Premier League: The Worst Kits of All Time from the Current Clubs

Daniel JaffeContributor IIIAugust 4, 2011

Premier League: The Worst Kits of All Time from the Current Clubs

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    How could I possibly resist writing a followup to my previous article?

    Sure, finding the best kits for each current Premiership club is fun—but looking for the most hideous ones is much more entertaining.

    Exhibit one: the Hull City 1992-93 home.

    During Hull's recent spell in the Premier League, I had a tough time watching them play because of their unappealing style, both in football and football shirt.  That being said, there is not a chance I would have watched even a minute of them while they wore this Tony the Tiger-approved kit while playing in the Third Division.

    This shirt probably wouldn't even be accepted for donation at the Goodwill or Salvation Army.  The surprising thing is they decided to keep a similar shirt style for the next season!

    But that's enough of poking fun at a current Championship side.  Here are the worst kits the current Premier League clubs have ever offered.

Arsenal: 1991-92 Away

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    The Gunners have never had a problem with their home kits.  In fact, a new kit brainstorming session probably went as follows: "red top, white sleeves, off to the pub."

    Their away kits, though?  That's a completely different story.

    This shirt from the 1991-92 season seem reminiscent of a yellow jack-o'-lantern.  There are black diagonal lines everywhere that range in shade and just look ridiculous.

    I could see this shirt fitting better as a magic eye illusion than as a football top.

Aston Villa: 1993-95 Away

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    It's no wonder that Asics are more known for their shoes than their apparel.

    Aston Villa wore this bizarre green- and black-barred shirt outlined with red stripes for a season and a half.  It was just an orgy of colors that didn't match combined with a sponsor logo that was no better than a sticker.

    Surprisingly, their football was decent apart from the shirt, as the Villains snatched up two League Cups in three seasons with this kit.

Blackburn Rovers: 1996-97 Goalkeeper

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    Asics are at it again.

    Now generally I'll give goalkeeper kits the benefit of the doubt when it comes to style—but this is just over the top.

    The color combination looks photoshopped at best, and it's hard to tell what the apparel company was thinking magnifying the inner fibers of the shirt.

    Blackburn's keepers wore this kit during their mediocre season—two seasons removed from their Premier League title-winning season—but two seasons prior to suffering relegation.  The kit may have been a sign of things to come.

Bolton Wanderers: 2011-12 Home

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    Since becoming nearly an entirely Reebok-sponsored club in 1993, Bolton's kits have graduated from playful and imaginative to downright dreadful.

    I thought the 2009-10 kit was bad—until Reebok released Bolton's newest blunder for the upcoming season.  There are different shapes everywhere, odd angles and a little strip of red over the left pectoral that looks like a paintbrush went awry.

    Come on, Reebok.  You can do much better.

    Maybe they are just bitter its 188Bet's name on the shirt now instead of theirs.

Chelsea: 1994-96 Away

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    Now this one was tougher than most.  Chelsea have had some terrible kits in the past, and I had many to choose from, so here are the honorable mentions first: 1990-92, 1991-93, 2007-08.

    But this one from 1994-96 takes the prize.

    I'm surprised Coors even allowed their name to blend into the fading gray color of this kit.  If the colors were reversed, maybe it would be better?

    No, probably not.  In fact, it could even be worse that way.

Everton: 1997-98 Home

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    I will let all of the questionable change strips worn by Everton slide after viewing this kit from the 1997-98 campaign.

    Pink on a kit may be bad to some, but I did not mind Everton's away strip last season.  On the other hand, changing a club's historically royal blue home to an off-sky blue for an entire season is just wrong.

    Sure, the kit may not be unappealing overall, but the color change was a downright travesty for Umbro's design team.

    Coincidentally, the kit troubles may have caused Everton to be relegated from England's top division for the first time in 43 years that season, as they finished a dismal 17th.

Fulham: 2001-02 Entire Range

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    Now this one is purely based on sponsor.

