Yesterday, it was the best jersey in Arsenal history. Today, it’s the worst. Arsenal are fortunate in that they haven’t had any all-time, all-football bad kits. Definitely none as unsightly as the ones on this list. Most of those are just plain yikes.
That said, I’d forgotten how bad some of the kits the Gunners have trotted out were, especially the late-days Pumas. I’m not necessarily sure that there is formula for determining what a “bad jersey” is — I think it’s one of those “you know it when you see it” kind of things. For the shirts below, we saw and we knew.
It’s Jersey Week here at SB Nation! All week, across the network, our brother and sister blogs will be turning out jersey-related content. We’ve got some fun stuff in store for you here at TSF, and I’d encourage you to check out the stuff the other blogs are doing too!
Aaron - 18/19 mint greens
I’m coming out with a hot take: the mint green kits, or as I see them, the toothpaste kits, are terrible. I know they have their staunch defenders, TSF writer Tony is one of them, but they are just plain ugly.
Admittedly, I’ve gone back and forth on them. There was a time I liked like them because they were different and not “the usual” strips you saw in football. A season removed, my opinion has settled. They are bad.
The stripes on the arms look weird, almost like captain’s armbands, which obviously shouldn’t be on every player. The faint patterning underneath the sponsor isn’t doing enough — the shirts are boring. They rely on the novelty of the color to carry them, and the color isn’t doing it for me. Mint green is not an Arsenal color, and hopefully, it won’t ever be an Arsenal color.
Nobody wants their players to look like blobs of toothpaste on the pitch.
Tony - Every single 16/17 kit
Before I get started, let it be known that I own one of the mint green kits because they are sleek and stylish and I will die on that hill, thank you very much.
Anyway, at first I found it tough to pick a “worst” kit for Arsenal because my homer-ish tendencies wouldn’t allow it. That was until I did a brief Google image search and remembered the atrocity that was the entire 2016/17 kit collection.
2016/17 was a low point for Arsenal kits and has been the only season in the past five years where I haven’t owned any iteration of a jersey or training kit. While Puma had some real stinkers during their partnership with Arsenal, they really phoned it in for this season.
Home kit - The two things that kill it for me: the clunky collar and that stupid, unnecessary red stripe down the middle. Sure, it keeps the red shirt, white sleeves classic combo intact, but there is nothing inspiring about the kit.
Away kit - Remember how I mentioned how I love a collar on a kit in the Favorite Kit article? Well, even a collar cannot cannot be redeemed this tragedy. The traditional yellow is thoroughly tarnished by the garish charcoal grey. This color combo would bother even the most colorblind person. It looks like something I’d expect a second division Spanish side to wear, not a top-flight EPL team.
Third kit - Did Puma just rummage through a loose bin of training tops from their athleisure wear section and stamp an Arsenal crest on it? Hard pass.
Nathan - 2015-16 Third Kit
RESMI JERSEY 3rd Arsenal 2015/2016 pic.twitter.com/t7WyRva3uj— Asian Football (@SuporterAsian) August 13, 2015
In 2015-16 Puma completely lost the script on Arsenal kits - even for out of the box third kits. In later years they would go with a classic blue and yellow design and the more recent black and pink alternative, but 15/16 was painful to see. A black kit with three half stripes along the bottom half - white, gold, and teal, with a half black stripe in the upper right that would have connected with the gold section below. You probably, hopefully, have forgotten this design, so I apologize for having to bring it back into the light.
My second choice for the worst design is the 2009-10 3rd design, which featured a white shirt with thin black vertical stripes and black shorts. It looks like a combination of a Tottenham and Newcastle kit, and definitely not Arsenal.
Shirt #39 in the @Arsenal collection. 3rd kit from 2009-2010. pic.twitter.com/wXNu1JN8dR— BrewCityGunners (@BrewCityGunners) March 24, 2017
Aidan - 2008/10 home kit
I have some good memories of this kit. I saw this Aaron Ramsey goal live, sitting on my hands in the Portsmouth home stand, perpendicular to the traveling Arsenal support. But it is objectively a bad Arsenal shirt. Let’s go over the reasons why. Firstly, it looks like it belongs to Middlesbrough or Charlton. There is nothing that when you see it, you think, “ah yes, Arsenal.” Take the badge away, and it doesn’t have a defining feature. Arsenal shirts are supposed to have a defining feature. The thing that makes Arsenal’s home kit different from Liverpool or Manchester United is the red torso and white sleeves. Even Puma got that part. These are not white sleeves; it’s some half-assed white wide stripe down the shoulder. It’s a simple design to get right, and they got it abysmally wrong.
Overall, some of the Nike home shirts were absolutely iconic, and their 13-14 away shirt is one of the best in the club’s modern history—one that screams an Arsenal away shirt. The redcurrant shirt to honour Highbury was classy and done well. But they absolutely messed it up here, messing with a design that has been consistent more or less since Herbert Chapman’s days.