It’s that time again where I review the Premier League’s new kits for the upcoming season. Which kits will be flying off the shelves, and which will be being thrown straight in the bin?
It’s fair to say that there are some very classy kits in England’s top division this season, but the worst has to be Norwich’s third kit which looks like a McDonald’s uniform and just combines the colours of their home and away shirts. Whoever designed those might not be trusted with the responsibility again…
But moving on to designers who should be getting a pay rise, here’s my top ten Premier League kits for the 2015-16 season as I pretend to suddenly be an expert in fashion!
10. Watford – Home (Puma)
There are some kits that are like marmite – you either love them or hate them. This Watford kit is one of those, and coincidently, it has marmite’s colour scheme too! Black is usually just a trim colour on the Hornet’s bright yellow home shirts, but Puma have decided to make it more prominent and create a gradient effect, with hoops that develop from pinstripes. It’s the first Watford kit to feature hoops in over 100 years, and I think it looks really cool, but the sponsor perhaps slightly ruins it. Whether their time really is ‘NOW’ though is slightly debatable, with the newly promoted club one of the favourites for relegation. Some fans may have preferred a more traditional look for Troy Deeney and co in their first Premier League season since 07/08, but as non-Hornets supporter looking in, it’s a great kit.
9. Everton – Away (Umbro)
You don’t see many Umbro kits on the big stage these days, even England have ditched them for Nike, but the kits they have made for Everton this season show that retro could still be the way to go. After creating a home shirt inspired by past kits, they decided to create a hybrid of sorts with this away strip. Some people may say that it doesn’t work, but I have to disagree. The simple white shirt combined with white and grey hooped sleeves, or as the Toffees call it ‘detailing’ I think looks really smart, but at the same time subtly stands out from the rest. On are the back of the shirt is the club’s motto ‘Nil Satis Nisi Optimum’ (nothing but the best), adding an extra touch of class to proceedings.
8. Tottenham Hotspur – Home (Under Armour)
Both Tottenham’s home and away kits made it onto my list last year, and Under Armour have once again produced another quality shirt for the North London side to wear. It includes a prominent navy diagonal ‘heritage’ sash, featuring six broken lines to reflect on the crest underneath the cockerel on top of White Hart Lane. It’s also the first time since 2010 that Spurs’ shirt features the same manufacturer and sponsor for consecutive season. I’ve always liked kits which have a sash across them in River Plate-esque style, as it adds a touch of class to the shirt, but it could be said the contrasting sponsor logo takes away part of the glamour. Harry Kane is at the forefront of the advertising campaign for the kit, whilst he and his team-mates also played in it for the first time against Hull in their last home game of 2014-15. Spurs will be hoping he’s still wearing it by the time the transfer window shuts, with rumours linking the striker to Manchester United refusing to go away.
7. Sunderland – Away (Adidas)
Another bright kit (I did say I liked them), and it’s a first away strip on this list as Sunderland’s shirt for their travels features two shades of the green culminating in discreet hoops, as well as yellow trim. Yes, on paper it sounds like a recipe for disaster on paper but in design it comes across as striking and fresh – in my opinion anyway. You can always trust Adidas and their ‘climacool performance technology’ to produce a classy kit, and this Black Cats shirt is supposed to “make a strong impact on and off the field”. I’m not entirely sure how the latter is to be achieved, but certainly on the pitch it will catch the eye, as long as it doesn’t blend into the grass too much. Even the new sponsor – dafabet, previously on Aston Villa’s shirts – fits into the design. Overall, a very modern, stylish kit, but supporters will hope it won’t prove a bogey colour on the road next term.
6. West Ham United – Home (Umbro)
As I mentioned earlier with Everton’s kits, Umbro have done a very good job with the kits they have been trusted with this year, and this West Ham effort is another retro outfit, and with good reason. 2015-16 will be the Hammer’s last season playing at Upton Park (The Boleyn Ground) before moving to the Olympic Stadium. The strip features a commemorative gold crest with the legend ‘Boleyn Ground 1904-2016′ underneath as a fitting tribute. Umbro also manufactured the first shirt worn by the London club, and return to West Ham for the first time in five years with a kit replicating that of 111 years ago. It’s simple but effective as most classic shirts are, and I’m sure will be hugely popular with fans as a huge part of the club’s history comes to an end.
