Soccer

Top 7 Best Retro Soccer Shirts Review In 2021

best football soccer shirts

Soccer shirts can be one of the biggest EVOKERS of EMOTION and nostalgia for football fans.

Seeing a particular kit can remind us of some of the greatest footballing moments, or some of our favorite clips from HISTORY.

Your Guide

Alex Waite   Alex Waite

Seeing the red flashes of George Best’s Manchester United jersey in the 60s and 70s is a delight.

I’m often reminded of Zinedine Zidane’s famous headbutt in the 2006 World Cup final when he was wearing the PREDOMINANTLY blue kit with glimpses of white across it.

Retro football shirts aren’t designed for comfort, fit or style, in fact many older football kits show beauty amidst a mish-mash of different colours. The reason for choosing a retro football kit is for MEMORY and JOY.

Andrew Whitelaw visited the Classic Football Shirts store in London to speak to the shop’s owner and to show some of the best retro shirts they have on offer.

If you are struggling to find a valid website to purchase your retro shirt, or, like me, you just like looking at football tops from the past, Classic Football Shirts website is a great place to start your retro tops journey.

#1: Brazil Shirt 1970

Pele, graceful football and a beautiful kit. These are the reminders I get from watching archive footage of the 1970 World Cup.

The 1970 Brazil shirt is SIMPLE.

A plain yellow top with a green trim around the neck and arms combined with the blue shorts is a basic kit which almost contrasts Brazil’s style of play during the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

Brazil won the tournament in GRACEFUL fashion, playing extreme attacking football and blowing away their opponents.

Perhaps this is why the kit is so iconic. The World Cup was also the first broadcast in colour, which makes the kit stand out more.

Key Features

  • Non-branded shirt
  • Classic Brazil ‘CBD’ logo on crest
  • Round neck design with green trim

Specification

  • Available in sizes small to XXL
  • 100% cotton
  • Regular fit
  • Short sleeves

Pros

  • Iconic design with authentic Brazil badge
  • Comfortable fit
  • Some modern retro shirt shops and websites sell for around £30.00

Cons

  • Some counter-fit versions are available, always check before you purchase that the kit is authentic.
  • Only available in regular fit

#2: Argentina Shirt 1986

Argentina won the Mexico 1986 World Cup in SPECTACULAR fashion wearing their historic blue and white striped top and black shorts.

This World Cup belonged to the exploits of Maradona and the memorable footage of his mazy runs, Hand of God goal and injury time winner in the final against West Germany are enough to make you fall in love with football.

Argentina have not won a World Cup since 1986. They came close to retaining the title at Italia 90 and against Germany again in 2014.

Maybe this is why the 1986 shirt is so well remembered, as their last World Cup winning year, led by the MAVERICK of Maradona.

Key Features

  • Classic embodied ‘AFA’ Argentina national badge
  • Blue and White striped design
  • Unbranded shirt

Specification

  • Available in sizes small to 3XL
  • 100% cotton
  • Short sleeve
  • Round neck design

Pros

  • Comfortable fit
  • Shirt is washable and won’t lose shape
  • High quality stitching for badge.

Cons

  • More expensive at around £45
  • Original shirts with the ‘Le Coq Sportif’ logo are more expensive and can be less authentic. Always check before purchasing.

#3: Fiorentina Shirt 1998

Fiorentina are a less well-known team around the world. But their kits are some of the most memorable from the INSANE designs to come out of the 90s.

My memories of Fiorentina come from watching Football Italia in England during the 90s and trying to re-create goals scored by players like Alessandro Del-Piero, Christian Vieri and Fiorentina’s Argentinian striker, Gabriel Batistuta.

Fiorentina’s purple kit with a huge Nintendo sponsor across the middle is symbolic of the big and bold styles of kits in the 90s.

Key Features

  • Purple colour with white lines on arms
  • Nintendo sponsor across chest of shirt
  • Large Fiorentina logo
  • Florentine fleur-de-lis on each shoulder

Specification

  • Available in sizes small to XL
  • Collared and buttoned neck
  • Various fits available (depending on seller)

Pros

  • Unique shirt design and colour (no other team in Europe plays in purple)
  • A range of fits are available for varying prices
  • Some sellers have short and long-sleeved options.

Cons

  • Authentic shirts can be difficult to find
  • Purchasing used shirts may be the only option rather than buying originals.

Fiorentina Shirt 1998

Fiorentina Shirt 1998

#4: Manchester United shirt 1999 

1999 was the one of the BIGGEST years in Manchester United’s history.

Then manager Alex Fergusson led a team of United heroes, including David Beckham, Roy Keane and Peter Schmeichel to the treble (the Premier League title, FA Cup and Champions League).

All of the Red Devil’s kits from this year are memorable. They remind me of some of the greatest players ever in the Premier League and provided highlights of bulldozing teams with class.

The grey, black way kit, which the team wore when they beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final, is more memorable, but their red home kit brings back fond memories of this title winning side from the 90s.

Key Features

  • Manchester United crest on chest.
  • Sharp logo across mid-drift of shirt
  • Umbro brand logo on left chest

Specification

  • Available in sizes small to XXL
  • White collared neck
  • Short and long sleeves available from certain sellers

Pros

  • Lots of sizes and variations (sleeve length, FA Cup final version etc.) all available
  • Subtle designs give the shirt an iconic look.
  • Great quality, breathable material.

Cons

  • Some replicas (with Champions League printing above Umbro logo) more expensive
  • Lots of variations of this kit are available, some branded and some un-branded, which can be confusing.

Manchester United Shirt 1999

Manchester United Shirt 1999

#5: Croatia Shirt 1998

The Croatia national team have always been renowned for their unique football shirts. Known for a chequered red and white pattern, with SPLASHES of blue, Croatia stand out as much for their kits as their footballing ability.

