It is a day worthy of national pride today, as we celebrate everything great about England for St. George’s Day 2014. With the added prospect of the football World Cup not being too far away, what better way to get in the patriotic spirit than to look back at some of our most memorable England football kits?
England’s World Cup kit has just recently been unveiled in the wake of much controversy surrounding the price, which is a record £90. The kit is also a significant because it is the first time England have gone to a tournament wearing a kit made by a non-British brand.
The team themselves are famously lame when it comes to penalty shoot-outs, getting sent off at the precisely the worst time possible and grinding to a halt at roughly the quarter-final stage. But each new kit offers a brief sense of optimism hoping that this one might be the “lucky charm” to turn our team’s fortunes. Despite generally looking the part, we have so far not had that bit of luck we needed since Bobby Moore lifted the Cup in our solitary triumph of 1966.
1966- Our team’s finest moment came whilst wearing the red away kit – made by Umbro- so how could this not be our favourite of all time? Its simplicity and strong nostalgic /retro value makes it the best in terms of looks too.
1986- This time the home kit as modelled by Gary Lineker was also produced by Umbro and proved a hit at the World Cup in Mexico, solid, uncomplicated and still worn by those rocking the vintage look today.
1982- Another home kit from the 80’s, it must have been a golden era. However Admiral designed this one and it carried a distinctive blue and red panel on the shoulder which was the first to use the full British colour scheme. In an age of multi-national sports brands it seems unlikely that we’ll see our mega-stars wearing the clothing of such a small brand again. As such, it is nice they created something for us to remember them by.
1992- Not many teams had a third kit prior to this era, and it looked like Umbro weren’t prepared properly when they released this eye-sore of a blue kit. Three blue lions were sprawled over it making it look like some kind of oriental bath robe, and to match their unappetising appearance they endured a dogged period of time on the pitch too under manager Graham Taylor.
1996- The most memorable image of this shirt will forever be from a picture of Gareth Southgate with his head in his hands, but despite losing on penalties in the semi-final, Terry Venables’ team was arguably the best since our ‘66 crop. Coming so close to reaching the final of Euro 96, England’s kit matched the mood of fans as the nation made it 30 years without a trophy- grey.
2011- The most garish of England kits down the years have been left almost exclusively for the poor goalkeepers. Considering this creation by Umbro was only 3 years ago, it makes it possibly the worst of the lot. At least others can claim to be a victim of changing trends. The unsightly combination of greens and criss-crosses thankfully didn’t appear at too many fixtures.
1996- Another piece of memorabilia from Euro ’96, this horrific kit wouldn’t have looked out of place on the acid house club scene. The bright coloured shirt didn’t even distract the Germans from beating us on a penalty shoot-out.
1995- Poor David Seaman had to turn up to a match wearing this monstrosity as well, he must have been worried it wasn’t just his bad haircut which he would be remembered for.
St George’s Day
England’s national day is not an official holiday despite being celebrated by various Christian churches and even a few other nations. Being so close to Easter, people often forget about the significance of it. Saint George died around 300AD as a Christian martyr, venerated for his refusal to persecute Christian people when serving under the Roman army. It is his legacy which has led to our nation adopting the red and white flag which symbolizes us today.
If you’re feeling patriotic today, or want to support your country this summer, here are a selection of the proud English clothing available to buy today.