The popularity of retro football shirts is a testament to the nostalgia and unique sense of identity that football imparts. Fans, both young and old, have a fascination for these timeless artefacts, that encapsulates not just a certain period in football history but the cultural zeitgeist of those times. They are as much about the aesthetics, and the quirky design elements as they are about the iconic players who wore them and the legendary matches they were part of.
Moreover, as football has become increasingly commercialized, many fans yearn for the days of simpler designs sans the clutter of numerous sponsor logos. The retro shirts are relics of these times, drawing fans in with their distinct charm and authenticity. Lastly, the culture of streetwear and vintage fashion has found its way into football fandom, with retro shirts becoming trendy fashion items in themselves.
10 Iconic Premier League Retro Football Shirts
Unravel a nostalgic journey through the rich history of the Premier League. Each of these designs resonates deeply with football fans, sparking memories of celebrated victories, dramatic matches, and legendary players.
Here are 10 iconic Premier League retro football shirts:
1. Liverpool 1989-91 (Home)
This is a classic, red Liverpool shirt designed by Adidas, with the memorable Candy sponsor logo. It was worn by the likes of John Barnes and Ian Rush during one of the most successful periods in Liverpool’s history.
2. Arsenal 1970-71 (Home)
The Arsenal 1971 Retro Shirt, commemorating the club’s historic “Double” season, has become a celebrated icon in football history. Emblazoned with the classic red body and white sleeves, it captures the spirit and triumph of a period when Arsenal won both the League Championship and the FA Cup.
Its iconic status lies in its representation of Arsenal’s glory and resilience, making it an essential artifact for ardent supporters and lovers of the beautiful game.
3. Newcastle United 1995-97 (Home)
Known as the ‘Entertainers’ shirt, it sports a black and white design with the classic Newcastle Brown Ale logo. The period it represents saw Newcastle United challenging for the Premier League title.
4. Chelsea 1982-83 (Home)
The Chelsea 1982-83 Retro Football Shirt carries significant historic value, embodying a defining era in Chelsea Football Club’s history when they were striving to re-establish themselves in the English top tier.
It’s iconic because of its unique design – a classic blue with bold horizontal white stripes, reflecting a daring departure from the more traditional plain designs seen before.
Furthermore, this shirt’s resonance lies not only in its aesthetic, but also in the nostalgia it evokes, representing a key period of growth, resilience, and passion in Chelsea FC’s journey.
5. Aston Villa 1982-83 (Home)
An iconic claret and blue kit, worn when Aston Villa were the reigning European Champions. The shirt features the distinctive round collar and a checkered pattern.
6. Tottenham Hotspur 1986-87 (Home)
This is a classic white Spurs shirt with navy blue details and a Holsten logo. It was worn by legends like Clive Allen during a period when Spurs were a major force in English football.
7. Manchester City 1969 FA Cup Final (Away)
The Manchester City 1969 FA Cup Final Retro Shirt, featuring black and red stripes, holds an iconic status in the club’s history. This shirt represents Manchester City’s triumph in the 1969 FA Cup Final against Leicester City, where they secured their first major trophy in 35 years.
The black and red stripes evoke a sense of nostalgia and symbolize the team’s victorious moment, making it a cherished piece among fans and a symbol of the club’s rich heritage.
8. Everton 1985-86 (Home)
An iconic shirt in Everton history with a distinctive diamond pattern across the chest. It was worn during a successful period for Everton, including their 1985 First Division win.
9. West Ham United 1980 (Home)
The West Ham United 1980 Admiral Retro Shirt is iconic due to its historic association with West Ham’s victorious 1980 FA Cup campaign, where the team triumphed as underdogs.
The unique design, characterized by the claret body, blue sleeves, and the stylish Admiral logo, represents a significant era of British football fashion that is fondly remembered by fans and classic kit enthusiasts alike.
Moreover, the shirt is a nostalgic symbol of community and pride for the ‘Hammers’ and is symbolic of a memorable period in the club’s history, making it an emblem of heritage and triumph.
10. Wolverhampton Wanderers 1996-97 (Home)
The Wolverhampton Wanderers 1996 shirt stands as a significant piece in football history, embodying a potent sense of nostalgia for fans. The shirt is iconic due to its unique ‘Goodyear’ tire sponsorship and classic gold and black colours, representing the club’s traditional heritage.
Moreover, it symbolizes a defining era in the Wolves’ history, reminding fans of the team’s resilience and eventual rise back to the Premier League in the years that followed.
Each of these shirts tells a story, evokes memories and forms a tangible connection to football history, making them more than just pieces of fabric. The resurgence of retro football shirts’ popularity is a testament to the beautiful game’s rich heritage and the fans’ desire to preserve it.
Behind the Brand: The Companies that Produced Iconic Premier League Retro Shirts
Behind every iconic retro shirt of the Premier League, there’s a brand that played a pivotal role in creating it. These companies are not just about sewing and manufacturing; they capture the spirit of the clubs, embed the history within the fabric, and maintain a design that fans cherish for generations.
Here are some of the iconic brands that have produced Premier League retro shirts:
- Adidas – The German sportswear giant has produced some of the most memorable kits in the history of the Premier League. They’ve been a long-time partner of Manchester United, creating their iconic red home kits, as well as some unique and classic away kits. Other clubs that have had Adidas include Chelsea and Arsenal.
- Umbro – This British sportswear and football equipment supplier has had a long history with English football. They produced the kits for Manchester City during their first Premier League title win in 2011/12 and have been associated with other clubs like Everton and West Ham. Their designs often bring a quintessentially British feel.
- Nike – The American multinational is another giant in the world of football kits. They’ve been associated with Arsenal, producing their invincible season kit in 2003/04, and with Manchester United during their dominant period under Sir Alex Ferguson. Also, they’ve created kits for Manchester City.
- Puma – Another German sportswear company that has been involved with several Premier League clubs. They’ve produced kits for Arsenal and, most notably, are the current manufacturers for Manchester City.
- Reebok – Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, Reebok was quite active in the Premier League. Most notably, they were the kit manufacturers for Liverpool FC and Bolton Wanderers.
- New Balance – They took over as Liverpool’s kit supplier from Warrior Sports in 2015 and continued until 2020, producing some memorable designs in the process.
- Le Coq Sportif – The French company had some significant involvement in the Premier League in the past, most notably with Everton and Aston Villa.
- Kappa – An Italian sportswear brand that has been associated with several clubs in the Premier League, including Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham.
- Joma – A lesser-known brand, Joma, a Spanish sports clothing manufacturer, has provided kits for Swansea City and other smaller clubs.
- Macron – An Italian sportswear company that has been associated with clubs like Aston Villa and Leeds United.
These companies, through their iconic designs and innovations, have made significant contributions to the Premier League, creating memorable kits that capture specific eras and moments in the clubs’ histories.