The Worst Football Kits Ever

 Inspired by the bizarre and unsightly new Bolton kit which was recently released, I’ve decided to write a little end of season, soft piece on all the less attractive football kits we have seen our teams take to the pitch in over the past couple of decades. Featuring efforts from distant corners of the globe, from Huancayo in Peru to Hull, this is my top selection of kits that can be classed as eyesores, badly judged, or just plain ugly.

Bolton’s new “barcode” shirt is an early contender for the worst of the season

  The 1990s most definitely was the decade that style forgot, so it’s not surprising that many of the kits featured here come from that era best forgotten, including this one from close to home, the Stoke City away kit from 1992. Allegedly inspired by television interference, this is one kit that should have been left in the mind of its warped designer. The shocking thing, it was by no means the only kit based along such design lines at the time.


  Moving north and east, we come to our good friends from Hull, and their ghastly effort from the same season. Some smart designer took the club’s nickname, the Tigers, a little too literally to produce this true aberration of a kit. I pity the Hull fans who were condemned to having to watch their side play in it at the time. They wouldn’t have even got any reprieve away from home, as nothing clashes with this kit. Amazingly, someone must have liked it, as similar tiger print designs were used for three whole seasons.

  Switching for the first time to the continent, we come to Italy, and more precisely the Fiorentina away shirt from, once again, the 1992/93 season, a dark dark year for sporting style. This kit definitely falls into the badly thought out category. On the face of it, it’s not wholly unattractive, white with the club’s traditional blue/purple colour as a trim, in the customary loud 90s style. On closer inspection, you notice that someone’s really dropped the ball on this one though, and the patters left where the arrows of the upper part of the shirt meet pay far closer homage to that country’s Fascist past than I’m sure the club intended. Interestingly, the kit was banned immediately after being featured on Channel Four’s much missed Football Italia series.


  Now across the world again to the Peruvian Andes, the home of prominent club Deportivo Wanka. With the name of the club proudly displayed across the chest of their shirts, these kits have become something of a collector’s item amongst British football fans. In response to this increased interest in their club from our shores, one club spokesman commented, “It is very strange. Everyone in Britain thinks we have a funny name.”

  Staying in the Americas, what of Mexico’s international kits of the late 90s? Inspired by the country’s Aztec past, ABA Sport produced this incredible design for their 1998 World Cup campaign. Some people say it’s hideous and tacky, I must say I rather like it. So much so that I bought one online a couple of years ago. Best money I ever spent. The change kit that came with this one featured the same design in white. It was deemed more wearable by fans and became very popular around the 2006 World Cup in France.

  Spanish side Athletic Bilbao now get into my list, with this remarkable kit from as recently as 2004. We usually associate the Spanish wish good style and class, but not this time. I suppose they are Basque though.

  Finally, I have a man who deserves a section all of his own. While Mexico were playing in their garish kits of the 1990s, their goalkeeper, Jorge Campos was determined to take it one step further, by insisting on designing his own kits, and ending up looking like something you might see drawn in a nursery school art class, in kits invariably far too big for his 5′8” frame. He really is a remarkable man, scoring 35 goals for Mexican club Pumas playing as a centre forward after begging his coach to use him in the position as he wasn’t getting a game in goal. He broke through as a ‘keeper eventually though, going on to receive 130 caps for his country, the third most ever, before his retirement five years ago. Here’s a selection of three of his most eye-catching moments.


  Stoke’s new home kit, designed by Le Coq Sportif is due for release soon. I can only hope it looks nothing like any of these.


8 Responses to “The Worst Football Kits Ever”

  1. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Some shockers in there!!

  2. east coast stoke Says:

    coventrys away kit in the seventies chocolate brown now that was bad .

  3. hurtafly Says:

    The idea behind the Campos strips was to be more off-putting to the opposing team in one-on-one situations and the like. I’m sure Peter Schmeichel had a say in the design of his kits at his time at Man U for the same reasons.

    As for that Hull strip, that’s the worst of the lot!

  4. I*T*P*L Says:

    I’m sure there’s an element of that hurtafly, a lot like what Petr Cech has done with his blinding orange kit this season. I pity the Hull fans that had to spend three years watching their team in that kit!

    Going off on a tangent, I was disgusted by the Kyle Lafferty situation this weekend, as you’re a fan in Scotland, how has the reaction both public and media been to it there? A similar thing happened in a Stoke match against Fulham last year, when John Pantsil did much the same thing on Fuller. It was all swept under the rug here, I hope it’s not the same there, as far as I’m concerned he should get a lengthy ban. The thing that I dislike about it most is the way he winked to the camera after doing it. That says that he thinks it’s alright and even funny to do something like that and gives a dreadful idea to the many kids who will be looking up to people like him and look to emulate him.

