The best West Ham football shirts
After the recent announcement of the 21/22 home kit, discussions about the best West Ham soccer jerseys have increased. We take a look at some of the most iconic Hammers kits over the years and determine which one will be titled “The Biggest”.
1965-1966 Season: A Bobby Moore Classic
The 1965-66 season proved to be pretty incredible for West Ham United. Despite only finishing in 12th place in the domestic division, Hammers players Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst ensured the England squad to win the 1966 World Cup. The match saw England beat West Germany by 4-2, Hurst scoring a hattrick, Peters grabbing a goal and Moore wearing the captain’s armband.
It is perhaps one of West Ham’s most iconic soccer jerseys, which fans buy and still wear, 56 years after its first release. In the era of the pre-sponsor, this home shirt is professional, clean looking and honestly quite good looking. It is certainly fair to say that this shirt will be legendary forever with all of its history.
1999-2000 season: QUE But Di Canio
The Millennium season in East London has been relatively successful. A team made up of a mix of experienced and young players such as; Steve Potts, Rio Ferdinand, Ian Wright and (of course) Paolo Di Canio finished the season in a plausible 9th place. The previous season, West Ham finished in a record 5th position in the Premier League, leaving some disappointed with the 99/00 table position. However, this season has not been disappointing. In August 2000, Harry Redknapp’s men lifted the second European trophy in club history this season: the UEFA Intertoto Cup. The Hammers joined Juventus and Montpellier to win the trophy, allowing them to qualify for the UEFA Cup.
Coincidentally, it was the soccer jersey that inspired the all-new 21/22 kit. The promotion was entirely based on this goal that Di Canio scored against Wimbledon. With a burgundy body, blue details on the sleeves, highlighted by white piping, this soccer jersey is a favorite with West Ham fans.
1986-1987 Season: The Boys of 86
The 1986-87 season will forever mark West Ham as the “greatest season of all time”. A team of Frank McAvennie, Tony Cottee, Alan Devonshire and George Parris defied the odds to end the campaign in an incredible 3rd place. Some may even think it was unlucky, as on the last Saturday of the season the Hammers were one of three teams with a chance to win the league (the others being Liverpool and Everton, with Liverpool in the lead) .
A shirt for home and outdoors with the same design but reversed colors is hard to find these days. The Adidas branded blue stripes on the burgundy body give the shirt a casual yet sporty feel, making it still a shirt worn by fans today. The stripe is a rare feature on a West Ham soccer jersey, last seen on the 2014-15 Adidas home kit (which, in fact, was inspired by that same kit).
2019-2020 season: The COVID season
The 2019-20 season has turned out to be quite dismal for West Ham. 16th place and EFL Cup third round elimination by Oxford United of League One and two (unimpressive) managers. On March 13, 2020, after a growing number of cases of COVID-19 among Premier League players and staff, the season was suspended. When the season resumed on June 19, 2020, the Hammers lost at home to Wolves, 2-0. Miraculously, David Moyes has kept us going this season and fully earned the contract extension that followed.
Despite a bad season in East London, these soccer jerseys are one of my all-time favorites. On a personal note, this was the first time since I was 11 that I had bought both home and away shirts – I just loved them. I also loved the campaign they promoted these shirts – the photo of Sir Trevor, Nobes and Dec puts our ‘Academy of Football’ quality into perspective.
I would top the Boys of ’86 kit as the ‘Biggest’ soccer jersey West Ham has produced from the few highlighted above. They don’t make kits like that anymore! Which Hammers shirt do you prefer? Which one did I miss? Let me know, @_miaclaydon on Twitter!