SRINIVAS SADHANAND | 6th November 2021

Idon’t just see kits as uniforms for footballers. Kits are memories. Kits take you back to places in ways that time machines may sometime in the future. Kits make you feel like you’re a part of something.

And I’m probably going to get married in one and knee slide down the aisle.

You’re welcome for that sensational image and here’s my 5 favourite kits of all time.

5) Barcelona 1999/2000: Home

Barcelona’s Centenary kit is just another reminder of why you can’t beat retro kits. And the more I think about it, the more this strip is ground-breaking to me for two special reasons.

One, it paved the way for ‘the anniversary shirt’, considering this kit was a celebration of 100 years since the inception of Catalan’s finest and we’ve seen iterations from clubs from then on.

Two, it stretches the boundaries from a design perspective, splitting the pair of colors; a ballsy move that you never quite catch designers making for clubs that associate themselves with two set colors.

Also, the 1899 and the 1999 stitched in gold on either side is a glorious touch as well as the Blaugrana badge sown right in the centre of the shirt that unifies the two eras, remaining a stylistic choice that makes any kit an instant classic.

And when you’ve got Luis Figo looking a young Dean Martin in this gorgeous number, you’re just forcing my hand into a purchase.

4) Paris Saint-Germain 2018/19 Champions League: Home

This was a moment. The iconic Jumpman logo was plastered alongside a football club’s crest. The Jordan brand had made its biggest leap from the court to the pitch. This was football and streetwear at the same table like never seen before.

And to me anyway, it’s a modern-day classic.

Alright sure; the Jordan collab ensured its steeped in history forever which is partly why it deserves its status as a grail kit.

But it’s the minimalistic approach to designing the fabric of such a game-changing alliance that makes me appreciate this kit even more with time.

Think about it; this Paris Saint-Germain kit could have been put together in a way that’s unsubtle enough to be worn at the Met Gala.

Instead, an all-black kit coupled with a white iteration of the PSG crest to match the Jumpman logo and two grey stripes, above and below the sponsor is as less is more as it gets.

The only kings at the Parc des Princes were the Parisian posse because this entire fit was a flex.

I’d go as far to say that there isn’t a kit on this list that you’d rock outside a nightclub and the bouncer would just let you through as with this banger from PSG. Trust me, no problem, no ID proof.

The drip isn’t just clean, it’s pristine.

Slick enough for Neymar and Mbappe to step out to under the Champions League floodlights and fly enough to be seen cutting shapes in it when you’re out and about.

So, who’s copping this for me because it’s my birthday today (it’s not)?

3) Spain World Cup 2010: Away

Look, this isn’t a hypebeast pick. You wouldn’t rock this with a pair of A Ma Maniere Jordan 3’s and feel better about yourself; I get it. But for the ones that love this game more than Patrice Evra, they’re grinning at this kit right now.

This kit is Andres Iniesta’s right boot making Spain world champions. This kit is David Villa scoring a ridiculous goal, albeit into an empty net with his weak foot against Chile.

This kit is me watching more Fernando Torres compilations than I’m proud of for years after and feeling like I’m El Nino in the park.

Or me watching late night kick-offs with my dad on our projector, with a glee on my face and making popcorn before games while spurring the Spanish on like I was born in Barcelona.

Memories I’d take to my grave in a kit worth being buried in.

2) Manchester City 2011/2012: Away

Call me crazy but I’ve always been an away kit man. I can already sense the screenshots being taken as my unpopular opinion gets obliterated in group chats galore.

But in all honesty, there’s only so much you can do with a home kit. And it isn’t advisable to go all Jackson Pollock on a home strip anyway.

If that was the first thing that this number’s got going for it for me, add to that the fact that this was the Umbro era of Manchester City. Very Joleon Lescott. Very Micah Richards. And certainly, very Gareth Barry.

And it goes without saying that it’s just a stunning kit. This was nostalgia done right; a tribute to a classic City silhouette, donned from 1968 to 1970 as an FA Cup-winning campaign was backed up by a League Cup and European Cup Winners Cup double.

My finest memory of this kit is witnessing Edin Dzeko looking in murderous touch against Spurs, burying four past Brad Friedel.

And I just have to put it out there that my affinity towards the Bosnian Diamond extends to the point of scouring every store during a certain Christmas to cop the same pair of gloves as him.

From that day onwards in 2011 to 2021, I’ve never been more in love with a kit the club I support has adorned.

And if the rumours are to be believed, an iteration of this iconic thread is making a return for the 2022/23 season. Let me keep my gloves ready till then.

1) Arsenal 2005/06: Home

To this very day, I can still picture myself mimicking a Thierry Henry celebration in Arsenal’s ‘Redcurrant kit’ on my old-school cable TV as an 8-year old. It wasn’t even an iconic celebration, Titi just stuck two fingers out.

And to this day, I couldn’t tell you if he that was the King’s way of showing that he was an advocate for peace or reminding the world that he’d scored a brace.

Considering he was rocking the black Nike gloves with the Swoosh stitched on them, violence must’ve been on his mind and a brace had to be next to his name.

The minute I laid eyes on that strip, my childlike wonder put that kit, Thierry Henry and football being cool into the same box. And here we are

Looking outside the car window, 8-year old me loved the breeze in his face and reading what every hoarding said.

And since I mentioned the latter, the only time I blurted out what one of the hoardings actually said was when I came across an advertisement for Spanish telecommunications brand, ‘O2’.

8-year olds do not and should not care about telecommunications. And neither did this one.

But the childlike brain was it again; O2, Arsenal, the Redcurrant Kit, Thierry Henry, football. Only this time, there seemed something about that burgundy strip that made 22 men kicking a ball around feel like something more.

If it didn’t, that kid would have moved on to the next hoarding.

This is why Arsenal’s 2005/06 home kit, commemorating the final season at Highbury will always be No.1 to both 8-year old and 24-year old me.

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