Chris Mayer counts down 2011/12's snazziest, classiest, downright bestest kits, from Celtic to Club America.
1. Juventus away
Oh my word.
The Turin giants have spent too long in the shadows of the Milan clubs in recent seasons, so what better way to inspire a new trophy-winning era at Juventus than with a sensational away shirt?
The brash flamingo pink shirt may seem off-putting at first, but accept its greatness – including the enlarged black star covering most of the shirt, embodying the stars above their badge, which represent 27 Serie A titles won.
It may seem contemporary but in fact The Old Lady’s original home colours were pink and black, before opting for the now-famous black and white stripes, which have taken on a mind-bending fuzzy look for this season.
Bold, flamboyant and the overall winner of the European kit fashion stakes this season, just for being that unique.
By Chris Mayer.
2. Marseille away
The past few seasons have seen an array of innovative designs from the French club, but this beauty tops the lot.
Initially it seems to be a run-of-the-mill blue shirt, but on closer inspection the centre reveals street art reflecting the culture of downtown Marseille. It may be a blatant attempt to pander to the youth of France, but it’s a magnificent away kit, offset beautifully by the gold Adidas stripes.
L’OM complete the set with a early 90s home kit tribute and a striking orange 3rd strip (all three can be seen on the link below). They're sure going to turn some heads this season, whether they perform on the pitch or not.
3. Werder Bremen away
You’ll certainly be able to spot a Werder Bremen fan in a crowd this season.
The blazing orange and subdued green combination is synonymous with the club, of course, but what really works is the pin-stripe chevrons down the centre, giving the effect of a particularly psychedelic Formula One track. It's the same on their green home strip, albeit slightly less blinding.
The shirt is completed with the brilliant (in both senses of the word) orange collar and sleeves, giving them an unmistakable identity when on their Bundesliga travels. Best bring some shades if you're going to watch them live though.
4. Club America
...and back to the ridiculous again. If you fancy a strip from further afield, then Club America’s wonderful 95th anniversary shirt could be the one for you. The Mexican club has stuck with the tried and tested formula of dark blue and yellow, with a slim red V-shape separating it.
But the real reason we love this kit is for Mexican bread company, Bimbo, adorned across it. The kit has two more sponsors, Coca-Cola and Corona, almost plonked on apologetically to atone for the Bimbo endorsement.
A simple yet effective effort, with guaranteed hilarity when worn on the streets of Essex.
5. Liverpool third
From the ridiculous to the sublime – but there was an air of controversy over the summer when the Anfield club welcomed in this third kit.
The very idea that Liverpool could possibly play in a strip with a hint of blue may seem distinctly wrong, but it has happened before. Back in the club’s infancy, Liverpool turned out in blue and white halved shirts for four seasons before swapping it for the recognisable red in 1896.
City rivals Everton have had colour aversions in the past too, forcing former shirt sponsor one2one to drop red from their logo.
But before we all get carried away, Liverpool fans should remember this shirt is predominantly white, and the neon blue trim is closer to turquoise than anything else. It's a damn fine kit – and if die-hard Reds are really upset by it, be consoled that you'll rarely see it – either on the field or on the streets.
6. Celtic third
Dubbed the international away kit even though it will also be their domestic third strip – as needs must, given the similarity between Celtic's white-and-green home kit and and white-and-grey-with-bits-of-green away offering – the SPL runners-up look to have continued their tradition of producing eye-catching change strips.
The bumblebee top opts for the ‘piano key’ effect of horizontal stripes, then alternating halfway down, giving it a quartered look. While certainly being unique, it’s bound to split the opinion of the Parkhead faithful.
On the plus side, those hopeful long-balls from the back will certainly find their target.
7. AC Milan third
It would be unfair not to give the Serie A champions some credit for their away kit, however. Simplicity reigns supreme here. Black shirt, black collar, red trim – it's basic but effective.
There's room for national pride, too, as the Italian flag's colours of red, white and green take pride of place on the front of the strip in a thin, understated line. It's very much an Italian job for AC Milan this year.
Along with a classy, equally subtle white offering as their primary away kit, the catwalk aficionados within the fashion capital can at least by happy with two-thirds of Milan's shirts this season.
8. Manchester City away
Showcased at their homecoming event at Eastlands after winning the FA Cup last year, Manchester City have looked to the past for future inspiration.
The legendary Malcolm Allison believed that adopting AC Milan’s red and black would inspire his team to future glory. And inspire it did – under Joe Mercer and Allison, City had their most successful time in 1969-70, with the Manchester club winning the FA Cup, League Cup and Cup Winners' Cup.
With the barren period over, City now hope this away kit will inspire them to greater things in their first Champions League appearance. It's certainly far better than the original trendsetters AC Milan’s thin-striped catastrophe this season.
9. Zenit St Petersburg home
Russia’s champions clearly want to shake off their nickname ‘Bomzhi’, meaning homeless or beggars, with this ambitious fashionable effort.
In essence, it’s a simple yet stylish laser blue kit with white collar – but look closer at the geometric design and you'll realise there’s a lot more to this shirt. Embroidered inside on the reverse to the crest is the club motto, translated as ‘Our name is Zenit’.
It harks back to the kits of the early '90s, though less garish and with better execution. Maybe manager Luciano Spalletti’s Italian fashion knowledge was used in the consultation process?
10. Arsenal away
The Gunners’ new navy and turquoise away kit celebrates and signifies much of their 125-year heritage.
The colours were chosen from previous historical change strips and the diagonal split apparently represents a sundial’s shadow – commemorating the Dial Square in the Woolwich munitions factory, where the club as founded in 1886. That not specific enough for you? A newly designed crest featuring 15 laurel and 15 oak leaves (a nod to the club’s 15 founders) is emblazoned on the right side.
Even ignoring the history lesson, it is a marked improvement on previous seasons – a very sleek kit.