Top 10 | Worst Kit Crimes of the Premier League

(Posted on 14/08/17)

The Premier League is the best league in the world, the world's superstars and most iconic clubs all stem from the English top flight making it the most watched and enjoyable league on the planet.

This week the EPL celebrates it's 25th birthday, and we've got something very special to mark the occasion. 

Most sides over the years have played with real style, and their shirts have been no different with some of the greatest ever football strips coming from England, competing with the likes of Italy, the rightful kings of style.

However, England has been found guilty of some horrendous crimes and that includes the Premier League. Join us as we take a light-hearted tongue-in-cheek look at ten of the worst over the years.

 

 

10- Manchester United 1992/94 (Third)

Kicking off with a classic, this Manchester United third shirt was known as the ‘Newton Heath’ strip, to celebrate the first shirt worn by the club when known by their former name in 1881, which is really where this concoction should have stayed. There was a reason these colours were scrapped before the 20th century for the far more acceptable red, white and black as first worn in 1902. But when the 90s came some sides lost the plot and this horrid example was thought up of, ironically this is now one of the most popular shirts bought by collectors, even if it is a sight to behold.

 

9- Chelsea 2007/08 (Away)

 You’ve designed a god awful shirt, it’s embarrassing and in hindsight you wished you could hide it away from the world, thankfully it’s a dim colour so nobody will take any notice. What? It’s luminous yellow? Well done Chelsea. In 2007 they unveiled some pretty poor shirts, but this one certainly takes the biscuit for being categorically horrendous. It’s a cross between when you’re playing for Chelsea at three but you’ve got to rush to your job as a lollypop lady at six.

8- Coventry City 1992/94 (Away)

What on earth is going on here? Looking like it’s been designed on Microsoft Paint, this Coventry City carnage was designed by Ribero, the designers for some reason never designed a Sky Blues shirt after 1994, and coincidence? I think not. It was an average season for Coventry finishing mid-table in the Premier League and exiting the FA Cup early on. The design of the shirt was pretty nonsensical and was just a tad more ridiculous than the abysmal home shirt.

 

7- Arsenal 1991/93

The only shirt in this list worn in both the old First Division and Premier League, Arsenal’s away shirt was very memorable but equally as harrowing. Worn by such legends as Tony Adams and Ian Wright, this shirt was nicknamed the ‘bruised banana shirt’, and it certainly left them battered following horrible finishes in the league. They ended up 4th and 10th respectively but in 1993 won the FA Cup/League Cup double. In January 1992 came their worst moment whilst wearing this shirt as they travelled to Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground. Having won the title the season before and their opponents were bottom of the Fourth Division, it was expected to be a walk-over. Alan Smith gave the Gunners the lead before half-time but in the last eight minutes Mickey Thomas’ famous free-kick and Steve Watkin’s winner sealed an shaming afternoon for George Graham’s side.

 

6- Manchester United 1995/96 (Away)

Manchester United Invisible Shirt

One of the division’s most infamous shirts, this Manchester United ‘Invisible’ kit was made famous when United travelled to the Dell in the league facing off against Southampton. When the Red Devils went 3-0 down before half-time, manager Sir Alex Ferguson made his side change kit because the ‘players couldn’t see each other’. The shirt was binned after that and you don’t blame them. The horrendous different halves of the shirt at the top and bottom are terrible in equal measure. The Sharp sponsor is normally an iconic one but the difference to this one makes it look, how can we put this? Rubbish. One of Umbro’s worst, I think it’s best we keep this shirt invisible.

 

5- Nottingham Forest 1995/96 (Away)


One of the world's most historic clubs, Nottingham Forest have in the past taken league titles and two European Cups on the bounce under the genius guidance of managerial legend, Brian Clough. But in 1995 ironically after one of football's most barmy characters departed in Clough, the Tricky Trees went completely bonkers with this yellow away shirt. It's very difficult to describe, the pattern on each shoulder that runs down looks like a teenager has scribbled in his GCSE maths notebook whilst the collar looks like  what I imagine the pattern on the inside of a travelling circus' tent looks like. Forest were relegated in 1997 at the end of their last season wearing this shirt, so perhaps there is some justice.

