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Kevin Henning, a self-confessed kit obsessive, guides us through the ten most iconic strips of all-time. Strangely Everton’s salmon-pink number isnt one of them.
One of the most original kits in Europe. Sampdoria came into existence when two Genoese teams merged. It was decided that both Sampeirdarenese’s blue and white kits and Andrea Doria’s red and black colours should be incorporated into the new clubs kit. Whoever came up with the result should be honoured. Quite simply the best looking shirt in football. The silhouette sailor badge just adds to the design.
Without wanting to sound like a geek, this was THE team to be whenever me and our kid held a Subbuteo European Cup. Spotted lurking on the shelf at Lewis’ department store, my brother almost ran to the counter with it. At this point, I’d never even heard of Sampa, ever since they‘ve been my Serie A team of choice.
2. Boca Juniors
Legend has it that whilst looking for new colours for their team to play in, bosses at La Bombonera stood looking out onto the port of La Boca and decided to adopt the colours of the flag of the first boat to sail in. A Swedish ship came in and the colours were set.
Possibly the most iconic club strip from outside of Europe, the blue and yellow has been worn by many an Argentine legend over the years, most notably Diego Maradona. When set against the white with red sash of rivals River Plate, the Buenos Aires Classico is one of the most desirable matches in the world for a travelling football fan.
Could Celtic’s kit be anymore Irish? It’s as if they don’t even have to try to wind Rangers up. A classic look that they wanted to keep so much, they used to wear their numbers on the shorts. Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that the Bhoys have an identity like few others. Even the great Xavi said that Celtic and Barcelona are the only teams that are “mes que un club”.
It’s often been imitated by sides such as Sporting Lisbon, Q.P.R.’s away kit in the ‘90’s, Yeovil and even Welsh minnows T.N.S. but green and white hoops will always mean Celtic to most football supporters.
4. Borussia Dortmund
What were the board of Dortmund thinking of when they decided on the bizarre colour combination of luminous yellow and black for their team? Maybe they were thinking about 25,000 fans decked in the colours and packed into die sudtribune amongst a capacity 80,000 at the Westfalenstadion.
The players must stand out on the pitch to each other like no other side in world football. Dortmund’s yellow is at the other end of the spectrum from the grey shirt infamously ditched by a certain club during the ‘90’s.
5. A.C. Milan
Englishman Herbert Kilpin founded the Milan Cricket and Football Club with five of his colleagues from a Nottingham lace company. Upon deciding the strip that the Italian giants would play in, Herbert stated “We will wear red and black. Red to recall the devil, black to invoke fear.”
When coupled with white shorts and socks, this has to be one of the most stylish kits in world football.
Despite having this stunning outfit as their traditional colours, the Rossineri prefer to wear their lucky away strip of all white in cup finals.
Is this the most intimidating kit in club football? Running out at the Nou Camp and catching a glimpse of the dark red and blue shirts must make a lot of players feel queasy before a ball has been kicked. Whether they choose red or blue shorts, the shirt is simple but unique.
Some of the greatest players ever have performed minor miracles in the famous Barcelona colours throughout its 112 year history. Also possibly the most worn kit in the world, only in Madrid would a young lad turn his nose up at the chance to own one of these shirts.
7. Real Madrid
The most arrogant football kit in world football. They look so pure and classy in their all-white that you could almost forget that they are one of the most corrupt clubs in the history of the game. A good few teams have tried to pull this off but none have the attitude of Real. It’s almost a shame when they have to change whilst playing away in Europe. I often think that fans would rather their own team change so that they get to see the Madridistas in the famous all-white.
8. Queens Park Rangers
Despite Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea enjoying all the success of the London clubs, QPR don’t seem to really care because they know they’re cooler than them all. They stand there in their beautiful blue and white hoops, looking for all the world like a rock band who have strolled onto a football field. If they were a kid at the school disco, you know you’d turn up wearing the best shoes, priciest shirt and quality slacks, only for QPR to throw something on five minutes before the start and still pull the stunner you had your eye on.
One of my favourite football stories is about Fiorentina. Shortly after Roberto Baggio’s transfer from la viola to Juventus, the two sides were playing each other when the Old Lady were awarded a penalty. Baggio being the usual penalty taker was obliged to take it. He refused however and the manager of Juventus substituted him for his show of defiance.
As Baggio left the pitch, a Florence fan threw his scarf to the pitch and it landed in Baggio’s path. The Divine Ponytail stooped to pick up the scarf, held it to his face and laid it down where it was.
When asked by reporters why he’d done it, Roberto simply said “My heart will always be purple.”
Such romance and loyalty can only be understood when a team dresses like Fiorentina.
10. Notts County
Although County’s name looks odd amongst this list, there is no denying that they introduced one of the most iconic football strips to the world. The black and white striped outfit was shipped over to Italy when Juventus were short of a kit. They asked an English member of their team whether he had any contacts back home who could supply any. He sent for help from a pal in Nottingham, the friend was a magpie, and so the Turin club were decked out in the same colour as professional football’s inaugural club.
It’s bizarre to think that whenever A.C. Milan face Juventus, both kits were inspired by the good folk of Nottingham.