It’s a pretty sad reflection on the state of football shirt design when it’s much easier to pick the five worst ones than is to find the best kits for the 2008/2009 Premier League season.
Many of the new shirt designs are boring and predictable, borrowing the designs from already created templates. Adidas and Umbro are particularly guilty. But rather than dwell on the negative, let’s take a look at the five best ones (in reverse order).
5. Manchester City home.
Le Coq Sportif’s design for the Manchester City home shirt is quite unique. The way the V-neck collar is cut is futuristic. The arc of color that runs across the upper chest is also original. So too is the placement of the kit manufacturer’s logo on the shoulder, which allows the Man City club crest to be displayed front and center above the sponsor’s name. With Le Coq Sportif, fans either love or hate their designs. To me, they’re original, artistic and a breath of fresh air.
4. Liverpool home.
While Liverpool’s new away and third shirts are ranked among the worst of 2008/2009, Adidas got the home shirt design perfect. The shirt is the perfect balance between retro (the three stripes on the shoulders) and traditional (the red checkered design on the inside collar, which is inspired by the colors of the flags of the Kop). This is definitely one of the best Liverpool home shirt designs in years.
3. Hull City home.
Umbro’s design for the new Hull home shirt is spot on. The kit manufacturer and club decided to revert back to Hull’s traditional yellow and black stripes, which has been favorably received by Hull supporters and is such a refreshingly different design that Premier League followers are not used to seeing.
2. Chelsea away.
There’s something about the simplicity of black football shirts that make them look so attractive. But what separates Chelsea’s design from Spurs’s third shirt is the classic Adidas styling that, again, is so simple but sublime. Sometimes less is more, and this is a perfect example of that.
1. Middlesbrough away.
Middlesbrough and Errea surprised many neutral football fans this summer by unveiling two quality designs, one, of their new home shirt which sees the return of the white band across the chest and, two, featuring their new away shirt of black and blue stripes. Before you suggest that Boro are purely cashing in on Inter Milan’s design, the new Boro away shirt harkens back to the 1970’s when Middlesbrough wore a similar design. In fact, from 1892 to 1895, Middlesbrough’s home shirt was blue and it wasn’t until 1899 that the team chose red.
The difference between this blue and black striped design and Sunderland’s similar one comes down to class. Sunderland’s design features thicker stripes so it doesn’t accentuate the blue and black stripes as well as Boro’s does.