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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 April, 2003, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
The worst football kits of all time
By Tom Fordyce

HELP OUR 'SHIRT AMNESTY'
Jorge Campos of Mexico

Coventry 1978. Arsenal 1991. Norwich 1993. The mere words are enough to strike fear into fans across the country.

These are not notorious firms of hooligans, nor even the scenes of particularly calamitous defeats.

No, they are examples of that most dreadful of design disasters - the butchered football kit.

Every now and then, some wild-eyed idiot in a club's marketing department gets together with a cack-handed graphic design student at the local poly.

Hey presto - your club's once-proud shirt is turned into something from the very depths of hell.

All this week, BBC Radio Five Live are running a Shirt Amnesty - asking listeners to send in their old football kits.

A perfect opportunity, then, to look back at some of the horror-stories that have frightened football supporters wherever they have been worn.

There was Coventry's chocolate brown away kit, as sported by a moustachioed Terry Yorath and bouffanted Ian Wallace.

Whoever thought the colour scheme appropriate for a team nicknamed the Sky Blues clearly lived life upside down.

OLD FOOTBALL SHIRTS
Hull City's kit of 1992
Hull City 1992: Grrrrrrr....

Meanwhile Arsenal's away aberration (modelled by Anders Limpar and Ian Selley) and Norwich's "covered in canary-droppings" home kit of the early 1990s have almost lost their impact through over-familiarity.

Turn your thoughts instead to some of the lesser-known disgraces - like Hull City's tiger-stripes of 1992-3.

To the bright spark who thought the Tigers should come out as footballing representations of their nickname, we say this: do Sheffield Wednesday appear in bird costumes?

Popular with the fans in the same way that people will stop to stare at a car crash, the kit had the effect of making the players look like car seats from a Ford Escort parked in a Harlow backstreet circa 1985.

Brighton's away shirts of 1991 were supposed to be a vogue-ish combination of red and white.

Sadly the pattern was such that it appeared the players had hacked someone to death while wearing a white shirt and then wiped their bloodied hands on their chests.

This of course came from a club who once extended their blue and white stripes from their shirts to their shorts - giving the impression that they were wearing Tesco bags.

It was a pattern that outperformed even the two worst goalkeepers' shockers of the last 20 years, Peter Shilton's England jersey from the 1988 European Championships and Jorge Campos' Mexican 'mare of 1998.

Shilts - for some reason wearing a shirt at least a size too small - resembled a lime crème chocolate that had been stepped on so that the filling had begun to leak out.

Meanwhile the appropriately-named Campos would not have been out of place in Sydney's Mardi Gras parade, so gaudy was his choice of jersey.

Was it more effeminate than Juventus' pink away kit of 1997, as worn by a scowling Antonio Conte, or Everton's salmon strip of the mid-1990s?

Efan Ekoku in Norwich's kit of1993
Norwich 1993: Canaries complete with bird excrement
Maybe the prize should go to Derby County's Division Three change kit of 10 years earlier, an ensemble described by the local radio commentator as their "Moulin Rouge tarts' outfit".

Bristol Rovers made their bid for immortality by travelling the country in 1987-88 displaying their famous quartered shirts in an eyeball-searing tangerine and lemon combo.

And Southend sank two divisions from 1996-8 wearing a kit that seemed to have a large splat of custard on the front, moulded slightly so that the top edge of the stain showed a graph charting their descent down the league.

It put to shame a shirt than once seemed to set to rule the roost for all time - Birmingham's away shirt of the mid-1970s.

I say to you this: a large centre stripe in yellow, complemented on one side by a brown panel and sleeve and on the other by a nauseous navy blue.

We shall not see their like again.





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