THE BEST KITS OF 2018: TOP 15–1
Been a long week, innit? You've forgotten where you work, keep sleeping in past nine, have told yourself that this is your life now: coming downstairs about ten and watching something long and politically incorrect on TCM every morning.
But it's all been leading to this. All that leisure time has been getting you good and relaxed for the real quiz: the MUNDIAL Top 50 Kits of 2018. Yes, you better believe it.
So put TCM on mute, get yourself a tea with some iffy milk because you've not been to the shops since Christmas Eve Eve, and read our fantastic top fifteen.
15. GERMANY—AWAY (2018)
EINIGKEIT UND RECHT UND FREIHEIT / FÜR DAS DEUTSCHE VATERLAND! / DANACH LASST UNS ALLE STREBEN / BRÜDERLICH MIT HERZ UND HAND! (They might’ve had a dogshit World Cup but what a green. What a gorgeous green.)
14. PORTLAND TIMBERS—HOME (18/19)
It’s forest green with gold accents, an outstanding collar, and the word ‘ALASKA’ across the front. Also, the badge is a fucking AXE. Forget that their Timbers Army fanbase appears to be largely made up of guys called ‘Creg’—“graphic designer for an Oregon-based CBD oil company by day, die-hard soccer ultra by night!”—and bask in the glory of the best kit in MLS.
13. CAPE TOWN CITY—AWAY (18/19)
Everton, Everton, Everton. Everton, Everton, Evertooooon. Everton. Everton. Everton. EVERTON. EV-ER-TON. Everton, Everton, Everton. Everton, Everton, Evertooooooon...
12. REAL MADRID—THIRD (17/18)
What will we do if Real Madrid keep winning the Champions League? A constant in our lives, like your mam listening to The Archers omnibus every Sunday. Happens every year till the end of time, Sergio Ramos turns himself into half-man half-machine Sergio RAMos, and nothing can stop them. But at least they’ll always be wearing nice kits like this.
11. PSG—THIRD (18/19)
What about those drones then? Do you really believe that a couple of plonkers with a plastic flying saucer could shut down an international airport for 36 hours? You don’t think that MI5 or the police or the military could just follow the drone back to the person controlling it? And what about helicopters with infrared technology? They could zoom in on the freckle on your left finger as you’re reading this. Either way, this will look great on the PSG boys until they get knocked out in the quarterfinals and Buffon puts the actual referee in an actual dustbin. Proper great.
10. ATLÉTICO—HOME (17/18)
Atleti are hard. Quite a scary team with one of the scariest managers going. You’d fancy them in a scrap with most anyone. Last season’s subtle detailing on their famous red and white stripes gave them a frank furious twist with slashes mixing everything together, like Wolverine’s been at it in the kit room.
9. HERTHA BERLIN—AWAY (18/19)
Saw Hertha Berlin get absolutely panelled by Bayern Munich once. A six–niler. At home. The beautiful old Olympic stadium, half full with Bayern Munich fans. Big massive jugs of lager getting thrown all over the place. Some frankly abhorrent denim. A lot of Bayern fellas with patches all over their jackets just openly laughing at Berlin fans. Chortling in their faces. It was about minus four. Three penalties they gave away, Hertha. The poor bastards. By the end, Bayern couldn’t decide who was going to take them. Think I saw Ribéry and Müller doing rock, paper, scissors at one point. It was heartbreakingly sad.
That being said, have you seen their away kit this year? It’s off its tits. It looks a bit like those old Granada idents that used to be on before Coronation Street, or like if you got your PlayStation chipped and it went a bit iffy. SSX Tricky won’t load. If none of these references are doing it for you, then you’re going to be gutted when I say they’re sponsored by a sort of German Ponden Mill. Sells those glittery sticks that you put in a jar next to the fireplace. They’re 8th in the league at the moment, Hertha. Which is heartening.
