Man Utd top ranking of Premier League 23/24 home kits as Chelsea absolutely f*** it

Dave Tickner
Arsenal midfielder Jorginho reacts

Let’s have a look at all the shiny new kits for 23/24, yeah? And then arbitrarily rate them so you can argue about it and call us names in the comments as nature intended.

Retro is very in this season by the look of it. Not everyone has got it right.


20) Chelsea

Right, they’ve absolutely fucked this. A total mess. Where to start? For one, Chelsea and Nike are touting this as a 90s retro shirt. And, it just isn’t, is it? You can’t just put a bit of white under the arms or a bit of yellow on the cuffs of an overtly modern Chelsea shirt and say it’s a call-back to 1998. You just can’t.

It’s the worst thing Chelsea have ever done.

If you’re going to do a retro-inspired shirt – and if we’ve learned nothing else in recent years it’s that unless you’re adidas or hummel then you really probably shouldn’t do a retro-inspired shirt – it must, must, MUST evoke memories and nostalgia of a distinctive, iconic and memorable top. This miserably fails, and our suspicion is that this failure to meet the brief is why the marketing campaign insisting this is like something from the 90s (or 90’s as they insist to irritate us further) is so over the top. They’re mainly trying to convince themselves.

The iridescent badges are, and this is a technical fashionista term here, tacky and shit while again obliterating any pretence at retro cool. Plus the shirt doesn’t even have a sponsor yet – although presumably will do in due course – and makes you realise just how much a part of the visual furniture of club shirts the sponsor now is.

For all we love the idea of being able to buy a sponsorless shirt, on something as uninspired and plain as this it just makes the whole thing look less like a match kit and more like extravagantly overpriced trainingwear. Bad Chelsea. Go and think about what you’ve done.


19) Crystal Palace

Had great kits last year that looked like they’d been coloured in by a distracted four-year-old, which to us was a huge bonus. This year they’ve abandoned stripes altogether for a half-and-half affair that is obviously meant to evoke 2009 Barcelona but is in fact just AFC Richmond from off of Ted Lasso, isn’t it? It’s the white detailing that clinches it. This is the kit of a fictional football team, and that’s no good.


18) West Ham

The Hammers are apparently going to have two home shirts this season. Two home shirts, Hammers? Two? That’s insane. It’s one too many, isn’t it? They’ve got something called an ‘anthem kit’ here which looks absolutely fine even though we don’t know what it means. To our stupid eyes, it looks very much like a passable West Ham home shirt, with the claret and the blue and the badge and the betway. It’s got bubbles on, look. You like bubbles, don’t you?

Still think it’s a prank and this is just going to be the actual shirt and they’ve just given it a daft name, but there are lots of rumours about something inspired by the 83/84 kits, so we’ll wait and see. A harsh, low ranking for now purely for piss-taking.


17) Aston Villa

The latest team to go down the Castore route, and it’s not quite worked for them. What’s that bit of piping doing there on the shoulder? Absolutely fuck all is the answer. It looks lost and distracts the eye. It’s just neither nowt nor summat, too prominent to be ignored, too thin and lost to serve any purpose. It’s probably just too subtle for our dumb tastes. Otherwise the shirt is mainly fine, but it’s a drab 6/10 at best and the one attempt at something beyond the mundane only drags that number down. Villa’s new round badge looks good, though. Well done there.


16) Brentford

Brentford are wearing this kit for two years rather than just the one to try and be a bit less capitalist. Admirable stuff. The kit itself is pure beige, though. Not literally, that would be mental. And we don’t like those kits with colour fades at the waist like this. Didn’t like it when Spurs and Man United did it, certainly aren’t about to like it for Brentford.


15) Brighton
It’s a bit meh, to be honest. Sometimes Nike can look very lazy, and this one feels a bit lazy. It’s good that the yellow stripe-in-a-stripe has gone – it was a rare blemish on Brighton’s otherwise impressive 2022/23 campaign. We’ve never really thought about it before, but we instantly noticed on this kit thanks to the V-neck acting like an arrow pointing literally to it that there is no central stripe on this kit, with the centre-line of the shirt between a blue and white stripe. Now we can’t stop thinking about it. Is that common? We feel like it’s not that common, and we’re not at all sure we care for it. All the other stripy kits this season have a central stripe, for what it’s worth.


