The nineties were a golden age for football jerseys, as kit manufacturers pushed the boundaries in design and creativity. Here are the most iconic of that delightful decade of the game.
West Germany – Home, 1990
Classic Shirt: West Germany 1990-92 Home
More Germany classics – https://t.co/5VdXEFcogg pic.twitter.com/tdzz1W6GHV
— Classic Football Shirts (@classicshirts) January 29, 2017
There were many imitators and cut-and-paste jobs of this Adidas classic during the early nineties, but none surpassed the West Germany effort, which so effortlessly integrated the national flag into the design.
That World Cup-winning team also possessed the greatest home and away combo of all-time thanks to the brilliant green top in which they knocked England out at the semi-final stage.
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Arsenal – Away, 1991-93
Another Adidas work of art, the Bruised Banana is one of the most memorable jerseys in English football history. When the German manufacturer finally returned to the Gunners last year, they could not pass up the opportunity to pay tribute.
Ian Wright scored on his debut against Leicester City wearing this Acid House number in 1991 and it’s been a cult classic ever since. The sight of David Rocastle and Michael Thomas ransacking defences in this chevron-style shirt is enough to set Arsenal hearts a flutter.
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France – Home, 1998
Unknown Thierry Henry walked on to the biggest stage of all and was France’s top scorer in World Cup 98, he then strolled onto Euro 2000, scoring the equaliser in the semi final, winning man of the match three times including the final, France’s top scorer again. pic.twitter.com/tA6uuB0ycK
— Mg (@mediacampista) April 18, 2020
A throwback to when France won the European Championship on home soil in 1984, it was only fitting that Les Bleus should win the World Cup in Paris wearing this splendid shirt.
Republic of Ireland – Home, 1990
From my FAI #museum archive @FAIreland Italia 1990 #worldcup shirt from Ireland & @SpursOfficial legend Chris Hughton. Chris won 53 Irish caps/1 goal in an illustrious career for #theboysingreen from 1979-91.💚 He was 1st mixed race senior international to wear the green #COYBIG pic.twitter.com/p5rv7OQcdm
— irelandsoccershirts (@irelandsocshirt) March 16, 2020
An uncomplicated design with a nice collar and perfect shade of green, the little overlaying boomerangs really make this one pop. Ireland wore this one all the way to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 1990, making it an iconic piece of clothing in the country’s history.
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England – Third kit, 1990
England NATIONAL TEAM 1990/1991 THIRD #FOOTBALLSHIRT JERSEY MAGLIA UMBRO @England pic.twitter.com/ujamggzuKj
— ClassicFootballShirt (@Classic1Shirts) August 5, 2017
Yes, the home kit from that World Cup is a timeless classic. And yes, the red away one is pretty special too. But neither are quite as good as the blue third kit with overlaid diamonds from the same tournament. And it was made all the more iconic by New Order’s Barney Sumner, who so coolly wore it in the World In Motion music video.
AC Milan – Home, 1993-94
Paolo Maldini for AC Milan against Udinese back in 1993. That kit though. 👀🤩
The greatest defender of all time? 👇 pic.twitter.com/MDZfJ0eXeD
— Pro:Direct Soccer (@ProD_Soccer) October 11, 2019
Sometimes simplicity really is beauty. Nothing overly complicated by the stripes and details of AC Milan’s 1993/94 top, accentuated by the clean, plain features; the tricolore crest, the trefoil Adidas logo, and the near perfect shirt sponsor. And Paolo Maldini with his wavy hair and dangling chain makes it look like high fashion.
Newcastle United – Home, 1995-97
New in: Newcastle 1995-97 home by Adidas
Available here – https://t.co/ORb2sUccb6 pic.twitter.com/WsxeiMpxt9
— Classic Football Shirts (@classicshirts) October 7, 2019
Another no nonsense effort from the Adidas crew, Newcastle United’s stylish play in the mid-90’s was matched by their clobber. The likes of David Ginola, Tino Asprilla and Alan Shearer looked immaculate as they banged the goals past helpless defences during their two title challenges under Mighty Mouse himself, Kevin Keegan.
And buttons! Who even does buttons like these for a football top anymore? But we wouldn’t say no to seeing more tops like this one.
