The Best Football Shirts of 2012
With the high number of professional and international association football teams across the globe, it is inevitable that thousands of new replica shirts are released every year. The growth in popularity of the sport and its increasing globalisation has led to this becoming a multi-billion pound industry.
Manchester United and Real Madrid are the two biggest replica shirt sellers with both clubs averaging one point four million sales annually over the past five years. The only other club to average over one million sales is F.C. Barcelona. It is no surprise that the most popular and successful teams attract the greatest global retail revenue, however for some clubs sales can fluctuate dramatically year by year. For example, having become European champions Chelsea are likely to have strong growth over the 2012/2013 season.
Although in most cases tradition and practicality influences the design of a shirt, there are always standout releases that can even gain admirers from supporters of rival teams. With the year nearly coming to an end, we bring to you the five best football shirts of 2012.
Canada Centenary shirt 2012
Canada may not be a hotbed for soccer but there can be no doubt that the sport is gaining serious attention now that there are three Canadian Major League Soccer teams competing against the best that America has to offer. This year the Canadian national team celebrates its one hundredth anniversary and to mark this occasion Umbro released a limited edition shirt. The royal blue kit features white trimming and a vibrant red maple leaf embroidered on the upper-left side. Inspired by the shirt worn during a 1-0 victory over the United States in 1925, the new shirt was used in a 0-0 draw against the same country this June. With only 1,912 shirts available it quickly sold out.
Olympique Lyonnais home shirt 2012/13
Lyon have been the powerhouse of French football this century having won seven league titles. This season the release of their third shirt generated a lot of news for being the world’s first 3D football shirt. However it took away from the beautiful home shirt which takes the three traditional colours of Lyon and utilises them in a stylish diagonal design. Made by Adidas, its three iconic stripes stretch across the shoulders in blue. Additional detail is added with the club’s lion motif enlarged behind the badge.
Manchester United home shirt 2012/13
Manchester was a leading city during the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century with a heavy focus on manufacturing. This included textiles, something with Nike took inspiration from when designing the new Manchester United home shirt which uses the classic gingham check print that came from the local cotton mills. The unusual style is accentuated with a black collar and the phrase ‘Forged in Industry, Striving for Glory’ printed on the inner neck. Criticised by some, we believe it was a bold move by Nike and the club which has paid off with a design that will no doubt become the retro shirt of choice in years to come.
England goalkeeper away shirt 2011/12
Goalkeeper shirts are normally a boring affair, typically a single colour that contrasts with the outfield players. Often a goalkeeper can be seen wearing a plain black kit or horrific fluorescent shirt that highlights danger ahead. This England goalkeeper away shirt was introduced for the 2011/12 season but has been included because it was worn by Joe Hart during the European Championship match versus France and again in an August friendly with Italy. Its shows interlocking Saint George’s crosses in four shades of green and was created by Manchester-born graphic designer Peter Saville, who is best known for his album covers for artists such as Joy Division and New Order.
Palermo third shirt 2012/13
Palermo, the Serie A team based in Sicily, play in pink with their secondary colour of black often being used for the away shirt. This is no surprise considering their nickname is the ‘rosanero’. For the current season the club announced three new shirts with the alternative version featuring both colours on a predominantly white background. The stunning sash design on the front gives the impression of a casual shirt that could be worn on the streets, not necessarily just for sporting purposes. This is further implied with the crew neck and regular fit, suitable for all body types.