of winners. I have tried for years to find one that isn’t an XXXL, or costs less than a brand-new Porsche, to no avail. So, for now, I’ll just have to watch the 98 World Cup final on repeat to appreciate its majesty.