About a decade after Kit of the week #2, Kieran Ahuja takes a look at how football kits have changed over the last 70 years.
1960’s: Nothing to see here. Everything’s plain. United and Liverpool are red, Leeds are white, Chelsea are blue. About the spiciest thing going on is QPR’s hoops. Arsenal even get rid of the contrast sleeves for a bit. Baby Piers Morgan probably nearly had an aneurism about it. It’s just nice to remind Arsenal fans that he’s one of you.
1974: Admiral make a historic deal with Leeds to become their official kit manufacturer, in the first deal of its kind. It can’t look the same as all the other white kits now, can it? A few embellishments begin to pop up here and there. A sporadic fancy collar or cuff, a salt bae sprinkle of flair. Danshak spicy at best. Two chillies.
1980’s: Denis Hurley, founder of the website Museum of Jerseys, says that this is, in his humble opinion, the best decade for football kits, with the decade coming to a crescendo in what he says is the ‘best-dressed league season’ – the 1990-91 Serie A season. Also, remember how short Gary Linker’s shorts were? Getting spicier. Three chillies.
1990’s: Football kits snapped this decade. West Germany kicked it off by winning the 1990 World Cup in potentially the nicest international kit of all time, whilst Gazza cried to Nessun Dorma in one of England’s best. Then, football’s ‘Baroque Period’. Hull had tiger stripes. Huddersfield had tie dye (looking for a plug, size large, will pay over retail). Arsenal’s bruised banana kit. ‘Some of the goalkeeper kits were perhaps… a bit too much,’ says Denis, very diplomatically. ‘The vast majority of them were just ‘whatever, you can think of, put it down’’. The truth is that they were, frankly, farcical. Not even enjoying this curry. Just got it to look like a big man. Five chillies.
2000’s: Remember Chris Kirkland? Used to wear a cap? Weird fashion moment, that.
There was a bit of a golden era, with Man Utd, Bayern and Arsenal all opting to go gilded at one time or another. It gave them a bit of a Midas touch as well – both Arsenal and Bayern won their respective titles the years they wore gold. A bit anticlimactic after the kaleidoscopic insanity of the 2000’s though. two chillies.
2010’s: It’s all gotten a bit bland, really. Not much to say. The Nigeria world cup kit was pretty good. Teams don’t promote alcohol brands on the fronts of their shirts any more. They promote betting sites instead. Much better.
Hopefully, as with all fashion, it’ll be cyclical, and in 20 years or so kits will be absolutely mad again.