1998 was also a memorable year for Croatia as they reached the semi-finals of the France World Cup.

Led by a national great, Davor Šuker, who won the Golden Boot after scoring six goals, this football shirt is a reminder of the greatness of this Croatia team and a fantastic World Cup in 1998.

Key Features

  • Unique red and white chequered pattern.
  • Lotto branded sponsor at top of chest
  • No sponsor on mid-drift of shirt.
  • Large Croatia national team crest in middle of chest.

Specification

  • Blue, red and white striped collared neck
  • Replicas available in sizes small to XXL
  • Loose fitting

Pros

  • Excellent material and comfortable fit on replicas
  • No sponsor gives the shirt a great look, with the chequered pattern dominating the look of the shirt.
  • ‘World Cup of France’ branding available on some replicas

Cons

  • Not all sizes always available due to popularity of the shirt.
  • Only short sleeved designs are available.

Croatia Shirt 1998

Croatia Shirt 1998

#6: Mexico Shirt 1994

The 1994 World Cup in the USA was certainly a great tournament for HISTORIC football jerseys. Baggy tops with a multitude of colours had spectators at home wondering if the static on their TV was broken.

It was a golden age for flashy, colourful football tops and Mexico’s flamboyant goalkeeper Jorge Campos epitomised this style and designed his own goalkeeper top.

Mexico’s outfield kit was memorable, not so much for its green colour, but for its unique patterned design spanning the entirety of the shirt.

The baggy top, made by Umbro, has extremely loose-fitting sleeves and the flashes of red throughout bring a slight relief from the green that dominates the shirt.

A white collared fit around the neck finishes off this shirt nicely and suits the 90s style perfectly.

Key Features

  • Umbro brand on top left chest of shirt
  • Triangle and quadrilateral shapes across shirt
  • Different shades of green dominate the majority of the shirt
  • Large white collar
  • Large Mexico emblem on top right chest of shirt

Specification

  • Loose fitting shirt
  • Available in a range of sizes (dependent on seller)

Pros

  • Unique shirt and a lesser known iconic kit from the 90s
  • Baggy fit is suitable for players and fans of all sizes
  • Vibrant colours throughout

Cons

  • You may have some difficulty in finding this shirt from a seller. The genuine shirts are quite rare and most are sold second hand with some small visible wear and tear.
  • Due to rarity, these shirts can be quite pricey (approx. £90) but cheaper replica alternatives are available from certain sellers.

Mexico Shirt 1994

Mexico Shirt 1994

#7: Arsenal Shirt 2003/04 season

For fans of the English Premier League, the Arsenal team of 2003/04 was the epitome of class and style.

Their achievements of this season, playing every game without losing once, is yet to be matched by another team. This kit brings all the memories of this HISTORIC team back to life.

Some of the flair and goals from players like Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires were scored in this kit and it is a great reminder of immense football in the 2003/04 season.

The kit itself has a simple style, which contrasts the unpredictable, attacking nature of the team that wore the shirt.

A dominant red centre covers the chest and torso and white sleeves, shorts and socks complete the simplicity.

The large o2 sponsor in the middle of the shirt is synonymous with this unbeatable Arsenal team and a reminder for fans of this incredible team of the 00s.

Key Features

  • Subtle Nike branded tick in the top left of the shirt.
  • Arsenal crest on top right of shirt
  • Large, iconic o2 sponsor is noticeable in the middle of the shirt, but fits seamlessly with the style.
  • Crew neck fit has a flash of white, adding to the simplicity of the shirt.
  • Premier League symbol is available on genuine shirts, printed on to the lower sleeve.

Specification

  • Lots of sizes available (Kids S up to XXL, dependent on seller.)
  • Baggy fit
  • Some sellers sell long sleeved versions of the shirt.

Pros

  • Loose fit makes the shirt suitable for players and fans of a range of sizes.
  • Made from quality materials so lots of the shirts available have very littler faded colour or wear and tear.
  • Very smart and stylish look of the shirt due to its simplicity with colour and design.

Cons

  • Finding a correct size may be difficult due to what different sellers have available in their stock.
  • Not all shirts have the Premier League badge stamped on the sleeves of the shirts. Be wary of cheaper shirts which may not be authentic and made from a poorer material.

Arsenal Shirt 2003/04 Season

Arsenal Shirt 2003/04 Season

Conclusion

When choosing your retro football top, try to put nostalgia before anything else.

Collecting a range of football tops can be a PRICEY hobby, but if you have fond memories of any eras, teams, cup finals or players then the shirts are an item worth playing for.

Even though I don’t display my retro shirts, they are neatly stored in a cupboard somewhere.

The feeling I get when I occasionally look at them takes me back to the reason, I bought the shirt, regardless of the price, size or condition of the shirt itself.

Top 6 Best Soccer Movies Review In 2021

best football soccer movies

Soccer films are a great medium to explore football.

There is so much choice available, with DOCUMENTARIES and fictional films on hand to provide further thought on the beautiful game.

Your Guide

Alex Waite   Alex Waite

There are many documentaries on SOCCER focusing on the history of the game, title winning teams, iconic players and managers.

If you want to know more about football, or if you want to be entertained for a couple of hours, there’s plenty of options.

Football magazines and websites offer excellent reviews to help with your choice of football movie.

Magazines like Four Two provide lists of the top football films available so if you are unsure, read their list of top 25 and narrow down your options.

Few feature length films focus on tactical analysis or statistics within the game. The best place to find out more about these ASPECTS of the game are YouTube and Instagram.

Dedicated fans have setup channels where you can learn more about your team and how they play.

