10 most underappreciated (Away) Kits (Of the 2000’s)
As the list of Top Tens on JJB keeps on growing, it means I am becoming more unique with the countdowns, in this case, we have the oddly specific case of under appreciated kits of the previous decade. To meet criteria, much research was done to make sure no one lauded these as even close to team’s best kits, and nor were they considered absolutely hideous. To quote Dr. Evil (starts at 1:11) These are the diet coke of kits, the margerine of kits, basically ones deemed just average by most but that I think deserve justice.
Arsenal 2001-02 Away
An excellent away shirt for the Gunners that strived from the norm at the time. Since Nike has had the contract, Arsenal has alternated between yellow and blue away shirts typically, but after two years of the same yellow away, Arsenal went bold with gold. In my opinion, the shirt looked great, especially paired with navy blue shorts, and is remembered by the Gunners faithful as the shirt in which we last won an FA Cup/Premiership double. It also was worn in the away journey to Aston Villa in which Robert Pires scored arguably his greatest Arsenal goal (against the legendary Peter Schmiechel nonetheless.) I remember this shirt not only for its excellent color scheme but for the great success the team achieved in it.
Barcelona 07-08 Away
2007-08 was the formation of Barcelona’s current greatest team of all time. The team had officially moved on from the Ronaldinho stage to the Leo Messi stage, and were celebrating 50 years of occupying the largest stadium in Europe, Camp Nou. This kit was a breath of fresh air for a team who normally has some variation of yellow for their away (whether it be yellow, orange, gold, etc) so the blue was a great change. The sky blue was fitting of Barcelona’s free flowing style and was worn by the team in their most recent trohpyless season (which now seems like blasphemy.) It also marked Thierry Henry’s first season with the club and Ronaldinho’s last, overall, I think the blue and the “slime” combined to make an excellent kit.
Bolton 2007-08 Away
A surprisingly good kit from Reebok lifetimers Bolton. Barely anything changed from the year before except color and that was all that needed to change. The black was smart and simple, and even though Reebok had TWO logos within six inches of each other, it looked surprisingly okay, so I definitely give the design team at Reebok credit for finally giving Bolton a decent change kit that was definitely top ten in their change kits.
Borussia Dortmund 2008-09 Away
Plain and simple, I do not know a whole lot about BVB 09, but I do know how brilliant this sashed kit looks. The thing I applaud the most about it is that the sponsor EVONIK decided to be diagonal in line with the sash rather than break it up awkwardly and sit horizontal, because of that, this is one of the best sponsored sash kits I have ever seen, and Dortmund’s Black and Yellow color scheme only makes it better, so bravo to Nike for designing this excellent kit.
Everton 2009-10 Away
I know Everton recieved a lot of flack for this season’s hot pink change kit but if you go back just one season, LCS created a near perfect kit involving pink for Everton. Two major features are the LCS logo and the entire Everton crest were done up in pink, which is a nice touch to keep everything matching. The horizontal pink pinstripes also looked great on the shirt. Really my only complain is that the Chang logo stayed in white and was not also pink, but together, this made for an excellent change kit that was modern, but also a nod to Everton’s past.
Fulham 2008-09 Away
Fulham was another one of those smaller market teams that scored a Nike contract (Mainz, Notts County, Crystal Palace are among others) and the same year that Nike released Barcelona’s instantly recognizable split kit they gave Fulham the same treatment, with the key difference being the alternating colored sleeves. I really enjoy when teams try out mutliple color away kits like this, its something different and its usually warmly recieved. They did see great success however finishing 7th in the league and qualifiying for the following season’s Europa League.
Liverpool 2006-07 Third
The first third kit released under Adidas new contract with Liverpool in 2006, it took the design from Germany’s never seen away shirt for the 2006 world cup and smartly incorporated Liverpool’s secret third color of green (its been sparingly used in kits over the past three decades.) I also liked how it was not a traditional split kit (see Fulham above.) Liverpool fans will remember this kit was worn multiple times during the Champions League run to the final in 2007 where the team lost to AC Milan.
Manchester City 2008-09 Away
A surprisingly smart kit from French kit makers Le Coq Sportif, this was a nod to City’s past. The kit highly resembles an AC Milan kit but the white detailing does a nice job making it belong to City. Much like the Liverpool kit above, I also like how the black caves in on the stripes creating the crash effect. This shirt will best be rememberd as the first year under the neverending bank that is Sheikh Mansour and his investment group, as the team acquired Robinho from Real Madrid and nearly signed Ronaldinho from Barcelona, the team would not achieve great heights for a couple more seasons, but this shirt was the beginning of a new era for the Citizens and the blue side of Manchester.
Manchester United 06-07 Away
United, much like Arsenal, have a trend of away kits, usually alternating between white and black and occasionally blue. This United Kit especially stuck out, as the Red Devils first white change kit in four seasons and the first change shirt to have AIG as the sponsors for United. Now I think this looks excellent because of its combination of white black and old gold is smartly done. Now I do think they could ahve done something more than just thrown on the black panels, but it was used smartly to envelope the crest in black (something taken out of Liverpool‘s book. Compared to the chevron’s of the past few away kits, I have to say this has been one of the smartest done United kits outside of the brilliant 2007-08 race inspired kit.
West Ham 2005-06 Away
Now many of you might be thinking WHAT? how did something so seemingly mundane appear on this countdown? Well its quite simple, on a trip to England in 2006, I caught a replay of that season’s FA Cup on BBC amidst all the 2006 World Cup Coverage. Liverpool played West Ham in one of the greatest matches I had ever seen (even to this day.) And one thing that struck me was the crispness of West Ham’s away kit. All white, gold EPL felt, it all came together to make one hell of a shirt, worn by such “notables” as Yossi Benayoun, Matthew “Betting Man” Etherington, Robert Green and Dean Ashton. This shirt rounds out the countdown because I know that no one besides West Ham fans, or those who watched that magical game in Millennium stadium could tell me about the good looking kit.
I’ll be breaking down the CL final in due time and have some more feature articles in the near future, til then – J