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