Fashion and football have always had a tumultuous relationship. David Beckham, every designer’s favourite clotheshorse in 2016, is also the man responsible for his-and-hers biker leathers, sarongs and problematic cornrows. And for every Sturridge, there’s a Ronaldo with a plunging V-neck.
That same broad spectrum of, er, style isn’t limited to off the pitch either. While the beautiful game captures the hearts and minds of the British public, it’s also responsible for some of the best (and worst) kits known to man. And this season is about as erratic as Allardyce’s CV. Here they are, from worst to best.
Reinventing the stripe is about as easy as saying nice things about John Terry. But a gold stripe and some awkward colour-blocking is not the way to do it.
Watford’s canary yellow is less birdsong, more canary trapped down a mine in a gas leak, thanks in no small part to its overbearing colour palette.
Unless you have abs like Adam Clayton, a diagonal stripe’s an uphill struggle. (Which is most of us.)
All-white is a staple footballer style move, especially when England hits the world stage. But Swansea’s take somehow comes off more Tanya Turner than top of the league.
As one of the most famous clubs in the world, you might’ve expected a more daring style move from Liverpool this season. But the only minor tweak to the formula is a gold collar trim, which (is it just us?) comes off a touch too ‘reverend’.
15. Hull City
So close, yet so far. It’s a phrase that plagues the Tigers – and the same can be said for their kit. The black and amber might be a unique premiership colour combo, but the dipped neckline sinks further than Hull’s hopes of staying up.
Not sure what’s more disappointing – Stoke’s performance this season or this regurgitation of their usual red-and-white stripe. Safe, but otherwise forgettable.
After what Leicester did last season, you don’t need an all-singing, all-dancing kit. And while the subtle blue-on-blue geometric print isn’t offensive, it won’t make waves pitchside. That’s Vardy’s job.
Claret and blue, Burnley’s colours of choice, have been with the club for years. But we still can’t help thinking of their kit as a poor man’s West Ham.
What else would you expect from the Cherries? The red-and-black stripe is a seamless combination of terrace style and cornershop confection. Maybe a touch too sickly sweet though.
Chelsea’s nostalgic nod involves contrast stripes, an embroidered lion and a sponsorship stamp that actually complements the design. Almost makes their performance last season bearable.
9. Manchester United
The Red Devils are a global brand, which means kit design requires meticulous execution – too little and it won’t sell, too much and it’ll ostracise die-hards. Lucky then, that the two-tone jigsaw shirt sets itself apart from peers, but still colour-pops on the pitch.
8. Tottenham Hotspur
After seasons of diagonal stripes and too much flash, Poch’s boys can look forward to the season in a league-worthy kit. The white and navy is a classic combination, while hints of gold are enough to keep the cockerels crowing.
7. West Ham
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It’s a motto that probably hits a little too close to (its new Olympic Stadium) home for West Ham fans this season. At least they’ve kept the kit traditional – important for a club steeped in history.
6. Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace’s blue stripe has never been bolder – something that contrasts well with the red side panels. Plus, the gold detailing to the shorts and back neck tape is enough to make crystal go diamond.
Complex designs rarely work in football. Unless you’re Southampton.
Under Armour has combined red and white stripes with a navy collar. And it works. Shame the away kit is duller than Wenger at a press conference, though.
Everton’s kit may look unassuming, but there are references to the club hidden throughout. Like the coordinates of Goodison Park embroidered to the back of the neck. And the slight criss-cross design nod to the Bullens Road stand. Enough to make a Toffee melt.
3. Man City
In a sea of blood red and royal blue, Man City’s choice is a breath of fresh air. But don’t be fooled by the pastels. The club’s home kit incorporates Nike AeroSwift technology to enhance performance and reduce bodyweight constrictions. So it’s not just a pretty face.
When it comes to kits, Arsenal always plays it safe. But safe needn’t mean boring. The usual red-and-white combo has been reinvented with a vertical maroon stripe, and continues with an inverse line to the shorts.
1. West Brom
Where do we even start? A Henry Holland-esque stripe meets Shinjuku street style sponsorship meets terrace-worthy 1990s collar meets wearable colour combo. In translation, a dream. Unlike Tony Pulis’ style of football.