8. PSV—AWAY (18/19)
Got the Pendolino home for Christmas, haven’t you? A day earlier than usual, this year. Managed to get a seat too, far away enough from the toilets to not smell like you’ve been flushed down one. Got a couple of nice bits from & Other Stories for your mom, they don’t have one in Tamworth. A Fawlty Towers audiobook for your dad’s car. Stops the thoughts. Anyway, that one from school you fancied has broken up with her boyf. Saw it unravel on Instagram. Some nasty things said, on both sides really. She always liked you, despite your naff fringe and the attempts at starting an indie band called The Albion Boys. She’ll be down The Cat and Hammer tonight, and you cannot wait. Anyway, the train gets into the station and… fuck, he’s there. He’s there, and he’s wearing this. He’s got a beard too, a nice one, not one that makes you look fifteen and unwell. He looks at you and smirks. Turns around. He’s got Lozano on the back. The bastard. Time to go home. Dad’s made sausage rolls.
7. NIGERIA—HOME (2018)
When James Bird came back from the launch for this kit, he talked about it for so long that he took all the shine off it with his inane ramblings. Look, it’s an amazing kit, probably should be number one, but if you’re reading this at Nike, then don’t allow dickheads from Perton to your kit launches.
6. TULSA ROUGHNECKS—THIRD (18/19)
Image: Football Shirt Culture
"Tulsa. Roughnecks." Say it again, keep on saying it, swirl it around your mouth like a delicious drink. "Tulsa. Roughnecks." There is a team called Tulsa Roughnecks in the USL, and their third kit celebrates oil and has a casino sponsor across the chest. What a fucking world we live in.
5. FC KØBENHAVN—THIRD (18/19)
We went to Copenhagen in the autumn with our mates at Le-Fix to see them play against Slavia Prague. It was one of the worst games in history. I think there was one shot the whole game, and that was the Prague winner. Anyway, to make up for it they took us to the FC København store the next day and, to be fair, it did the trick: elevating templated kits can be a tricky business but seeing a load of handsome Scandi lads in a perfect maroon and black kit, fat Carlsberg sponsor, and a majestic lion on the badge sees it Fosbury flop way over the pretenders.
4. PERU—HOME (2018)
We may have mentioned it during the summer at some point, but in case you missed it we had our own shop/bar/event space in Shoreditch where we showed every single one of them matches from the World Cup and all drank loads of alcoholic slushies that gave us big brain freezes and expensive dentistry bills. In the early group stages, before we’d even begin to think it might actually come home, we decided we’d support Peru for the day. Q. Why Peru? A. This shirt.
3. MAN UNITED—AWAY (18/19)
It’s May 2019. After a year of top to bottom harmony at Manchester United, they’re in the Champions League final. Madrid, beautiful Madrid. They’re 2–0 down with five minutes to go and, well, they do what anyone would do if they had it at their disposal: they bring on Ole Gunnar Solskjær. He doesn’t touch the ball once during his five minutes plus four minutes stoppage time on the pitch, but what he does do, is wear this. And he looks great. United have made it acceptable, great in fact, for men of all shapes and sizes and ages to wear a pink shirt. Glorious, glorious pink.
2. CORINTHIANS—THIRD (18/19)
It’s got 41 gold lines on it to celebrate Ayrton Senna’s F1 victories and his signature on the front. Can’t imagine Louis Hamilton will get that treatment when Slough Town release next season’s MACRON number.
1. JAPAN—HOME (2018)
You ever been to Japan? It’s fucking brilliant. The beer is great, the food is great, the culture and personality of the entire place: great. Tokyo is unlike any place on earth: so totally its own thing, completely unafraid to counter all things western. It leads. The way it mixes fascinating history and iris-splitting technology is astounding. It is an all-out assault on the senses that operates on the grandest of levels without neglecting the smallest of details.
The shirt that they wore for the World Cup does the country real justice. This colour isn’t navy, it’s called “KACHI-IRO” which means “the colour of victory” in Japanese. The dashes represent detailing on traditional Samurai armour. That dark indigo colour, a staple of Japanese design and fashion, also means you can wear it all the time with jeans. Which we did this summer. And every week since. The shirt itself was called ‘Samurai Blue’ after the Japanese men's team nickname, but you could easily call it ‘The only thing I like wearing now’. Even the V-neck is perfect: in the year 2018, necks remain a difficult thing to pull off in the area of jersey design, but this one makes you look and feel like a fucking champ, the point of the V sitting on your collarbone in absolutely the right way...
There were so many more than fifty great shirts this year, and the list will always be entirely subjective, and no kit made us happier than this one.