Who Doesn’t Love a Good Football Shirt? And is There Anything Worse Than When Your Clubs Serves Up a Mess of a Kit? Check Out the Worst Ever Below…
Football kits are some of the most lucrative and important sources of incomes for professional clubs. The big teams will get paid millions upon millions by the likes of Nike, Adidas, New Balance and Puma to make jerseys that will be gobbled up by fans.
It doesn’t matter how expensive they are, fans will still buy them. These days for the big European teams you get a new home kit, three away kits and two goalkeeper kits every year. It shouldn’t be surprising then that some of them are absolutely awful.
When they’re good they’re very good, but when they’re bad you wouldn’t be seen dead in them. Check out the 30 worst kits in football history, from all across the world.
30. Recreativo (2012/13.)
This Recreativo de Huelva shirt had fans protesting and we don’t blame them. Traditionally the Spanish side wears blue and white and tends to go for red when it comes to their away strips. They spent almost two decades in La Liga before relegation almost saw them go extinct. Well, this disaster of a shirt didn’t help matters in 2012.
Polka dots. Polka dots do not belong on a football shirt. A bikini sure, we’re cool with that. But not a football shirt. Instead of looking like professional players, the Recreativo squad looked like they were cosplaying Disney characters. Shambolic. Relegation is too good for them.
Who in their right mind would want to wear this? Lokomotiv Moscow has become one of the biggest clubs in Russia. They won the Russian Cup in 2019, wearing red shirts. They should stick to an all-red kit because their secondary colour is green and bad things happen if you let those two colours loose together.
Bad things like this shambles above. It’s just one of the ugliest template kits we’ve ever seen. Adidas are responsible for the lack of style in design but it’s not helped by that ludicrous sponsor across the middle. We don’t read Cyrillic so we’re just going to have to assume it’s a written statement from the club board apologising to fans.
There’s nothing wrong with a pink shirt. We love Palermo’s pale pink colours. It’s one of the most classically stylish kits in football. But there is something wrong with this garish debacle above. Juventus have their home colours perfect with their black and white stripes, but what was going on with this mess from 2011?
Not only is it a shockingly bright shade of pink, but it has what looks to be a star-shaped biscuit mould embedded on it. We’re sorry folks, that’s just not okay.
Tim Cahill looks like he wonders what he’s doing right now. The Australia and Everton legend deserved better than to be forced into that retina destroying shirt. After a lengthy association with Umbro, Everton changed shirt suppliers to Le Coq Sportif. Big mistake.
In 2013/14 they were served up not one but two horrible away kits. This one is definitely the worst with what can only be described as shocking pink. Their alternate away kit was almost as bad. It was a confusingly detailed blue and yellow mess. Fans of the Toffees will be relieved that their club is back with Umbro again.
Not many teams go out onto the pitch dressed in full purple, but Fiorentina do. The Florence-based club are nickname La Viola for that very reason and when it’s kept basic it’s very effective and distinctive. When you try to get clever, that’s when things go wrong. Just check out this ridiculous shirt above.
If you just look at it quickly it might not seem that bad. Sure, it’s a bit 90s, but there are worse colour combinations on this list right? But if you look at the black detailing you can see why this is a bit problematic. Yep. Those controversial political symbols you see where what forced this shirt to be pulled from sales. Oh dear.
One of the most confusing shirts of all time, Birmingham’s away effort in 1972 is definitely love/hate. Depending on your perspective you might actually think that this is one of the greatest kits ever made, but then you’d definitely be wrong. Normally Birmingham plays in blue, so the designers got excited when they made their away shirt.
They basically gave them a German flag. Why? We don’t know. It’s not like they had a contingent of Germans playing for them. Totally unnecessary and bizarre. It doesn’t even look good.
How can one of the greatest clubs in the history of the sport have produced so many awful away kits? Barcelona might have been the home to Ronaldinho, Xavi and Lionel Messi but it’s also served up some absolute messes of kits. Check out this effort by Kappa in 1995.