#1: Diego Maradona 

Diego Maradona is one of the greatest football icons of the 20th century.

The Argentinian forward was a magician on the pitch and provided moments of absolute joy (something which is difficult for an England fan to admit due to the hand of God.)

This feature length documentary was released in 2019 and captures the two-sided nature to Diego Maradona: The adored GENIUS footballers for Argentina and Naples, contrasted with his problems of drug addiction and crime links.

The film uses archival footage beautifully to portray Maradona and showed the audience why it’s difficult to just remember the Argentinian’s amazing play on the pitch without being reminded of his problems outside of football.

Key Features

  • Story documenting Maradona’s rise and problems
  • Excellent soundtrack
  • Use of never before seen archive footage

Specification

  • Run-time: 130 minutes
  • Available in English and Spanish
  • Available on DVD and Blu-Ray or pay-per view streaming online
  • 12 rating

Pros

  • Effective but easy to follow story-telling
  • No prior knowledge or understanding required about Maradona
  • Never before seen footage used to add to drama.

Cons

  • Run time is slightly long for the story
  • Not suitable for children due to rating

#2: The Damned United

Brian Clough will be known to most football fans from the 60s through to the 90s for his achievements with Derby and Nottingham Forest, then for his failures at Leeds United.

Clough was a born winner and his desire to succeed became both a positive and a HINDERANCE for him and those around him.

The Damned United captures his personality perfectly. The story builds up with his successes and then shows his decline as a manager where he tries too hard to succeed.

This fictional account portrays his story accurately and captures the OBSESSIVE nature of Clough.

Whether you are familiar with the ex-manager’s story or not, you will be pleased to watch this great film. I certainly learnt a lot about the history of English football by watching.

Key Features

  • Less focus on football but more on characters
  • Historical context to the key years of Brian Clough’s career.
  • Well researched and events are accurate to true events in real life.

Specification

  • 98 minutes runtime
  • Available on DVD, Blu-ray and online streaming
  • Only available in English
  • 15 rating

Pros

  • Great education about one of the most competitive characters in English football
  • In-depth knowledge of football isn’t required to enjoy the film
  • The acting is top-quality and the characters are accurately portrayed

Cons

  • 15 rating leaves the film unsuitable for young people
  • The ending has been criticised for being underwhelming by some viewers

#3: ​Sunderland till’ I Die 

This documentary follows Sunderland for a season. Initially, the documentary was going to SHOW the club’s rise back to the Premier League after being relegated the previous season.

However, Sunderland suffer an abysmal season which is captured amazingly in this documentary.

Seeing the pain, the passion and the desire of the fans supporting their local club and showing their JOYS and frustrations reflects what so many of us feel about our own clubs.

If you supported a club that has befallen hard times, you will have nothing but sympathy for all involved at the club after watching this dramatic documentary.

Key Features

  • Eight episodes of 40-45 minutes each
  • All access footage of the club including interviews with the manager, directors and fans
  • Immersive action is well captured by the director.

Specification

  • Only available on Netflix
  • Available in English
  • Overall run-time of approximately 320 minutes
  • 15 rating

Pros

  • The documentary is high-octane and leaves you empathetic with the fans
  • The production provides excellent shots of the action, crowd reaction and views of the city.
  • Easy to watch and follow due to short episode lengths

Cons

  • If you follow Football League football, you know the outcome of the story.
  • Some knowledge of Sunderland’s history and stature in English football may be needed to understand the story

#4: ​Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait

You may not think that watching a single soccer player playing a game of soccer would be that engaging.

However, Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait completely transfixes the audience and highlights the sheer magnitude of Zidane and his ability on the football pitch.

I have many fond memories watching Zidane grace football pitches in the 90s and 00s. Some of his goals SHATTER the logic of physics and his passing ability and skill would have engaged any young footballer.

This film shot Zidane playing a match for Real Madrid against Villarreal in 2005 and the filmmakers did a fantastic job at capturing the grace of Zizou on the pitch.

Whilst filming, subtitles are used to translate Zidane’s words on the pitch.

If you watched Zidane play, or have seen clips of him on the pitch, you will enjoy this close up PERSPECTIVE of the Frenchman and you will be left with your boots and ball in hand, wanting to get on the pitch.

Key Features

  • One camera shot film of Zidane
  • Captures the grace of Zidane on the football pitch
  • Features other players, such as David Beckham, almost as supporting actors on the pitch.
  • Excellent soundtrack from Mogwai accompanies the sound of football and crowd noise

Specification

  • Available on DVD and online streaming
  • Run time (approx.) 90 minutes
  • Recorded in French and Spanish (due to Zidane speaking French and his team mates speaking Spanish) but subtitles are available
  • PG rating

Pros

  • The immersive nature of the film will leave you wanting to play football.
  • A highlight is the building soundtrack from early on in the match that suits the drama unfolding on the pitch well.
  • Offers a unique insight into player behaviour on the pitch. Zidane interacts and confronts the referee and opposition players throughout the film

Cons

  • The running time may be slightly too long and you may find yourself fast forwarding to more highlights of the match
  • There is no interview or background on Zidane, but only film of him playing football which can be frustrating as you have to look elsewhere to find out more about Zizou.

#5: Bend it like Beckham

Bend it like Beckham is a light-hearted comedy, drama film based on a young Sikh girls’ obsession with soccer.

But, it’s not just the focus on soccer in this film that makes it such a good watch. The film EXPLORES religion, gender and culture through soccer and subtly unpicks different perceptions of the game.

Some elements of discrimination also highlight some of the difficulties some people have faced when playing soccer in England.

Although it was made nearly two decades ago, some of these issues are still relevant in soccer today, giving it an almost timeless feel.

