THE BEST KITS OF 2018: TOP 30–16
It's really hard narrowing down things you see as often as football shirts. Some get a bigger billing for familiarity, so you've really gotta dig into the nuts and bolts of what makes them great to find out the truly fantastic jerseys.
Hope you're enjoying this, basically, is what we're saying, because it's the Festive perineum and we should be playing Red Dead Redemption 2 right now. We've just got up to Chapter 4 and it's *chef finger kiss*.
Anyway, we're well into the meat of our Top 50, with shirts 30 through to 16 here. Enjoy.
30. VISSEL KOBE—HOME (18/19)
In Kobe they massage cows and feed them beer so your burger tastes better, but imagine how much happier they would be if you let them have a kickabout in these kits before blowing their brains out with compressed air.
29. PUMAS—THIRD (18/19)
Club Universidad Nacional do not mess about when it comes to putting their badge on their shirt. None of this minimal left-breast action, they lather it dead central, all over the shirt, big and bold where the sponsor usually is, and you have to ask how have they got it absolutely right, and everyone else has got it so wrong? As a result of this flagrant disregard to convention, all their kits have been belters, but this gold and navy blue number might be the best of the lot.
28. EVERTON—HOME (18/19)
Oh, god, that Umbro taping. You could put it on anything, and I’d buy it. And Everton getting half decent again in their best kit for years and years? Not a coincidence, you’d imagine.
27. PALMEIRAS—THIRD (18/19)
When Timbsy from COPA90 was allowed to pretend to be a Palmeiras player for a bit, we were all incredibly jealous. All of us. Grown men. Devastated. Lost sleep over it. It looked so, so good.
26. BURIRAM UNITED—HOME (2018)
Buriram won the Thai League wearing this and fuck me they’ve done the shirt the justice it deserves. It’s got a big Yamaha logo where the manufacturer normally goes, which will make the motocross fans happy, and the minimal collar means you could almost certainly wear this to a fancy dinner. Double win. They also play at the Chang Arena, which is an absolute touch. Like if Liverpool played in the Carlsberg Stadium during the Houllier years, or Spurs played in the Sadness Bowl.
25. BOCA JUNIORS—HOME (18/19)
If you walked in the office with seven blunderbusses and held them to our heads while making us decide which kit we would wear forever if we could only choose one, then it would be Boca Juniors. It’s that simple. Come and try it. We could do with a bit of danger.
24. PARMA CALCIO 1913—HOME (18/19)
Can’t say it was easy, choosing between the Home and Away kits. The latter has the classic colours, colours that are burnt into the head of everyone who ever obsessed over Serie A as a kid. But, crucially, the 18/19 version feels a little off, a little too modern, like they’ve tried too hard to make a technologically sound jersey than something you want to sit and pretend you can read Gazzetta dello Sport in. But the Home... with its giant crucifix and gorgeous collar is practically begging you to enter its side street cafe and order a ‘latte’ and pretend you absolutely meant to buy yourself a glass of milk instead of a coffee.
23. RB LEIPZIG—THIRD (18/19)
It’s August 24 in the year 410, and the Visigoths have turned up for what, on paper, appears to be a tricky away fixture in Rome. But the 90 minutes ends with the team in sandals getting a proper shellacking, some prisoners being forced to bang out Metallica’s Ride the Lightning on Harps and King Alaric telling all and sundry that he had knocked Honorious right off his fucking perch. The city is black.
22. SPORTING CLUB DE MUNDIAL—HOME (18/19)
Why isn’t this top of the list? Have we come into some money that I don’t know about? Just put the URL at the end. So people buy it. Cheers.
21. ORLANDO PIRATES—HOME (17/18)
It’s the nineties again, and you’re happy: got a skull-and-crossbones on your crest, three stripes on your shoulder, and once you leave the office nobody can get in touch with you because you don’t even have a mobile. Imagine that. That’d be fantastic, wouldn’t it? I just want to wear this and watch Man O Man and eat a Vienetta.
20. JAMAICA—AWAY (2018)
“My missus bought me this for Christmas.”
“Nah, she chose it herself.”
19. LA GALAXY—AWAY (18/19)
It’s 2037, and LA Galaxy are in the Atlantic League final against Liverpool. Not allowed in the Champions League anymore, the English teams, not after what Prime Minister Rees-Mogg said about the food in Porto. Twat. Anyway, Ibrahimović is still playing for them. Scores the winner in fact, by removing his left leg, hoisting it above his head, and scorpion kung-fu kicking the ball into the back of the net. He’s already done it twice that season. The Galaxy fans go mad. He’s not wearing this shirt, because they’ll have a new one by then, but, ah... Get anything nice for Christmas?
18. CLUB AMERICA—HOME (17/18)
This shirt is a wailing leccy guitar riff playing over shots of a helicopter flying across Sierra Juárez, a narco hanging out the side smoking a cigar and occasionally using the hot end to light fireworks to fire out the heli window. An intoxicating blend of anarchy and arrogance.
17. NEWCASTLE—AWAY (18/19)
In Issue 2 of our magazine, Joel Golby described the original navy/maroon Newcastle away shirt from 96/96 as "the most aesthetically perfect football kit of all time". It's hard to argue. And while this doesn't quite scale the same heady, granddad-collared heights, it absolutely bangs, making up for the Toon's often lacklustre performances by making them look absolutely terrific in still photographs. Absolutely dripping with lustre now. (Imagine what might've been if horrible Mike Ashley had bitten the bullet and actually gone for an oblong Newcastle Brown Ale sponsor over the navel. I think this list might not've even been a contest...)
16. BELGIUM—HOME (2018)
You know that picture of Maradona sending eight Belgium players the shop? It’s fake news. Look it up. They’re in a wall, and Argentina have just taken a free kick. They’re just getting back into position. That’s that ruined. Anyway, this was a lovely kit, and it blended heritage and modern cool in a way that only adidas can. Well done everyone.
That's part two, then. The final 15 drop tomorrow. If you'd like to read more stuff like this, but in an actual magazine, Issue 16 is available here.