Arsenal Away Kit 1997-99: True Colours Hall of Fame

Posted by John Devlin

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arsenal-a-97-99The late 90s isn’t always regarded as a golden era for kit design but it did throw up some absolute classics such as this fine Arsenal away strip.

Crafted in the average Gunners’ fan’s favourite change colour of yellow/amber, paired with navy blue and an elegant red trim, the shirt incorporated a neat new collar design and a bold horizontal band running across the chest and arms that housed the familiar JVC logo of the era. In fact this was the last Arsenal away kit to feature the branding of their original shirt sponsor before the Sega/Dreamcast deal commenced in 1999. A nice touch was the use of the ‘cannon’ logo on the shorts rather than the full Arsenal crest.

Nike’s late 90s Arsenal kits were always something special but for me this design, which was produced for the first time using Nike’s Dri-Fit fabric, was exceptional. Bold and brave and forever associated with a great Arsenal side.

Worn by: Marc Overmars, Nicolas Anelka, Dennis Bergkamp
Worn in: The 1997-98 Premier League winning season including a vital 1–0 triumph over Manchester United. Also worn in a 3–0 win over the Red Devils in the following season’s Charity Shield.

Buy this shirt now from Vintage Football Shirts


10 Responses to “Arsenal Away Kit 1997-99: True Colours Hall of Fame”

  1. Willie Says:

    This top takes me back to the kit I designed for Motherwell for season 2006 – 07. Bizarrely I have no recollection of the Arsenal kit until now. My inspiration for Motherwell’s kit was the rugby style tops of the 30s, 40s & 50s. The hooped sleeves and chest are very similar in design to Arsenals. I love tops with collars and this classic Gunners away ticks all the right boxes!

    Just click or paste the link to compare my design to Arsenals.

    http://oi53.tinypic.com/2mxhjcw.jpg

    Cheers,
    Willie

  2. John Devlin Says:

    Cheers Willie – that Motherwell top looks pretty good too! How did the situation work – did you design it for the club who then took it to Xara for production or did you work with Xara direct? Have to say I think Xara were/are one of the great unsung kit suppliers.

  3. Willie Says:

    Thanks John.

    The competition was organised by the club and Xara to design a home and away kit for the 2006-07 season. The brief was open and had no real restrictions on what you could and couldn’t do. The only real change was that my original concept had the names of past and present players ghosted on to the claret section of the shirt. Probably due to cost this was left off the finished shirt. Luckily for me, my design received the most votes from the fans.

    Small clubs and kit manufactures seem more receptive to fans getting involved in these sort of projects. I can’t imagine Manchester United and Nike doing something similar! This was my very first attempt at kit design and led on to me doing some other projects for the club.

    Now that our kit is manufactured by Puma, the days of fans designing our match kit is probably over. Unlike Xara, Puma work from pre designed templates which have to be used. Shame, as it was a proud and bizarre feeling seeing the team I have supported all my life wear my design.

  4. Mark Jessop Says:

    Nice one Willie. You must have been very proud.

  5. Willie Says:

    Cheers Mark,

    It was a very surreal moment! Here’s the full kit in action…
    http://oi51.tinypic.com/ig9ndh.jpg

    Incase your interested, this was the away design winner…
    http://oi52.tinypic.com/poncw.jpg

  6. Andrew Rockall Says:

    Not that I would ever admit to actually liking any Ar$enal strip I did prefer the 2002-03 Nike effort with the V insert collar wich was a nod to the kits of the Seventies

  7. Rich Johnson Says:

    Great design Willie! Very classy. As a side note re Puma, Coventry’s home shirt this year is a rare thing in that they persuaded Puma to go ‘off spec’ and produce a unique shirt for this season. Looks fantastic imho too. Best shirt we’ve had for a long long time!

    Going back to the Arsenal shirt, I always liked this one. Nice colours and a good solid design.

  8. Willie Says:

    Thanks Rich,

    I also helped design a retro top for Puma and Motherwell. It’s based on our 1960’s claret & amber hooped shirt and was launched to celebrate our 125th anniversary.
    [IMG]http://i51.tinypic.com/spgneh.jpg[/IMG]
    It was also worn in a pre season friendly against Leeds United.
    [IMG]http://i53.tinypic.com/o89aiq.jpg[/IMG]

    As a lover of all things retro, the Coventry kit is probably my favourite kit launch of this year.

  9. Willie Says:

    Oops, I’m not sure those links worked!
    Try these…

    http://oi51.tinypic.com/spgneh.jpg

    http://oi53.tinypic.com/o89aiq.jpg

  10. Rich Johnson Says:

    Very nice Willie. Re the Cov kit, it’s the first time for a long while I’ve been excited by their new outfit. Funnily enough, it’s very similar to the 94/95 Pony one…and I disliked that immensely!

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