From the pink jersey donned by Sicilian hardmen to the strip that hid blood on George Best’s ankles, English newspaper The Times has made a selection of the Top 50 Soccer Jerseys (or ‘Football Kits’ as they’d say) in history.
As usual, this ranking (just like any other type of ranking involving sports) has to be taken with a grain of salt: some fans will feel outraged that their favorite jersey has been forgotten, others may not agree on the selection, etc. but it’s always interesting to see what other people think. As the article’s authors state: if you think we have forgotten anyone’s favourite, let us know. A word of warning though: since the article was published in The Times, it is heavily UK-biased. In fact over 75% of the shirts in the Top 50 belong to British clubs, and there are only 6 Italian teams in the list (Azzurri 1970 team included).
As for my personal preference, although I’m a die-hard Juventus fan I’ve always had a soft spot for the Parma jersey: bright yellow & blue colors and a nice design with horizontal lines. For national teams (other than the Azzurri shirt obviously) I love the Brazil jersey… you can’t beat that bright yellow.
Here’s an excerpt from the Times article, which you can find here (the article also contains about 40 pictures of the shirts being worn by players). I’ve posted only the first 10 here (as well as all the Italian teams), but you can find the rest in my article up on Soccerlens. By the way, it took me quite some time to dig up all 50 jersey images, so I do hope you appreciate the effort here…
What about you people? What’s your favorite shirt?
It may be hard to remember in these days when footballers are mobile advertising hoardings, whose polyester shirts generate enough static electricity to power the Central Line, but football kits were once simple, strong statements, with nothing but a club crest as adornment – if that. And, as you can see at any big match, plenty of fans who choose to proclaim their loyalties by wearing a replica shirt prefer the reissued classics to the modern design nightmares.
So in our list of the 50 best kits of all time, most are from the days before the marketing men and failed graphic design students got their hands on the visual identities of clubs and countries. There are exceptions, but pitifully few. And when we get around to the 50 worst kits, many will be much more modern. We have no doubt you will send us your suggestions.
In the meantime, here is our list. If we have forgotten anyone’s favourite, let us know. Often we had to choose between very similar designs: for example, Aston Villa, Burnley and West Ham United were almost identical for many seasons. Sometimes, of course, the fine line between a classic kit and a plain dull one is a matter of association. In the 1960s, there wasn’t much difference between the outfits sported by Wrexham and Manchester United. But George Best didn’t play for Wrexham.