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FOOTBALL KIT FAILS

The classic wardrobe malfunction. We’ve all experienced one.

Whether it be walking around the office with the white of your shirt dangling from an open fly (never happened to me), losing a flip flop on holiday while pissing into the sea (never happened to me) or realising during a school lesson that the strange bulge inside the ankle of your trousers was an old pair of boxers shorts (definitely never happened to me) we’ve all been left red faced by our outfits at one time or another. But unlike the poor sods here it’s unlikely your fashion disaster was broadcast live to millions of people across the globe.

And that’s what makes the below examples so amusing, despite their simplicity. Someone struggling with a zip shouldn’t be as funny as a manager repeatedly doing so in a stadium of 70,000 while their teams being tonked 4-0 by Chelsea

So, read on for more classic fabric faux pas, some you’ll have seen, others you may not have, and spare a thought for the poor old kit men. (And of course, let us know if we’ve forgotten any good’uns).

 

Zlatan Irbahimovic’s shirt printing

 

Irbahimovic-la-galaxy

 

Zlatan set the MLS alight with a plethora of remarkable goals and outrageous soundbites from two seasons of show stopping football for LA Galaxy. He also gave us one of the funniest name gaffes we can remember (or whoever was responsible for the printing did).

Sure, Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn’t the first player to don a shirt with a misspelt name - he joins a list of other ex-prem stars such as Steven Gerrrard, David Beckam and er, Andreson in doing so, but where as forgetting the silent ‘H’ from Beck’s surname could perhaps be forgiven (at least by this grammatically challenged fan anyway), changing the name of the most famous player in the league so he sounds like an unlicensed Pro Evo knock-off, isn’t.

 

Bosnich’s makeshift goalie top

 

bosnich-manchester-united

 

Before he became preoccupied with naughty substances and large breakfasts, Mark Bosnic used to be a handy goalkeeper. It was his shot stopping ability in the late nineties that convinced Fergie to replace United legend Peter Schmeichel with him in 2000. We know that didn’t go too well, but this is one goalkeeping calamity that can’t be laid at the work shy Aussie’s door.

Part way through his first (and only full) season at the club he played for as an academy boy, United hosted Arsenal at Old Trafford. Back then, the biggest fixture in the calendar had to be halted just before kick off when a kit clash was spotted between Bosnic’s and the away side’s yellow shirts, and the keeper was asked to replace his with something different. Yet somehow the biggest and richest club in the land could not find their new No1 a replacement top, and in order to speed up proceedings of a live televised game, Bosnich had to wear a random grey turtleneck mustered from somewhere within the ground. One theory at the time was that it had been given to Bosnich by a fan, but sightings of a semi-naked fella freezing his nipples off in the Stretford End were never reported.

A while later, Bosnich’s jumper was replaced by something more traditional - a 1994 United Goalkeeper top from the Old Trafford club shop, obviously. In the end the incident resembled much of Bosnich’s United career from that point onwards; farce.

 

Ballotelli’s Bib

 

Bibotelli-struglling-with-bib

 

Always an extrovert, Super Mario has previous when it comes to kit. Of course there’s the infamous ‘Why Always Me’ undershirt, and the equally smug but much less interesting football boots made up of headlines about himself. Yet whereas those two kit modifications were clearly intentional and premeditated, this certainly wasn’t.

Not only did Ballotelli’s struggle with one of life’s most basic pieces of apparel give us a priceless piece of viral footage to pass around and guffaw at like we’ve never put a pair of socks on inside out before, it also gave us Robbie Savage’s finest piece of commentary to date when he dubbed the striker ‘Mario Bibotelli’ during their next televised game. At the end of it all, Ballotelli’s battle with a bib summed up his Premier League career - lots of entertainment off the field, and not enough on it.

 

Arsenal’s premature celebration

 

Arsenal-shirt-celebration-with-fans

 

Poor old Arsenal do seem like easy targets at times, especially when considering the amount of grief they were given for celebrating 4th place finishes like titles over the years, by fans of clubs (yes we’re looking at you, Manchester United) who are doing exactly the same now. Yet when you see moments like this it’s bloody hard to sympathise. After playing out a thrilling draw against mighty Reading in the League Cup in 2012, a couple of trigger happy gunners thought they’d won the fixture on away goals. The guilty parties, (Francis Coquelan and Oliver Giroud, of course) got all over excited and started lobbing their ‘match-winning’ shirts into the away end for their fans to treasure. Only they were left with faces redder than the tops they’d just parted with when people reminded them that the away goals rule didn’t exist here and they still had to play extra time. Shitter.

