The VFTN Verdict: The best and worst Cardiff City kits

With Cardiff City’s latest home and away kits a resounding success, the team at View From The Ninian cast their memories back to the kits of yesteryear.

Which kits are the team’s favourites? What about their least favourite? Our writers also give their opinions on the underrated shirts – perhaps the ones that they remember fondly, but others do no.

Scott Salter

Favourite

There’s so many kits that I’ve loved – the late 90’s kits included as those are some of the first I remember watching Cardiff play in – but I’ve chosen the 2005-06 home kit as my favourite. There’s two things I particularly like about this kit.

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1)      The white stripe down the side. I, like many, would love to see us return to a similar design to 1975-80, with a white and yellow stripe down the front. I think this is perhaps the closest we’ve come.

2)      I actually really liked that badge and thought it looked good centred on the kit.

Perhaps my love for the kit is also down to some of the superb players who wore it, that was the stunning season of loanee Jason Koumas, after all. Darren Purse, Cameron Jerome, Tommo, Joe Ledley, Loovens and Riccy Scimeca, to name a few, all lined up in the beauty of a kit.

Unpopular opinion

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The 2001-02 Cardiff City home kit is of course hugely popular. It was the first season of Graham Kavanagh in a Cardiff shirt and it’s the kit the Bluebirds wore while defeating Leeds United in the FA Cup Third Round, one of the most iconic victories in our history.

While the home kit gets a lot of attention, I think that the trio of home, away and third kit is a collection up there with the very best in our history.

The away kit was red – and featured in the historic 7-1 away day demolishing of Oldham, complete with an Andy Campbell hat-trick – while the third kit was green and featured in the FAW Premier Cup final win.

I think perhaps my favourite part of these kits is that they did not feature a manufacturer on the front, instead a Welsh flag sat where one would traditionally sit.

The kits did, of course, coincide with Sam Hammam’s vision of the Celtic Dragons and there were rumours that the green kit would’ve been our home if he had his way. A colour change? Who’d have thought it.

Least favourite

Cardiff City 2014/15 Blue shirt
Credit: http://www.historicalkits.co.uk
It’d be easy to go for one of the red home shirts from the rebrand, but I’ve actually gone for the blue kit we switched to half-way through the 2014/15 season.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic kit because it was back in blue. I was as delighted as anyone to see us return to our rightful colour, but my god it is an ugly kit design.

It looks like the type of kit your Sunday League manager has got from a catalogue somewhere and all the shirts are in Medium. That fat kid up front has to squeeze in it every week and the kit is never washed so it smells badly.

Don’t get me started on Cosway Sports, either. Who the bloody hell are they? To this day, I still don’t think any of us know who they are.

Thank god we switched to Adidas the following season.

Scott Johnson

He’s only gone and picked his ten bloody favourites. Check it out here.

Paul Gronow

Favourite

Cardiff CIty 2011-12
Credit: http://www.historicalkits.co.uk/

Despite the away version making Scott Johnson’s list I couldn’t look beyond Cardiff City’s home kit of the 2012-12 season, in my mind anything that features the iconic City colours of blue, yellow and white gets the juices flowing and this was no exception.

The first time we saw it in meaningful action was at home to none other than Bristol City, a game ending 3-1 to the Bluebirds with Earnshaw scoring an easy tap in and following it up with his trademark somersault.

That season saw a surge of good will in the capital as Malky Mackay made his mark on the bluebirds and a season made up of a top 6 position throughout and a Wembley final (including THAT goal by Ben Turner) will always live long in the memory.

Finally, it was the last blue home kit before the dreaded rebrand so that probably contributes to my deep love for this kit, shame I can’t fit into one anymore!

Unpopular opinion

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The red kits are clearly detested in large numbers for obvious reasons and the badge alone is enough to make anyone sick, but, I think the kit design itself is actually quite nice!

I couldn’t bring myself to buy the red home kit but I received the black and red away kit as a gift and I think that looked fantastic too!

Least favourite

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Controversial perhaps but my most-hated kit is the black 2005-2006 kit by JOMA, I realise that eventually gave birth to the FA Cup final beauty but for me it brings back memories of a distinctly miserable time for the Bluebirds and a miserly 12th placed finish.

Nathan Walker

Favourite

2008-2009.

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Eddie Johnson v Doncaster, Ross McCormack’s late goals against Burnley and a hammering of Derby in the last night game at Ninian Park, the 08/09 kit is my favourite and will take some beating.

Maybe it’s the fact that it was the last kit at the stadium, maybe it’s because it reminds me of an exciting season which ultimately ended in a spectacular disaster.

Unpopular opinion

2013/14

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I actually didn’t mind the red home kit that we played in whilst in the Premier League. Before you start abusing me through the internet for being a traitor, look at the kit in its own merit. Ignore the politics and the history of the club, just for a second, and see what you think about that particular shirt. It was a lot better than the previous year’s cheap monstrosity and although it was a turbulent time on and off the field, I quite like the way we looked in the Premier League. Not as good as what we will look like this year, however.