There is lots of EXCELLENT acting in this film and it ultimately provides a feel-good factor with a good blend of humour and seriousness at times.

However, if you love soccer and want something easy to watch on a weekend or weeknight after work (if you’re not playing football) then this film doesn’t disappoint.

Key Features

  • Feel good film with excellent actresses and actors.
  • A fictional, light-hearted look into the relationship between culture, society and football
  • A good blend of humour, drama and thoughtfulness.

Specification

  • 112 mins run time
  • Available in English language only
  • 12 rating (not suitable for younger children)
  • Available via online streaming, DVD and Blu-ray

Pros

  • Very easy to watch and follow the storyline
  • Different characters are explored within the film, without losing focus on the main character ‘Jess’.
  • Lots of great footballing action to inspire playing the game. But more-so for young girls to start playing football as there are plenty of good, fictional, role models in the film.

Cons

  • The ending feels a bit rushed to cram every story to a fitting conclusion so the film loses some of its impact
  • Although rated a 12, some aspects of the film may not be suitable for younger viewers.

#6: The Two Escobar’s

Pablo Escobar was a notorious drug lord in Colombia during the 1980s and 1990s.

But, despite his involvement in crime, violence and drugs, he was also INFLUENCIAL in trying to build a Colombian football team to compete with the world’s best on the international stage.

Another Escobar was leading the national team to greatness on the pitch at the same time. Andres Escobar was the adored footballing hero of Colombia and the team entered the 1994 World Cup in the USA with HIGH ASPIRATIONS.

However, Anders Escobar’s own goal ultimately eliminated Colombia from the tournament.

This film, in dramatic fashion, examines the fallout from this key event in the 1994 World Cup and explores the fateful events that ensued between the two Escobar’s in the days following the south American’s elimination from the tournament.

Key Features

  • Key interviews and testament from ex-players, gangsters and politicians surrounding the events.
  • A good examination of how the entirety of a country centres around the events on a football pitch
  • Well shot and gritty production of the film captures the events and period of Colombia’s history well.

Specification

  • Run time of 100 minutes
  • Available via online streaming sites, DVD and Blu-ray
  • 15 rating (unsuitable for younger viewers)
  • Available in English language

Pros

  • A well-told documentary about a life-changing event for Colombia
  • You can watch the film without any existing knowledge of Colombia’s footballing history or of Pablo Escobar’s building of an international drug cartel within the country.
  • The power of the event that took place after the 1994 World Cup is not watered down and you finish the film having a good understanding of the Two Escobar’s relationship and why events unfolded, the way they did after Colombia’s loss to the USA.

Cons

  • Some of the interviews with key figures surrounding events can be too long and slow the pace of the documentary and the storytelling
  • This is more of a social-political documentary and highlights the importance of football on a nation rather than focussing on football tactics or highlights.

Conclusion

The nature of all (good) films is to EVOKE Emotion, make you think and can be easy to watch. Maradona fits all of these criteria and you do not need to know lots about football to watch, understand and enjoy the film.

The never before seen footage used to tell the story of Diego Maradona is what SETS it apart from any other football film.

It shows that it is possible to have a divided opinion on one person. Maradona was admired in one sense, but disdained in others and this film portrays this so well.

Diego Maradona isn’t just a documentary about a footballer, it’s an EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER which we all become a part of.

Best Soccer Ball (Football Ball) Review In 2021

best soccer ball

Choosing a good soccer ball is one of the most important pieces of FOOTBALL EQUIPMENT to get right before you even play the game.

After all, we wouldn’t even be able to play the game if not for the round white sphere.

Your Guide

Alex Waite   Alex Waite

Cheaper and worse quality footballs are prone to bulging, bursting and tearing more easily.

When paying with FRIENDS, we’ve occasionally had to stop early because we’ve purchased a poor-quality ball (one of the worst feelings imaginable!) Having to keep buying poor balls is a waste of time and money.

But that’s not to say there aren’t good cheaper options out there. When buying a football, it’s worth taking time to look into the type of material it’s made from.

Also, when purchasing your football, try to test it by LIGHTLY passing it. If the ball feels spongy and light, it’s a good choice. If the ball feels heavy and like it may need pumping up often, avoid it.

#1: Mitre Ultimatch Max

The Mitre Ultimatch is more designed as a match ball rather for training.

However, this brand of Mitre has proven to be popular for training sessions as well as match days within English football for decades.

The Ultimatch has a simple design, but is EXTREMELY sturdy and durable so, even if you want to practice shooting as hard as you can, this ball won’t let you down.

Also, the Ultimatch is suitable for all surfaces (grass, 4G, astro-turf and indoor) so wherever you play, this ball is a suitable option.

One of the main appeals of this football is its affordability too. It provides a cheaper alternative to some more high-profile brands but the price doesn’t compromise the quality of the football.

Key Features

  • FIFA quality mark of accreditation
  • Built to improve control and grip
  • Hyper seam technology prevents water retention on the ball, improving durability.

Specification

  • Available in size, three, four or five
  • 20 outer leather panels
  • Hyper foam backing supports player control
  • Available in a range of different colours

Pros

  • At between £0-£30, the Ultimatch is affordable
  • Suitability for a number of playing surfaces
  • Design and materials improve player technique.

Cons

  • Ball requires short ‘breaking in’ period as it can feel hard initially
  • High number of panels can make the ball feel heavy for some players

#2: Mitre Impel Training football 

The Mitre Impel training football provides a cheaper alternative of product from Mitre. This feature makes it a great option to buy in bulk if you are looking to take part in training sessions with lots of players.

I’ve seen many players blast these over fences and into rivers, but it’s not an issue buying more due to their AFFORDABILITY.

