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British Club Tops

The Prem is Back 22/23

As the English Premier League season begins again for a new dramatic season, The Kit Rail are going to be looking back at some premier league greats and their match worn tops. A big thanks again to Graham Alexander for a loan of his collection.

Starting us off is a probably one of the best midfielders to have played in the Premier League without ever winning it. Steven Gerrard made over 500 league appearances for Liverpool, scoring 120 league goals and recorded 92 assists. Unfortunately the closest he would get to the title would be in the 13/14 campaign where Liverpool finished 2nd, 2 points behind eventual winners Manchester City.

Now inducted into the hall of fame, Gerrard would carry Liverpool through a lot of tough times and will unfortunately be remembered for slipping at the last hurdle against Chelsea and letting Man City leapfrog Liverpool in the league on the second last game of the season after the red’s drew 3-3 with Crystal Palace.

The next midfielder and Gerrard’s long time rival is none other than Hall of Fame graduate, Frank Lampard. The Premier leagues highest scoring midfielder comes in with 609 Premier League appearances with the majority coming from his time at Chelsea but many forget about his time at West Ham and his single season at Manchester City.

Winning the Premier League a total of three times, once in the 09/10 season under Don Carlo Ancelotti and back to back under the management of “the special one” Jose Mourinho in 04/05 and 05/06. Defending a Premier League title an impressive feat not many players have achieved in their careers unless it is with the current Man City team or the dominant Sir Alex Ferguson Man Utd that wrecked havoc in the Prem.

Speaking of the dominance of Sir Alex’s Manchester United, you cannot speak about the talent of both Steven Gerard and Frank Lampard without mentioning Paul Scholes. The ELEVEN time Premier League winner made 499 appearances in the league for Manchester United and won 321 of those games, giving him a 64% win rate when he was involved in the team, in comparison Gerrard’s win rate was 50% and Lampard’s was 57% which is still a very impressive achievement for all three men when you think about some of the players they have played alongside, both all time greats and absolute stinkers.

Originally retiring in 2011, Scholes showed his interest in coming out of retirement for a season after training with Man Utd’s reserves. He would be offered a contract due to the current injury crisis that plagued Old Trafford. The January of 2012 would see Scholes return to play in his 18th Premier League season before fully committing to his retirement at the end of the 12/13 campaign where he finished his 19th and final season in the league, an achievement that only fellow teammate Ryan Giggs has surpassed due to his 21 consecutive seasons in the EPL.

Each English midfielder has had an extraordinary career in football, winning lots of trophies in England and in Europe such as League Cups, FA Cups, Europa League’s and the almighty Champions League. Two of the three also making over 100 appearances for their country with the latter still respectively making 66 appearances.

The question will always remain though, who was the best England midfielder of their generation?

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British International Tops

Graham Alexander – The Consummate Professional

The current Motherwell manager had an impressive football career, making his way up the English footballing pyramid as either a solid full back or holding midfielder, playing over 1000 career games for club and country. Those clubs being Scunthorpe, Luton, Preston and Burnley.

Alexander started his career with Scunthorpe’s youth team in 1988 before signing professional forms and playing 159 games with the senior team helping himself to 18 goals. He would move to Luton Town in 1995 where he would turn out for The Hatters 150 times scoring 15 goals in the process. By this time Alexander was beginning to earn a bit of a reputation for himself as a solid dependable player who could put his foot on the ball and pick a pass. He then earned a move to Preston North End in March 1999 where he would spend the next 8 years of his career [7 of those competing in the English Championship] Playing 352 games and hitting the net 52 times.

In 2007 Alexanders dedication and determination would be rewarded with a £200,000 move to a Burnley side pushing for promotion. Promotion to The Premier League was duly achieved and Alexander would enter the history books as the oldest player to make his Premier League debut, at the ripe old age of 37. Not only did he make his debut but was named as club captain and would make a further 32 league appearances that season, scoring 7 goals into the bargain. Alexander would leave Burnley in 2011 making 177 appearances and scoring 24 goals. He would head back to Preston for one last swansong appearing 18 times and scoring 2 goals. His last appearance was marked with a 90th minute trademark free-kick equaliser in a 2 all draw with League One Champions Charlton. It was actually his last touch of the ball as a professional. A fitting way to end your career.

