Best Championship 2020/21 home kits: every shirt ranked
They aren’t Prem, but there’s nothing second-rate about (some of) the new Championship kits for 2020/21. We’ve given them our FOOTY.COM ranking treatment.
With such a late finish to the season and a restart looking likely to be as soon as September 12th, it’s time for it to rain down with new Championship strips. And where there are kits, there’s a FOOTY.COM ranking. Norwich City, AFC Bournemouth and Watford are in; Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham are out.
Like everyone, we’ve seen leaks over the past few weeks and months but we’re only interested in official releases here. Even though the Premier League may get most the attention, there’s plenty to talk about here, both brilliant and horrific...
24. Barnsley (The Tykes)
When Wigan were docked 12 points and Barnsley survived by the skin of their hardy Yorkshire teeth, the club and its fans had cause to celebrate. It would seem their ecstasy didn’t translate into the new kit design.
Puma have had a real hit and miss year, and this is a classic bore-fest of red and white. White piping and a cut-off v-neck collar do nothing to add depth, throw in a sponsor which sounds as boring as it looks, and you’ve got yourself a bang average shirt. Let’s hope The Tykes can excite a little more than this effort on the pitch next season.
23. Cardiff City (The Bluebirds)
This shirt contains nothing, only complete blueness (we get it, you tried the red thing and it didn’t work). The simplest of adidas templates hasn’t been built upon at all by Cardiff, their single choice was to add a plain white text nod to their chairman’s country of origin. Snooze.
This season they will once again be fighting for a return to the big time, but they most certainly won’t look good in the process.
22. Derby County (The Rams)
It’s quite often difficult to get excited about plain white kits. And Derby x Umbro have rolled another underwhelmer out for 2020/21. ‘Play Responsibly’ the betting sponsor cries, and the designers have gone as safe as Fort Knox on this. Spin it around and there’s another abyss of blankness, with the words ‘Derby County’ in grey on the neck. Think outside the box people!
The only redeeming factor is the outlined Ram badge, which is a classy touch. Let’s hope Wayne Rooney stays for another season to give the fans something to get excited about...
21. Blackburn Rovers (The Riversiders)
You know what we think when we look at this shirt? We think, “yes, that’s a Blackburn Rovers shirt”. There really isn’t too much more to it. The red sleeve trims give it somewhat of a contrast and link nicely with the badge, but this isn’t going to win any trophies. Probably like Rovers themselves.
Recoverite Ice Compressionware is certainly one of the least sexiest sponsors we’ve ever laid eyes on but whoever designed this kit must need this product after taking a bump on the head.
20. Nottingham Forest (Forest)
Macron has some cracking hits in this list, but like all hit-makers - they’ll release a dud every so often. There are two factors keeping this shirt away from the Barnsley-shaped prop at the bottom of the table: interesting cuff and collar combo with a previously unseen sponsor, Football Index - the fun footballer-based stock trading game.
They won’t want to miss out on the play-offs for another season, but they’ve narrowly avoided relegation in our countdown.
19. Brentford (The Bees)
We always say it, red and white stripes are difficult to work with, a theory proven by Umbro x Brentford here. They’re unlucky really, if we were talking about the away shirt then their black number would be catching our eye. Unfortunately, it’s home shirts we’re after and The Bees have had a mild stinker in that area.
Usually reliant on strong home form, they are going to need to play some incredibly dazzling stuff at the new Brentford Community Stadium to keep their fans aesthetically pleased during 2020/21.
18. Huddersfield Town (The Terriers)
If red and white stripes are tough, blue and white are only ever so slightly easier. We’re not sure if The Terriers are waiting on a kit sponsor, but the lack of one here is what’s kept it up the list. An old-school look, keeping in tune with the club’s heritage badge. Thick stripes > thin ones.
There’s no doubt that Sir Patrick Stewart’s beloved team face another tough season, but who knows, they’ve done it once before against all odds? Leeds vs. Huddersfield in the Premier League, oof.
17. Rotherham United (The Millers)
A massive achievement from Rotherham to reach The Championship. Another Puma dud in contrast. We’re being a bit harsh, the white shoulder panels are a fresh feature, it has an inoffensive sponsor and the badge has impact due to its simplicity. Credit where it’s due, some thought has gone into the detailing with a criss-cross pattern throughout reading ‘The Millers’ in a traditional windmill shape.
