No matter how much jargon you cram into the press release, not every strip is destined to be a hit. So we’ve remembered eight of the worst Premier League kits ever.
From garish colours to headache-inducing prints, these ‘beauties’ have it all. But we’re sure to have missed some of the worst England’s top-flight has had to offer – so let us know your (least) favourites on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
And if you want to find out our favourite Premier League kits ever, click here.
Manchester City, away, 1994/95
Nowadays, Pep Guardiola’s side are the very definition of suave and sophisticated, from their swashbuckling style of play to the superstars who light up their Etihad Stadium. Even their manager is a style icon…sort of.
In the 1990s, things were altogether different. Long before the wealth of Abu Dhabi was poured into the club, the Citizens still played at Maine Road and were very much in the shadow of Manchester United. They weren’t a fashionable outfit in any sense of the word and this horrific change strip proved it.
Red and black stripes are traditional away colours for City and, done well, look smart. But the introduction of white shoulder panels was not a winner.
Manchester United, away, 1992/93
Don’t worry, City fans, we haven’t forgotten some of the abominations your nearest and dearest have trotted out in. This away kit from the inaugural Premiership season actually looks fairly similar to Chelsea’s current home strip.
What you might not have picked out yet is the torso-sized Manchester United crest blended into the black ‘detailing’. Squint closely and you’ll see it – and quickly regret it.
In the picture we’ve dug out a young Roy Keane looks to be pulling said shirt off the back of an even younger Darren Ferguson. We doubt it’s because he wanted to add it to his wardrobe.
Middlesbrough, away, 1996/97
Promotions, relegations and cup finals, the 1990s were a fun, if slightly bonkers, period to support Middlesbrough.
Foreign stars flocked to the newly-built Riverside Stadium and few shone as brightly as Juninho. In fact, we dedicated an episode of our retro football podcast, You, me and… to ‘The Little Fella’ which you can listen to below.
But even the fleet-footed Samba star can’t make this Boro change strip look any better. The weird off-centred cross belongs on a Finnish flag, not a football strip, and the ‘pattern’ which forms it is equally out of place.
Nottingham Forest, away, 1995-97
What we find particularly striking about this eyesore – except for the graffiti adorning the shoulders – is that Forest saw fit to stick with it for two seasons. Two.
Of course, in those innocent days football strips didn’t cost as much as you Nan’s first property and weren’t released every 12 months. But, even so, this was one worth making an exception for.
Modelled by a young Colin Cooper, the crossword-cum-oil spill effect hides another large Nottingham Forest logo and the word ‘Reds’ – just in case you’d forgotten who you were meant to be supporting.
Blackburn Rovers, away, 1996/97
After winning the Premiership in 1994/95 things could only go one way for Blackburn and this shocking away strip is evidence of that.
You might be wondering why we took umbrage at this particular neon yellow offering when so many have followed. The answer is simple: this sunglasses-offending shirt is the forefather of so many truly awful efforts.
By no means the worst – we’re bestowing that ‘honour’ upon Chelsea’s 2007/08 away strip – this was ‘pioneering’ in the 1990s.
Newcastle United, away, 1996/97
We’re all for equal opportunities but getting someone who was clearly colourblind to design their 1996/97 away strip was an unwise move from Newcastle United. Who else would mash orange, green and purple together like so?
If we overlook the colour ‘combination’, though, perhaps the oddest thing is the way the Newcastle Brown Ale logo is tucked away under Steve Watson’s armpit – why!?
As we mentioned in our recent piece paying homage to the best Premier League kits of the 90s, this was a rare example of a logo looking just right on a shirt. Unsurprisingly, hiding it on the ribs never caught on – and we can’t imagine the brewery were thrilled with this less-than-prominent placement either!
Manchester United, third, 1992-94
There aren’t many things King Eric doesn’t look good in. If the French maverick’s post-playing career has taught us anything, it’s that. But while still in his early days at United, Cantona had to wear this monstrosity.
Now, the intentions were good. The green and gold colours were worn by Newton Heath, the name United were formed under 100 years earlier. In more recent years, they’ve been used to protest against the Glazer family’s ownership of the club.
But this half-and-half design was a big miss. And those tie-up collars are never, ever, advisable. Even when adorning Eric’s neck.