Friday, 14 August 2015

50GFSE - The Shirts That Didn't Make It - Rich

It's fair to say that our recent 50 Greatest Football Shirts Ever series has been not only a great deal of fun, but also a giant controversy generator. Obviously, this sort of list is always going to be entirely subjective and given it was compiled by four very strong minded people, it's fair to say there are shirts on the list which often saw us split down the middle.

To this end, I thought I'd put together a small post on some of the shirts I personally voted for inclusion that didn't make the cut and, with the benefit of hindsight, ones I'd probably include if we were to do it all again.

Firstly, let me explain how the list came to be...

We individually nominated a selection of shirts - there was no limit to how many we could nominate, but it usually numbered around 20 each.

We then took a vote on each shirt as to whether it should be in the top 50 - again, no limit was set, just literally whether we thought it merited a place.

We then took the shirts which had 3 or 4 votes and they immediately found a place in the Top 50.

Next we nominated 5 shirts from our lists which had gained 2 votes and we voted again. 

That left us with one space to fill so we each nominated one shirt from the previous round of voting that hadn't made it. Shirt 50 ended up as the Universitario 88th Anniversary Home Shirt by Umbro, which surprisingly took 21st place in the final list.

Once we had the 50 shirts, we then voted in blocks of 10 (i.e. shirts 1-10, 11-20 etc) and after many, many hours on Skype discussing it, arrived at the final list. 

So, from my list of shirts which initially received 2 votes, these were the ones that came so close...

Italy Confederations Cup 2009 

Italy 2006 

England goalkeeper 1987-89 

Canada Centenary 

Argentina (a) 1986 World Cup quarter-final 

1860 Munich Anniversary (reversible)

Russia (a) 2014 

And then there were the ones that were just rejected out of hand!

La Hoya Lorca 2013/14

England away 84/87

St Mirren / Huddersfield 88

World XI 87

So...If I had to do it all again, what do I feel I maybe missed?

Croatia 98 - Not normally a fan of Croatia shirts, but the rippled flag effect did something unique and raised it above the norm.

Coventry - Talbot kit or Admiral tramlines - both of these shirts were before my time, but are both classics. The Admiral tramline shirt did feature at no.11 for Wales, but that Talbot shirt is a true design classic.

Leeds H 95-96 - As with the England 09 shirt, this stripped everything right back and looked great for it.

France A 2011 - Nike's first away kit for France demonstrated how tired adidas had become. White with horizontal navy stripes, it was a striking and very daring outfit.

Peru - specifically the 78 incarnation - One of the biggest elephants in the room, not one of us voted for it, bringing forth howls of incomprehension, but as with the ones mentioned below, can it really be a design classic when one gets the feeling it had little actual design about it?  That said, I think I probably would include it next time...

There are many more I'm sure, but that's the thing...when you can think of 100 awesome shirts, how do you separate the good from the great?

Finally, here's some shirts I wouldn't include, despite the howls of amazement that they weren't somewhere in the Top 50.

Brazil 70 (or indeed ever) - Yes it's iconic, but it's hardly the height of design and we were trying to separate the two with this list. Being popular doesn't automatically make it a great our opinion.
England 66 - See above. 
Real Madrid - Sorry, RM's shirts just don't excite me.
Ajax - Same again...sorry. Yes some are iconic, but see the points above.

So that's a little more insight into not only what nearly made it, but the process as a we said on many occasions, this was a long piece of work with an awful lot of thought put into it. It may not be everyone's Top 50, but it's ours :)


  1. The infamous Matchwinner bib, I never knew Hudderfield had the same kit

    1. They did indeed Iain...took me ages to find one on eBay, but I now have the matching pair :)

    2. I'm a St Mirren fan and I remember the bib top with horror we wore it from 1987-88 season till 1988-89 2 seasons off pain.

  2. A few notables that I thought were missed...

    Newcastle Away 1995 (maroon & blue hoops),
    Scotland 1992 Away - the infamous "paintjob" kit,
    Man U european kit 1999

    1. Hi Peter. John campaigned for that Newcastle shirt, but it didn't make it. I preferred Man U's normal home kit for the 98/99 season. Good old Umbro diamond sleeve trim!

  3. Would have been surprised with the inclusion of the England '88 goalkeeper shirt, if it had made it in.

    Strange only 1 Scotland and 1 Wales international shirts made it in and absolutely nothing from Northern Ireland? 125th Anniversary shirt from 2005?
    Scotland home mid-late 70's with Umbro Diamond tapering
    Either of the Wales Adidas home shirts

    Seems to be a leaning towards club shirts with a few bells and whistles, whatever happened to plain, simple, clean cut and classic? You've very much stared away from these, an ordinary shirt can still be great to look at.
    Nothing from Tottenham, which is even more shocking because you guys seem to have a love affair with the '80's, when forward thinkers like Le Coq Sportif and Hummel supplied their kit. Shadow stripes anyone?
    Arsenal, again just one shirt, no Adidas 1988-91 away?
    Man United Admiral white away
    Classic Liverpool, 1970's v-neck.
    Just a few to throw in the mix.

    Still enjoyed your top 50 though :-)

    1. Vic, That NI 125th shirt is great (I have one). And as for Spurs, I think I would include their 85-87 Home shirt...good call and thanks for the kind words :)

  4. Seeing the England GK shirt here, surely there is a future countdown right there. Top 10 (I'm guessing 50 would be streching it too far) goalkeeper shirts maybe guest staring Jorge Campos.

    Top work all round gents, enjoyed the articles and podcasts.

    1. Thanks Gav! You're not the first to suggest a Top 50 GK shirts...hmmmmm

  5. Where is the Spurs Humell / Holsten with the chevrons? Home and the light blue 3rd kit. They are both 10 ten if not top five!!!