Despite its cheap price, the Impel still offers plenty of quality and durability for players. Its multi-panelled design gives it a hard feel, but this helps to improve player control and touch.

This is great for younger or DEVELOPING soccer players as it helps to improve confidence on the ball.

Key Features

  • Base-level ball, perfect for player training and development.
  • 30 leather outer panels
  • Vimini outer material supports touch and technique
  • EVA soft foam backing improves touch

Specification

  • Available in sizes three, four and five
  • Suitable for astro-turf, artificial and grass pitches
  • Available in four colours
  • 519g weight (size five)

Pros

  • Ideal design to support the touch, technique and control of developing players
  • Price of £10 makes it affordable to buy in bulk.
  • Leather outer material makes the ball very durable.

Cons

  • Not suitable for as a match ball.
  • Amount of leather outer panels gives the ball a heavy feel making it unsuitable for long range passing and shooting.

#3: ​Adidas Team Glider Football

If you are looking for a good-looking football with a more lightweight and softer feel then the Adidas Team Glider is a ball designed to feel weightless as you make contact.

The ball has a beautiful feel and helps to SUPPORT shooting and long-range passing.

You will want to keep practicing with this ball because when you connect perfectly with the ball, it feels beautiful and glides through the air (hence the name ‘Glider’ for this particular product).

When using this football in the past, it has been more for a fun game with friends, or when playing shooting games in PRACTICE sessions.

Due to its price, having one in your kit-bag for a fun session is more applicable to this ball.

Key Features

  • Machine stitched body
  • Hexagonal and triangle plates on outer
  • Stays inflated for prolonged periods due to butyl bladder
  • 100% TPU surfaces laminated on to outer of the ball.
  • Foam layer under TPU gives a lighter feel

Specification

  • Available in size three, four and five
  • Available in four different colours
  • Suitable for grass pitches

Pros

  • Supports shooting and long range passing
  • You don’t have to pump up the ball often due to its strong core
  • Fairly affordable between £10-£40 depending on size.

Cons

  • Not suitable as a match ball due to its lightweight feel.
  • Outer surface can peel off if used on harder surfaces (i.e. astro-turf.)

#4: ​Mitre EFL Delta

The Mitre EFL Delta is a replica of the match ball used in the English Football League.

While you can purchase the exact same ball used by professionals for a lot more money, this ball provides a good alternative for both matches and training.

Compared to other Mitre balls, the Delta is DESIGNED to be used by high-performance players, but its design helps to support a range of technical skills of the player. Its heavier feel is great for close control and touch.

The Delta is affordable and can be bought in bulk if you are intending to use them for training sessions.

They have an iconic look to them with the arrowed pattern revolving around the ball, which will resonate with anyone who has watched the EFL in the past.

Key Features

  • Lining is foam backed giving a smoother control
  • Outer leather is durable, made from 14 triangular panels.
  • Air-retention bladder keeps the ball inflated for longer periods
  • Designed for regular use within training

Specification

  • Available in sizes three, four and five
  • Available in white or yellow
  • Can be used on a range of playing surfaces and is all weather resistant

Pros

  • Ease of use makes it suitable for younger and developing footballers
  • Can be used on a range of surfaces and in different weather due to its durability.
  • Cheap to buy individually or in bulk.

Cons

  • Replica of actual ball used in EFL, original design costs in excess of £100
  • Heavier feel designed to help control rather than shooting.

#5: Under Armour Desafio 395

Under Armour is usually a brand associated with high-performance sportswear rather than their sports equipment.

However, the Desafio 395 football is a great product for improving individual skill, touch and technique and provides a good alternative to a group training ball.

The Desafio has a lightweight feel and is well-known for its high rebound technology which supports the players touch and feel of the ball.

This technology makes the ball nearly weightless and when you STRIKE a shot or a pass, your chances of hitting it well improve with this ball.

While it may not be as popular compare the other brands, this football is useful if you want to practice individually.

Key Features

  • UA touch skin technology supports control and gives a lightweight feel
  • TPU outer cover
  • Second layer of foam helps touch
  • Rubber bladder provides extra rebound for touch and control technique
  • Hexagonal panel design

Specification

  • Has four individual design options
  • Available in sizes three, four and five
  • Available in white/black or yellow
  • Suitable for use on grass.

Pros

  • Ideal for improving touch due to extra rebound design.
  • Lightweight feel helps to make accurate passes and supports passing technique.
  • Affordability of this ball makes it a popular choice for those looking to improve individual skill rather than for group training sessions.

Cons

  • Ball requires more regular inflation compared to other brands
  • Not hugely durable so is limited to use on grass surfaces

Edit: This ball is not longer in production at the moment.

#6: Nike Football Strike Premier League

The Nike Strike ball was used in the 2018/19 season in the Premier League and different colours were used throughout that seasons matches.

Nike created the ball to barely change when in flight, so if struck well, the ball stays true to its flight which makes it great for practicing shooting and finishing.

However, the ball has proven to be popular with new and younger players too.

The soft outer layers and extra PADDING helps players with their first touch and control when playing.

If you want a comfortable experience when practicing your touch and shooting technique, then this ball is perfect. The higher price, in comparison to other balls, makes it useful for players who want to practice their individual skills.

Key Features

  • 12 panels add extra accuracy during ball flight
  • Specially textured outer supports touch and passing technique
  • Inner rubber bladder is enforced with extra padding to retain the balls intended shape
  • Specifically, designed graphics on the outer ball make for easier ball tracking and anticipation as the ball is in the air.

Specification

  • Sizes three, four and five available
  • Three different colours and designs are available to choose

Pros

  • Very easy to control and pass with due to padded outer
  • High quality materials ensure the ball is durable and doesn’t wear easily
  • 12 panel design gives the ball a true flight when struck correctly

Cons

  • Cost (approx. £22) is suitable for individual buying but would be expensive to buy in bulk.
  • The stitching can stick out on some areas after use.

