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The Top 10 Most Iconic England Shirts of All Time

With the UEFA Euros under way and fans adamanent that it’s coming home (us included), we’ve taken a look back through the archives to uncover, what we feel, are the Top 10 most iconic England Shirts of All time.

With a whole array of intricate designs, unique colourways, history and players to be considered, this was no easy feat!

But let’s get to it.

#10. 2022-23 (Away)

Let’s be honest, ever since Nike emerged as England’s kit supplier in 2013, their designs have left us somewhat underwhelmed. The Swoosh brand has been “playing it safe”, sticking to traditional colourways and a simplicity that leaves us yearning for more.

It wasn’t until a few years later that Nike truly hit the mark. Their redemption came in the form of the 2022/23 Away Shirt, which we absolutely adore. Granted, we do have a soft spot for the 2019-2022 home shirt as well, but we’ll delve into that later.

England Away Kit in Red for 2022/23.

Anyway, this retro reboot drew inspiration from the Italia ’90 and Euro ’96 dared to be bold with its elegant navy trims that stood in stark contrast to the popping red colourway of the shirt, with the “floppy” collar not being too exagerated, or too understated, it’s the goldilocks of collar design.

Notable player contributions wearing this kit came from the likes of Sterling, Foden, Kane, Bellingham and Saka.

What’s not to love?

#9. 1997-1998 (Away)

Securing the 9th spot is a distinctive jersey, steeped in the rich history of England’s football. This jersey was showcased during some of England’s most iconic moments, including when David Beckham announced his arrival on the world stage with a spectacular free kick against Colombia, securing England’s place in the second round of the 1998 World Cup.

This shirt, often lauded for its unique aesthetics, is regarded by fans as one of the finest red away kits since 1966. Its cultural impact was immense, transcending the boundaries of the sport.

David Beckham wearing the 1997-1998 England Away Kit.

Adding to its prestige, this jersey was also sported during the pre-World Cup tournament ‘Le Tournoi’ in 1997, a competition that England surprisingly won! This shirt, therefore, holds a special place in England’s football history.

Outstanding, but not overdoing it, the England Away kit of 1997/98 was sensational, and there’s just something you can’t beat about the iconic Away strip!

#8. 1997-99 (Home)

Ah, the 1997-99 England Home Shirt!

A garment steeped in history, donned in an impressive 22 matches, with England emerging victorious in 13, drawing 5, and conceding defeat in 4. A record that, by our standards, is quite commendable! This shirt is synonymous with a high win rate, a fact that has undoubtedly contributed to its enduring popularity.

The 1998 World Cup was a defining moment for this shirt, forever etching it into the annals of football history. It was during the gripping second round face-off against Argentina that this shirt became truly iconic. Despite a heart-wrenching loss of 4-3 on penalties, the match was a spectacle to behold.

England's Home Shirt that was worn between 1997- 1999.

And who could forget the dramatic twist? The unforgettable incident involving Beckham and Argentina’s team captain, Diego Simeone, is still fresh in our memories. After being fouled and falling to the ground, Beckham’s retaliatory kick to the back of Simeone’s leg led to his dismissal from the field, leaving England with just 10 men.

This incident, while controversial, added a layer of intrigue to the narrative of the match and the legacy of the 1997-99 Home Shirt.

#7. 2019-22 (Home)

Had you suggested that Nike, not becoming England’s kit supplier until 2013, could seamlessly merge the retro with the contemporary, we might have expressed skepticism, particularly given the high bar set by Umbro with their exceptional 90s kits.

However, we were pleasantly surprised with what could have been England’s most iconic shirt ever, had they triumphed over Italy in Euro 2020 (a subject that still stings).

Raheem Sterling wearing the 2019-2022 Home Shirt on pitch against Wolverhampton on June 11th.
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JUNE 11: Raheem Sterling (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Drawing inspiration from the 1986 Home Shirt, but with a more centralised theme rather than being offset to the left, this kit was designed by Peter Saville. This is truly remarkable, considering Saville’s renowned work on album covers for Joy Division, Roxy Music, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Suede, and Pulp.

Although we didn’t emerge victorious, reaching the final was an achievement in itself. The combination of the centralised badge, Nike logo, red numbering, and crew neck, along with the stripe down the side of the shirt, made this a truly captivating kit.

#6. 2001-2003 (Away)

All kit suppliers have their moments…

Umbro’s design choices have certainly raised eyebrows over the years, but the Away Shirt from 2001-2003 stands out as a true icon.

This kit was simple yet striking, and it’s undeniably one of the best England Away Kits to ever grace the pitch.

The incorporation of the England flag on the collar and cuffs, coupled with the blue stitching running from the shoulders to the arms, added a unique touch. Every element of the shirt worked together to create a cohesive design.

David Beckham sporting the 2001-2003 England Away Kit during the FIFA World Cup Finals 2002 against Nigeria at Osaka Nagai Stadium.
OSAKA, JAPAN – June 12: David Beckham of England running during the FIFA World Cup Finals 2002 Group F match between Nigeria and England at Osaka Nagai Stadium on June 12, 2002 in Osaka, Japan. (Photo by Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)

The deep navy blues of the England Crest contrasted beautifully against the brilliant white, further enhanced by the navy stitching that was undeniably flawless against the deep red of the jersey.

But enough of that, you want to know what truly set this shirt apart from the competition? Its reversibility.

It allowed fans to switch up their style, transitioning from the traditional red away shirt to a navy version with red accents on the shoulders, cuffs, and hem.

Such a national treasure is rare in kit design!

#5. 1990-1992 (Third)

If you’re seeking to embody the quintessence of the 90s in an England shirt, then Umbro’s Third Shirt is an unparalleled choice.