14) Burnley
No Classic Football Shirts sponsor, which is a shame, but at least it’s still umbro after it appeared they would not be renewing. Glad we got that wrong at least. The kids’ versions of the kit are sponsored by Dude Perfect from off the internet, which is new but it’s got to be better than bookies, hasn’t it? Nice classic look to the shirt but F365 is a 90s kid at heart and therefore that collar makes this look to us very much like a Villa shirt, not a Burnley one.


13) Sheffield United
If it weren’t for that collar… There’s an awful lot going on here that we like. The cuffs, the red sleeves, the black outlining of the nice chunky stripes. The presumably-soon-to-be-ruined-by-something-garish-and-bookmakery absence of a sponsor. Interesting contrast there with Chelsea’s monstrosity, showing how if you make a football shirt that is identifiably and demonstrably a football shirt then the absence of a sponsor massively enhances things. It’s still quite good but with just a fraction less mucking about on the collar this could have been right up there. Great to welcome Errea back to the top flight, too. They make us instantly think of Middlesbrough, and not many people outside little Brazilian geniuses or silver-haired Italian strikers can say that. Actually there’s Bob Mortimer, too. And Robbie Mustoe. And Jonathan Woodgate. And our mate Leon. We think about Middlesbrough quite a lot, actually. Bit worrying.


12) Luton

We’re on the record as stating our general dislike of shirts that fade from one colour to another top to bottom. But from west to east? That, as this shirt shows, is a different matter altogether. The badge sitting on the white section almost acts as a nod to Luton’s old home shirts, which is sound, and overall this is another tidy piece of work from umbro. Collar could be better, but the cuffs? Top drawer.


11) Arsenal

Undeniably funny that Arsenal ballsed up the tribute to the Invincibles by only listing 32 of the 38 results in the trim detailing. Less funny that people thought they put gold on the kit assuming they would win the league when loads of teams have had and will again have gold trim on their kit without it being a wild act of hubris. For what it’s worth, we don’t think the gold quite works, but the lightning zig-zag pattern is a nice returning nod to those old Nike kits. Quite funny that adidas are better at retro nods to Nike kits than Nike are. In assorted ways, then: funny.


10) Bournemouth

Right, we quite like this. It’s decent, but we’re annoyed. Not with Umbro or Bournemouth, but with the general public. That’s right, we’ve done a deliberate Accidental Partridge. So what it is, right, is loads of people have looked at this kit, which has black and red stripes because those are Bournemouth’s colours and complained it’s just the same as an old Blackburn away kit that Umbro did that was black and red stripes.

Beyond the basic colour pattern and manufacturer, the only startling ‘OMG THIS IS SO LAZY?!’ similarity is the sponsor. Now that’s nothing to do with Umbro or Bournemouth, is it? Having the same sponsor Blackburn had six years ago? The kits are not the same. The template, stripe width, sleeves and collar are all COMPLETELY DIFFERENT and the internet is TALKING WARM BALLS. Tongue in cheek? Just a bit of fun? Piss off. It’s not banter, not now. Still, like we said: decent enough kit, this.


9) Nottingham Forest
Really, really nice. Just simple and clean and a perfect example of how to nail the ‘plain’ end of the accepted kit spectrum. At some point it’s presumably going to be sullied by a sponsor but other than that there’s little to fault here. The only reason it’s not higher is for the entirely unreasonable fact that while we really like this kit it is for some reason screaming Aberdeen at us. It’s our problem not theirs (or Aberdeen’s) but we’ve chosen to penalise them anyway. We’re lashing out. We’re overtired.


8) Wolves
It’s not quite the same as Newcastle’s Castore kit, but it’s not far off the template. This is no bad thing, because the Newcastle kit was in real contention for top spot and this old gold cousin is also very good indeed. Castore very serious big-leaguers these days, aren’t they?


7) Everton

Definite 80s vibe here and the Goodison Park patterns to the collar and cuffs are a #classy #touch but this is hummel and with hummel we expect two things: a) greatness and b) chevrons. There’s not quite enough of either going on here for us. We can see why they’ve stopped the chevrons at the shoulder to avoid too much busyness with the Goodison-inspired cuffs, but we think it’s an error. We’ll always hold hummel to higher standards than any other manufacturer, and make no apologies for that.