It’s not quite as glitzy as New York, but we think they’ll sell a few in celebration of bringing Championship football to the New York Stadium.
16. Stoke City (The Potters)
Macron have massively upped their kit game in recent years. Here, they’ve taken the difficult Potters’ pattern and made it reasonably interesting. The finer keylines around the bolder stripes work well, and we like the fact it stays consistent through the back, collar and hems. The cherry on the cake (the pot on the wheel?) is printed lyrics from Stoke’s unique song ‘We’ll Be With You’ on the inner neck.
Stoke face another testing season in The Championship, we won’t be betting on them playing Premier League football at the Bet365 Stadium next year.
15. Luton Town (The Hatters)
The Hatters have not exactly turned ‘Mad Hatters’ with their latest effort, but they can rest in comfort that historically, orange kits just seem to work. Van Basten, Gullit, Davids… James Collins. The blue collar and reverse sleeve hems give the solid orange a lovely twist, JB Developments haven’t tried to dominate the shirt either. Tick.
With only just surviving last season, the Kenilworth Road faithful will be hoping that the players donning this outfit can turn in some stronger 2020/21 performances.
14. Queens Park Rangers (The Hoops)
Macron have outdone Errea when working with the horizontal blue and whites this season, but this is a decent effort indeed. The retro collar and cuff combo is a lovely touch, linking well with the new-kid-on-the-block sponsor we mentioned earlier. Clean lines and smooth contrasts work well, it’s mid-table safety with flashes of quality.
Loftus Road’s terraces will surely be lit up by this bright and breezy number, they’ll just be hoping the scoreboard does the same in their favour.
13. Norwich City (The Canaries)
Yes it’s yellow and green as always. They’re ‘The Canaries’ for goodness’ sake! Extra points here for the brilliant marketing release, a ‘Work Of Art’. The subsequent video and imagery all points to the finer details in the shirt, subtleties that may go unnoticed to the untrained eye. All of this happens amidst the soothing sounds of Mozart’s Symphony No.40. Delightful.
This Norwich side will be wanting to bounce back to the Premier League immediately, and dressed in this, their fans will be singing like, well... Canaries.
12. Swansea City (The Swans)
Note to Derby: this is how you get creative with a white strip. Joma’s only entry on this list, but we think they’re a fantastic manufacturer and should be given more opportunities! The trippy gradient design on The Swans’ home shirt is unusual and original, which is what we like to see. The black piping helps to stop the white flushing everything else out.
They may not be happy with their position, but when Swansea fans see the state of Cardiff’s home kit, they’re going to enjoy it a little more.
11. Preston North End (The Lilywhites)
A pretty simple Nike template used well by another team in danger of a white washout. We’re a fan of a collared shirt, rarer in today’s game than they should be in our opinion. The contrast navy sleeves and red logo (we’re guessing that was the sponsor’s call) both add depth to simplicity. This is going to look sharp at Deepdale.
Championship stalwarts P.N.E. need to up their game if they’re going to push for promotion. It’s more likely though that they’ll match where they are in this FOOTY.COM table...
10. Bristol City (The Robins)
Whilst this shirt may seem plain on the surface, it’s all about the story. And we love a good story. The names stitched into the inner hem and printed on the neck are of the legendary Ashton Gate 8, the chaps who famously tore up their playing contacts to save the club from financial ruin in 1982. Can you imagine that happening today? No chance.
We couldn’t include City’s 2020/21 warm-up kit and iconic goalkeeper shirt in this list, but they are well worth a look too!
9. Wycombe Wanderers (The Chairboys)
Newly-promoted and off to a good start before the season even begins. The quadrant kit pattern is one which always interests us, and Wycombe x o’neills have done excellent work with it here. Rather than sticking with single dividing lines, they’ve used barcode-style detailing, which adds something truly unique. Dreams are the subtle sponsor, but this design won’t be sending us to sleep.
After a whirlwind few years in the club’s history, we’d guess the battle is on for The Chairboys to cement their place in The Championship this year. Beast Mode activated!
