Creative Soccer Culture

Bring It Back: The 'Ugly' 90s Goalkeeper Jersey

The 90s was a gloriously unpredictable decade for football shirt design. Oversized, beautifully inconsistent, trippy patterns born from total freedom to create bespoke brilliance. With brands often looking back to look forward we're backing a certain trend to be recycled. Yep, we're talking about when goalkeeper shirts were wild. We're talking about shredding sleeping bags, tents and tea towels, stitching them back together and slapping a number one on the back.

We're all about innovation, celebrating the next generation of product and design while embracing change in football on and off the pitch, but when re-visting the 'Iconic Collar-Up Flex' last month it got us reminiscing about what other throwback trends could be refreshed as we move into a new decade. So, we're hoping for a slice of 90s to be served into the 20s, and we reckon we're not alone. Let's try to justify it...


Finished admiring Shaka Hislop's charity-shop-puzzle jerseys? Good, we'll move on. We're coming through an era of shirt design that has been dominated by clinical, minimalistic outfield kits, which works; the kits are clean, smart and are embraced in streetwear circles, so let's find a juxtaposition to mix things up. We're saying keep your clean kits and use the goalkeeper jersey as the statement piece. Go mad on it. Flip the emphasis onto the 'keeper to give fans a fresh view on kit release day and on traditional team photos, see David Seaman for England at EURO '96 below.


This is an opportunity for a brand to own that trend once again. That one statement item from an otherwise sharp replica collection. It's an alternative tactic but one that has legs – imagine a minimal all white England 2020 kit with the most wild of goalkeeper shirts. Not just a bright colour, but a complete abomination of a jersey with total disregard for any rules of design. Does it have to be chunky like the 90s jerseys? Ideally, but performance kits have evolved to keep weight down and manoeuvrability up, so we'll settle for a purely aesthetic mess.


'Ugly' is being embraced in streetwear trends, and streetwear trends are what is influencing football and vice-versa right now. We've had an 'ugly' tracksuits trend in streetwear, an 'ugly' sneaker trend too, and now we're backing an 'ugly' goalkeeper shirt trend. And when we say 'ugly' we obviously mean beautiful, we mean statement, we mean legendary Mexican 'keeper Jorge Campos designing his own kits for USA '94 or Tim Flowers wrapped in Christmas tree lights sort of vibes.


We thought we might be seeing the return of something when adidas toyed with it a little this season with Man United and Bayern Munich home designs (below), but someone needs to fully commit, not just put the tip in. Do the goalkeepers get a say in our plan? Absolutely not. Part of the fun is them turning up to the kit photoshoot with fear, anxiety and language as colourful as the shirt they have to wear for the next 10 months. Let's get naughty with the nineties.


Have a read about why we're also backing the return of the iconic collar-up look while we're talking all things 90s...


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