Football teams take the piss with shirts these days, but there was a time when they were cherished by fans of all ages.
While all teams will release at least one new kit this summer – most will do two, and some will introduce three – very few, if any, are destined to become classic shirts.
However, Neal Heard’s The Art of the Football Shirt brings together a fine selection of the most memorable kits from the footballing past and presents them at the Old Truman Brewery in London’s trendy Shoreditch.* Where else, given the residents’ penchant for appropriating fashion from days of yore?
Upon entry, you’re faced with the greatest XI, when it comes to shirts (the two slightly hidden ones are Denmark 88 and Milan 91) and as overused as the word iconic is, you’d struggle to argue against any of the selection.
There are memories everywhere for people who know pointless footballing history (hi!), like a Gary Lineker-era Grampus Eight shirt, Deportivo Guadalajara’s pride shirt, Oxford shirts showing off their Wang and the time when Fiorentina were accidentally a bit Nazi.
There are other political shirts, ones that crossed over into musical culture and a celebration of sublimated graphics, which were all the range in the 90s and seem to be making their way back today, hence Huddersfield marking their return to the top flight with a faithful recreation of their black-and-red jaggedy hoop nonsense.
Spotted any shirts that bring back pleasant or painful memories? Drop me a comment!
(* The Art of the Football Shirt is only on 26-27th July, so if you haven’t visited, this is the best you’re going to get – sorry about that.)