We really don’t know what to say about it. It looks like somebody has stuck together with a load of random flaps like a cheap version of Tetris or something. Oh, the 90s. That’s all you really need to say about it.
Munich’s second club has a long and contentious history with their more famous and successful rivals Bayern. They’re the reason the Allianz Arena lights up blue, because of their kit colours. However, if they want to get more fans they really should think about their kit designs.
Back in 2010, the club decided to commemorate its 150th anniversary by releasing two special kits. They were both horrendous but the one you see above was the worst. What were they thinking? It looks cheap, tacky and ugly. No wonder Bayern are the more successful side. Who would want to play in that rag?
Barcelona are arguably the biggest club in world football. They’ve got the world’s best player and have one of the most iconic home kit designs as well. Over the past few years though they’ve served up a few shocking away kits, none worse than their Tequila Sunrise effort.
As you can see from the image above, this kit is literally the same colouration as a Tequila Sunrise turned upside down. Well, with it’s shocking bright orange and yellow, maybe it was meant to make defenders cover their eyes as the Catalan side’s forwards run at them. Not a great effort.
AC Milan has some of the most iconic kits in football. Their red and black striped combination is one of the slickest and most stylish in the game. One of the most accomplished sides in Italian football, they’ve fallen away since the mid-noughties, but usually, they still look good being mediocre.
If you look at the kit above it’s really not that bad for 1981. A solid collar. The classic red and black. But there is just one that jumps out: “Pooh.” What was this company thinking when they decided to call themselves ‘Pooh Jeans?’ One of the worst sponsors ever and it just ruins an otherwise respectable shirt.
Yellow kits can be lovely. Indeed some are iconic. Brazil has won five World Cups wearing yellow and they are some of the most iconic football shirts of all time. Borussia Dortmund regularly produces some of the most amazing hipster kits out there, while Barcelona and Liverpool often plum for yellow away kits. It can work very well.
But when it doesn’t, they turn out to be absolutely dire. Check out this mess worn by Newcastle back in 2009-10. Away kits are an opportunity for designers to express themselves and a good one will sell well because it’s different and interesting. But this is pure vomit inducing.
This club only existed for a season but they still were still responsible for a crime against humanity. Check out their shirts from 1978. The Caribous played in the North American Soccer League, losing 22 of their 30 games. The only thing worse about them than their legacy is the shirts they wore on their backs.
First of all, it’s beige. BEIGE. Now there’s a colour to get the fans excited. And then, the coup de grace: that ridiculous fringe across the middle. Last year, MSL club Colorado Rapids pulled an April Fool’s joke on their fans by releasing their new kit – a modern recreation of the Caribou’s monstrosity.
19. Cameroon (2002-2004.)
Cameroon had the cheek to go toe-to-toe with FIFA twice in the early noughties. First of all, they attracted Sepp Blatter’s fury by wearing sleeveless vests at the African Cup of Nations. They had another idea up their sleeves for the World Cup though – no pun intended.
Yes, the African nation decided to increase Blatter’s blood pressure by wearing what can only be described as a short/jersey combo onesie at the 2004 African Cup of Nations and the 2006 World Cup qualifiers. For their defiance, they were slammed with a $154,000 fine and docked six-points. This would be dropped after Puma tried to sue FIFA.
Jorge Campos was a colourful character. Sorry for the atrocious pun, but the Mexican goalkeeper will forever be a cult hero for his garish international kits. Goalkeeper’s kits have a history of being bright for various technical reasons. Sometimes they make the keeper look bigger, or the brightness can just distract the oncoming forward. Campos brought it to the next level.
He was actually involved in the design of his kits, with the one on the left the most notorious. He wore it at the 1994 World Cup causing millions of TV viewers worldwide to suffer epileptic fits. Ok, we’re exaggerating but if you’d almost believe it. They’re atrocious.
