Ranking the New Premier League Home Kits
The World Cup is over and done with, the pre-season friendlies are getting underway and thoughts are turning toward the new Premier League season.
And nothing says "new season" quite like the range of new kits brought out by each and every club in the division, with all 20 teams having either already brought out their new home strip or scheduled to.
So which are the best, and which are the worst?
Here we take a look at the kits you'll be looking at for the next 10 months, and we rank them based on just how nice they are.
It's time to become fashionistas...
(N/A): Hull City
Hull City's switch from Adidas to Umbro means that we're still waiting for a glimpse of the shirt that the Tigers will be sporting in both the Premier League and their first-ever Europa League campaign.
The FA Cup runners-up will, of course, be sticking to their traditional amber and black, but we'll just have to wait and see what the designers come up with.
(N/A): Leicester City
Another team keeping us waiting are Premier League new boys Leicester City, who are set to launch their new home strip at an event in the city on Saturday.
The Foxes arrive back in the Premier League after a 10-year absence, and they'll be sporting their traditional blue shirts in what is likely to be a battle against relegation.
(N/A): Newcastle United
Given his links to the sportswear industry, it is something of a surprise that Newcastle owner Mike Ashley hasn't demanded that his club launch their new home strip earlier.
The Magpies wore their new silver away number on the last day of last season at Anfield, but despite the new home strip not being revealed yet, fans' site The Mag appear to have got hold of a leaked picture of what looks to be a somewhat disappointing shirt that is let down by the needless solid black section at the top.
(N/A): Tottenham Hotspur
At the exact time of writing, Tottenham Hotspur's new kit for 2014/15 hasn't yet been revealed by the club, with an official event timed for Friday afternoon.
However, the website Footy Headlines believes that it has obtained a leak of the shirt, which you can see here, and it's a fairly nice, simple effort that seems to have got rid of the strange collar that Paulinho and company were forced to wear last season.
16. Swansea City
We're into the official announcements now, though, and this fairly underwhelming Swansea City shirt that looks as though it was something of an afterthought.
The huge sponsor on the front dominates the strip, and while that would be bad enough if the rest of the shirt was interesting, the fact that it isn't makes it even worse.
What's happened to Everton's famous blue and white?
A fairly standard shirt for the Merseysiders has been completely ruined by the dark collar, and while last year's shirt sported those strange white stripes on the sleeves, this one has gone too far the other way and almost completely removed one of the two colours you associate with the club.
On the plus side, though, at least last season's embarrassing "Clipart" badge has gone.
For new kit aficionados, perhaps the worst thing that a team can do is to just make slight, superficial changes to last season's offering.
Sunderland have achieved this here by simply colouring in the 'V' of the collar and underneath the armpits to give the impression that this is a brand new, fresh design.
13. Manchester United
Take away the garish new sponsor—although that is tough given the size of the Chevrolet symbol staring back at you—and you could have sworn that Manchester United have had this exact kit before, perhaps at some point between the end of the last decade and the beginning of this one.
It's got everything you associate with a United kit, but than that's it, there's nothing more.
It's bland, predictable and lifeless, and all of that was supposed to have left the club when David Moyes did.
12. Stoke City
After a couple of years of only being represented by Liverpool in the Premier League—with interesting results—Warrior have now added Stoke City to their ranks in England, and they kick off with something which, for them, is very normal.
This is just, well, a Stoke City shirt. It could have been made by any manufacturer at any point of the last few years.
It is safe and mid-table, exactly like where the club will hope to be again.
Burnley return to the Premier League with a solid effort that they might well have been wearing the last time they were in the top division in 2009/10.
As such a proud, historical club, tradition is a huge part of what makes Burnley tick, and that is replicated here in a fair effort that isn't quite up to modern standards, but it's still okay.
There isn't really too much that you can do with a Liverpool home shirt to make it too different to the previous year's offering, but Warrior have managed to tweak a few aspects here and there to make 2014/15's kit stand out on its own.
The trouble is, last season's Liverpool kit was one of the nicest in the division and it only seemed to get better the better the Reds played in it, meaning that this year's vintage suffers by comparison.
Perhaps the team will follow suit post-Luis Suarez.
Chelsea have moved with the times and gone with this fairly slick, modern look from Adidas, which is sure to be a big seller among their fans.
As is the case with a lot of kits this season, you do get the impression that Chelsea have worn this one at some point before in their history, although admittedly the dark, thin hoops do add an extra element.
It's nice, but nothing more.
8. Aston Villa
After far too much light blue on last season's shirt, Aston Villa have taken steps to limit the amount seen this time around by reducing the colour to mere pinstripes as well as the obvious sleeves that the club are well-known for.
They've ended up with a solid design, which is also added to with the open collar.
It's certainly one of their better efforts in recent years.
7. Manchester City
After the apparent directive at the World Cup which forced teams to play in one solid colour as often as possible, Manchester City have ditched their white shorts for the 2014/15 season.
The Premier League champions will play in all sky blue following the release of their new strip, and while that hasn't gone down well with some fans—with the Daily Mirror reporting the creation of a No Blue Shorts online petition—the strip does look stylish and modern.
City will hope that the fact that its first outing resulted in a pre-season loss to Dundee isn't an omen.
6. Crystal Palace
After last season's half-and-half offering in their first season back in the Premier League, Crystal Palace have gone with something a little more familiar now they are established in the top-flight.
It is a return to the recognisable stripes for the south Londoners, whose kit is topped off with yellow sleeves to add a distinctive dash of colour in what will be their first full campaign under Tony Pulis.
This is a nice Arsenal shirt, and also one that looks as though it could be worn by a cycling team at the Tour de France.
That doesn't have to be a bad thing, though, and Alexis Sanchez and his new team-mates will doubtless enjoy this slick number that is a first from new kit manufacturers Puma, who have started pretty well.
4. West Bromwich Albion
This season's biggest departure from the norm comes courtesy of West Bromwich Albion, who have ditched their usual thick blue and white stripes for this shirt, which falls somewhere in between Tranmere Rovers and Los Angeles Galaxy.
That might be a strange place to be, but this works pretty well and gives the club a fresh new look following the struggles under Pepe Mel last season.
Like new manager Alan Irvine, the kit hasn't been universally popular with fans, but it deserves a chance.
#TheStripesAreBack! screamed Southampton's official Twitter account following the unveiling of this kit, and it was easy to see why they were so excited.
Following a few years experimenting with a solid red kit with the occasional pinstripe here and there, this is what a Southampton kit should look like, and while it is the complete opposite of what West Brom have done this summer, it is certainly a welcome sight in the Premier League again.
2. Queens Park Rangers
Queens Park Rangers are back in the Premier League, and they are back with a home kit that is simple but effective.
The Londoners have evoked old memories of previous shirts with this somewhat retro design, which seems to ditch everything else and just focus on the blue and white hoops that are synonymous with the club.
Once again there are likely to be several players joining and leaving the Loftus Road club, but at least this shirt will remain the same for a year.
1. West Ham United
It's hardly a stellar bunch, but West Ham United have emerged as the team with the best home kit for 2014/15 thanks to this Adidas shirt featuring both a V neck and pinstripes running across it.
It is a homage to some of the older kits worn by the east Londoners and is both stylish and modern.
Crucially, too, in a season in which we appear to be set for much of the same when it comes to Premier League shirts, this is very different, and that is what propels the Hammers to the top of the charts.