8. Birmingham City (The Blues)
That Nike template makes a return, this time with a few little touches to make us sit up. Classic collars and contrast sleeves are never a bad look, but The Blues have added an eye-catching geometric twist to the main body of this shirt, which has paid off massively. Sponsors that know their place and slot in seamlessly are a joy, BoyleSports have accepted their part gracefully.
This release is certainly worthy of the top flight, even with Premier League encounters at St. Andrews a distant memory for many faithful supporters.
7. Sheffield Wednesday (The Owls)
Remember ‘The Dress’? Well, every time we look at this Wednesday number, we see something different. It’s somehow confusing, clever, ugly and beautiful all at the same time. Elev8 aren’t a brand you’ll have heard of, but they’ve burst on to the scene with clear intentions here. Subtle camo patterning runs throughout the blue and white stripes, whilst a retro contrast single button collar gives us nostalgic ‘90s feels. Let’s hope Sanderson return to sponsor them...
The Owl sits proudly on this chest, looking like a friendly Hogwarts’ house badge. OK, I think we’ve come to our conclusion: we really like it. Chris Waddle yourself down to the club shop, because these will go quickly.
6. Bournemouth (The Cherries)
Bournemouth were one of the first Premier League sides to unveil their new 2020/21 kit, kicking things off with a fairly strong start. The end of their season had somewhat opposite fortunes. The classic red and black stripes always look pretty strong, but this time Umbro have added a fantastic twist, with the impressive gradient effect freshening things up without ignoring the club’s traditions.
Let’s just hope they don’t replace Vitality (which works really well, by the way), with yet another betting sponsor. I won’t hold my breath.
5. Middlesbrough (The Boro)
You’ll notice we’re big fans of the trend around nostalgia-inducing shirts. Stick this one on, smash one in and pull it over your head in Ravanelli-esque fashion. Hummel took Boro’s brief to celebrate 25 years at The Riverside Stadium and created a cracker, it even features the ground’s map coordinates embossed into the lower back. Nice touch.
Hummel stripes are always welcome in our book, couple them with a floppy collar and it’s a winner. Just make sure you get the right size, unlike Juninho in 1995/96.
4. Reading (The Royals)
Reading x Macron are definitely pulling inspiration from the World Cup winning France ‘98 shirt for us, most notably via the collar and sleeve detailing. Although, Zidane and Olise are not quite as closely matched. The easy on the eye Casumo scribble, bright horizontal striping and patterned shoulders all sit together to produce an excellent Royals shirt.
The back of the shirt stays all white, giving an effortless blend into the shorts and socks. It’s well above average, let’s hope Reading can do the same on the pitch this season.
3. Coventry City (The Sky Blues)
Another Hummel beauty! This brand has been making a phenomenal comeback in 2020/21 and coupled with a club that regularly churns out top class designs, it was only going to have one outcome. A throwback from the earliest Premier League era Coventry kit, that distinctive design is effortlessly graduated into a more modern style throughout the front. We reckon Micky Quinn and Phil Babb would proudly wear this one today.
The Sky Blues are new to Championship football, but they’ll be looking for another strong season as they push to return to the top flight for the first time in over 20 years.
2. Millwall (The Lions)
Macron, we love you this season. Yes, we said it. This shirt is incredible, pure ‘what goes around comes around’ gear. It’s more ‘80s than Duran Duran, and you wouldn’t be surprised to see hipsters combing their beards, rolling up their pants and heading into Shoreditch for a vegan flat white in one. Likewise, The ‘Wall’s faithful will certainly look the part on the terraces this season.
The shirt’s white trimmings and subtle diagonal pattern are perfect. I’m off to grab the Huski Chocolates for the office, do you want one?
1. Watford (The Hornets)
Kelme, from nowhere! Hornets fans were worried when the club announced they’d be leaving adidas at the end of a drab Premier League season. What was there to worry about? Reminiscent of legendary Kaizer Chiefs’ home strips, this burst of sunshine will cheer up the followers and help them to forgive and forget. To avoid being too overbearing, the contrast shoulders are black with grey and yellow detailing
Yes, this one will probably divide opinion. For us, they’ve taken a bold risk and it’s paid off. Can they do the same this season and make a quick bounce back?