10 Best Arsenal Home Kits of All Time

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2013

10 Best Arsenal Home Kits of All Time

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    Way back in 1886, before Arsenal were even a professional side, a few Nottingham Forest players brought their old red shirts with them when they joined up with what was then known as Dial Square FC. The club's budget was so tight that they decided the best way to have a uniform strip was to kit out the players in the same colour as the former Forest players.

    Thus began Arsenal's long association with the colour red. Herbert Chapman introduced the white sleeves in the 1920s, and the now famous cannon graphic appeared in 1967.

    Nowadays Arsenal's home shirt changes almost every season. Fans' affection for each shirt is defined partly by the design, but largely by the players who wear it and the trophies that are lifted while wearing it.

    Over the next 10 slides, we run down the greatest Arsenal home shirts ever.

10. 1886

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    Here it is: the kit that started it all.

    Those Nottingham Forest players who signed for Dial Square FC could not have known that in bringing their old shirts down to London with them they would be creating an iconic look for one of Europe's elite football clubs.

    Arsenal's shirt has evolved a lot since these early days, but without this kit who knows how things might have turned out.

9. 2004-05

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    This shirt was worn by Arsenal's Invincibles when they surpassed Preston North End's English record for the longest unbeaten league run.

    Although the yellow piping was unpopular with some fans, it's panelling effect gave it the look of a suit of armour: perfect for a side so resistant to defeat.

    It's also the last home shirt that Arsenal lifted silverware in.

8. 2005-06

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    Some kits are in this list because of their historic significance alone.

    I was not a huge fan of the look of this redcurrant home strip, but it was certainly memorable and is etched into our collective memory as being the shirt Arsenal wore on the last day at Highbury.

    Thierry Henry's hat-trick against Wigan was the perfect way to say goodbye to the old stadium, and this kit that reflected the storied history of the club will be remembered as a big part of that day.

7. 1988-89

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    1989 was a vintage year for Arsenal. Although their Anfield glory famously took place in yellow, this home kit was also a key component in that fantastic season. 

    It's easy to admire, and adds the famous adidas stripes to Arsenal's already iconic ingredients.

    A personal note: this was the first Arsenal shirt I ever owned. My entire affiliation with the club stems from my admiration for this beautiful kit, so it'd be remiss of me to let it pass without inclusion!

6. 1933-35

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    Legend has it that Herbert Chapman spotted someone in the crowd at Highbury wearing a red sleeveless sweater over a white shirt. Struck by the eye-catching contrast, he introduced the look for his own Arsenal team.

    In doing so, the classic white shirt and collar look that has come to define Arsenal was born.

5. 2002-04

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    Any kit that is worn for an entire season unbeaten has to considered worthy of inclusion. The shirt worn by The Invincibles between 2002 and 2004 is a worthy entrant to this list.

    It's also an attractive shirt: there is a clean contrast between the red torso and white sleeves, and the O2 sponsor integrates neatly into the colour scheme.

4. 1967-69

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    You can't have an Arsenal shirt without a cannon.

    Or can you?

    Until 1967, Arsenal's shirts were bereft of any artillery at all. 1967 saw the club introduce their symbolic stamp, and as you'd expect it rests right above the heart.

3. 2010-11

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    Kit manufacturers Nike occasionally get a hard time from Arsenal fans for over-complicating the shirt design.

    In 2010, however, they stuck to the basics and came out with this simple but effective look.

    This is a quintessential Arsenal shirt.

2. 2011-12

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    This kit was designed to commemorate Arsenal's 125th anniversary, and it did so in style.

    As with many of these shirts, simplicity is the key to this design. The shirt is not muddied with unnecessary patterning: It is the iconic look of the red torso with the white sleeves.

    The only blight on this kit is the unique laurel crest, which is arguably a little too big.

1. 1969-77

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    Here it is: the peak of Arsenal kit perfection. There is a reason that retro versions of this shirt are still sold all over the world. It is the perfect marriage of all the key components that make up an iconic Arsenal shirt.

    It is simple. It is stylish. It features the cannon in all its purity rather than a crest crafted by copyright law. It is unspoiled by garish sponsors.

    It was worn by Arsenal greats like Liam Brady and Charlie George.

    It's the greatest Arsenal home kit ever, and it's sad that we're unlikely to see its like again.


    What do you think? Which is your favourite home kit?