With Halloween creeping up on us tomorrow, we have selected a horror kit from the dark past of each of the current Premier League clubs. We don’t know if this ghastly gear was designed to intimidate opponents or provide some kind of distraction, but it is always amusing to look back at the moments in your club’s history when the designers tried a swanky new style and landed on their faces in the dirt – which is where some of the following shirts belong. Enjoy!
There were many shocking designs in the 90s, but this one resembled something from a building site. Remembered by some as vintage but by others as a disgrace to football shirts in general, this design from Adidas for Arsenal looks like a Watford fan has laid down their club home shirt on a motorbike stunt ramp and returned to collect it several days later to find it covered in tyre skid marks. The JVC sponsor should really read ‘JCB’, as it resembles a design for one of their tractors. Arsenal’s goalkeeper kit from a similar time with a giant star on the front surrounded by a background of smaller stars also warrants a mention, but we’ve gone with the construction-style kit.
Zig zags on a football kit just don’t work. Purple zig zags on a football kit with a pink, white and turquoise stripy background just make you look daft. What the kit manufacturers were thinking when they designed this shirt we’ll never know, but this is one to forget for Bournemouth fans – the kit manufacturers aren’t even displayed on the front of this shirt but on the arms instead... the phrase ‘cop out’ springs to mind.
Goalkeeper kits were renowned to often possess wacky features or designs especially during the 90s, but this just looks like something straight off children’s TV. Geometric designs were attempted many a time in the period, but this shirt made the Burnley goalkeeper somewhat of a laughing stock, so maybe the strikers would see it, be put off and scuff their shot.
Dmitri Kharine wore some awful goalkeeper shirts during his time, but we chose this as the worst in Chelsea’s history one not only due to the dog collar making him resemble a terrier, but also due to the mix of purple, blue and off white blocks. Was this shirt stitched together with random coloured rags and sheepskin?
Yet another colourful goalkeeper shirt, this optical illusion takes the distraction principle much further. The kit resembles the curtains of a gypsy fortune teller, and makes Nigel Martyn look like a piece of psychedelic modern art.
Although most of these monstrosities can be consigned to the 90s, the 2010-11 Everton away kit perhaps attempted to make the statement ‘real men wear pink’. But in reality, it just made them look silly. Not just pink but fluorescent pink was the choice of Le Coq Sportif, who in two years’ time were switched for Nike by Everton as kit manufacturer. I wonder why.
Hull City had several tiger print kits in the early 90s. However, in the 94-95 kit, it appears as if the ‘big cats equality organization’ have been in touch. This edition of the club’s home shirt features not only tiger print, but also leopard print and even a hint of cheetah spots. The combination results in a jungle-themed eyesore. Sportswear manufacturer Pelada were asked to take over the kit design of Hull City after the club had fallen out with former designers Matchwinner, and after two years of this monstrosity, Pelada were ditched.
It is said that if you stand in some parts of the world at a certain date and look up to the sky just before dusk, you may see the pattern from this Leicester City shirt. The Foxes’ spirographic keeper choice puts even some of the worst 90s keeper kits to shame, and goes down proudly as one of Leicester’s worst kits of all time.
What on earth is that? Those aren’t even tiger stripes they’re just strange markings, and even if they were meant to be, what relevance does the animal have to Liverpool Football Club? Three claws are swiped across this horrific keeper shirt, in keeping with Adidas’ three stripes trademark. To make everything even worse, the sleeves are different colours – one is orange and the other is yellow... did they run out of material? Too many unanswered questions.
The 2000-02 away ‘tin foil’ silver kit was poor, as was the 1994-96 away shirt with random mesh shoulder patches, but this geometric 90s design in a horrible colour that resembles dry blood has to be the worst Man City kit ever.
The sheepskin-like, blue and yellow-lined 1993-94 keeper kit worn by Peter Schmeichel was bad. The infamous grey 1995-96 kit was even worse, in which United trailed to Southampton 3-0 at half time when Sir Alex Ferguson claimed the players couldn’t see each other so had to change shirts. But this, blue and black tiger print with a giant badge stamped across the shirt was just an insult from Umbro. It looks like a five-year old child had won a competition in a kids’ football magazine to dress Eric Cantona and co.
Tonight Matthew, we’re going to be... Finland! Errea embarrassed Middlesbrough with this shirt in the 1996-97 season, with a shirt that looks like a half-decorated bathroom. It must have made it harder to win a football match wearing something like this, as Boro were relegated that season.
We could have gone for a keepers’ shirt for this one, but instead we present Southampton’s candy-cane-shouldered 1987-89 shirt. Here, Hummel create what eventually evolved into the half-and-half pizza option. A teenage Alan Shearer donned this number though, breaking onto the scene in 1988 with a hat-trick against Arsenal aged just seventeen.
Despite being promoted to the second division in 1992-93, Stoke had to deal with wearing this away from home. Purple sound waves, really? SoundCloud wasn’t founded until 2007, but I doubt they took inspiration from this shirt.
We abstained from including the only current kit in the article (Sunderland’s pink and purple third kit for this season) due to what can only be described as disturbing. The chequered diminuendo from the bottom to the top of the kit makes you feel like you’re falling into an Alice in Wonderland-like rabbit hole and the four fake hands on the front of the shirt make it look like something is trying to catch you on the way. But nevertheless, who wouldn’t want a goalkeeper with six hands?
This is like a polo your mate wore to the pub once and got ripped apart for it, ending up in the back of a charity shop because it can’t be put on display. Black stripes with a random red stripe make it look like a zebra in distress.
This was probably the same expression on the keeper’s face as when he saw the shirt he had to wear for the season. It seems Pony designed a kit made out of tea towels for Spurs in 1996-97.
Imagine the view of a short-sighted helicopter pilot with no glasses on looking down at a motorway. This seems to be what Hummel had gone for in the years 1993-95 for Watford’s away shirt, perhaps the thinking behind it was to distract the opposition into trying to count how many fuzzy traffic lanes there were on the shirt.
West Bromwich Albion
Another shocker from Pelada, looks like someone just got a kaleidoscope for Christmas. The crazy colours sum up 90s goalkeeper kits, and this shirt is halfway between an early computer game and a jigsaw puzzle.
West Ham United
To conclude our Premier League Horror Kits, here is West Ham’s 1995-96 ‘ecru’ away shirt. This colour was apparently favourable to go well with denim jeans, but in reality it is a horrible off-white colour which looks like your mum ran out of
Persil. Although Harry Redknapp’s time with the Hammers is remembered fondly, this shirt shouldn’t be.
In line with the Halloween theme, here is CD Palencia’s haunting special edition kit based on the muscles of the human body. I bet this gets under the skin of the