World Cups capture the imagination of the public like few other events. Even the most casual football observer can be swept up in the excitement of a national team when the tournament only comes around once every four years.
The Worst Football Kits of All Time
Now and again, a football club will take the veil off a new strip that, visually, plumbs new depths of banality. Worse, it turns out that our clubs here in Blighty are especially regular offenders. Here are what we would consider 10 of the worst – but don’t be too surprised if your favourite team soon debuts something that surpasses many of these in horribleness.
Frankly, it’d be a tall order to bet on which British club’s players are seen wearing the worst football strip of next season. However, if you are interested in betting on other, slightly more predictable aspects of the game, we’ve compared the best online football bookmakers for you.
10. England (1996)
There’s no doubt that Euro ’96 provided many magical moments for England – the type that we might not see again for generations. Doing nothing to hurt the tournament’s memorability was this horrendous choice for the keeper’s jersey. With, err, what look like bright yellow and chalk green rectangles on a red background, it’s colourful alright. Thankfully, David Seaman hadn’t yet adopted his ponytail when wearing this, saving us from what would have been an even worse visual atrocity.
9. Hearts (2016)
Look, we love sucking on those Fruit Salads sweets, but bringing out a kit with the same yellow-and-pink colour scheme as them is going a bit too far. The colours even drew comparisons to Mr Blobby and Battenberg cake. Apparently, the design was actually intended, according to local news outlet the Evening Express, to pay homage to the 19th-century Liberal Prime Minister the 5th Earl of Rosebury. Sadly, it turned out many Hearts fans weren’t exactly big history buffs…
8. Hull City (1992/93)
Hull City are nicknamed the Tigers, so why shouldn’t the players wear tiger-print shirts? That’s obviously what was going through the heads of the execs who gave the go-ahead to this shirt. But, y’know, those players aren’t literally tigers, are they? This looked comical on the pitch, like the design had been inspired by Del Boy. Well, either that, or Tony the Tiger – but we’re not sure how many of the players loved Frosties. Besides, the shirt still isn’t grrr-eat even if many of them did.
7. Newcastle United (2009/10)
After Newcastle were relegated to the Championship in 2009, fans’ dismay was only added to once the club unveiled the away strip for the next season. The club itself called the two-tone yellow attire a “stylish new change kit” – however, one Newcastle fan quoted by The Telegraph complained that it reminded them of a Blackpool beach deckchair. Another supporter, this one of arch-rival Sunderland, suggested that Newcastle players wearing the strip would look like “bananas in pyjamas”. Thankfully, Newcastle were still, the following season, promoted – lemon squeezy (ahem).
6. Sheffield Wednesday (1984/85)
We all know that the 1980s was the decade that fashion forgot, but even this getup went too far, looking akin to something that a member of Earth, Wind & Fire might have worn at a New York club during the disco era. A grey shirt with purple pinstripe matched with garishly shiny purple shorts? They couldn’t even get the pinstripe right – it’s at a 45-degree angle here, not vertical.
5. Nottingham Forest (1995/96, 1996/97)
By the mid-90s, Forest’s glorious Brian Clough era, during which the club won two European cups back-to-back, was fading into history. Worse was to come for them – but in the meantime, they went all Jackson Pollock with this away strip, which looks like someone’s started stencilling on a garish yellow shirt. Except that, well, the stenciller didn’t finish the job – an apt metaphor for Forest at the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in ’96, where they were trounced 7-2 on aggregate while wearing this shirt. Still, as it was at Bayern Munich’s hands, they were saved at least some humiliation.
4. Manchester United (1996)
With its matching of grey and white, this strip was plain if, ultimately, visually inoffensive. However, it could still be convincingly dubbed one of the worst ever strips in British football due to the strangely adverse effect it had on usually great players. Despite having the likes of Beckham and Giggs in their ranks at the time, United never won a game wearing this strip. It was used for only five games before the then yet-to-be-knighted gaffer Alex Ferguson opted for a kit change.
3. Arsenal (1991/92, 1992/93)
The Gunners, then managed by club legend George Graham, went into the Premier League era – which started in 1992 – with this as their away strip. Basically, it’s… yellow with lots of black lines and shapes on it. It was nicknamed the “bruised banana” – whether more as a compliment or an insult, we’re not sure. Thankfully, however, Arsenal looked like fresher bananas a few years later, once Arsene Wenger took over and got the team playing more attractive football.
2. Birmingham City (1972/73, 1973/74)
At a time when there were not one but two countries called Germany, yet another spanner was thrown in the works when Birmingham City unveiled this as their third kit. It’s got yellow at the left, red in the centre, and black at the right. As if it wasn’t bad enough that there were then two separate German flags, the Blues had to add their own Brummie twist to the Fatherland’s colours. It’s not like there were even many German players at the club at the time. Random!
1. Dundee (1953)
Tartan might be a very Scottish pattern but frankly, in a football stadium, we’d rather it be left to be worn only by fans. Dundee obviously didn’t think the same way, choosing to wear this for their 1953 visit to South Africa. It’s rather like English people visiting another country while dressed as knights and drinking tea. The design did, however, make a big impression on the South African press, who called the Dundee players “The Tartan Troops from Tayside”.
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