Your Favorite Arsenal Kit: A Historical Observation

Greetings to all! My name is Gary and I have signed on to be (hopefully) a regular contributor to The Modern Gooner. I thought I would do something a little different as I have every confidence in the other contributors to this blog to provide thorough, expert analysis and erudite opinions regarding the state of the Arsenal, upcoming fixtures etc... and the last thing I'm sure all of you want to read is someone else coming on board, not nearly as qualified, trying to do the same.

Therefore, for my first entry, and in honor of the new 2010-2011 Arsenal kits (which are pretty darn snappy mind you), I thought I would pose the question, "Over the past 40 years, what has been your favorite Arsenal jersey?" I think the majority of Gooners out there would agree that the home jersey should be red with white sleeves, but there have been almost 20 versions that fulfill that criteria.

To help you decide, I present to you (gathered from many different websites) a pictorial history of the Arsenal Home jersey from 1970 to the present day. For the purposes of this entry, let us focus solely on the home jersey and save the away, third kits and FA Cup Final shirts for future entries.

a) 1970-1981

Definitely the "classic" jersey.

b) 1981-1982

The first Arsenal jersey with a sponsor. JVC would remain on the jersey for almost 20 years.

c) 1982-1984

A slight variation from the prior jersey. The Umbro logo has been removed and the collar has changed. Simple, straightforward...classic.

d) 1984-1986

Again, a slight variation on the collar. It should be noted that 1985 was the centenary year and a version of this jersey has that indicated by the cannon.

e) 1986-1987

Adidas takes over from Umbro.

f) 1988-1990

Adidas' second season. Note the change in sleeves.

g) 1990-1992

Adidas tries out their traditional black stripes.

h) 1992-1994

A radical change...Coincidence that this was Adidas' last jersey?

i) 1994-1996

Nike takes over from Adidas.

j) 1996-1998

A return to a more classic look. Also, I think the first Arsenal jersey to feature a polo-like collar since the 1930's.

k) 1998-1999

Nike introduces Dry Fit technology and puts white down the entire sides of the shirt offset by two thin black stripes. The last JVC jersey.

l) 1999-2000

Same as 1998-1999 but with "Dreamcast", Sega's video game console.

m) 2000-2002

Nike changes the collar, removes the white from the sides of the jersey and moves the black stripes to the shoulders, extending down the sleeve.

n) 2002-2003

O2 replaces Dreamcast, and Arsenal introduces the current crest, but I'm not quite sure what they were thinking with this design. I'd imagine the white extending down towards the torso would have a slimming effect for the more portly among us. I apologize if this one is your favorite.

o) 2003-2004

Jersey of the Invincibles!

p) 2005-2006

A totally new look. Nike seems to completely dismisses tradition and introduces the red courante jersey, though I suppose one could argue that this jersey was a return to the original Woolwich Arsenal jersey of 1913 when the jersey was solid red. I must say that I absolutely love this sharp. But, is it Arsenal?

q) 2006-2008

A new stadium, a new sponsor and a new jersey. Nike returned to the more classic look, but added two thin gold stripes down the sides.

r) 2008-2010

Nike tries to compromise between tradition and a more modern look by replacing the white sleeve with a white stripe down the sleeve and side of the jersey offset with two thin red courante stripes. Did the compromise work?

s) 2010-2011

Mustard!! The current jersey is a traditionalist's dream. Actually, it's almost identical to the 1981-1982 jersey. Of course the maker, crest and sponsor have changed, but everything else is pretty much on par.

Well, there you have 'em. 19 home jerseys over the past 40 years, so I ask you again...which jersey is your favorite? Of course, as fans, we associate memories with special jerseys. Favorite players, special matches, season results and your age all will have an effect on how you feel about any particular kit. Therefore, when sharing your favorite I'm sure the readership would love to hear the reasons why a particular jersey is your favorite.