Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland take on Serbia tonight in the first match of their World Cup 2018 qualification campaign.
The fact that it is an away match means that we are likely to see another airing of the “Brady Special” – the white shirt immortalised as the one in which Robbie Brady scored against Italy at Euro 2016.
Brady’s strike brings a new level of significance to a jersey that might otherwise have been forgotten about when the time comes to change.
Delving deeper into the history of Irish football, the Boys in Green have had a number of off-the-wall efforts over the years that maintain nostalgic value, or have gained cult status purely for how ridiculous they look.
Nonetheless, here is our list of the top ten hipster Republic of Ireland shirts:
10. “The Macedonia” – 1997-99 (Away)
Ireland rarely venture away from the safe, steady option of a white away shirt – and things like this are why. A shade of orange (and even using that colour so predominantly in the mid-90s would have raised a few eyebrows) that could have been seen from space, this shirt is not remembered with any great deal of affection.
The orange shirt will forever be associated with Ireland’s humiliating 3-2 defeat to Macedonia in Skopje in a 1998 World Cup qualifier, a game also remembered for Jason McAteer showcasing his kung fu skills.
This one walks that fine line between hipster and just plain unwearable, but someone, somewhere is bound to still break it out at five-a-side.
9. “The Jackson Pollock” – 1995-96 (Goalkeeper)
1990s goalkeeper jerseys were, by their very nature, mental designs, and some of Umbro’s efforts for Ireland were (thankfully) no exception.
Looking like something you painted the house in and then left your child at with an FAI-branded stamp,
This jersey was predominantly used in that period where Packie Bonner was too old but Shay Given was too young, meaning Alan Kelly was the unfortunate wearing this most of the time.
That being said, as with the orange mistake above, somebody out there is still wearing this.
8. “The Mish-Mash” – 1994-96 (Away)
In some ways, this jersey almost works. In others, it screams “we had several desgin ideas but couldn’t make a decision so here’s everything.” The combination of “straps” down the centre and green shorts made the whole kit look like lederhosen and there’s just no getting away from that.
However, for all of its flaws, this is just the right side of wearable to maintain its nostalgic (and, therefore, hipster) value.
7. “The Aldridge” – 1994 (Away)
Now we’re getting somewhere. The kit that John Aldridge wore when he succumbed to full-on heat madness at the 1994 World Cup has become an Irish football legend in its own right.
The last Ireland kit to be designed by Adidas before the Umbro changeover, the manufacturing giant went out on a high, nailing that “ran out of green ink halfway through” look and doing it in a way that would put many modern kits to shame.
A bona fide classic.
6. “The ‘Did We Ever Even Wear This?'” – 2015-16 (Third)
— Football Kits (@Footbalkit) December 9, 2015
Still available to buy on the FAI website for some reason, this was originally marketed as Ireland’s away kit for 2016 before being quietly demoted to third choice earlier this year (again, this is why we stick with white…)
This kit is notable for never actually having been worn by the team for an international fixture, which is still too many times.
If you’re wearing this, you’re doing it ironically.
5. “The Bonner” – 1988-90 (Goalkeeper)
Before goalkeeper kits went truly mental, a few very nice designs just made it over the line, and one in which Irish legend Packie Bonner had some of his finest career moments.
With its old-school Adidas logo and classic FAI crest, ireland’s governing football body could re-release this today and it would fly off the shelves. However, the fact that Ireland no longer have a deal with Adidas means that that will remain a pipe dream.
As it is, it will have to remain in the realm of the hipster (unless you feel like trawling through eBay).
4. “The ‘Practically Germany'” – 1993 (Away)
Old logo? Check. Away (and therefore less likely to be worn by everyone else)? Check. No sponsor? Check (but costly). This effort from 1993 ticks enough boxes to be a genuine hipster classic.
This design was commonplace in Adidas’s kits in the early 1990s, with the likes of Liverpool and Germany sporting something very similar around that time.
3. “The ‘I’m Wearing This To The Mumford & Sons Concert'” – 1979 (Goalkeeper)
The FAI and O’Neills’ attempt to nail down the 70s look gets results here (though it was 1979 before this was released).
The look of this kit is very much of its time, meaning that, yes, anyone still wearing it now is a hipster whether they admit it or not.
2. “The Modern Classic” – 1997-99 (Home)
One of only two home kits on this list, the Ireland home shirt of the late 90s will forever be synonymous with the birth of the golden generation, and was one of the last few baggy football jerseys before manufacturers decided that everything had to be tighter.
This shirt sits atop the pile of modern/retro (if that subsection even exists) classics but is liable to cause headaches due to how busy it is.
1. “The Retro Classic” – 1978-83 (Home)
Taking “green, white and gold” to literal heights, this was arguably the first Ireland jersey to even slightly venture into “out there” territory due to a colour other than green and white.
Undeniably stylish effort, but do you really want to be seen wearing the same shirt as Mark Lawrenson?