    I wouldn't be caught dead wearing a Pizza Hut shirt.  But unsurprisingly, the most American-associated club in England had one of the most American-associated sponsors during their inaugural Premier League season.

    After a one-year sponsorship deal with Fulham, the club nixed the pizza logo for a more English standard betting company the next season.

    Too bad, because those post-match spreads were probably the "tastiest" in the Premier League.  And no more free bread sticks for supporters, as well.

    I could keep going, but I'll just stop while seemingly ahead.

Liverpool: 1994-96 Third

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    One crest?  Of course.  Two crests?  Okay, sure.  But 30 crests?

    Now there you have a problem.

    Given this was Liverpool's third kit between two seasons, they probably did not wear it often.  But when worn, this had to go down as the ugliest kit in Liverpool's glittering and generally stylish history.

    The Liverpool crest is classic on its own. It shouldn't be plastered and faded randomly all over the shirt.

Manchester City: 1994-96 Away

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    Normally the black and red bars on a Manchester City kit work as a change to their sky-blue home kit.

    But for this shirt, Umbro was a bit off.

    The base of this shirt is fine, but those gray shoulder pad-like things are just poor.

    As a side note, do those shorts have the black and red bars on the bottom as well?  Or are they just red and black-barred compression shorts?  If the former, that makes the kit a bit worse.  If the latter, where can I buy them?

Manchester United: 1992-93 Away

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    For the most successful English club of all time, Manchester United have worn their fair amount of repugnant kits.

    I know the debacle of the 1995-96 Sir Alex-disapproved grey kit may be all the rage, but this blue away kit complete with oversize crest is simply worse.

    The kit looks like something you could buy from a cheap London tourist store.  Also, the odd black pattern of the shirt should be reserved for a training kit, not something worn for 15-plus matches a season.

Newcastle United: 2009-10 Away

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    How Steven Taylor is smiling in this photograph is beyond me.

    This cream-colored kit surfaced as Newcastle's away after their much-maligned relegation in 2009.  Frankly, this kit couldn't have made supporters much happier.

    If anything, at least this kit didn't have a chance of clashing with any of their opponents in the Championship.

    And yes, Taylor is still smiling.

Norwich City: 1992-94 Home

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    This kit, created by Ribero and furthered by Mitre, looked to have been actually made up by a three-year-old with an errant paintbrush.

    How Norwich wore this kit for TWO Premiership seasons is beyond me.  Especially when they achieved some decent success, finishing third in the inaugural 1992-93 Premiership season and qualifying for the UEFA Cup.

    Surprisingly, once Norwich finally ditched the design for a cleaner and more classic yellow top with a green collar, the club was relegated after finishing third from bottom.

    And if kit history holds true, Norwich may be in for a swift return to the Championship, rather than a spot in Europe, with their new kit this season.

Queens Park Rangers: 2004-05 Away

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    Surely, a deserved red card for this kit.

    If you read my previous article, then you'll know I have a problem with hoops.  The fact that kit makers Le Coq Sportif did barely anything other than throw green in the away hoops makes this kit boring and unimaginative.

    What is really great about the photo, though, is that it seems QPR may be playing Reading.

    Now, that fixture with those kits would be one I could never watch—even if the likes of Pele, Diego Maradona or Lionel Messi happened to be involved.

Stoke City: 1983-85 Home

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    Not sure why Umbro had to go ahead and change a good thing here.

    As far as striped shirts go, I like the candy-striped, red and white bars of Stoke and Sunderland best.  Really tough to get that wrong—except when you almost nix the idea completely and go for something you'd be more likely to see on the Cincinnati Reds. 

    These pinstripes are much more reminiscent of Major League Baseball than European soccer.

    Thankfully, Umbro and Stoke got their acts together, and there have been large, wide, red and white bars ever since.

Sunderland: 1981-83 Home

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    Going along with the theme of changing a bit of history, as well as candy cane shirts, kit makers Le Coq Sportif decided to reinvent tradition with this kit.