There are many figures banded about the internet relating to Alexanders prowess from the penalty spot. Some websites say 72 scored from 77 but we’ll go with TransferMarket who have Alexander down as having converted 61 out of 65 penalties in his career which is a 93.8% conversion rate. That is a pretty impressive stat and should certainly be spoken about more often than it does.

On the 16th April 2011, in Burnley’s win over Swansea City in a Championship Match, Alexander would become only the second outfield player in English football history to have made 1,000 professional appearances

In 2002, Alexander would gain his first international call up at the age of 30. He would come off the bench at Pittodrie where Berti Vogts Scotland would lose 2-1 to Nigeria in a friendly. He would go on to make 40 international appearances. The highlights would be The famous wins over France Home and Away, a draw with Italy in 2005 and a draw with Croatia in 2008. Over the 40 appearances Alexander made for Scotland, he only gained one yellow card which he picked up in a 1-1 draw with New Zealand in 2003.

This jersey comes from Alexanders last Scotland Game which was a World Cup Qualifier played at Hampden Park against Macedonia on the 5th of September 2009. Scotland won 2 nil with goals coming from Scott Brown and James McFadden. Alexander played the full 90mins.

Steve Cotterill probably summed up Alexanders character and professionalism best when he said ” His boots were always spotless, he didn’t have an inch of fat on him and, if he spoke, players may have questioned him but they knew he was right. The only shame is that he is 38, he deserves to have played in The Premier League a lot longer “

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British Club Tops

Fulham – 02/03

For this post we are throwing it back to the early 2000’s with a Fulham top from their time in the FA Barclaycard Premiership. This season would be a regular season for the lily whites as they finished the season in 14th position, one place lower than the season previous.

Looking at that team now you would probably have placed them a lot higher as they had brilliant players such as Edwin Van Der Sar, Louis Saha and Steed Malbranque. This poor season would see manager Jean Tigana sacked in the April of 2003 with recently retired Welsh Defender Chris Coleman taking over who would guide the team into the top half of the division in 9th in the 03/04 season.

This jersey is from Scotland midfielder John Collins who played 65 games for Fulham before retiring in 2004. Before playing for Fulham, Collins would play in the Premier League with Everton and also played in France with Monaco. He is mainly remembered for his time at Celtic where he won the Scottish Cup in 1995.

Collins played 58 times for Scotland, scoring 12 goals with one of them coming on the opening day of the 98′ World Cup in France with a penalty against Brazil. Unfortunately Scotland never made it past the groups and still never have made it past the groups in any major tournament.

Made by Adidas, this Fulham top uses their famous lily white as the main body with the contrasting black used for the thick collar, side of the top and inside of the arms. The red in the badge is also used at the front of the neck. This was Adidas’ last kit with Fulham from that deal but Fulham brought back Adidas strips and have been with them since 2013 after moving from Puma, Airness, Nike and Kappa.

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British Club Tops

Nottingham Forest – 02/03

The 02/03 season saw Scottish attacking midfielder Eoin Jess arrive at Nottingham Forest who would finish 6th in his first season, just inside the play-off spots, however they were defeated in the first round by Sheffield Utd. The 18 time capped Scot would go on to play 86 times for Forest over a 3 season spell which saw promotion hopes turn into league relegation.

Starting his career in Aberdeen, he would play over 200 games for the don’s before making his first move down to the Premier League with Coventry City where he would play along side fellow Scots Gary McAllister and Gordon Strachan as they finished just above the drop zone in 17th place. After that one season in England, Jess would return north to Aberdeen where he would bring his total appearances with the club to over 300, ranking himself 11th in the Aberdeen all time appearance rankings.

