01 November, 2007

Nasty Kits part Deux: Return of the Garish Shirt

Following the runaway success of our first feature on the 10 Worst Kits Ever, and subsequent copycat pieces in everything from The Times to Extreme Razzle: Reader Wives (Get Their Kit Off), we at STT have decided to once again grace you with a further selection of the garish, the bizarre and the downright offensive. As the spectrum has expanded so far, the task of actually ranking these has become near impossible so we shall leave it up to, dear reader, to actually decide on your own personal favourites from this ghastly 30…

1) Ajax Away

So 80s it hurts, this somewhat strange Rubiks Cube-style effort is what happens when you leave Dutch designers alone in Amsterdam for too long.

2) Arsenal Away 1989

This always reminds me of a roadworks sign for some reason, with the dirty yellow and ‘cutting-edge’ computerized pattern fade out of date even before the terrible lycra it was made out of.

3) Australia Home

As a piece of abstract art, this would probably be hailed as a masterpiece, but on a football pitch it simply causes dizziness and mild nausea. Stare at it for too long and you also start seeing faces in it…

4) Barcelona Third (aka ‘European Away’) 2007

Now I’m all in favour of highlighter pen shirts, but this orange number is just grotesque. The current Barcelona domestic away kit was also in contention this time around, for its clashing bright blue stripes, but the retina-burning glare of this orange number simply has to take it.

5) Burnley Away

Not dissimilar to a really cheap deckchair you might find down Brighton Pier, this abortion justifiably didn’t stick around too long. However, like some of those standard internet optical illusions, stare at it for long enough and the stripes actually start moving. It’s a good thing.

6) Cambridge Away

Presumably designed by a disavowed monk, this rather sharp number resembles a cheap stained glass window. I genuinely wouldn’t even wash my car with this for fear of people seeing me with it.

7) Cameroon Home 2005

The infamous one-piece kit that, although good for showing off your equine package (if you’re Samuel Eto’o), turned out to actually be pretty constrictive and horrifically hot during the recent African Cup of Nations. When you’re out of the earshot of the players, it’s ok to just call it a leotard.

8) Carlisle Away 2006

This just looks like a clown’s outfit to me, absolutely hilarious. The Eddie Stobart sponsor is a nice touch though, whatever happened to them?

9) Club Deportivo (Peruvian league)

OK so it’s pretty lowest-common-denominator humour, but still makes me smile!

10) Dulka Prague Away 1960

Bit of an old-school horror from the once mighty Czechoslovakia, by itself I guess the strange colour clash isn’t too bad. What grates however is the fact that you just know any toss-piece that works in Topman would sell their own mother for a slice of this ‘retro’ action.

11) Linfield Town Away 2000

This is what the inside of Kaleidoscope looks like kids!

12) Liverpool Away 1992

Many of Liverpool’s away kits from the 1990s were in contention here but I just always had a real soft spot for this one. The colour is so bad (What even is it; green, blue, turquoise?!) while the subtle triple-white-stripe branding from Adidas looks like a huge fork.

13) Manchester United Away 1992

Again, several Man United away kits from this era were considered (the sweet yellow and green halves, complete with string-tie collar, came close) but literally everything about this one is wrong. The small badge over the ‘groin’ area on the shorts is a nice touch though.

14) Manchester United Third 1995

The so-called “worst kit ever,” this was only ever worn for a first half in the 1995 FA Cup, before it was deemed so bad that it genuinely appeared to be affecting the team’s performance. No Sir Alex, that was just Nicky Butt.

15) Marseilles Away 2007

One of the unexpected highlights of this season’s Champions League campaign so far, the controversial pairing of bright orange and bright blue really shouldn’t work, yet somehow, when combined with Djibril Cisse’s immense facial hair, looks like a page out of the Armani catalogue.

16) Mexican Goalkeeper (Yes, Campos again!)

Another day and another fashion disaster by the pint-sized uber-keeper. This time he’s chosen some kind of strange chess board pattern, filled in with seemingly random colours and symbols. Kind of like the Da Vinci Code, but for shirts perhaps. Only better.

17) Mexico Home

Obviously I can see why one might think this is awful, but I dunno, it’s definitely grown on me now and I kind of like it! Pretty imtimidating, its just a shame that the face couldn’t come to life as in classic 80s cartoon The Visionaries…

18) Notts County Away

As a general rule, turquoise and purple are both horrible colours, especially on clothes, so not quite sure how they could have possibly ended up framing this mid-90s horrorshow. If prisoners were forced to wear this, I guarantee crime would drop.

19) Nottingham Forest Away 2001

Clearly going with ‘modern’ and ‘hip’ new designers, Nottingham Forest’s staff could not have been pleased with the result. The yellow’s bad enough, but coupled with the random childlike squiggles and crayon text, it’s not a good look even in a blind school.

20) Norwich Home 1992

The infamous ‘bird-poo’ kit that still haunts the memories of Canary fans around the English Riveria. There’s not much really to be said, its just awful.

21) Oldham Away

Another shirt made predominantly in a colour that I have never seen before or since, this monstrosity was mid-90s colour-clashing chic at its finest. If that wasn’t bad enough, they spelt ‘Hovis’ wrong on the front too.

22) Palermo Away 2006

A nice charming ‘salmon’ number from the Italian up-and-comers, here modeled by the only kind of player fit to wear the shirt. A woman.

23) Scunthorpe Away

Awesome computer-modelled 80s pattern here, with the sky blue and yellow really complimenting the blood red. A nice sponsorship from Pleasure Island is actually pretty cool though…apparently they have “more than five hair-raising rides” and everything!

24) Sheffield United Third 2000

Not even pikeys wore this when it came out and it hasn’t exactly matured with age either. The contrast of highlighter yellow with jet black really emphasizes the subtlty of the design.

25) Shrewsbury Away

This was genuinely created by a primary school class doing potato-printing. You wouldn’t guess though.

26) Southport Home

One of the first club shirts to truly embrace the ‘magic eye’ phase of the early 90s, Southport mesmerized their opponents by having photos of Baywatch trouser-tighteners Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra tactically planted within the pattern.

27) Stoke City Away 1993

Again purple, but this time coupled with bright yellow and white to create a style that can only be described as TV static. The fact that the purple on the shorts and socks doesn’t quite match any of the shades of purple on the shirt is not an accident.

28) Swindon Away

Presumably birthed after their original plain white shirts got horrendously grass stained and the club washing machine broke, these became somewhat of an institution around the South West. Generally pretty cheap-looking, and the controversial support of the socialist state of Burma was not met with all round applause. Useful as emergency camouflage though I guess.

29) West Brom Away

Another terrible deckchair pattern, which although brighter in colour, is still as hard to look at as the Burnley effort. Slight kudos for attempting to ape the epic ‘Roy of the Rovers’ Melchester look though.

30) West Ham Home

And finally to an effort that resembles not only a broken mirror, but also one of those puzzles that comes out of Christmas crackers where you have to slide the squares around to create a picture. The colours are also pretty murky and wouldn’t look too out of place as the interior of a coffin either. Pretty much all I’m looking for in a football shirt then.