Back when I was a kid, I didn’t actually have a football team. I’d not attached myself to anyone, as I was only really getting into the sport properly as I got a bit older. So I started thinking about who to support. My Dad’s team was Bradford (Park Avenue), and my brother had a fondness for their city rivals Bradford City (and Manchester United, but what 90s kid didn’t?), so I was left with one option left, from my Mum’s side of the family: Aston Villa. My mum (sorry, ‘mom’) is a brummie from Selly Oak, and as it turned out, most of her parents and grandparents had been Villa fans. Driving down to see my grandma, I’d always marvel at Villa Park, just in sight off the motorway as we approached Brum, so I guess it gradually made sense to carry on the family tradition and have at least one Villa fan in it. So I decided to follow the Villa. That was… maybe 1993? The first shirt I remember having was the Müller one, so it must’ve been just before then ’94 season, which brings us nicely onto a very personal top 10: Aston Villa’s finest (and not so finest) shirts.
The aforementioned classic. However iconic it is to people of a certain age, the Müller top would bobble like crazy, and the material would not exactly be the nicest to wear, but I think I pretty much ran this shirt into the ground – I wore it everywhere, so god knows what it looked like by the time it finally gave up the ghost.
For this one, I’ll let my girlfriend Sophie take over, as she became a Villain by proxy when we started going out: The 18/19 away was my first Villa shirt, gifted to me by Gavin after football started becoming a shared passion, and not something he obsessed over every weekend. The Luke Roper designs were just amazing: the fit felt really modern, but the pin-stripe detail was a great little nod to the early 80s kits.
I fancied myself as a bit of a keeper when I was younger, but god knows why because I was absolutely rubbish. My school’s team could never persuade anyone to go in net, so I volunteered, thinking I was the Yorkshire Gordon Banks, but I was in all honesty, closer to a Yorkshire Peter Enckleman. Anyway, the 94 goalie top is a bit of an eyesore isn’t it? There’s something quite fun about just how weird it is though, looking at it from 2019, but the elbow pads and the shoulder pads made it like walking around wearing a sofa. Thankfully, even the keeper tops these days are stylish and slick.
This one was the last Villa shirt I owned, if I remember rightly. I had a period where I wasn’t so much into football- I burned out on the whole thing as I was growing up into difficult teenage years. My parents were probably quite relieved that they could stop buying so much Villa merch to be honest, as I’d been no doubt burning holes in their wallets with the sheer amount of Aston Villa stuff I had lying around. I even had a keyring from the 93/94 season that had 3 blades of grass from Villa Park inside – driven myself to distraction trying to find a replacement online, but from the looks of things, it’s lost to history. Either that, or it was a weird knockoff.
Ah, our first season in the champo. Not exactly something to want to commemorate, but after a spell of not having a shirt for years, I decided to make up for lost time once I’d joined a gym and realised I actually needed some athletic gear instead of sweating through various band t-shirts. I snapped this one up on the cheap a year or so after it was retired, so although that season wasn’t much to write home about, it did make me feel good to be back in a Villa shirt after so many years of pretending I didn’t need one.
I hear this one divided fans, but I could never see anything wrong with it: it’s just so nice to look at isn’t it? The collar and the fit are so nice as well – it’s honestly one of my favourite shirts I’ve ever owned, or probably even just looked at. Mind you, I’m a sucker for stripes, and deep reds and purples, so this is right up my street.
I was just a bit too young for this one the first time round, but looking at it now it’s got everything: the circle badge, the two-tone stripes, the warm colours, even the font on ‘Mita Copiers’ has that secretly-quite-nice-but-you-probably-wouldn’t-admit-it feel to it. Beautiful.
Probably most notable for looking like a battenburg, but we did beat Arsenal 3-1 in it too, so it’ll always have a special place in my heart for just that reason alone. I doubt many would call it a classic, but there’s something I quite like about the chequerboard design: even the collar is split in two colours, which is a nice touch.
These new Kappa ones are a bit hit-and-miss aren’t they? If I’m honest, I think I probably like the training gear and this pre-match one a little more than the actual home shirt. Love the stripes and the two-tone thing (as I’ve mentioned previously, I’m a sucker for stripes), and it has a little something extra about it which is just… I dunno, nice? Anyway, I’ll probably end up buying this at some point, although maybe I’ll need an XXXXXXL as opposed to my usual small, just to make sure it fits.
You can’t not mention this one can you? Champions of Europe, beautiful cold white, circle badge in the middle, pinstripes: just absolutely perfect.