Gone are the days of seeing a home kit used for more than a season, and seeing an away kit become the following season’s third shirt.
For the kit enthusiasts of the football world, having a bunch of new shirts to gawk over every season is rather fun. Only when they’re good, though, and not mere minor adaptations on a previous year, just to earn a bit more money.
In the Premier League, there’s no time for poor kits. In order to look like you belong in arguably the best domestic league in world football, you’ve got to be dressed for the occasion. That way, you’re always covered.
If you end up gunning for success, be it overachieving in league position or forging a cup run, you look primed and ready. And if you’re slumped in a relegation fight and destined to go down, at least it’s happening in style.
English football has an eye-wateringly deep history, but GIVEMESPORT has braved it. Here’s what we think is the greatest ever home kit for each of the 20 Premier League sides for the 2021/22 season.
Arsenal – 1994/96
Rose-tinted spectacles always tend to help, but they weren’t needed here. Nike’s 2003/04 effort came in at a close second, but Arsenal‘s home kit from 1994 to 1996 was sublime. No major success in it under George Graham in its two seasons, but that vintage Nike logo, combined with the simple design, collar and JVC logo worked a charm.
Aston Villa – 2009/10
And so the controversy starts. We almost picked Villa’s 1993/95 home shirt with it’s rich colours, thin stripes and collar, but that Muller yoghurt sponsor logo has aged like, well, yoghurt, if we’re honest. Compare it to Nike’s offering for 2009/10, where they finished sixth in the Premier League and reached the FA Cup semi-final, it doesn’t stand a chance. Sometimes, simple and new is better.
Brentford – 2018/19
A club with an admittedly underwhelming back catalogue of home strips, Brentford’s more modern efforts have been their best looking. Adidas played their cards right in 2018/19, opting for narrow stripes and a few very subtle hints of black on the edges of the shirt to finish it off. Their sponsor looked neat, too, and tied things together.
Brighton – 2011/13
Proper peach, this. Can’t really go too far wrong with stripes in general, but when they’re done right, it’s magnificent. Brighton rocked a classic from Errea from 2011 to 2013, their traditional blue and white complimented by a retro collar and gold trimming on the edges, while the sponsor fit perfectly across the middle as they stormed up the Championship.
Burnley – 1996/98
For a club that’s earned a reputation of being straight down the middle and clean cut in their approach to football, doing anything to retain top flight status, Burnley’s home strip from 1996 to 1998 was quite the opposite. Adidas opted for a very unique, very vintage four-panel design using Burnley’s esteemed claret and blue, and it worked a charm. Genuinely unlike anything else they’ve had since.
Chelsea – 2012/13
Very controversial, but modern times prevail, just. Chelsea‘s infamous Umbro/Autoglass shirt of 1997/98 came mightily close, but the etches of gold combined with the simplicity of Adidas’ 2012/13 offering cannot be topped. It’s timeless and endlessly elegant. Please put the pitchforks away.
Crystal Palace – 1996/98
Crystal Palace or Bayern Munich? Can’t tell the difference. That logic helped the Eagles tremendously as they finished sixth in the 1996/97 season. The rub of Die Roten wore off the following campaign as they were relegated in the shirt, but it’s a gorgeous strip and yet to be matched.
Everton – 1983/85
Manufactured by Le Coq Sportif, Everton looked the part and played the part in the mid-1980s. Very subtle details on the collar and sleeve cuffs pulled things together, while the ever so slight dash of white coming down from the neck was very unique. The Toffees lifted the FA Cup and the First Division title in supreme style with this effort. Yeah, you read that right. They won the First Division as recently as the 80s.
Leeds United – 2000/02
Had to be, didn’t it? Taking their Strongbow-clad strip all the way to the semi-final of the Champions League in 2001, there’s nothing beating this Leeds kit. Memories of Mark Viduka firing them in from anywhere, and world record Rio Ferdinand the rock at the back. Plain white, shades of yellow and a memorable sponsor. You just had to be there.
