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10 Of The Most Magnificent Alternate Jerseys In Sport

10 Of The Most Magnificent Alternate Jerseys In Sport
By Balls Team Updated

The coveted alternate kit is more than a mere colour-clash prevention. It's a medium for sports organisations to mix it up and express themselves, and either wow fans or leave them abhorred by whatever abomination they've managed to come up with.

Of course teams tend to get it wrong more often than they get it right; think Man United's infamous grey kit at Southampton, or the time Barcelona looked like an ice pop when they travelled to Levante. But on occasion they'll get it oh-so-right, and an alternate strip will become must-have apparel for fans of a team or even neutrals. Or, even rarer still, a one-off home kit will have witnesses talking about it for years.

We begin a journey through some of our favourites with the modern-day trailblazers, Stade Francais, and their 2009/2010 away entry which was but the icing on the cake of a tremendous sequence of extravagant Parisian uniforms.

Stade Francais away ('09/10)

Stade underwent somewhat of a rebranding in 2005, with the club's president insisting they wear 'identifiable' jerseys. In 2007 they became one of the first teams in sport to incorporate the now-famous floral design, with the jersey's unveiling moments before kick-off being greeted by claps and cheers by the squad. It was 2009, however, when Stade truly set the bar; a bright pink away shirt with an Andy Warhol-inspired lady emblazoned across the torso. It was, dare we say, peak Stade Francais.

CD Leonesa, the tuxedo kit, 2014

The kit went viral in 2014, and with good reason. Leonesa's players looked like they were heading for dinner, or even serving you yours, as opposed to lining out in the Spanish Segunda B. It seemed the club just bought a batch of novelty t-shirts and slapped their sponsors' logos on them for the laugh, but it was par for the course in Spanish football two years ago. See also: CD Lugos' beer and octopus kits.

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Canberra Raiders, Marvel, 2014

Currently second in the NRL, Canberra Raiders wowed the world of rugby league when they joined a few of their compatriot clubs in donning Marvel superhero-themed jerseys in 2014. A Hulk-inspired shirt wasn't enough to keep star man Anthony Milford, however, who must have been more of a Wolverine fan, as he joined rival franchise the Broncos who too had agreed a Marvel deal.

Taranki, Alternate, 2015

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New Zealand club rugby produces some outstanding kits every season, and Taranaki's 2015 alternate jersey is right up there. Business on top, party at the bottom. The Bulls weren't shy of letting opponents know who they were facing in last year's Mitre 10 Cup.

Pittsburgh Steelers, throwback jerseys, 2012

In 2012, as part of their 80th anniversary, the Steelers wore horizontally-striped throwback uniforms inspired by the 1934 Pittsburgh Pirates football team. USA Today said that the Steelers looked like "bumblebee[s] in a Depression-era chain gang." 65% of NFL fans who voted in an ESPN poll said they hated the throwback uniforms. NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk blog said the uniform "ranks among the worst ever fashioned for any NFL team." We bloody love the now-iconic jersey, but unfortunately, the Steelers have announced that 2016 will be the last year they will wear it.

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LA Clippers, sleeved alternate, 2013

Another controversial American entry, but certainly easier on the eye. The nautical-themed 'Back in Blue' jersey featured light-blue colour for the first time since the Clippers were based in San Diego in 1985. The colour itself has a rich history with the team, and has been a part of the Clippers' identity since they were the Buffalo Braves in the '70s. Most importantly of all - it had sleeves, which has since been replicated by numerous NBA organisations with their own alternate strips.

Manchester United, Munich tragedy 50th-anniversary throwback, 2008

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United fans were obsessed by the club's tribute to the 1958 Munich Air Disaster, as modelled beautifully above by one Paul Scholes. The kit was Ronseal; an exact replica of the club's attire 50 years previous, and a one-week break from Nike and AIG. Easy knowing Ed Woodward wasn't in the building at the time. Unfortunately for United, they lost 2-1 to neighbours Man City while donning this throwback strip.

Rayo Vallecano, away, 2015/16

Rayo Vallecano's away kit for last season went viral for all the right reasons. The club announced that €7 from each sale of the now-iconic rainbow kit would be split between seven causes; The red stripe is for those tackling cancer, orange is for those fighting for the integration of disabled people, yellow is for “those who have lost hope”, green is for people striving to protect the environment, blue is for those fighting against child abuse, while pink is for the victims of domestic violence. The rainbow of colours together relate to a seventh cause - those from LGBT backgrounds facing struggles against discrimination. The Spanish side had previously worn rainbow shoelaces to fight homophobia in football the previous February.

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Cork, Easter Rising 100-year anniversary, 2016

The county hurlers wore the colours Cork sported in the early part of the 20th century - a blue jersey with a large yellow 'C' on the front - for the game with Kilkenny on March 12th in Pairc Ui Rinn. The jersey was universally popular across the county, and a down-and-out Cork side were clearly inspired by their own history, putting in a season-best performance as they came up just short against the reigning All-Ireland champions. The full story as to how the Rebels ended up wearing red for almost 100 years afterwards can be found here.

Adelaide Adrenaline, 'the bra jersey', 2012

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Ice hockey Oyce hockey club Adelaide Adrenaline sported t-shirts with pink bras over their usual jerseys in support of charity initiative 'BrasON for BrasOFF' during a match against the Newcastle North Stars. BrasOFF raises funds for breast cancer research and care, and in the years prior, those supporting it would go braless to raise awareness and money. Considering most men tend to go braless anyway, the Adrenaline - who partake in Australia's semi-professional hockey league - decided to put BrasON to play their part. Fair dues to them.

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