5. Liverpool – Away (New Balance)
New Balance designed Liverpool’s kits for the first time this season, and it’s fair to say they’ve done a pretty good job. Following the horrendous, colour clash disasters that Warrior produced over the past couple of seasons, it was nice to see a simple white design with accents of red, and it is one that stands out for the right reasons. But simple is not the way that the Merseyside club unveiled the shirt. They launched it by launching Robbie Fowler out of a helicopter in Australia, as the ex-Red did a skydive on the Gold Coast wearing the shirt, taking the tagline ‘Hold Nothing Back’ to the next level. Fowler said that the kit was ‘not only good for the pitch, but good for jumping out of a plane as well.’ I’m not going to test that claim, but it is certainly a sleek, classy kit for Liverpool to wear on the road with pride. The unveiling also let fans see Daniel Sturridge in a Reds shirt for the first time in a quite a few months, so that’s another bonus.
4. Chelsea – Home (Adidas)
It almost seems odd to see a Chelsea kit without ‘Samsung’ strapped across the front, as Yokohama Tyres take over the role of main sponsor and take their place in the centre of a very smart kit. The design stays loyal to tradition, taking inspiration from several classic shirts by using several design features which made these kits fan favourites. That means so odd looking gradients which have tarnished recent kits, giving the Blues a kit worthy of reigning champions. The new strip comes with the motto: “If it’s not blue, it will be”, a campaign focusing on the players’ determination to dominate domestic and European football. If they achieve that goal, it’ll certainly be a very good kit to do it in. Furthermore, the shirt also includes a truly unique feature, a fingerprint woven onto a label on each shirt, uniquely connecting supporters to the club and showing class to onlookers.
3. Liverpool – Home (New Balance)
Liverpool are the only team to have two kits in my top ten, which is perhaps a surprise considering their manufacturer isn’t a sports giant such as Nike or Adidas. But New Balance have done a superb job, and took inspiration from the club’s supporters with the home kit design. The shirt adopts a chequerboard pattern like that of the red and white mosaic formed when supporters on the Kop hoist aloft their Liverpool flags and scarves on a matchday. With the club’s logo in silver and the Hillsborough memorial logo in gold, this shirt just oozes class all over. It’s fair to say the launch was not quite as dramatic as that of the aforementioned away strip, as around 1,000 fans gathered inside Anfield to see Sturridge, Skrtel and Sterling wear the shirt for the first time. It turned out to be the one and only time that the latter did so before moving to Manchester City, where he has also been tasked with modelling the kit.
2. Southampton – Away (Adidas)
After manufacturing their own kits last season, Southampton didn’t put faith in their DIY skills once again, and returned to Adidas, who have made two really good kits. The away shirt is by far my favourite, and combines two elements of previous kits on this list. Firstly, like Sunderland’s away shirt, it has a green base, whilst it also features a diagonal sash like Spurs’ effort. But this beats both of those shirts by mixing the two. It may take some getting used to, but it has gone down well with Saints fans on social media and I think it’s a superb kit that will stand out in the Premier League and across the continent as Southampton venture into the Europa League. Jay Rodriguez can also be seen modelling it, despite not playing since April 2014.
1. Newcastle United – Home (Puma)
So we come to number one, and perhaps a debatable one. From afar, Newcastle’s new home shirt might just look like another black and white striped effort. But look closer, and you’ll see a nice accent of blue cutting across the lower half of the shirt, really adding a modern feel. The electric blue trim, a Toon staple, is replicated tastefully across much of the shirt, with the only gripe for supporters being the lack of stripes on the back. But as an onlooker, this makes the shirt better as the names and numbers of the players are clearly visible. The Magpies wore the shirt for the first time on the final day of last season, and it clearly brought them good luck as they gained a vital 2-0 win over West Ham to secure Premier League survival. Fans will be hoping it continues to be a lucky charm with no such troubles in 2015-16. Even the horrific Wonga logo looks better and fits in well with the colour scheme. So if that can’t ruin the kit, it has to deserve top spot. Well done Puma on a very stylish, fresh shirt. They are clearly not afraid to go adventurous, and it has paid off.