A season loan and then a permanent move to Bradford City followed before he reached Nottingham Forest. Arriving as promotion hopefuls, it was not long before they were relegated down to the third tier of English football. They would stay in league one until they were promoted back to the championship in 07/08 where they most recently finished in a respectable 9th.

Nottingham Forest had began using Umbro kits in 1986 with them using their famous red as the main home colour but the away and third kits would catch the eye during the Umbro tenure as they would go through yellow, blue, white and green kits with some being more bizarre than the next. Forest would finish with Umbro and go back to Adidas before moving to current kit makers Macron.

This kit also features the sponsor of ‘Pinnacle Insurance’ who sponsored the top for five seasons between 98/99 to 02/03.

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British Club Tops

Luka Modric – Tottenham 10′

Luka Modric has won all there is to win at club level with Real Madrid but before his big money move to Los Blancos, Modric was showing off his talent in North London with Tottenham Hotspur.

Arriving from Dinamo Zagreb in 2008, for a then club record fee of £16.5 million after turning down both Manchester City and Newcastle Utd, Luka would play 160 games for the North London outfit, He would be directly involved in 44 goals with 17 goals and 27 assists.

Not often a goal scoring threat, Modric is able to create a chance out of nothing in the middle of the pitch with most of his game time at Spurs coming from the central midfield area or out on the left midfield.

Tottenham almost doubled their money on the Croatian, when Real Madrid paid £30 million for his talents. Luka’s role in the midfield became more industrious and hard working for Madrids Galacticos compared to him being the main creator of the team, as his role was in London. In Madrid he was part of a deadly midfield trio with German Toni Kroos and Brazilian Casemiro as the three won four Champions League titles and two league titles, becoming one of the best midfields of the modern era.

It wouldn’t be until 2018 that Luka Modric would earn the recognition he truly deserved. After winning the Champions League and captaining his country to their first World Cup final, Modric was awarded with FIFA’s and UEFA’s best men’s player of the year award along with a Ballon D’or.

This top was the first of seven home jerseys designed by Puma, taking over from Kappa in 06/07 to their deal finishing in the 12/13 campaign, with Under Armour stepping in. Over Puma’s tenure, they kept the home shirts mainly the traditional, always using white as the primary and navy as a secondary colour. Puma would change their style a few times, using a crew neck, a V-neck and also a collar to keep in line with the trends of the time.

A closer look at the white body of the jersey reveals small air holes in the jersey, helping to keep the players body cool, along with a different material running up the side of the top, for the same reason. This top comes with two felt Premier League badges on each sleeve and felt name and numbers with the sponsor being a bit more sympathetic to the club colours than some of the modern jerseys. The jersey is finished off with a large embroidered cockerel.

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British International Tops

Trevor Cherry – England 76′

Trevor Cherry was an English full back that could be played anywhere along the back line. Starting his career with Huddersfield Town, Cherry would make the move to Leeds for £100,000 where he would play 399 games and go onto captain the club.

Winning his first cap in 1976 against Wales with this jersey coming from his game against Scotland the same year in the Home Championship.

Cherry would go down as the first England player to be sent off in an international friendly as England played Argentina in 1977 with Cherry getting two teeth knocked out after the rash challenge on Daniel Bertoni who then decided to punch Cherry in the mouth.

Cherry was part of the England squad for the 1980 European Championships in Italy but was restricted to a single substitute appearance against Spain which would be his last international cap.

This top comes from the 1976 Home Championships where Scotland Hosted England at Hampden. Scotland would win the game with goals coming from centre half Gordon McQueen and clinical striker Kenny Dalglish with a penalty from Mick Channon giving England a goal back in the 87th minute.

Admiral only produced two England home kits with this being the first and the last being the 1982 jersey that also features on The Kit Rail under Terry Butcher.

As for this top, it’s a classic England home top using the main three colour red, white and blue with red and blue stripes travelling down the sleeve and also around the collar.