#7: Adidas Telstar 18

The Adidas Telstar 18 was used as the official match ball during the Russia World Cup in 2018. It was designed to maintain a SIMPLISTIC and traditional black and white pattern.

This approach paid homage to the original Telstar used in 1970, which was made black and white so TV audiences could see the ball clearly on television screens.

A unique design of this football means it doesn’t have stiches to hold the separate panels together but they are glued together instead.

This style helps to facilitate a cleaner contact when shooting and adds extra movement when the ball is air bound. Perfect for strikers and attacking players to practice their shooting skills

Key Features

  • 6 panel design
  • No stitches on ball with panels all glued together to hold shape
  • A textured upper supports player control and touch
  • Simplistic black and white style
  • Official FIFA branding on ball

Specification

  • Available in sizes three, four and five
  • Suitable for use on all surfaces
  • All balls are white, some sellers offer different coloured panels instead of black

Pros

  • Glued panels add to durability and prevents seam rips
  • Well padded ball helps to improve player touch and control
  • Official FIFA stamp on the ball ensures high quality and well-tested product.

Cons

  • The ball can become slippery, particularly for goalkeepers or in wet conditions, which can affect control and catching for goalkeepers.
  • Only available in black and white (from most sellers) making the ball unsuitable for heavy rain, snow or sleet conditions due to lack of visibility.

Edit: This ball is currently no longer in production.

Conclusion

Although the variations in footballs are quite minor, based on the material they are made with or how soft they are, these features can make quite a SIGNIFICANT difference.

But, the Mitre Ultimatch provides a good all-round choice. The ball is ideal for a range of surfaces and the Mitre brand is still used all levels of the English leagues.

The long-standing brand is reliable and of proven quality. The Ultimatch is completely affordable and of a good quality so you can use it as your match ball, or buy them in bulk to use in training sessions.

Top 5 Best Soccer Books (Football Books) Review In 2021

best football soccer books biographies

Thousands and thousands of soccer books and biographies have been written since the game’s INCEPTION nearly 150 years ago.

There is something for everyone, even for those with a vague interest in the game.

Stories are told through football and EVERYONE who has been associated with the game, whether it’s amateurs, professionals, journalists, coaches or agents.

Your Guide

Alex Waite   Alex Waite

Luckily, there is so much available that you can certainly find something that interests you about the WONDERFUL game of soccer. But it can be difficult to decide on the best book for you when there is so much available to select from.

Do not be put off if you first choose a book that you don’t like straight away or that doesn’t interest you. Sometimes, it takes the first few chapters for you to decide.

After you’ve read a few books you like, you will be able to narrow down your theme to DECIDE if you want to know more about tactics, economics in football or whether you simply want a good football story.

#1: ​The Numbers Game

You don’t need to be an expert in football to understand David Salley and Chris Anderson’s analysis of statistics and how they are influencing professional football.

But if you enjoy watching the top teams play in the World Cup, Champions League or Premier League then you will ENJOY this book.

Salley and Anderson show how numbers have become one of the most important aspects in modern football.

They explain which match situations are the most unlikely to lead to a goal or why so much is at stake when purchasing players in particular positions.

They also BLEND academic explanation with images and anecdotes to keep the detail in their book engaging and informative.

If you want to know more about the inner workings of the professional game, then this book is a great place to start.

Key Features

  • Four chapters
  • Covers footballing areas on tactics, transfers, the World Cup and football philosophies.
  • Charts, graphs and images
  • Further suggested reading in book for those who want to learn more.

Specification

  • 400 pages
  • Published in 2013
  • Available in English only

Pros

  • Eye opening perspective on football statistics
  • Easy to read and understand
  • Not too lengthy and each chapter is broken down to make the content more manageable

Cons

  • Must know of high-profile players and clubs in football
  • The book won’t improve your practical game, unless you’re a coach.

#2: Up Pohnpei 

Author and football fanatic, Paul Watson, shares his remarkable STORY in Up Pohnpei.

Working as a football writer and feeling a driving passion to become an international footballer, Watson decides to travel to the Micronesian island of Pohnpei in the attempt to GAIN an international cap, but ends up coaching the national team.

This story is extremely romantic and will motivate you to go and enjoy a casual match of football with some friends.

It’s extremely well written, HUMOROUS, sad and extremely engaging. I read the book in about three days and could barely put it down.

The story is a great alternative to watching modern football and has a message that football is a simple game that can be played and enjoyed by anyone from any country, no matter what the barriers.

Key Features

  • Engaging story-telling and well written
  • Further reading suggestions to find out more about Pohnpei and sport in Micronesia
  • Images of Watson’s team and players for Pohnpei

Specification

  • 272 pages
  • Published in 2013
  • Available in English only

Pros

  • Incredibly well-written and compassionate so you get to know each of the players and the author extremely well.
  • Very easy to read and understand so you don’t need a huge understanding of football to enjoy the book.
  • It’s an incredible football story, profiling the joys of the game
  • Will make you want to play more football.

Cons

  • The story ends abruptly so you don’t find out what happened to the players and other characters after the team formed and played their international match.
  • To find out more about the journey of the author, you have to research more.

#3: How Soccer Explains the World

Football has changed so quickly over the past few decades. Professional football can be watched ANYWHERE in the world and the financial growth of the game has rapidly increased.

American journalist Franklin Foer took a sabbatical from his job to explore some of the BIGGEST clashes, cultures and economies in world football.

In this book, he investigates how culture still plays a huge part in football but also how the world economy has impacted the game.

