Whilst football shirts nowadays tend to be bedecked (read, spoilt) by betting slogans, logos and sponsors, there was a time when Sheffield Wednesday’s kit was adorned by the garish yellow and red of Chupa-Chups – yes, the one and only worldwide lollipop and confectionary brand – and everyone from Eintracht Braunschweig to Rangers was flying the flag for an alcoholic tipple, so much so that even now Tottenham shirts of old are synonymous with Holsten, Blackburn with McEwan’s lager and Liverpool with Carlsberg.
Sadly the trend for food and drink sponsorship has dwindled in recent years, meaning fans are missing out on delights such as Pizza Hut (Fulham) and, erm, Black Death vodka (Scarborough) rocking football strips. But don’t fear, if you’re craving a football foodie fix right now, Twitter followers to the rescue with some of these ‘blasts’ from the past…
Very much capturing the zeitgeist, Nottingham Forest 1995–97 home and away shirts featured Labatt’s. Although, in truth, that seems the least striking talking point on this away showing. The stripy V-neck collar just about works, but where to start on the rest of the design? Thank goodness, the home kit restored some semblance of normality.
Think of Muller, and you think of… No, not Nicole Scherzinger. No, not Katerina Johnson-Thompson, but Aston Villa, of course. A genuinely iconic shirt, this is the shirt that defines the 90s for this Midlands club. This 1993–1995 away design was a huge departure for the Villans, but even now the bold green and black stripes with the thinner red accents is a beast, and the accompanying GK shirt says 90s goalie shirts all over.
Whilst Grimsby have almost singlehandedly been keeping Young’s going since 2004 as primary shirt sponsors, including, it has to be said, a very smart design this season, ClassicGTFCshirts rewinds back to 1995–1996 with this offering. You can’t do much wrong with black and white stripes and add in the red trim and you’re on to a winner… then you go and stick Europe’s Food Town in the middle…
Has there ever been a better fit between a sponsor and a team than this? Newcastle Brown Ale was made for Newcastle United shirts and whilst the iconic black and white home strips are the traditional go-to, the 1996 claret and navy away shirt with mandarin collar is sleek and stylish as they come.
You know those football shirt designs that take a sponsor and weave it sympathetically, subtly and stylishly into the aesthetic, well, that’s not what happened here. However, whilst Loja CD’s 2017–2018 shirt may not win any style awards, there’s no denying this monstrosity is an absolute marketing triumph for Tercera Division Spanish side Loja CD, Apolo and… the prawn industry.
Taking a leaf from Loja CD’s design and marketing manual, CD Lugo went big with their 2014 special-edition shirts, with an outfield shirt featuring a beer design and goalkeeper shirt featuring Spanish staple, octopus. A marmite design (although not literally Marmite, but, who knows, that may be something for CD Lugo to consider for next year), these shirts are simultaneously impressive and bonkers. How does that saying go: there’s a fine line between genius and insanity?
Think of footballers, think of their athleticism and healthy lifestyles, and Burger King probably doesn’t come straight to mind. But that didn’t stop Getafe sporting this number in 09–10. Even the rather baffling multi-tone, asymmetric design from Joma can’t detract from that eye-wateringly large sponsor’s logo. The only blessing is this shirt isn’t as horrendous as the 2011–2012 design. Anyway, anyone feeling peckish, or just me?
Around the world
It doesn’t get more Italian than a pasta brand sponsoring AS Roma (aside from a Brazilian featuring in the ad), and harking back to an era when style was more simplistic, the uncomplicated sponsor logo doesn’t detract from the design. The Harry Hill collar, however, is something to behold, while the burgundy and orange colourway works a treat.
Bimbo bread! 🍞🍞🍞 pic.twitter.com/s3IPoQqdFw— kitfanatic ⚽👕 (@kitfanatic) June 23, 2020
There are few greater delicacies in life than Bimbo bread, but sadly it doesn’t have quite the same impact on this 06–07 CF Monterrey shirt, with an overload of logos, which includes Coca-Cola – a veritable lunchtime snack on a shirt. The red Bimbo logo and red trim do little to synthesise the design, but jump forward to 2015 and Monterrey’s 70th anniversary shirt by Puma and Bimbo comes into its own, in a couple of designs that are genuine things of beauty. And for those partial to a slice of the good stuff, Philadelphia Union sport some awesome Bimbo designs.
Pepsi and I wear it…! 😂 pic.twitter.com/XFFLC5Q0bR— Dika Erlangga (@TekelBrutal) June 23, 2020
Pepsi took the whole shirt sponsor one step further with their ‘Team Pepsi’ campaign with a line-up featuring Petit, Veron, Raul, Beckham, Rivaldo, Carlos and Buffon (not a bad seven-a-side, it has to be said) in Pepsi’s very own shirt. And it’s a pretty good offering too, with the pale blue and darker blue design that trumps a lot of club kits.
If you liked this roundup of food related football shirts, you’ll like our look at some of the best celebrities who are partial to a good football shirt.