Ok prepare yourself... to the uninformed it’s a polo shirt.. ok I’ve already done this patronising patter with the Westfield Matildas entry, but this is the acid test for all enthusiasts. If you know your kits, you will know exactly why this is on the list. If you don’t, then you need to. I can reveal this is the mystery kit I alluded to in the Everton 2014 kit description. Aitor Throup teamed up with Umbro to create a new age in kit design. For such a simple looking kit, it packs plenty of detail. A kit ergonomically built from the inside out. Every component of the kit was designed to match athletic performance and pedestrian comfort for that matter. Every seam was different depending on the area it was placed in, scientifically applied to move and fit with the body, hence the ‘tailored by England’ motif. For the first time, the kit was custom made to bespoke standard for each individual player. So Peter Crouch no longer had to throw on a straight cut XXXXL shirt meant for a larger waist. Each kit was labelled in traditional chest sizes (eg 38 rather than M). The kit is crafted to articulate movement with base layers. Until 2009 collars on kits were always cumbersome, big and ungainly. Umbro created a woven construct, the open cut allowed ventilation and the collar itself flexed over the head and laid flat thanks to a beautifully stitched process. The numbers were lazer cut, the shirt carries perforated holes, replacing traditionally used mesh fabric and the crest was redesigned as the one used today and embroidered with precision to reveal every detail. In terms of the fascia, this kit created new rules. Once you have a main deisgn, resist adding unnecessary parts. They’re often included on kits that don’t carry a fundamental idea. For example, Germany’s 88 kit I’ve just covered, sports such a bold main pattern, that adding anything else to the kit would devalue it. Often kits that lack ideas or personality compensate by including surplus details. Nothing goes to waist on this England shirt. Everything has a purpose, and such is it’s quality, it would seem insulting, nay vulgar to add anything graphic, to such extent that the crest and Umbro logo on the white shorts were sewn in, also in white. The mere fact that I’m only scraping the surface here is testament to how great this kit is, and it only misses out on top spot because it lacks that fundamental face value design that would best embody the ultimate football kit. This strip has so many ‘firsts’ to its name, that every shirt produced today owes a great debt to it. It was notable that for at least 3 or 4 years later, Nike took on that template for most of their kits.