Least favourite

2009/2010

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I just think this was one of the blandest kits we’ve had. It was blue, yellow and white, all ‘primary’ City colours, but I just didn’t like it. There was the sponsors issue as well, with 777.com embroidered on the front for a week or so, before Sbobet took over following some legal dispute regarding 777’s licencing. I also bought this shirt before the Leicester play-off semi-final from the club shop for £10. I thought it would be a nice keepsake from the season we would finally get promoted. Now, every time I look at it, I see Jay Bothroyd limping off and Kelvin Etuhu warming u

Ben Isaacs

Favourite

2016-17

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The one knock you can have on this shirt is that it’s a bit boring. Maybe it is, but it was the first properly blue (the previous season, although attractive was too dark, and thus not a Cardiff City blue) home kit the team had started the season in since 2011.

It’s by Adidas, who in this decade have overtaken Nike in terms of kit design, and the Visit Malaysia logo is the superior version compared with the current caps-lock approach. It simply does nothing wrong. Nothing. And I can’t think of a City shirt I can say that about.

It was the first Cardiff shirt my daughter ever had so in the Isaacs house, it’s a piece of family history too.

Unpopular opinion

2004-05 home

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It’s perhaps a lighter shade of blue. It’s almost offensively shiny. It’s got weird white stripes on the arms, as only ever worn by Arsenal from 1994-96. The collars are so big and flappy that some players tucked them in. It was a traumatic season. I can’t and won’t disagree with any of this. But gosh darn it, if it isn’t a weirdly likable City shirt.

It gets things wrong by all logical metrics but it remains a warm and welcoming look, just like the houses Redrow builds (they always look small and cosy in the brochures anyway). It’s a kit that’s not afraid to do something different, reflecting a club that was filling with (misplaced) confidence at the time.

The club moved from Puma to Joma after this one and that really disappointed me at the time. I had no real beef with the Joma kits themselves but still today a small-time operation for small-time clubs (in fact, especially nowadays). I choose to associate this shirt with the start of the 2004-05 season, when the team was aiming for the playoffs and looking to build a new stadium. A kit full of hope.

Least favourite

Cardiff City 1994-95 kit
Credit: http://www.historicalkits.co.uk

1994-95 home

Sure it’s not a red kit but if that’s literally the only thing going for it, you know it’s a dumpster fire of a shirt. I’ve no idea who or what Strika was but they managed to create the cheapest looking kit ever (at least until the Cosway ones). It also felt very cheap with each one shoddily put together when examined up close.

The badge had been simplified, possibly because Strika didn’t possess the cutting edge technology to get the usual one on the shirt. Yet weirdly the pattern running through the shirt DID have that badge. I mean, WTF? Worst of all were the sleeves. They were practically three quarter length. They might not look that absurd here but if you see pics for that era you’ll see that go well past the elbow, making it seem like no one was wearing the right size.

One was recently sold for £60. It’s incredible, but not as incredible as the sleeves. To top it off, we were relegated to the basement in it. Awful.

Ben James

Favourite

The 2002/03 away kit

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The promotion season. My first year with a season ticket; I’d been to every game in previous seasons, but this was my frist year with a card with my name on it. Grandstand Block B. Where my dad I sat for several years after. That 2002/03 season wasn’t a great year for kit related news. Ken Thorne were our sponsor – until they went bust. And then we didn’t have a sponsor – until Leekes stepped in (makes our unlicensed casino affair of several years later seem positively benign).

But due to the sponsor shenanigans, our yellow away kit got delayed and I couldn’t get it until Christmas. But what a shirt! Brazilian in shade, lovely detail on the sleeves and made by Puma – a proper kit manufacturer (no offence to Xara). It was a world class kit, one of the best we’ve had in years and made trips to places like Northampton even more joyous – because Rhys Weston looked like Cafu.

Unpopular opinion

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Home kits are nice and all that but I always look for the away kit. Back when I was buying kits on the regular, I’d always be the one who went away instead of home. And when we got promoted in 2003, I was immediately enamoured with an orange third strip I saw on the back of the Echo. It was orange! Bright. Barmy. Perfect. The kits from that year were a touch of class – the simple beauty of the home, the St. David’s cross of the second – but the third kit was a cut above. Orange with white piping and black detail under the arms, it felt dangerous, it felt exotic.

I think we may have only worn it once that season – away at West Brom – but I’ll never forget the reaction of a fellow Cardiff fan in his orange. They clearly only sold two of these kits – one to me and one to this other lad – and he pointed at me from across a busy service station and lifted up his jumper to show that he too dug the orange jersey. I still wear mine. The Redrow sponsor has peeled off but it gets a run out every now and again – if anyone out there has one in decent nick in XL that they don’t want anymore, drop me a message. I’ll take it off your hands in a heartbeat.

Least favourite

Cardiff City 1998 1999
Credit: http://www.historicalkits.co.uk

As much as it was a good season on the pitch, hindsight is 20/20 and our 1998/99 home kit was a pretty poor looking shirt. The overwhelmingly white kit was the opposite of aesthetically pleasing. The collar was like something out of a Chumley-Warner sketch and the design was just violently plain. Most people would say it was a fine kit but it’s awfulness is because it’s so bland.

What are your favourite, unpopular opinion and least favourite Cardiff City shirts? Let us know in the comments below or on twitter @VFTNinian.

Header image credit: Jon Candy