20 Uniforms That Absolutely Bombed in World Football
We've done quite a few lists recently dedicated to the best and worst of world football fashion. We've talked distinctive kits, worst fashion statements and more.
Today, we give you 20 uniforms that absolutely bombed. (Spoiler alert: most are from the '80s and '90s. Oh, what a time it was.) If you have other favorite moments of bad kit decisions, as always, have at it in the comments.
Bolton Wanderers' "Sports Bra"
Photo via EPLtalk
Bolton's 2009-2010 kit certainly isn't the worst offender of the lot, but it's hardly the best either. The black stripe detailing and gradient are fine; it's a matter of the shape of the front where the stripe detailing fades, which, as fans pointed out, makes the thing looks like a sports bra. Guess you can't say Bolton isn't a well-supported side (rim shot!).
Slovenia's Charlie Brown Kits
Tim Matavz and Valter Birsa are far more graceful on the ball than the round-headed star of the Peanuts comic strips ever was, but nevertheless, the Slovenian national team continue to use the infamous "Charlie Brown" kits made infamous during the 2010 World Cup.
We're all for patriotism, and uniqueness, and the U.S. Men's National Team. All of these things are wonderful. And naturally, they wanted to make a statement during the 1994 World Cup.
But this? But this kit is like the football jersey version of a Lee Greenwood song. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
Burnley's April Fool Prank
Okay, this was actually pretty awesome, but a few fans didn't seem to get the joke. When Burnley F.C. announced their new home kits for the 2010-2011 season, fans were perplexed to see the club had gone really retro with their design, going back to the style of the kits the club used at its inception in 1882, which looked a bit more like wool Christmas jumpers.
Naturally, it was all an April Fool's prank—and a good thing too, as we can't imagine the players would have been too comfortable on the pitch in wool. Could get really itchy.
Chelsea's '94 Away Kits
The Stamford Bridge outfit always looks beautiful in blue, but in this weird grey and orange monstrosity, not so much.
Between the bad color combination, the stripes, and the big Coors logo on the front, this looks more like an old-man bowling league team shirt that can be found somewhere in middle America.
Getafe Partners with the King
Nothing says "I'm a contender in peak physical condition" like putting the logo of a fast-food chain on the front of your shirt. But that's exactly what Getafe did with their official merchandise kits in the 2009-2010 season.
The worst part? When you lift up the shirt as if preparing to celebrate a goal, that head of that absolutely terrifying "King" mascot is revealed.
If I were a Getafe supporter, I wouldn't want my team to score after that.
Cameroon: All in One Piece, 2004
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
The Indomitable Lions have always been ones to make a statement. After donning sleeveless kits for the 2002 African Cup of Nations, they decided to push the envelope further for the 2004 tournament with one-piece suits.
FIFA actually fined Cameroon for the use of the shirts, but a German court later cleared them of any infractions. Except the crime of fashion.
Celtic's Crash and Burn
The Hoops usually look sharp in green, but this earth-toned monstrosity from the 1991-92 season was the exact opposite. The descending line across the side makes it look like either a half-drawn Mountain Dew logo or a crashing stock market, and either way, it does not look good.
Norwich City's Crappy Kits
"Bird Poo" and "projectile-vomiting Jackson Pollock" are among the names that come to mind with this kit. There have been some great yellow and green numbers on Carrow Road, but one that made the Canaries actually look as though they were covered in canary poop was not among them.
Hull City's Feline Fail
The Tigers are a great nickname for a sports franchise. There are tigers in football (American and rest-of-the-world), basketball, college athletics, baseball. Tigers are fierce, they're majestic and they're not the kind of creatures with which you would want to mess in the wild.
But Hull City's efforts to channel their nickname turned out more tacky than intimidating, although they were certainly memorable. Whoops.
Birmingham City's Away Goalkeeper Kit, 1992
Photo via WhoAteAllthePies.tv
The weird blue Jackson-Pollock-meets-Pier-1-shower-curtain design was bad enough, but combining it with a vomit-green top in the same pattern somehow made it much worse.
Were all away kits this terrible in the early '90s? Did we think any of them were good ideas even then? The world may never know.
Stoke City's '93 Away Kit
So yeah, tie-dye may have been all the rage in the '90s or whatever, but this purple job does not look good on the pitch. And the gold lettering is barely readable. Way too busy.
Stoke City's 1996-97 Away Kit
Apologies to Stoke City supporters for including two in a row. For what it's worth, the current kits look great!
Just because the Internet was still new and magical and everyone was starting to discover Microsoft Paint does not mean this is a thing that should have happened. That drop shadow and mall-airbrushing job, yikes!
Either the technology has improved, or we're just not as easily impressed as we were in the '90s. Or both.
There are bad kits, and then there are kits that unintentionally include Nazi imagery and thus have to be discontinued mid-season.
At first, the Fiorentina kit from the start of the 1992-93 season looks like it could just be your average, run-of-the-mill '90s geometric pattern kit. And then, everyone started noticing the hidden swastikas in the corners. Not a good look.
Once you see it, it cannot be unseen.
Norway, Way, Way off
The Norwegian national team sported lovely away kits through the 1996-97 season, a tasteful, sporty Adidas design with subtle black racing stripes. So why on earth did they have to go and follow it up with this?
The text seriously looks like someone just got really overzealous with the WordArt function from Microsoft Word. Or it could be a really poorly-captured '70s TV sitcom main title screenshot. This is just so wrong.
The Liverpool '95/96 Away Goalkeeper Kit
I imagine the meeting in which this kit was designed went something like this:
"I need you to design an away kit for our goalkeeper. Something that will be fresh and modern and reflect the fear we strike into the hearts of our opponents."
"That sounds easy enough. Here, let me rip up a bunch of old Cheetos bags, sew them together and superimpose a Wolverine claw on top of them. That will look terrifying."
"Er, yes, it will, but not in the way we—"
"I'll have it for you by Monday."
Athletic Bilbao's Red Menace
The La Liga side was one of the last clubs to emblazon a sponsor on the front of their kits, and their kits usually reflected the Basque Country club's independent spirit.
But this kit, with its bizarre red and white design—ketchup splatters? a lava lamp? a 3-D model of the human lung? blood splatters as if to intimidate an opponent?—is just too out-there.
Anyone want fries with that?
The Magic of Jorge Campos' Custom-Made Kits
David Cannon/Getty Images
Some will find Jorge's custom kits wonderful; others find them weird. Regardless of what camp you're in, you can't argue with their uniqueness and retro gaudy wonder.
The '96 England Goalkeeper Kit
Simon Bruty/Getty Images
David Seaman is one of the best goalkeepers in English football history, holding the record for most clean sheets in the inaugural decade of the modern Premier League. He was a great international goalkeeper too and was named to the UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament in 1996.
So why, why, why put him in this monstrous failure of a horrifically tacky kit? David Seaman deserves better, English kit designers. And so does the footballing world.
The Caribous of Colorado
There is a reason the Caribous of Colorado only lasted for one season in the North American Soccer League. That reason was that they were a terrible team in an ultimately unstable league, finishing their one year at the bottom of the table.
But perhaps more unfortunately for the legacy of the Caribous was that the names of the team members and whatever few flashes of brilliance they had will fade into obscurity. Instead, all that remains of their infamous legacy is this kit, complete with its weird "Western" theme and nasty fringe strip running down the middle. Note: it does not make things more aerodynamic.