  5. hurtafly Says:

    Where to start! I’ll try and keep this brief but feel free to ask more questions.

    He has been fined an undisclosed amount by Rangers, made a public and personal apology, and an SFA review panel will look at the incident but any suspension will not take effect until next season. Mulgrew, who was the other player involved, has had his red card recinded.

    I don’t know if you know/remember but when Saulius Mikoliunas (a Hearts player) dived and won a penalty for Lithuania against Scotland. The nation was outraged as if it was the first time a player had ever dived in football. Subsequently he was savaged by most in the media in Scotland and opposition fans. Further, anything less than murder on him during the matches was treated as a dive and he was often booked. He is still the only player in world football that I know of that has been given a two-match (which was reduced on appeal) retrospective ban for a bookable offence. I even remember a back-page story about a year and a half later that the SFA was going to crack down, domestically I might add, on cheating in our game. The story was accompanied with a huge picture of Miko in his Lithuanian strip diving against Scotland.

    Since then many similar incidents have occurred in almost every football match I have watched, diving is more or less a part of our game now, and I have not heard a whimper from our Chief Executive Gordon Smith, who led the vebal attack on Miko. The Lafferty incident is the first time since that there has been similar public outrage - athough Gordon Smith (who has had previous allegencies to Rangers) has still not uttered a word about the incident. Still, with or without comments from Smith, it looks as though something will be done about it. It’s right that something is being done but the whole thing reeks of inconsistency

    To give you an idea of how rife the hypocricy in our game is, Jimmy Calderwood (the Aberdeen manager, you know, the guy that looks like a space-hopper?) made comment after our recent match against them, saying that our team had time-wasted by rolling around the floor feiging injury. He said that it was a foreign thing and not in the British mentality. Four days later his side takes on Rangers in the game involving the Lafferty incident. What were Tango’s comments post-match when questioned about the incicdent? That it was “out of character” and “everyone makes mistakes”. To use a worn out phrase, you couldn’t make it up!

    I tried to keep it brief but couldn’t help ranting. Sorry =)

  6. Lakeland Potter Says:

    Some abominable kits there. Strangely enough, the one kit in your gallery which I rather like is this year’s Bolton one, which is the one which prompted the story! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I suppose!

    Regarding the Lafferty affair - obviously I hope a long ban is applied retrospectively - as it should be for all dives which are obvious under video evidence - especially if such dives result in an innocent player being sent off. Incidentally, banned players lose their wages - why not pay half the wages to a charity with the other half to the opposing club?

    The best way to stamp out such behaviour though, would be to punish the club as well as the offending player. If the result of the match were reversed (with Rangers being deemed to have lost) or if the match was ordered to be replayed, you can bet diving would disappear from the game overnight!

    By the way, there was less of a furore over Pantsil’s transgression as it did not result in Fuller getting sent off. If it had done then a long retrospective ban would have been a suitable punishment.

    Warming to my theme of retrospective bans - wouldn’t it be a good idea if a player was not only given a retrospective ban but, on top of that ban, he was also banned from the next game between the clubs. That would act as a reminder of his transgression if he missed a game months (or even years) later!

  7. hurtafly Says:

    Sorry LP, don’t really have time to respond to your comments. Just came on to say: he speaks! Gordon Smith has finally spoken out about the Lafferty incident…………………to praise Rangers’ handling of it! Not even a mention of the offender himself. Here’s the article for anyone interested:

  8. I*T*P*L Says:

    Thanks for your thorough and interesting reply hurtafly, I agree that until we see some consistency in responses to such incidents, with all clubs and governing bodies knowing how to handle them, we’ll have a problem. I feel that the only way to remove diving and other acts of simulation from the game is to give straight red cards to offenders. Unfortunately I can’t see it happening though, as players pulled up for diving are hardly ever even booked at the moment. I referee amateur games myself, and I know that if I ever booked a player for diving, and you do get it, there would be something of an outcry. This attitude has to change before we can sort the problem out.

    Lakeland, I agree that something more stringent and standardised should be done in terms of wages that players loose through fines in such situations. I like the idea of them being given to charity, it would be a good gesture from the clubs and FA. I’m not so sure about the banning them from future games against the club wronged idea though, part of supporting a club is giving players who have treated you unjustly in the past grief!

    I heard a very true comment recently from someone responding to the old line that football is a gentleman’s game played by thugs and rugby is the other way round. They said that while you may not get diving and disrespect towards the referee in rugby, but you certainly don’t get eye-gouging in football!

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