Images: Offside Sports Photography
Arsenal are about to start wearing adidas again next season. It's made us get all nostalgic about small men wearing small shorts on small TVs. We've taken a look at our favourite shirts that they used to wear with the famous three stripes on the front, or the sleeves or whatever.
“One minute” signalled Steve McMahon angrily to his team-mates. One more minute and Liverpool are champions again. Kenny Dalglish patrolled the touchline, concerned. Lee Dixon, Alan Smith… finds Michael Thomas charging through the midfield. He evades a challenge by Steve Nicol, and you know the rest—“IT’S UP FOR GRABS NOW!”
Arsenal are champions, and they’ve done it in an absolute belter of an away kit. Contrast sleeves, three stripes, trefoil. No fucking about with that bird-shit repeater pattern, there’s some new league winners in town. This wasn’t the show-stopper though. Watch the video back on YouTube and look at the tracksuits they are wearing on the Arsenal bench. Unbelievable.
David Seaman ‘91
His name’s Spunky, and he’s from Rotherham. I don’t even think he liked football that much and saw being a spry 6’3 keeper as just a way to keep him in fishing tackles but, fuck me, did the Arsenal put him in some banging kits. Whoever said “blue and green should never be seen” clearly never stood at the Clock End watching the big lad pre-ponytail throwing himself around between the sticks in this rip-roaring number, in shades of navy and moss (with geometric light pistachio detailing) like the most stylish border guard of a little-known principality you’ve ever seen. It didn’t matter that they didn’t do goalie specific shorts and socks, the shirt was miles enough.
Bananas in pyjamas are coming down the stairs,
Bananas in pyjamas are coming down in pairs,
Bananas in pyjamas are chasing teddy bears,
'cause on Tuesdays they all try to catch them unawares!
The lyrics to that song are as batshit as this kit. Just look at that red trim and the zigzags and the red badge and the zigzags again. Absolutely batshit.
1986–88 First adidas kit
George Graham is the manager now. Gorgeous George. Stroller. A fellow Scot. “This will be fine,” he thought. “Two Scots who don’t like running but love themselves and a bloody Jeroboam of the good stuff will get along just fine.” Didn’t turn out like that, though, did it. Because old Stroller turned out to be a horrible bastard and Charlie never knuckled down, and George didn’t pick him automatically anymore, and Charlie only scored four league goals. Hell of a kit, mind. Hell of a bleedin’ kit.
Can’t see this kit without thinking of Anders Limpar, the tricky Swedish winger with a peak early nineties mullet, and tight shorts, very tight shorts. Things were different back then, the top tier of English football was called ‘The Championship’, and Limpar was one of only three non-English players for the Gunners, and he looked much better in it than that Sigurður Jónsson and err, David O’Leary.
Lovely round neck collar with a handwritten AFC on it, those iconic stripes in a navy with a discreet red pinstripe outline and crucially that pattern that looked a bit like the sponge painting you did at Primary School. adidas used the template for a number of other teams, including Hibs (John Collins look as good as Limpar in it tbh) and it was also the basis for the last ever Yugoslavia home shirt.