Reggina are basically the Sunderland of Italian football. After ten years in Serie A, they now sit in Serie C, having had a few years of brutal mismanagement and financial problems. Their nickname, ‘Gil Amaranto’ translates to ‘The Dark Reds,’ obviously because of their kit colours.
So far there’s nothing unusual about that. It’s hard to go wrong with a red kit right? Well, take a good look at their 2009 offering. This horrendous 2012 creation is basically a male torso. It’s just so strange.
One of the most infamous kits in Premier League history, this is a regular candidate for worst of all time. It’s just so drab and uninspiring. With all of the colours in the world you’ve just got to wonder what sort of soulless entity would look at that monstrosity and say oh yeah that looks nice, doesn’t it?
United famously wore it in a match against Southampton back in 1996. They were 3-0 down at half-time and Sir Alex Ferguson blamed their shocking passing on not being able to see each other properly. They switched tops during the break, but would still lose 3-1. They never wore that grey kit again.
From drab to brighter than the sun on steroids, we’ve come to Shimizu S-Pulse’s diabolical 2001 effort. One of Japan’s most successful clubs, their kits are some of the most confusing in football. There’s just so much going on with them. For some bizarre reason, they are bright orange with maps of the world imposed upon them.
We’re serious. Check out this desperate offering from 2001 that just encapsulates everything bad about their designs. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put some camouflage pattern on this as well was clearly on acid. Some people just want to watch the world burn.
Apartheid fighter and fashion icon Nelson Mandela could probably have pulled this off. You definitely can’t. Australia are one of the most successful teams in Asia/Oceania. They basically wear some combination of yellow and green in every sport they plan and when it’s done well it looks sharp and unique.
Not in 1990 though. They served up a monstrosity for the World Cup in Italy and will always have to bear that legacy. It looks like a child picked up a couple of paint brushes and went to town with crazy brush strokes. An eyesore.
We think this Athletic Bilbao ‘effort’ – we can’t bring ourselves to call it a shirt was inspired by Spanish surrealism maestro Salvador Dali. The artist is one of the most renowned figures of the early twentieth-century movement. But clearly, art does not translate to a great kit.
What Athletic instead ended up with was a white shirt with red blobs on it. It’s almost as offensive to the eyes as an all you can eat BBQ buffet to a militant vegan. Let’s hope the Basque club have learnt their lesson and never make the same mistake again.
Hull City are nicknamed ‘The Tigers’ because of the traditional black and orange vertical stripes on their shirts. Sometimes you get different combinations or styles, but the majority of their kits are made in this way. In fact, that’s why their owner Assem Allam tried to rename them ‘Hull Tigers,’ which was thankfully rejected by the FA.
Sometimes that orange and black can go very wrong. Back in 1992-93, their kit designer decided that they should go full tiger stripes. What they got was an absolute mess that’s destined to grace lists like this for the remainder of human existence. Congratulations boys.
Cultural Leonosa are a team playing in Spain’s Segunda B Division. There really isn’t that much to say about the team from Leon. They had one season in the top flight during the 1950s, but since then have really done very little. That is until 2014/15 when they made headlines for their tuxedo kit.
Full marks for creativity folks but zero for execution. They were meant to look like tuxedos, but instead, Cultural Leonosa found themselves looking like penguins. We’re being harsh though because to be fair they were for charity and used to raise money for the families of miners in the town.
10. Liverpool Away Kits (2013/14)
We’re not sure which of these is worse so we’re giving you a two-for-one deal here. All of a sudden the reason why Luis Suarez left Liverpool now makes sense. For the past few seasons, Liverpool has had some gorgeous kits from New Balance. As you can see though, their sister company Warrior served up some dire designs.
Somebody in the Warrior design team clearly likes pixels and geometric shapes. We’ve no idea what’s going on with these but they’re definitely eye-catching but not in any positive way. They’re definitely not classics by any means.
