With Nike revealing England’s kits for this summer’s World Cup here’s a light-hearted look back at the best and worst kits adorned with the Three Lions over the years.
Best- the walk of fame through great England kits of the recent past.
1982 World Cup Home Kit
I’ve always had a soft spot for this kit, mainly because it’s the first football kit I can remember (and didn’t get!). It’s bright colours make it brash without the trashiness of say mid 90’s Premier League kits. No England kit since has been as colourful or enduring- only the ’66 away kit is more iconic.
2002 World Cup Away Kit
Trying to put the grey away kit firmly in the past England returned to their favoured red away shirt. The home strip for 2002 wasn’t the best (remember the one with the red stripe) but the away kit was traditional without looking like a relic. It also helps if you beat Argentina whilst wearing it.
Euro ’96 Home Kit
Whilst the away strip for Euro ’96 was an abomination the home shirt proved a winner. The simple but attractive white shirt and navy blue shorts signalled football had come home.
2006 World Cup Home Kit
At least England dressed well at the 2006 World Cup. This one isn’t universally popular but it did provide a new spin on the England kit that wasn’t an eyesore.
1966 Away Kit
Oh go on then! Strangely few people remember England’s first choice kit from 1966 but until they win another major tournament this is the shirt we’ll be seeing down the pub every other summer.
Worst- Here we go through England’s walk of shame
Euro ’96 Away Strip
England were facing their biggest home match in 3 decades and were drawn to wear their away kit. Umbro knew this was a possibility and what did they have lined up? Battleship grey shirt, brilliant! If the kit wasn’t drab enough the FA made it worse by insisting the grey kit was actually ‘indigo blue’, a comment that reminded me of the day my Dad brought home a new Austin Allegro in what British Leyland described as ‘Champagne Gold’ and was in reality diarrhoea brown. England never wore it after the semi-final loss and the obvious attempt to make a football shirt casual wear was quickly forgotten.
Euro ’96 Goalkeeper Away Kit
It’s fair to say the 1990’s were to football shirts what the ’80s were for tracksuits- everyone knew the shell suit was an awful idea but kit manufacturers continued to churn out these migraine enduring kits- particularly for goalkeepers. In truth this one wasn’t as bad as Mexican ‘keeper kit from USA ’94 but David Seaman still looked a berk in this- I can only assume the desired impact was to blind German penalty takers- which was obviously a great success.
World Cup 2010 Home Kit
For the 2010 World Cup Umbro decided to go back to basics- advertising speak for ‘we’ve run out of ideas.’ They came up with a shirt that actually had a collar! The retro kit was supposed to conjure up images of England in the ’50s and succeeded only when worn by a rotund and balding Wayne Rooney who clearly looked like he’d been playing since the 50’s. Oh and the tournament was awful too.
1991 Third Kit
What’s the more offensive things about this photo, England playing in a sky blue kit or that Graham Taylor picked Dennis Wise to wear it? Why on earth would any England manager allow his team to wear a kit that puts the opposition in mind of Coventry City? Why?
2013 150th Anniversary Strip
Nike’s new kit is among the better England kits but when asked to come up with something to celebrate the FA’s 150th birthday they made this bold statement: ‘We can’t beat Germany, but we can dress like them.’ England’s colours are White with blue shorts- blue not black! The Germany 1974 look proved so unpopular with fans it was dropped before England even arrived at a tournament- perhaps England’s opening World Cup being against Germany’s nemesis Italy had something to do with it?