The Top 50 Soccer Jerseys of All Time

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.

Carlos Alberto & Bobby Moore, captains of the 1970 World Cup Brazil & England teamsAs 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… :P

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.

1 Brazil 1970
1-brazil-1970.jpgAn unlikely combination of yellow, green, blue and white, which proved a challenge to early colour television technology during the Mexico World Cup, but no team has ever looked better than Pele, Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto and company.
2 Real Madrid 1960s
2-real-madrid-1960s.jpgThe iconic kit, unspoilt by logos and motifs and worn by Gento and Di Stefano. Copied by every club from Leeds United to LA Galaxy.
3 Italy 1970
3-italy-1970.jpgThere have been minor variations – remember the figure-hugging version? – but the Azzurri have always been Europe’s best turned-out national team.
4 Holland 1974-78
4-holland-1974.jpgDie Oranje lost two World Cup finals despite a host of great players, but the kit was a winner.
5 Liverpool 1960s
5-liverpool-1960s.jpgBill Shankly decided that adding red shorts and socks would make his red-shirted players appear more imposing. Ron Yeats looked around seven feet tall as a result.
6 Ajax
6-ajax.jpgUnique, simple, iconic. You can’t ask for much more from a football kit.
7 Newcastle United 1969
7-newcastle-united-1969.jpgThe Fairs Cup win was Newcastle’s last trophy. Maybe they should try going back to the classic kit they wore to win it.
8 Celtic 1967
8-celtic-1967.jpgWhat, no shirt numbers? The Lions of Lisbon knew who they were.
9 Wolves
9-wolves_home_0607.jpgOld gold shirts, black shorts. A proud and simple tradition, from Billy Wright to Steve Bull and beyond.
10 England 1966
10-england-1966.jpgPlenty of teams have worn red shirts and white shorts. But only one has ever won a World Cup final.
14 Internazionale 1960s
14-internazionale-1960s.jpgOkay, the ‘catenaccio’ put back the cause of attacking football for many years. But you couldn’t fault the gear.
19 Fiorentina
19-fiorentina-2007-08.jpgViolet is an unusual colour normally reserved for third kits in England, but Gabriel Batistuta wore it with pride for the Viola.
31 Juventus
31-juventus.jpgThis “Old Lady” has always had some decent outfits tucked away in her wardrobe.
41 Sampdoria
41-sampdoria.jpgIt is claimed that chest bands are unpopular because, visually, they echo women’s bras. Tell it to Vialli, Gullit, Lombardo …
49 Palermo
49-palermo.jpgFor sheer nerve. If you’re going wear pink – in Sicily – you’d better be ready to play hard.

Posted in Soccerlens, World News |

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  • 7 Responses to “The Top 50 Soccer Jerseys of All Time”

    1. Jake says:

      I’m with you there Marco, regarding the Brazil shirt. It’s not just the game they play, it’s also the shirt they wear…

      I’m also nostalgic for that USA 94 shirt… brings back the good times at Pasadena and Rose Bowl.

    2. Serja says:

      Checking the top50 list I’d have put the Arsenal 2005-06 higher up than 23rd, but you know me… :grin:

      It’s funny to see how ‘retro’ the Times were in their selection: practically none of the modern shirts of the 90s onwards were selected.

    3. I_ow_u says:

      Wow those are some cool classic shirts. Too many clubs from England though, where’s classic Milan jersey from the Gullit-Rijkaard-Van Basten era? Man that one was cool! :cool:

    4. cool collection, Marco
      I like Liverpool 1960s’s shirt
      English clubs have very nice collection of shirts

    5. ken gates says:

      New Castle ’69 is my choice. I love it, though it would appear that everyone on the team is a ref.

    6. uggpick says:

      New Castle ‘69 is my choice. I love it, though it would appear that everyone on the team is a ref.