This shirt is most renowned for its feature in the music video of “World in Motion” by New Order, donned by none other than Barney Summer. This iconic football anthem transports us back in time, and all we envision is this striking blue number.

England's infamous third shirt from 1990-1992 in dazzling blue with diamond-patterns making this one of the best England shirts of its kind.

Sporting a Manchester City blue and embellished with Umbro’s signature diamond patterns, which also graced numerous other Umbro kits, this shirt was the epitome of style. It transformed football shirts into fashionable and trendy attire, captivating even those who had little interest in the sport.

Interestingly, England never sported it during Italia ’90. Its sole appearance was when England played against Turkey a year later.

Can you think of another England shirt that was worn only once and yet became an instant classic? It’s quite astonishing, isn’t it?

#4. 2001-2003 (Home)

Beckham, again?!

We don’t make the rules here, but it’s like magic – every time Beckham steps up, Umbro pulls out some of the best England Kits we’ve ever seen. The 1995-96? Pure artistry.

And no, it’s not like Beckham’s last-minute free kick against Greece on 6th October 2001, which catapulted England into the 2002 World Cup finals, had anything to do with this shirt landing at number 4 on our list. Well, okay, maybe it did!

David Beckham sporting the England Home Shirt that was adopted by the team from the years 2001-2003 and lovingly crafted by Umbro.

But let’s not forget, this shirt is drenched in golden memories. Remember England’s jaw-dropping 5-1 victory over Germany in Munich on 1st September 2001? This shirt was there. It was part of the journey to the 2002 FIFA World Cup, a journey highlighted by Michael Owen’s hat-trick. So, yeah, this shirt? It’s more than fabric. It’s history.

#3. 1980-83 (Home)

Ah, the 1980-83 England Home Shirt! A daring deviation from the norm, a statement piece that boldly challenged the conventions of kit design. Its large blue and red ‘yoke’ stretching across the chest, the deep v-neck, and the striking blue and red decorations were a refreshing departure from the classic all-white shirts of yore.

This shirt was fortunate enough to grace two major tournaments – Euro 80 and the 1982 World Cup.

It bore witness to the end of an era, marking the conclusion of the FA’s partnership with Admiral amidst the company’s financial turmoil. It also coincided with the curtain call on the international careers of legends like Kevin Keegan, Trevor Brooking, and Emlyn Hughes.

Remember the first group stage against Spain, France, Czechoslovakia, and Kuwait? Not a single game lost. Yet, it was the goalless draws at the Bernabeu against West Germany and Spain that halted England’s march from the second stage.

Initially, this kit was met with mixed feelings, almost abandoned after a few games. But as time passed, it has grown to be one of the most cherished football strips, much like a fine wine that gets better with age. 

#2. 1990-1993 (Home)

Hold onto your hats, folks, because it doesn’t get more iconic than this…

Adorned with the British manufacturer’s branding and the famous crest, it’s a design that has stood the test of time. Even after 30 years, this shirt remains an icon, its red numbers on the reverse adding a touch of flair that fans and players can’t get enough of.

And who could forget its ties to the unforgettable 1990 World Cup in Italy (Italia ’90)? Our boys made it all the way to the semi-finals, thanks in no small part to Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne’s powerhouse performances in midfield.

Remember when Gazza received his second yellow card in the 98th minute? The heartbreak on his face as he realized he’d miss the final if England won? It was a moment that brought tears to our eyes and sparked “Gazzamania” across the nation. Gazza wasn’t just a player that day – he became a national hero, a household name.

So, you see, this isn’t just any old shirt deserving of second place. It’s a piece of England’s kit history, drenched in golden memories and moments that will live on in the hearts of fans around the world.

#1. 1966 – 74 (Away)

Prepare to embark on a nostalgic journey, as we revisit an era that has etched its name in the annals of football history – the legendary “Golden Years” of England.

The pinnacle of this era was undoubtedly the year 1966, when England clinched a triumphant victory over West Germany in the FIFA World Cup final. The match, which ended 4-2 after extra time, saw England secure the esteemed Jules Rimet Trophy.

This victory is indelibly linked with the legendary performances of Sir Bobby Moore, John Charlton, and Jimmy Greaves. Their extraordinary skills were instrumental in propelling England to its first-ever World Cup victory.

The closing moments of the 1966 World Cup Final, immortalized by Kenneth Wolstenholme’s iconic BBC TV commentary, still send shivers down our spines. “And here comes Hurst! He’s got… Some people are on the pitch! They think it’s all over! (Geoff Hurst scores to put England two goals ahead) It is now, it’s four!” – such moments are truly the stuff of legends!

Before you dismiss the Away shirt as “overrated”, let’s take a moment to appreciate its significance. This shirt symbolizes an era of English football excellence that we’ve been aspiring to emulate for over 58 years.

This plain red long-sleeve away shirt with crest is synonymous with a time in sporting history that will never be forgotten.

For now, it remains timeless, but who knows? Maybe the next time we win a World Cup, we might have a new favourite! (Though don’t expect that to happen anytime soon…).

Looking for a Retro / Euro 2024 England Shirt?

Are you on the hunt for a Retro England Shirt? Your search ends at Lovell Soccer. Here, you can find not only some of England’s most iconic Retro kits but also the latest Home & Away Kits for Euro 2024.

As we edge closer to the Round 16, the question on everyone’s mind is: Does England have what it takes to make history and lift the Henri Delauney Trophy? Only time will reveal the answer.

In the meantime, why not explore our selection of the Top 10 Most Iconic Euro Jerseys of All Time?

Or delve into the details of the Football Boots that players will be sporting at the 2024 Euros? Trust us, you won’t want to miss this!

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