    To add to the vast change, Le Coq added red shorts—instead of the classic black ones—to couple with the pinstriped shirt.

    Not surprisingly, this kit would be the only one Le Coq would make for Sunderland, as Nike became the club's kit sponsor for the next three seasons.

Swansea City: 1993-94 Home

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    This was a very tough decision because in four straight seasons, Swansea City wore three different kits from two kit makers that were all bad in their own right.

    But for the sake of choosing, I'll opt for this one, as it was marginally the worst of the three designs and had a completely non-matching sponsor.

    The colors on the shirts look like they've been finger painted, and the design on the shorts doesn't even match the streaky top.

    Good thing is that after a four-year funk, Swansea finally had some reasonable kits.  Too bad they were only worn in the Second Division of the Football League.

Tottenham Hotspur: 1991-94 Third

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    Where to start?  Well, Tottenham have had a fair amount of ugly kits for their long history, ranging from the chocolate bar third in 2006 to the early 1990s yellows with odd flag patterns.

    But the one that takes the cake is this third kit from, you guessed it, early 1990s. (Bad time for football fashion, eh?)

    The color wouldn't be too bad by itself, but the pinstripes of ranging frequencies all over the shirt pushed this one over the edge.  To make things worse, kit makers Umbro decided to fade the club's nickname in around the neckline and collar.

    As if supporters and opponents didn't already know who they were playing.

    Can't say I'm too surprised with the shirt though, seeing as Umbro are leading the chase for worst kit makers ever with regards to this list.

West Bromwich Albion: 1984-86 Home

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    Let's get things straight first; I absolutely adore this kit.  It's a nice, classic base for the Baggies as is, but the sponsor is just hilarious and thoughtful for all the right reasons.

    But I can for sure understand why people could despise this kit.

    Instead of drawing attention to the football, the shirt drew more attention for its heavy health-conscious statement.  The football could have used more attention, since the club was relegated in the second—and final—year of the shirt's existence.

    Hate it or love it, this kit is definitely one that will live in infamy.

Wigan Athletic: 2008-09 Away

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    Is that florescent yellow or green?  I can't tell because my eyes hurt from staring too long.

    Frankly, my dog could probably see the color a bit better than me.

    What I would like to see, though, is two Wigan eleven's play each other.  One in this kit, and the other wearing 2009-10's neon orange (which I actually like).

    Turn the stadium lights off, throw in the old neon orange ball and see what happens.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: 1992-93 Home

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    Have to say, this kit wins the prize for connecting shirt and sponsor magnificently.

    The tire smudges on this two- (or possibly four or five) toned gold shirt don't do much for visual appeal.  One thing going for the shirt is that I can kind of dig the collar, but that's not saying much.

    Goodyear were longtime sponsors of Wolves for 12 seasons in total.  Thankfully, this is the only time their product line and sponsorship duties clashed.

So What Was the Worst of the Worst?

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    Sadly, the Colorado Caribous were not an English club.

    If they happened to be named the Crawley Caribous, though, and kept the same kit, then this would be the worst English club kit of all time, hands down.

    But let's go with what we have to work with at the moment.

    Here's how I would rank the previously mentioned kits from bad to worst:

    5. Manchester United—Away (1992-93)

    4. Arsenal—Away (1991-92)

    3. Chelsea—Away (1994-96)

    2. Wolves—Home (1992-93)

    1. Norwich City—Home (1992-94)

    Overall, it seems the 1990s were the worst years for kits, as 12 out of the 20 kits were from the decade.  Kits seemed to be more modest in the years before, as patterns were rarely changed and colors were never outlandish.

    And as for the worst kit makers overall?  Umbro achieve the wooden spoon with six, while Adidas and Le Coq Sportif each had four.

    Well, that was fun for me; hope it was for you as well.

    Please: let your opinions on my selections be known, and thanks for reading.