 

4- Liverpool 2013/14 (Away)

One of Liverpool's greatest Premier League seasons, the Reds came so close to securing their first title but were pipped to the post by Manchester City. Had they won the title, this would have surely been the worst ever Premier League winning football shirt. Having departed from adidas a year previous who'd designed shirts at Anfield since 1985, Liverpool were in an experimental faze, lucky for them this experiment didn't involve any dangerous chemicals otherwise there'd be hell to pay. The white and red at the top of the shirt looks basic but looking towards the bottom of the shirt you wonder what happened. Quite honestly unexplainable, we're just going to leave it there.

 

3- Middlesborough 1996/97 (Away)

No badge on the front of the shirt and a random Nordic style cross being donned on the chest? What on earth is going on at the Riverside? Back in 1996 the Boro had clearly lost the plot having signed Italian striker Fabrizio Ravenelli from Serie A giants Juventus. His 17 goals weren't enough to keep them in the division and much like the Forest shirt at number five, football shirt justice was served, they were sentenced to 12-months in the Second Tier without parole before returning. This Errea shirt always earns a second glance, the badge on the side is what does it for us, just why? It is worth noting though that the shirt wasn't all that bad, they did reach both the FA Cup and League Cup final that season!

 

2- Norwich City 2015/16 (Third)

There aren't many words to describe this shirt better than ‘monstrosity’. They've not even destroyed a template or just gone too far with a collar, they've sat down at Errea and said 'let's pick three of the worst colours and match them all up' and that's what they did. One of the things we don't understand is the yellow base, Norwich play in yellow, it goes with their whole identity and as such it's used for their home shirt. By right this shirt defeats the purpose of being a 'third shirt' when the away shirt is also green. Certainly the worst modern Premier League shirt, it's become a bit of a collectable and will certainly be sought after in years to come.

 

1- Chelsea 1994/96 (Away)

The 1990’s were a time of excitement in England. Sport, Music, Politics and Television was thrilling the nation, Liverpool v Manchester United was as exciting as Oasis v Blur and fashion trends began to lift off as the new Millennium loomed. However, this faux par is and will forever be unacceptable, thrown to the back of the wardrobe only to be taken out when rooting around for old photographs. Where do we start? Grey with Salmon Pink is perhaps the worst combination since Liverpool played Mario Ballotelli up front alongside Ricky Lambert. It's not just the colours but the combination, the random rectangles near each arm, the lining on top and bottom of the poorly displayed 'Coors' sponsor is an omnishambles. A random patch of grey and white stripes on the chest is random and looks out of place.

 

For all of those reasons about each ten of these shirts, we absolutely love them! Most people don't, cast aside for flashy smart Italian designs or those modern slick shirts. But give us a mismatch mongrel of unloved kits that we, the collector cherish and we'll be alright. You may be wondering why there weren't any goalkeeper shirts in this list, if there were we wouldn't have a list long enough!

Latest from VFS blog

The Magic Carpet of Eastern Russia

The Magic Carpet of Eastern Russia

You know that feeling, the one when you’re deep in the heart of your homeland in Russia and team...

Read more


USA 94 – A tale of two missed penalties

USA 94 – A tale of two missed penalties

USA 94 is the epitome of football in the 90’s and the launchpad of the game in the world&...

Read more


The Opening Ceremony – Trees, Lederhosen & Giant Footballs

The Opening Ceremony – Trees, Lederhosen & Giant Footballs

It’s the pinnacle of your career the icing on the cake if you will, and now it’s arrived...

Read more


Italia 90 – Tears, Divide and National Pride

Italia 90 – Tears, Divide and National Pride

Whether you were around at the time or not, mention the name of Italia 90 and a thousand of the...

Read more


WORLD CUP ‘86 – DIEGO’S SUMMER

WORLD CUP ‘86 – DIEGO’S SUMMER

World Cup ’86, one of the greatest sporting months of all time as the scorching heat of Mexico...

Read more


The 1982 World Cup – Passion, shock and Gijon

The 1982 World Cup – Passion, shock and Gijon

The 1982 World Cup was one blessed with disgraced nations, lighting quick finishes and perhaps the greatest...

Read more