Leicester City – 2015/16
The kit the Foxes donned as they shocked the world and did the unthinkable. These moments are exactly why it’s vital your club is always decked out with a solid shirt; Leicester absolutely were. A simple effort from Puma, the v-neck is always a risk, but paid off, and the King Power sponsor tied in well. Truly classy strip.
Liverpool – 1989/91
Clubs like Liverpool make lists like this really hard to pull together, because they’ve got an endless backlog of very very good kits. We could only pick one, though, and landed on their incredible effort that lasted from 1989 to 1991. The Candy logo, the adidas three stripes down the sleeves, and the unique pattern sat beneath it all was like nothing else at the time, as they lifted the league title in 1990. Boss.
Manchester City – 1972/74
The oldest entry in the list, City have paid tribute to their 70s designs on more than one occasion, which is testament to just how good it is. Used in Europe in 1972 as they played in the UEFA Cup, it’s as traditional as it gets. Original City logo in the centre, sky blue colour and hints of white on the edges. A proper heritage piece and one that would still look superb today.
Manchester United – 1990/92
Again, Manchester United don’t make it easy when they’ve had endless amounts of beautifully designed home kits. We’ve narrowed it down to one, though, a strip that came just before they began to dominate. In a similar vein to Liverpool, United stood out completely on their own from 1990 to 1992 thanks to an intricately designed home kit, that’s still a fan favourite today. That Sharp sponsor works a charm, and the pattern is like nothing else.
Newcastle United – 1995/97
Realistically, we could have picked any Newcastle shirt from the 1990s. They had an incredibly good run in the kit department. The one that still stands out, though, is their 1995/97 iteration. A collar like nobody else’s set them apart, while their usual black and white was done to perfection by Adidas. Top it off with that infamous Brown Ale sponsor and you’ve got an icon of the kit scene.
Norwich – 1992/94
Certainly their most memorable effort, Norwich’s patterned home strip from 1992 to 1994 was definitely polarising. But, you have to admire the confidence from manufacturers Ribero, who we think smashed it out of the park. You either love it or you hate it, and this one walks a fine tightrope, but teeters on the side of love.
Southampton – 2016/17
Back to the recent designs for Southampton, Under Armour made a strong debut with the Saints in 2016/17. Combining their always strong red and white stripes with a unique block design towards the top of the chest, Southampton looked real smart in their run to the League Cup final. Hints of black tied things together, in what was a seriously well-designed home kit that goes under the radar.
Quiz – Name these iconic Premier League shirt sponsors
Tottenham – 1999/01
The navy blue collar against the white and that Holsten sponsor, Tottenham looked well equipped for the 21st century with this effort from Adidas. Les Ferdinand found a fine goal scoring knack in the shirt in the 2000/01 campaign as Spurs made it to the FA Cup semi-final. Underappreciated.
Watford – 2012/13
Truth be told, Watford’s kit history isn’t the richest in the world. No designs stand out, nor is there a particular golden era anywhere. 2012/13 saw them reach the Championship play-off final in a particularly smart effort from Puma, however. A subtle hint of black and red off the shoulder worked well with the endlessly cool Football Manager sponsor filling the middle of the shirt. Troy Deeney’s play-off strike also made it look that bit better.
West Ham – 1999/01
Perhaps the pinnacle when it come’s to a hipster’s football shirt dream. Produced by Fila, they nailed the design for the Hammers, with plenty of details making for a refined effort, topped off with an incredible collar. The best bit, though? That Dr. Martens sponsor. Unrivalled levels of cool.
Wolves – 1987/88
Playing their football in the Fourth Division at the time – now League Two – despite starting the 1980s in England’s top flight, Wolves at least had style on their side in a bleak period. An orange base with subtle stripes and fierce black details, their strong central sponsor and striking club crest made them stand out from the pack. And when they wound up 2-0 winners against Burnley at Wembley in the Football League Trophy final, their very suave strip was worn as they lifted the trophy.