Would Manchester United and Chelsea still fight for the title? Will Arsenal and Liverpool be dumped out of Europe by Villa, Everton and Tottenham?
Which is the best kit in England? in Europe?
Oliver Fowler finds out….
Scotland Champions & FA Cup – Partick Thistle
The two colours just above brown in the ‘don’t put on a football shirt’ are grey and pink. ‘Thistle have decided to slap convention in the face and go for both in a hooped design that can only be described as trail blazing.
Champions League – FC Barcelona
Nike have been threatening for a few years now to design a masterpiece. This new Barca kit is just that.
FA Cup – Swindon Town
Never before have Swindon looked better.
English Premier League
Champions WEST BROM ALBION
This kit shares its DNA with the Sunderland shirt, yet where the Sunderland shirt looks overworked and complicated, this looks clean and strong. Being two-colour and free of a sponsor definitely helps. The thin stripes echo tradition, which is a neat design cue. There aren’t many more stylish looking kits out there.
2nd ASTON VILLA
If this design were a drink it would be a glass of fine port. It’s refined and tasty.
When they designed this Nike’s designers shaved their heads and sat in robes with their laptops up a mountain in Nepal. They achieved perfect balance.
Umbro have created some strange kits of late, but this one gets it all right. Even the logo placing seems to work. It’s as tasteful as the new away kit is garish, but they still scrape into 4th.
5th TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Puma have decided to darken the palette after last year’s white look. They’ve kept the design style, which is hard to fault, and added some subtle touches.The new stripey socks and dark shorts hark back to a golden age when players didn’t sulk. Maybe if Berbatov got a chance to wear it he would stay at Spurs?
6th HULL CITY
The black and amber of Hull stands out beautifully in the Premier League. Umbro have done a superb job with the kit, although the shoulder details look a bit stringy. Their sponsor is pretty interesting too. Before you Google it, try and guess what ‘Karoo’ means….
7th MANCHESTER UNITED
It’s hard to know where Nike could take the home kit without ruining it. If great design is the elimination of superfluous detail then this is great design. The away kit is all right, but maybe a touch boring.
Nike have gone for a familiar feel with the new Arsenal shirt, so much so that it doesn’t feel new at all. But that’s not to say it isn’t a powerful design – it is.
The Chelsea kit is negative space on a stick. That adidas logo centered under the V of the collar looks like it was placed there in the design version of stick the tail on the donkey. It’s saved by a powerfully simple clutter-free look.
Same as Chelsea, but in red. The ‘off the shelf’ feel doesn’t do either side justice. Meanwhile the new checky grey away kit looks like it should be worn by Barnes and Beardsley – it’s pure eighties-tastic.
11th WIGAN ATHLETIC
Wigan’s target this season is safety. Their new Champion kit mirrors that aim, which is no bad thing.
12th NEWCASTLE UNITED
Same as you were, which means a new away kit. The faded grey stripe on grey will go great with jeans if you want to be seen in the pub, but not so brilliantly on a football pitch. Grey strips should have been consigned to history on that fateful day in Southampton all those years ago. Do designers not study football results?
The people at Errea seem clued in so why did they let the trainee loose with the goalie kit? The wobbly, swooshy line smacks of a designer looking for something new – which is no bad thing, but is best not tried out on a football shirt.
14th WEST HAM UNITED
The new West Ham away kit saves the wonkily placed Umbro logo by placing it in context with the bold horizontal lines. It looks clean and stylish enough until you turn it around and see the back. There is a doodle-like pattern where the number and name goes — what is the point of that? To force the buyer into shelling out for numbers and letters to cover it up?
15th BLACKBURN ROVERS
The most frustrating thing in football is to round a defender, skip past the ‘keeper and then miss an open goal. Blackburn’s two new kits are the design equivalent. The away kit is perfect until it really matters. The dark blue, the vertical lines, the ‘Crown’ logo — it all looks great and then someone came along and shoved the Umbro logo and club crest on the front like they were fridge magnets.
The home shirt is great, it’s crisp, clean and powerful apart from a whacking great box on the front for the sponsors branding. There are pub sides with better thought out sponsoring. It’s a real shame as they were so close….
16th STOKE CITY
Bravery is a word you often hear in design circles. It doesn’t mean that the designer dodged snipers hiding behind their Apple Mac to post a drawing. It means they sat doggedly for hours defending an experiment they refuse to admit defeat on. The Stoke kit is brave design.
Canterbury have gone the brave route with Pompey’s new kit. They’ve used the 110th anniversary as the excuse. Blue and gold as a colour combination is classically smart, but they ruin the good work by sticking blobs under the arms — what are they for?
Perhaps the worst part of the kit is that the team just don’t look like Portsmouth when they are wearing it. This seems to dilute what football kit design should be all about.
For the past two seasons Sunderland have proudly worn a shirt with a wonkily placed Umbro logo and ‘brave’ design on the shoulders. It’s more of the same for the next two seasons. It’s odds on that the next designer will throw away the design experimentation and go for a Roy-alike strong, classic, no frills design. Until then it’s the sartorial trap door.
19th MANCHESTER CITY
Le Coq Sportif peaked with that iconic Spurs kit from the 1981 FA Cup final. Since then they’ve been trying too hard and this kit is the proof. The less said about the orange away effort the better. All this brand need to do to win the style league is dust off the old early eighties designer, give him or her a paper and pencil, sit back and bask in glory. As it stands they are drop-zone designing.
20th BOLTON WANDERERS
Sadly Bolton fans have been served up a shirt with a vignette bib drawn on it. If the FA could dock points for design transgressions Bolton would already be relegated. Luckily they can’t, which means that Megson has time to do an ‘Eiffel Tower’. Everyone thought that was ugly at first and then look what happened….
Who do you think wears the most stylish kit in England? In Europe? Let us know in the comments below.
Oliver Fowler is the brains behind Next Soccer Star, set up to offer an opportunity for the next stars of football to showcase their skills and offer the very best a road into the professional game and possible megastardom.