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Fiorentina – Home, 1998/99
Batigol at Fiorentina pic.twitter.com/a68TemRqRU
— Classic Football Shirts (@classicshirts) July 26, 2018
Purple, white and red shouldn’t work as a colour combination, and yet Fiorentina made it work in the late nineties. FILA worked a minor miracle there, topped off with the Nintendo logo as the main sponsor, although Gabriel Batistuta and Rui Costa sporting it didn’t hurt its legacy one bit.
Croatia – Home, 1998
Croatia 🇭🇷 1998 home shirt by @lottosport https://t.co/SjKjoWTtfT pic.twitter.com/1u64JhiljM
— Cult Kits (@cultkits) June 17, 2018
Croatia’s first appearance at a World Cup saw them sport this wavey effort by Lotto, in which Davor Suker and company created some incredible memories on their way to the last four. At every tournament in which they compete they always have one of the more unique kits, and this one is probably the most unique of the ones they’ve worn.
Sampdoria – Home, 1992-93
David Platt and Roberto Mancini playing for Sampdoria in 1993. pic.twitter.com/JvCADECxqI
— 90s Football (@90sfootball) March 26, 2014
Just an utterly delicious and impeccable jersey, this might be the best Sampdoria top of all-time, which is really saying something. As worn by the likes of David Platt, Roberto Mancini and Ruud Gullit during a golden period for the Italian club.
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Mexico – Home, 1998
Mexico’s 1998 World Cup strip was cool. pic.twitter.com/CFfRnzAnKZ
— Art_Wulf (@Art_Wulf) July 21, 2020
While Mexico’s home kit at the 1998 World Cup is fondly remembered, this jersey is quite frankly criminally underrated, not getting nearly as much credit as it deserves. Featuring the Aztec calendar, the design symbolizes Mexican culture and tradition, and is a one-of-a-kind.
Ajax – Home, 1995-96
Just added in store:
Ajax 1995/96 Home Shirthttp://t.co/VjR5GspLLq@AFC_AjaxFans @Theleaguemag pic.twitter.com/p41EBlyqzv
— C11 Football Shirts (@Classic11Shirts) April 29, 2015
In 1995 Umbro took a classic, narrowed the red band down the middle, put the crest front and centre, and replaced the plain details were replaced with stripes, thus creating the perfect Ajax jersey. The Dutch outfit wore this one all the way to the Champions League final in 1996.
Man United – Away, 1993-94
.@ManUtd away kit 1992-1994. @umbro #tbt pic.twitter.com/c2PxdNDhOc
— footbAll Nerds (@football_nerds) November 19, 2015
Garish, shiny, and very loud. But unmistakably iconic. This one often ends up on lists of the very worst Manchester United kits, and while we understand it won’t be to everyone’s liking, it’s one of the most memorable throwback jerseys ever.
Fusing modern and vintage in a bold way, the laced chest, wide collar and clashing colours split right down the middle made this one stand out at a time when jersey designs were really coming into their own. The period style photoshoot to promote the kit is another reason this one sticks long in the memory.
Much like Arsenal’s maroon kit in 2006, this green and gold effort was created to commemorate the club’s roots, dating all the way back to the 19th century when United were known as Newton Heath. Sadly we’ll never see one like it again due to anti-Glazer fans appropriating the colours as a means of protesting the unpopular owners.
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Parma – Home, 1998-99
Parma 1999, what a side! pic.twitter.com/zTLvBye6Xp
— The 90s Were Amazing (@90sdecade) February 27, 2018
During the nineties no team looked like Parma and their blue and yellow hoops. During a golden period for the Italian outfit, they wore this iconic top when they won their second Uefa Cup in four years in 1999. What a team that was.
Nigeria – Away, 1994
Nigeria, 1994. pic.twitter.com/or31ZvIxcW
— 90s Football (@90sfootball) April 24, 2020
In 1994 Nigeria made a splash at their first ever World Cup by smashing a very good Bulgarian side 3-0 and by sporting this excellent jersey. This African print-patterned effort, worn by Nigerian heroes such as Jay-Jay Okocha, Sunday Oliseh and Daniel Amokachi, was different from everything Adidas were producing at the time, and makes you wish kit manufacturers would use local influences more often.
Read: The story of the kit – Five foreign clubs who took the British look
See Also: The best third kits of the 2019/20 season