My 5 Favourite Arsenal Tops: Yes Sir, We Have No Bananas Today

There was a time when a new Arsenal shirt came around every four or five years. Then it became every two or three, gradually dropping to the complete shambles we have now of three new kits every year.

Three badly designed kits as well. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a decent home kit with a good away kit.

Let’s just forget the third kits; that’s an excuse for the designers to drop some acid and come up with something they think will sell well in the fashion markets.

Anyway, to remind you what a decent Arsenal shirt should be like:

5. 1982/83 ‘Bluebottle Kit’

(Following photos courtesy of Facebook page, Arsenal’s Green and Navy Away Kit)

You’ve got your ‘bruised banana’, I’ve got my ‘bluebottle’. Confession time: I was one of the minority who liked this at the time. The colour scheme was different while keeping to the ‘traditional’ template but my godfathers, did the club get slated for it.

1970-71 double winners in the bluebottle kit

It was another stick to beat Arsenal with but it was probably the last time that a Terry Neill Arsenal side looked good.

Subutteo’s take on the kit with dubious green goalkeeper shirt

And it’s just occurred to me. I can’t remember what colour shirt the goalkeepers wore. A question to remember next time I’m flicking through the programmes (I think it was royal blue but don’t quote me on that).

4. 1969 – 78 Home Shirt

For most of us, this is the Arsenal home shirt design. Simple, classy and most importantly, a red shirt with white sleeves, completed by contrasting collar and cuffs.

Occasionally, Umbro tweaked it so that red shirt with white sleeves and contrasting trim, became a white-sleeved shirt with a red body and contrasting trim. A cup final motif might be added and in latter years, the Umbro double diamonds worked wonders on the shirt and shorts.

But it isn’t my favourite home kit.

3. 1993/94 Away Kit

I don’t know why but the sash effect worked for me, even with the lop-sided effect of the outer diagonal stripes.

It is though, proof of what can be achieved with a trophy in the bag as far as remembering kits fondly is concerned. We scored some great goals that season, from Wrighty’s volley in the Charity Shield to Eddie McGoldrick’s fine finish in the second leg of this European Cup Winner’s Cup tie.

With The Arsenal wearing yellow & blue in Saturday's FA Cup Final we thought we'd post a few classic away kits this week. Ian Wright's often forgotten Adidas 1993/94 #matchworn shirt #TheArsenal #Arsenal #AFC #Gunners #Highbury #Adidas #1994 #1990s #match #worn #shirt #ArsenalAwayShirt #IanWright #Wright #Wrighty #ArsenalHero #legend #TheArsenalShirt #thearsenalshirtbook

2. Anfield 1989

Did I mention trophy? This sprints almost to the top of the pile not just for being a classic Adidas design of the period nor just for winning the league after 18 years of waiting but because I’d like it now if it were issued as a kit. Not that Puma are capable of designing a kit I like…

1. 1985-86 Centenary Home Shirt

The away shirt that season was none too shabby with its’ contrasting yellow stripes but the home kit was excellent. Adidas remembered that white sleeves means white sleeves not white sleeves and shoulders, with the white collar featuring thin red bands. The design fad of the day was pinstripes and we had white pinstripes down the body of the shirt.

Centenary embroidery carried on home and away Arsenal shirts during 1985/86. The 1985 year is actually incorrect & the story behind the error will be revealed during the forthcoming season #Arsenal #AFC #Highbury #Centenary #1980s #Umbro #homeshirt #awayshirt #matchworn #shirts #matchwornshirts #TheArsenalShirt #shirthistory #shirtbook #thearsenalshirtbook

It was Umbro’s final home kit; Adidas took over from 1986 and set a bar with design consistency that Nike and Puma has failed to meet.

Some images came from The Arsenal Shirt, the finest book on Arsenal’s shirt history written. Pick up your copy here.

And if this has provoked some memories, test how good your recall is with this little quiz:


See interactive version here (via SBO.net).

5 thoughts on “My 5 Favourite Arsenal Tops: Yes Sir, We Have No Bananas Today

  1. I was never a fan of the green/blue away shirt, probably because we always lost when I saw us play in it!

    Personally I always liked the yellow/blue away shirt from 2003/04 season, probably because we always won when I saw us play in it!

    Agree with you about the 1985/86 home shirt with the collar and pin stripe…very nice! – Also quite liked the 3rd choice blue shirt (Dreamcast) that we wore v Lens at Wembley.

  2. 2 more to mention that I liked

    79 yellow and blue away kit with flappy collars! My first full kit top to bottom including socks. That’s living all right

    05 leaving Highbury black currant one
    Pretty original
    Pretty nice actually

    My ex girlfriend tantalised me with ownership with her surname on the back that was too small for her fat brother

    Maybe I’ll bloody buy my own now…

  3. The #71 home and away kit for me but, dare I say it, I rather liked that strange away kit from the 80’s with the yellow and blue pattern.

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