Worst Football Shirts Ever!
Hearts unveiled their new away kit this week and was quickly deemed ‘the worst kit ever’ by online critics.
But we disagree. Here’s some monstrosities that are even worse than the The Jam Tarts’ new shirt.
Having resisted the overtures of sponsorship throughout their history, the Catalan club caved in with first UNICEF and then the Qatar Foundation, the latter at a cost of $45 million per season. This away jersey, with a colour combination best seen on a cheap ice lolly was seen as a trophy sponsorship by the Qataris. However, it’s more catastrophe than Qatar’s trophy.
Arsenal Away (1992)
Ten years ago I spent a few days trekking through Northern Thailand. I was sitting on top of an elephant, his handler smoking something dubious rolled in a banana leaf, and was disillusioned from almost a week with little food, sleep or interaction with any other humans. Suddenly, from the distance I spotted a strange, hideous looking creature approach. Panicking at this apparent mirage, I mistakenly kicked the elephant on his ear which led to him galloping past the aforementioned “creature”.
It turned out to be a Thai mountain tribesman incongruously wearing Arsenal’s 1992 away jersey. One of the worst shirts ever to grace English football had obviously become an ironic fashion statement in the Chaing Mai region of South-East Asia. He even raised his hand as we passed, possibly as a sign of welcome, but most probably mimicking an Adams-esque offside trap.
Australia Home (1991)
As disgraced Antipodean artist Rolf Harris might exclaim “can you tell what it is yet?” Fabric from one of your mum’s old curtains? Nelson Mandela’s Sunday best? The top worn by DJ Jazzy Jeff as he was yet again dispatched from the Fresh Prince’s Bel Air pad?
No, it’s the Australian national team’s home jersey from 1991 and it looks worse than any of the above.
Ireland keeper (1995)
Bruce Groballaer had his famous spaghetti legs to put off opposition penalty-takers. Fabien Barthez sometimes stood away from the goal, with his hands behind the post, confusing the spot-kick taker. Ireland in 1995 were more subtle, unleashing this eyesore to distract oncoming strikers.
Scotland Away (1991)
The term “Scotland away” is often followed by the word “defeat”. However, back in the early 90s, the Scottish regularly qualified for international tournaments with a squad made up of players from the top clubs in England. Their away record wasn’t bad but their away jersey was befitting their current team.
Deportivo Wanka Away (2004)
Sometimes the name on the front of a jersey doesn’t particularly tally with the player or team wearing it. Think Sharp and David Beckham. Or Intelligent Finance and Livington, who later went into administration. But we’re sure the players from Peruvian club Deportivo Wanka are a lovely bunch of fellas.
But, ironically, you’d need to be blind to wear this kit. It’s just as well other clubs haven’t followed their lead of displaying the club name rather than sponsors on the front of their shirts. Particularly Indonesia’s Semen Padang and Botswana’s Golden Bush.
Man United Away (1996)
“Get your kit off” is not a phrase you’d usually welcome from Sir Alex Ferguson. But on 13th April 1996 these words brought relief to 11 disoriented men. Three-nil down away to Southampton, the United boss ordered his team to change their jerseys at half time, claiming they couldn’t see each other in the grey tops.
United lost four and drew the other of their five games wearing this shirt. It was officially retired two days after this match, becoming a collector’s item for all the wrong reasons.
Norwich Home (1993)
An old wives’ tale states that you you’ll enjoy good luck and fortune should a bird deposit his waste on you. Bizarrely, this Norwich kit, affectionately nicknamed “the bird poo kit” by supporters, was worn while the Canaries finished third in the Premiership and beat the likes of Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup.
It was sponsored by Norwich & Peterborough, although no doubt the town of Peterborough later distanced itself from anything to do with it.
Cardiff City Home (2013)
Not a terrible looking kit per se, despite it being worn by Craig Bellamy, this kit makes our list for non-aesthetic reasons. Despite protests from fans over when their traditional blue kit, worn for over 100 years, was changed to red in 2013 as the club’s new Malaysian hierarchy went ahead with the controversial switch.
The thinking behind the move was that red has a strong spiritual significance in Asia. Which is presumably the reason why Cheltenham Town are so big in Japan.
Thankfully for football fans with eyes worldwide the Mexicans were dispatched in the second round.