Matt Allen guides you through the coolest of retro kits. Buy one of these and you never need splash out on another shirt again!
Pass any high street sport store theses days and you're bombarded with the sight of football shirts of all colours and design. Premier League kits, tops from La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga, even MLS. The five-a-side top of your dreams is just a click away. That wasn't always the case. In the '60s, '70s and '80s, new football shirts were treated with reverence. Clubs didn't change their designs every five minutes and shirt sponsors, squad numbers and limited edition cup kits were fairly unheard of. So what, then, are the best kits of all time? We've argued for many hours (and thanks to Neal Heard for the accompanying research) to come up with this definitive selection.
1. Juventus, 1985
A masterpiece of design made all the more sexy by the football specialists that wore it, not to mention that oh-so-risque Kappa logo of two people sitting starkers, back to back. Juve's kit, complete with its futuristic Ariston logo, seemed beamed from the future. Twinned with ultra stylish shorts and, in Michel Platini's case, Patrick boots with laces tied around his ankles, this was a playground object of desire across the country.
2. Spurs, 1977-1980
Spurs were considered fairly otherworldly during the late '70s mainly because they signed a couple of "foreign lads" in Argentines Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa. Luckily, they had clobber to match their launch from Second Division no-marks to European cup kings through an Admiral shirt armed with 'Concorde' collars that almost brushed the nipples, plus some nifty branding on the sleeves. This was Spurs' last kit without a sponsor. Next up: a decade of cheap beer logos and Chas 'n' Dave singsongs.
3. Denmark, 1986
There were plenty of style highlights from Mexico '86: the grainy images of Brazilian right-back Josimar smashing one in from what seemed like 50 yards out, for example. The less-is-more aesthetics of the Puma King and Adidas Mondial football boots. Gary Lineker's plaster-cast celebration. One kit stood out among them all, however: Hummel's mind-bending red and white Denmark top, worn by the likes of Jesper Olsen, Michael Laudrup and Morton Olsen. As they surged past their opponents in the group stages like an unstoppable, pinstriped rip tide, their blurred lines caused some sceptics to brand its colour scheme as 'girly pink'. Football's hipsters knew the deal, though. As did Tottenham Hotspur, Coventry City and Aston Villa who would go on to adopt Hummel as their kit manufacturer in the following seasons.
4. Crystal Palace, 1979-1982
This, predicted Jimmy Greaves in 1979, was 'The Team Of The '80s'. A side managed by Terry Venables, and seemingly primed to usher in a new era of dominance outside of Liverpool's stranglehold on domestic and European competition. In reality, it was the 'Team Of Autumn, 1979' and their charge was barely a stumble out of the blocks, but, bloody hell, didn't Crystal Palace look cool in that blue and red sash? It also helped that their kits were being designed by Admiral and Adidas, the cut of choice for the five-a-side connoisseur.