Ok, we get it. When your team traditionally wears stripes it can be a little bit difficult to come up with something new and interesting. Sunderland historically wears red and white vertical stripes. Sure you can swap the order but freshening up the design can be a struggle. So for designers, their goalkeeping shirts offer a chance to get those creative juices flowing.
Whoever is responsible for this 1994-96 effort clearly had something else flowing. On their brain. This is definitely one of the direst shirts that we’ve ever exposed our eyes to. There is just so much going on and none of it is good. The 90s were a dark time for kit designs and this is up there with the worst. Atrocious.
What even is this? Bochum currently plays in Germany’s second division where they’ve spent most of the last twenty years. The German side has a solid history and a strong fanbase, but they’ve also produced one of the worst fashion disasters in history. If you can bring yourself to look at this mess above, do so now.
Vomit inducing is how we would describe this. It’s like they took not one but two bad kits and stuck them together. First of all, they’ve got the drabbest blue in the world and then stuck it next to a rainbow flag to produce the most confusing mess you’ll ever see.
When it’s done right, Celtic’s home shirt is a thing of beauty. Their green and white hoops are legendary, unique and a thing of beauty. Of course, there’s only so much change you can make to them so when designers get a chance to be creative with the away shirt they’re going to go all in.
We can only guess that’s what happened in 1991 when this monstrosity was served up. What’s going on with that lightning bolt across the middle? Why has somebody dipped it in sewage? Why that sickly shade of green? There are just so many things wrong with this horrible shirt.
Another two-for-one offering, these goalkeeping shirts coincided with Liverpool’s side towards mediocracy in the mid-90s. We’re not sure which one of these two is worst so we’re giving you the two of them together. On the left, you’ve got some sort of gothic nightmare and on the right, you’ve George of the Jungle’s pyjamas.
The only thing that could have made these worse is if you had a goalkeeper whose hands were flappier than a hummingbird’s wings. Oh, hang on… David James. This truly was the stuff of nightmares.
Now we’re getting into truly painful territory. England has had some great kits but this definitely wasn’t one of them. Honestly, it just goes to show how bad the 90s were because the overwhelming majority of shirts on this list are from that era. England’s 1996 goalkeeper jersey is one of the worst things we’ve ever seen.
Just what going on with this? Bright red, yellow, lime green, and purple all appear. It’s got England written down the front in block capitals so the goalkeeper doesn’t forget who he is playing for. And there are loads of other random writing that we’re not even going to try and explain. No.
Even worse than England’s 1996 goalkeeper shirt was this horrendous mistake by Estonia. The Baltic nation isn’t exactly known as a footballing powerhouse so they were determined to make an impression at Euro ’96 in some way. This was not the way to do it though.
We’ve got geometric patterns, a giant sundial, and the weirdest combination of colours going. Honestly, this just looks like an acid trip.
What could be worse than a bad 90’s kit? A kit that tries to imitate a bad 90’s kit. This shirt released by Norwich in 2016 belongs in football’s hall of shame. Likened to the infamous 1992-94 away kit, it was immediately compared to bird poo. We don’t know why they thought it was a good idea to bring back memories of the 90’s kit, because that was compared to bird poo as well. We’re putting it this high because the design team had twenty years to think about this.
Steve Balmer-Walters, head of retail at the time said: “this season’s third kit pays homage to the famous 1992-94 kit. We really wanted to replicate this iconic kit using a white base to give the third kit a distinctive look. I hope the fans really enjoy the kit as much as we have enjoyed designing it.” Yeah alright, mate.
The worst kit on this list, there is just so much wrong with this vile rag. Anybody somebody tries to tell you Southend United are an inoffensive football club, you show them this weapon of mass destruction. It looks like somebody took scissors to a bus seat and decided to sew green sleeves on it.
Somehow it resembles Aztec symbols and a carpet at the same time. We’re in awe of how terrible and disgusting it is. You’ve almost got to love its hideousness. Well, no you really don’t.