Cue a desperate and farcical scramble from the Frenchmen to retrieve their tops for the re-start. Luckily for them they did, although we suspect Giroud was equally disappointed to have to get dressed again. Spare a thought though, for those poor, young Arsenal fans who had to give the shirts back. Never would they be able to point to them framed on their bedroom walls and proudly tell people ‘That is the shirt Frances Coquelan wore when we drew with Reading in the League Cup semi final that time’. Life can be so cruel. 

 

Sidibe’s Sock

 

everton-Sidibe-sock

 

Perhaps this won’t leave a lasting imprint on the world of football in the long run, but anyone who ever turned up to PE at school without their kit will sympathise with Djibril’s clear and sudden moment of realisation that he’d only put one of his sodding socks on, and the other was floating around in the dressing room somewhere.

That’s right, poor old Djibril was all ready to come on as an early sub v Palace only to realise his schoolboy error just as the assistant ref was sticking his number up on the board. Cue the kind of disdainful look a school teacher would be proud of from boss Ancelotti and a panicked dash from the substitute to go and get his forgotten stocking. 

 

Fiorentina’s Accidental Nazi Tribute

 

Fiorentina-lotto-banned-shirt

 

Now, football fans would be forgiven for thinking La Viola have never made a bad kit. And in some respect that’s not far wrong. Their famous purple outfits have a fond place in our hearts that’s for sure. But one of their early 90’s designs stands out for all the wrong reasons. That said, on first look, Fiorentina’s 1992 Mizuno manufactured effort looked like a classic 90’s Serie A triumph. But on further inspection it appeared more like something from a World War II movie, with its ‘accidental’ swastikas peppering the shirts arms and shoulders. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t hang around for long and was swiftly confined to the football shirt hall of shame.

Still looked decent on Gabby Batistuta though.

  

Jan Venegoor Of Hesselink’s Name

 

JVH-wolves-long-name-on-shirt

 

Not so much a kit fail or mistake, as a fucking inevitability; there are no shirts big enough for someone with a name as long as a flipping barge. Jan Venegoor’s shirt reverse contains more characters than an episode of Game of Thrones and thus it looked as chaotic as the Battle of the Bastards. Decent player though, big Jan.

 

United’s Vanishing Kit

 

manchester-united-gre-kit

 

Perhaps the most infamous of all kit malfunctions, was the case of the vanishing third shirt. The story is well known; Manchester United where getting pasted by little old Southampton back in 1996 (such kind of performances are commonplace for United these days of course, but back then seeing Fergie’s men trail to mid-table fodder was as rare as a Tottenham trophy) and thus re-appeared for the second half in a different kit, sighting a lack of well… sightings whilst wearing their new grey shirt. Farcical as it sounds, a number of United players claimed to have found it difficult to pick out their team-mates in their fuzzy new threads, with the grey and white dotted motif blurring with the crowd. Gary Neville meanwhile, recently recounted that Fergie already had his suspicions about the kit, hence why they had a completely different one available to change into.

Whatever the case, United ditched the shirt at half time and it was never to be worn by them again. (ps… contrary to what many think, the final score ended 3-1 and not 6-3, which was the result of a different, yet equally mad fixture between these two a short while later.)

This decision had a number of knock on effects. The first being that grey kits became few and far between in the Premier League for a while (Chelsea had sported a similar Umbro made design for their third shirt at the time, too.) The second was that the United variant ended up filling bargain bins in sports stores and Birthday’s outlets up and down the country, making it the ugly duckling of the United kit family but a much more viable purchase for kids and their parents who flocked to pick up the shirts for a mere fifteen quid or so. This writer was just one of many teenagers who turned up at their local park wearing their brand new cut price merch. I’m sure there were loads of us, but I just couldn’t pick them out.

 

Wenger’s zipper

 

arsenal-Wengers-zip

 

A battle as famous as Hastings; Wenger’s regular bouts with his stupidly long, wearable sleeping bag became viral hits during the last stretch of his Arsenal tenure. And you can see why. A manager much maligned for his stubbornness and unwillingness to change in the face of criticism, struggling to overcome one of man-kinds oldest and most simple creations, the fucking zip…. Good old Arsene.

 

 

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