6) Liverpool

Every kit has to be a nod to something these days, doesn’t it? Inspired by this, reflecting on that. This simple but effective kit is a tribute to Bill Shankly it says here and as these things go, you’d have to say that’s fair enough. He was good, wasn’t he? Bill Shankly? Good manager. Anyway, you’d be annoyed if they churned out a kit this straightforward every year but it’s nice to go back to basics every now and then, and this is stylishly done. You could definitely stick Hitachi or Crown Paints on the front of this kit without it looking at all incongruous, and that is a compliment.


5) Tottenham

Very good. With most Spurs home shirts, you’ll get one of two criticisms and it’s almost impossible to avoid them both. Criticism one goes something like ‘It’s just a plain white T-shirt! Lazy rip-off bastards!’ Criticism two is ‘It’s too busy and has too much going on! Why is there yellow on it? A Spurs shirt should look like a plain white T-shirt!’

Nike have this year managed to tread the almost imperceptibly narrow path between these two fatal errors. It is simple, but lifted by the pattern interwoven in the fabric. Essays could be written about the effect of those navy cuffs to elevate the pristine whiteness of the rest of it. It really is beautiful. This is Spurs, though, so you know there’s a but coming. And it’s a big one. The shorts are also white. This is wrong. This is very, very wrong. Spurs should only wear white shorts on European nights, everyone knows this. Bringing out an all-white kit for the first season in absolutely fucking ages where you’re not going to be in Europe is such an absurdly avoidable own goal we genuinely cannot imagine any other club doing something so stupid. How have you managed to make shorts Spursy? Teach us. The shirt, though? Lovely.


4) Fulham

Red adidas stripes on one shoulder, white adidas stripes on the other? Adidas, you mad German bastards, you’ve done it again. The black sleeves are good. The sponsor is unintrusive. The colourway works superbly. This is, and there is absolutely no doubt about it at all, a Fulham kit. Sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how often clubs and manufacturers get that wrong. Really strong, this, not that you’ll be able to see it on the telly or anything. Nothing to do with the shirt, but we love the ‘compo face’ vibes of this photoshoot too. They look like the council haven’t emptied their bins in six weeks and NOTHING IS BEING DONE ABOUT IT and now there are RATS in the PUB.


3) Manchester City

They may have won the treble last year, but they did it in a daft kit and that must surely sully the achievement. No? Okay. Was a shit kit, though. Daft collar in a weird colour. Centred badge gamble that didn’t quite pay off. No such errors this time around, though. It’s another retro effort in a season stuffed full of them. Not so much a nod to the Reebok kit City wore in their first season at Eastlands 20 years ago as a direct and total rip-off.

There are two roads to go down with the retro shirt: you can nod to the old shirt, or you can just brazenly reproduce it. Repro-retro, if you will. Our view is that as a manufacturer you can only repro-retro your own shirts. So hummel’s ‘new’ Southampton kit, for instance: tip top. This? Bit naughty from Puma. But on the other hand, we like it. A lot. So we’re conflicted, and confused, and angry.


2) Newcastle

God that’s good. There must be a mathematical principle that defines the correct width of a Newcastle United stripe; we are just a humble online shitposter and wouldn’t know anything about that kind of thing but we know this shirt has nailed it. Brilliant, brilliant 80s-style v-neck collar and no more FUN88 shouting out from the middle of the shirt and ruining the whole thing.

Rumours suggest this will be Castore’s last Newcastle shirt and it is by our reckoning not just the best Newcastle shirt but the best football shirt the disruptive newcomers have produced thus far.


1) Manchester United

Irritatingly good. The big teams aren’t messing about this year. Stunning deep red, with an angular interwoven rose logo that works perfectly. Some people aren’t fans of black adidas stripes on a United shirt, but we are not among those people. Looks great. The collar seems ever so slightly unsure of itself, like it couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a round-neck or a v-neck and ended up neither and both. Still works, though. Explain that, science. That’s right, you can’t. Great shirt. United are back.