Foer also explains, often through interviews with fans a key figure around the topics he comments on, how regional tensions and HISTORIES have formed rivalries and battles within the game and impacted particular nations and cities.

If you want to know more about football beyond the pitch and have an interest in how football shapes society, history and culture, then this book will make for an engaging read.

Key Features

  • Unique chapters exploring different aspects of world football
  • Interviews with fans from a range of clubs worldwide.
  • Explanations on the history of football in different cultures.
  • Written in an engaging and informative style.

Specification

  • 288 pages
  • Published in 2004
  • Available only in English

Pros

  • Highlights some of the big changes in football in recent years
  • Lots of teams, regions and areas are covered if you want to know more about teams and cultures from other countries.
  • Each chapter has its own unique story which breaks the book down well.

Cons

  • Some of the social-political backgrounds can be confusing without any previous knowledge
  • Americanisation of language used may be difficult to understand for some.

#4: Alex Fergusson: My Autobiography

You may think this book would only appeal to Manchester United fans as Alex Fergusson was one of the most SUCCESSFUL managers in the club’s history.

But, if you watched Manchester United throughout the 90s and 00s as they DOMINATED the Premier League and had European success, then this book will bring back nostalgic memories of those great footballing times.

This book is just for Manchester United fans, it’s for football fans. Fergusson opens up on what it takes to be a great manager and how he handled early pressures and some of the top footballers to ever play the game.

His autobiography makes for engaging reading and will bring back some ICONIC moments in English and European football.

Key Features

  • Well-written with engaging anecdotes about former players, managers and agents in the game
  • An insider perspective to one of the biggest football clubs in the world
  • Lists and images of Fergusson’s playing and managerial achievements

Specification

  • 448 pages
  • Available in paperback and hardback
  • Published in 2013
  • Available only in English

Pros

  • Great insight into what it takes to manage one of the biggest professional football clubs in the world
  • Particularly interesting if you like English football or Manchester United
  • Provides great stories about some of the greatest players Fergusson managed (Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Eric Cantona)

Cons

  • The book focuses lots on top players rather than how Fergusson coached Manchester United
  • Does not provide much on his psychological approach to football, which he was renowned for.

#5: I am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful game

If you have watched and followed professional football, you will have a multitude of questions about what happens behind closed doors.

How do transfers happen?

Do players get along off the pitch?

What happens if a player is desperate to leave a club?

What are player’s relationships like when the media are on their back?

These questions are answered in I am The Secret Footballer. An anonymous ex-Premier League player lifts the lid on all the ins and outs of ELITE football on and off the pitch.

His insights are engaging and a range of anecdotes including ex-managers, opposition players and team mates brings the life of modern footballers to life.

Guessing who the author is also keeps the book engaging and, like me, you may be going in CIRCLES by the end trying to decide who the anonymous player is!

Key Features

  • Well-written stories and tales about ex-professionals offers an unprecedented insight into elite football.
  • Never before known information is made public about football behind closed doors.
  • Special Q and A chapter involving a current footballing agent gives an eye-opening insight into transfers and player-club relationships.

Specification

  • 256 pages
  • Published in 2013
  • Available only in English
  • Special editions available with extra information in the introduction and a bonus chapter.

Pros

  • Very easy to read and offers light hearted views on the game with interesting stories.
  • Chapters on different aspects of professional football provide a good structure for the reader, allowing you to read the parts of football you are interested in and skip others.
  • Playing the guessing game of who the author truly is adds an extra element of engagement for the reader.

Cons

  • Not suitable if you want to read a book on tactics or on-field elements of the sport.
  • Some anecdotes become quite similar and repetitive by the end of the book.

Conclusion

The books above provide an example of the different types of books that are currently available to read.

There are hundreds more based on TACTICAL analysis, stories, autobiographies etc.

My recommendation is The Numbers Game because it opened my eyes to the sheer importance of statistics and their impact on the game of football. I now watch football with a more analytical eye and REALISE how central stats are now at the top level of football.

But, if you want an easy read and a true heart-warming story, read Up Pohnpei. The story is absolutely INSPIRING and will leaving you wanting to play as much football as you can.

Top 8 Best Soccer Cleats (Football Boots) Review In 2021

best soccer cleats

Soccer Cleats are the most important piece of SCOCCER EQUIPMENT you will buy and wear.

By making the correct choice, you will save time, money, effort and avoid the inevitable blisters that potentially follow.

Your Guide

Alex Waite   Alex Waite

We are all born with different sizes and widths of feet.

But, given how well football boots have evolved over the past 70 years, there are now boots which cater for footballers of all abilities, shapes and sizes.

This means the right choice of boot is out there for you, but the choice is made SLIGHTLY more difficult by the sheer number of different boots on offer.

The video below helps you to decide on how to ensure the football boots you choose are as comfortable as possible to improve your performance.

Firstly, it is important not to be overwhelmed by the football boot market. It can often be mis-leading and expensive choices can be made without even testing out your boots whilst playing.

Trial and error are a key thing to consider when purchasing your boots. You must try them on, WALK in them, RUN in them, try them with football socks and shin pads, to ensure there is little friction and that you are comfortable.

You will certainly play better when you’re not thinking about whether that blister on your ankle has popped half-way through a match or training!

Secondly, think about practicality before considering customization or style.

Boots are now available in every colour you can think of. Also, the number of individual tweaks you can add to boots (initials, numbers, quotes, fancy laces etc.) is endless.

Whether you choose to make these alterations to your boots is a matter of individual taste. But, getting the fit and comfort from your boot should always be a priority.

If you purchase and expensive pair of boots, with all the customization you wished for and they’re uncomfortable, it will be a waste of time and money.

