Football Shirts – A Brief History of a Football Shirt

We all love to buy our favourite teams football kits or maybe just a football shirt but where did it all start and how far have we come, lets find out.

How football kits came about!

Our wonderful game of football is believed to date back to the mob matches played in the Middle Ages between rival towns that had no rules and could have unlimited players on each side. Crazy isn’t it!

Originally there were no kits, players simply had to provide suitable clothing and matching colours were not a requirement at this time, they were only distinguished by wearing the team coloured caps or scarves over the top of whatever clothing they had available. However, common sense obviously prevailed because in 1857 Sheffield FC stated that each player should provide themselves with a team coloured cap.

In 1863 the Football Association (FA) was born, created by it’s leading players who created Football’s first set of National Rules and around 1870 the first uniformed kits started to appear based on an article written by a News Reporter who made comment on how essential it was for one team to be distinguished from the other.


In England, the Football Shirts or Jersey’s as they were then called chose colours that were associated with the Public Schools from which the players attended.

How the Soccer Shirt has developed

From the long sleeved heavy cotton material football jerseys with unsightly collars to today’s breathable and extremely lightweight synthetic fabric shirt, the transformation is spectacular, and thank goodness for it.

In today’s world of Football, fans all over the world wear their teams football tops with pride, we all have the choice of choosing Home, Away and even Third Kit choices, not forgetting the ability to choose the name of your favourite player to be written on the back of the shirt. Did you know that it wasn’t until the 1933 FA Cup Final that numbers were introduced as standard and that goalkeepers finally got their own coloured shirt.

The synthetic material started entering the football world in the 1950s and offered footballers a much-needed breathable fabric which was far more comfortable for them, especially on hotter days.

The 70s made all the difference

Not much happened during the 60s with regard to football shirt design, everybody was more focused on Beatlemania and Mini-skirts, until of course the small detail of England winning the World Cup in 1966.Bobby Moore receiving world cup from queen Then all of a sudden the focus had switched and so the 70s became a fundamental move for the design of Football Shirts, it’s when shirts became available for fans to buy and also when sponsors started to brand the design of club and kits alike.

In the 90s – There were some shockers!

During the nineties’ football in the UK was transformed by increased safety precautions that changed the old terraces to all seated stadiums which is a huge positive, but with massive financial investment into football by Satellite TV companies and the huge marketing of replica shirts or full kits to fans all over the world, football shirts had to look good and feel good, not just on the pitch but for everyday use and of course if you attend a match, you just had to be wearing a shirt or a scarf in support of your team.

OMG, there were some shockers and I mean shirts that would make you feel physically sick just by looking at them, I won’t mention which clubs so not to offend anyone but please search online for the worst football shirts of the 90s but make sure you have your sun glasses nearby!

In 1992 players started to have their names printed on the back of their shirts, very clever as fans would of course follow suit, and so they did. Clubs could now charge more for this upgrade and the longer the name the higher the price but hey, if you love your team and a particular player why not just do it right and get what you want.

The market was attracting the biggest and best sports manufacturers such as Nike, Adidas, Umbro etc but the 90s has to be remembered and respected for making the necessary changes that has allowed us to be where we are today, despite some horrendous extravagant detailed designs which at the time appeared cool, there were some amazing designs and memories created during this period that will always be remembered, we should be forever grateful for the brave and determined design artists that dare put their name against these tragedies, thank you. Because of you we now live in a world of breathable mesh type fabrics that keep us cool or warm in all weathers, that don’t absorb water and are light as a feather but more importantly with the software available these days, our own clubs are able to attract Millions of pounds/dollars into further investment and develop some amazing Football Shirts which you can all purchase right here on Premier League Store.


So, to summarise I just love the Premier League but likewise the history of football and the football shirt is something to be proud of. From where we were in the 19th Century to the New Millennium is truly a journey that could fill several books. As a true football fan myself I can honestly say that my two sons and I can wear our chosen football shirt with pride.

One of the reasons I created was to give people the flexibility of ordering various shirts within one site, if your family is anything like mine that supports three different Premier League teams, you will hopefully find the idea of this website a dream come true.

I’d love to hear your story and your thoughts on the above article, please feel free to email me at:

Thank you for reading this post and I hope you will love your new shirt.

Please remember, the best thing about football is the Fans. Without us it would be very different….

6 Replies to “Football Shirts – A Brief History of a Football Shirt”

  1. Hi Darren,

    Great breakdown of the history behind the football shirt. Although I am American, I do still enjoy watching soccer/football and always thought the shirts they wore are really intricate and cool. American Football jersey’s are usually very basic, so its definitely something different when I see them. I think that the teams from the UK particularly have some of the coolest looking shirts in my opinion. Next time someone brings it up, I can give them some history about the football shirts thanks to your great post! Thank you!

    1. Hi Dan, thanks for your kind words, its really appreciated. Agree, there have been and are some lovely soccer shirt designs around particularly these days. Also the quality is much better than years gone by. 👍

  2. Thanks for sharing Darren, enjoyed reading about the history and as an eighties baby, I remember alot of the shockers from the nineties! There were some classic ones too though…I think a good idea would be to create a poll so people can vote for thier favourite footy shirt for each decade, what you think?

    Look forward to reading more from your blog.

    1. Thanks Mike for taking the time to read this blog, glad you remember the shockers as do I but yes you are correct, there were some classic football shirts also. Like your idea of a poll. Watch this space!

  3. What a nice post you wrote! I really enjoyed reading it and I could not be silent about your post so I decided to leave my comment here and say Thank You! For sharing this quality post with others.
    Actually this is exactly the information that I was looking for, information about the history of a football shirt and when I landed on your website and read this post, it answered all my questions in detail.
    So I’m happy that you decided to write about this topic and share it with people. It’s very useful and can definitely be used as a great source for everyone who is interested in this topic.
    I will come back to your website again for sure and I’m looking forward to reading your new posts.)


    1. Hi Ali,
      Thank you for reading and for your kind comments. It really is amazing how the design of a football shirt has progressed over the years.
      Glad you enjoyed.

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