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British Club Tops

Steven Naismith – Everton 15′

Starting his career off at Kilmarnock in 2004, Naismith would make 71 appearances while scoring 24 goals that would help secure a move to Glasgow to join Rangers in 2007. After spending five years with the Gers’, winning three league titles, a Scottish Cup and two League Cups, Steven would make a move down south to Premier league outfit Everton. Three and a half years at the Toffee’s and 123 appearances later, Naismith would move to Norwich in a fight to keep them in the top division. Unfortunately his talents were not enough to help the fight and Norwich were relegated and after a full season in the English Championship, a move to Hearts on loan would help secure them a top six finish in the Scottish Premiership and a permanent move was made for just over one million pounds.

We will be having a look into his time at Everton and then diving deep into this jersey from Everton’s 15-16 campaign where Naismith made ten appearances before making the switch to Norwich in January 2016.

Credit – Steven Naismith with the perfect hat-trick vs…. – Squawka Football (tumblr.com)

During the 15-16 campaign, Naismith’s three goals would all come in the same game as Everton overcame Chelsea 3-1 as Naismith came on as a substitute in the ninth minute due to an injury on Bosnian midfielder Muhamed Besic.

This top is very similar to most Everton kits around this time as most use the blue and white template and sport the synonymous Chang beer. However Umbro have placed a lot of small details to be found within it such as the Latin under the badge, ‘Nil Satis Nisi Optimum’, which translates to only the best is good enough. An NSNO can also be found on the back of the neck.

The top would not be complete without the Barclays Premier League patches on the sleeves and the lion on the Barclays lion on the bottom of each number.

Categories
British International Tops

Terry Butcher – England 82′

Terry Butcher began his career in 1976 as a promising centre half for Ipswich Town, with his first England call up coming on the 31st of May 1980 in a win against Australia. He would play a total of seventy-seven games for the three lions over the course of his ten-year international career, with his final England game coming against West Germany where he was in the losing side of a penalty shootout in the semi-final of the 1990 World Cup. Butcher managed to gain seventy-seven caps for England with sixty-nine of those coming under legendary manager Sir Bobby Robson and would captain England on seven outings with three coming at the 1990 World Cup.

Infamous picture of Butcher covered in blood after a World Cup qualifier vs Sweeden https://www.planetfootball.com/nostalgia/terry-butcher-that-photo-a-six-month-supply-of-washing-powder/

While playing for England, Butcher played for Ipswich Town and Glasgow Rangers. During his time at Ipswich, he won the UEFA Cup in 1980/81 also under Sir Bobby Robson’s guidance. After moving to Rangers he then won three league titles in four seasons with two Scottish Cups. After the 1990 World Cup, Butcher would leave Rangers and land his first managerial role as a player manager at Coventry City where he would become the youngest manager in the football league at 32. Coventry would narrowly avoid relegation, finishing sixteenth and after playing six times that season Butcher would announce his retirement as a player. He would later be inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame, Ipswich Town Hall of Fame and and Scottish Football Hall of Fame.

The top we have here was worn against Wales on the 27th of April in 1982, in Cardiff, where England won 1-0 after a goal from Trevor Francis in the 74th minute. Butcher managed to keep a clean sheet against a Wales team with the likes of Liverpool’s Ian Rush and former Liverpool player Joey Jones while England had stars such as Glenn Hoddle and Ray Wilkins on the pitch that day. This is one of only three occasions where Butcher would wear the number 5 jersey for England, preferring to wear the number 6 jersey once he was firmly established in the England set-up.

Admiral uses England’s iconic blue and red on a plain white jersey using varying sizes of the stripes on the shoulders. The collar and cuffs follow this same colour scheme but uses much thinner stripes. The large red number stitched on to the back takes up a lot of space. Names were not used regularly on the back of English jerseys until the 1992 European Championships. When you think of England and football this is one of the iconic kits that should come straight to mind.


2 5 9 10 11 14 1970's 1990's 2000's Adidas Admiral Australia Black Blue Borussia Dortmund Celtic Chelsea Claret and Amber Diadora England English European Everton Germany Green International Italian Liverpool Macron Motherwell Netherlands Nike Orange Pony Puma Purple Rangers Red Scotland Scottish Umbro Wales White Xara Yellow