#1: Puma  Kings Top FG

Puma Kings are a style of boot worn and recognized WORLDWIDE by professional players and amateurs.

The boots have a rich history and were endorsed by some of the greatest players in the world, Diego Maradona, Paul Gasgoine, Pele and Johann Cruyff all wore the boots during their careers.

Puma Kings cane be affordable, but the price varies depending on the style you choose. They are DURABLE and made from strong, great quality materials making them comfortable and practical for playing football.

They have been adapted and modernized over time to keep up with the modern game with a new, all black, slim-line design, which hasn’t compromised their comfort or practicality.

Key Features

  • Large strike area on the front of the boot
  • Leather material outer boot
  • Textile material inner boot
  • Synthetic sole
  • Inside padding for comfort
  • Available in soft ground, firm ground and astro-turf studs

Specification

  • Puma King Top
  • Medium width size
  • Weight (approximately 800g)
  • Iconic black and white design
  • Lace up fit

Pros

  • Suitable for all weather conditions due to their sturdy appearance and strong leather.
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Long lasting
  • Black and white retro look is aesthetically pleasing

Cons

  • Price varies, but the boots can be expensive (the upper prices of this boot can cost around £200).
  • Not suitable for slimmer feet due to their wide design.

#2: Adidas Predator 19.1 

Adidas Predators are one of the most well-known STYLE of football boots around the world. Players associated with class and elegance have worn these boots.

Lasting memories of Zinedine Zidane’s magic first touch, David Beckham’s pin-point freekicks and Xavi’s sublime passing were created when wearing the Predators.

But Predators don’t just look the part, they offer excellent support for your technique and are extremely comfortable.

Their slim design provides a close fit and they are designed with specific types of leather to help with control and precision when passing and shooting.

The design of Predators has adapted greatly OVER TIME and the more modern styles of this boot are sleek and practical. They are made from flexible, breathable materials, adding to the comfort of using this boot.

Key Features

Specification

  • Predator 18.1
  • Available in a range of colours
  • Weight (approx. 200g)
  • Lace or slip-on fit available
  • Slim-fit size

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Support for technique (passing, controlling, shooting)
  • Modern look and feel
  • Adaptable soleplates making them suitable for firm ground and artificial ground

Cons

  • Cost is fairly expensive (from £100-£250)
  • Tight fitting, not suitable for wider feet.

#3: Nike Mercurial Vapour 13 Pro

Nike Mercurial Vapours are associated with some of the fastest, most prolific footballers to play the game. Brazilian icon Ronaldo wore the edition of the Mercurial Vapours at the 1998 World Cup.

Thierry Henry also SUPPORTED these boots when couldn’t stop scoring for Arsenal in the mid-00s, he wore these boots.

They are often worn by attacking player for the main reason that Nike Mercurial Vapours are one of the sleekest and modern boots available today.

If you are looking for lightweight boots which help for speed, dynamism and flair then these are the boots for you.

Key Features

  • Fly Knit upper boot
  • All Conditions Control Technology finish
  • Anatomical soleplate
  • Sock liner for lightweight cushioning

Specification

  • Slim foot size
  • Approximately 190g
  • Lace up closure
  • Available in a range of colours
  • Firm or soft ground studs

Pros

  • Excellent traction when accelerating
  • Extremely lightweight, barefoot feel
  • Soft material for extra comfort

Cons

  • Slim line design means they’re not suitable for wide feet
  • Can be difficult to put on due to slim size

#4: Adidas Copa Mundial 

While so many boots are adapted and modified each year, the Adidas Copa Mundial boots have barely changed over the last 20 years.

These boots don’t have the modern look and SLEEKNESS compared to a lot of modern boots, but they are highly practical and are still very popular despite few modifications to the Copa Mundial design.

The Copa Mundials are designed for practicality and they provide a durable, yet comfortable experience.

If you choose these boots, they will last a long time and provide great value for money.

Key Features

  • K-leather
  • 12-stud design
  • Large, fold over tongue
  • Plastic sole-plate

Specification

  • Regular fit
  • 11.7 ounces
  • Lace closure
  • Firm or soft ground studs
  • Available in a range of colours

Pros

  • Cushioning makes them incredibly comfortable
  • Retro black and white design
  • Universal fit for wide or slim feet

Cons

  • Heavyweight build means the fell can be bulky
  • Maintenance required for natural leather material

#5: Adidas F50 Adizero

Players with impeccable touch and control have sported the Adidas F50 Adizero boots in the past.

David Silva used to wear these boots, while players with exceptional pace like Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez have also chosen these boots due to their accommodation for quicker players.

The F50 range from Adidas is revolutionary and the brand always looks to add the latest technology to improve player performance. The Adizero continued this approach and offer some of the lightest boots ever made.

The range of designs also rivals any other brand or boot range with a complete palette to choose from when customising your boots.

Key Features

  • Single layer synthetic makes them extremely lightweight
  • TPU support bands inside the boot
  • Sprint Frame outsole
  • Triangular pattern studs to support acceleration

Specification

  • Lace Closure
  • 165g (approx.) weight
  • Firm and soft ground studs available
  • A range of colours, designs and personalization are available.

Pros

  • The most lightweight boot Adidas have available
  • Suitable for quick, attacking players
  • Less layers helps with control and passing of the ball for a truer feel.

Cons

  • Lots of designs and colours can be confusing to choose from. Not suitable if you prefer a simpler looking boot
  • Lightweight tongue and lace area can cause injury on impact from heavy tackles.

#6: Mizuno Morelia Neo II

Japanese sports brand Mizuno may not be the most well-known boot manufacturer available. They are not endorsed by top football players, as some of their competitors are.

But Mizuno produce high-quality products that usually look great too. With the Morelia Neo II, Mizuno created a boot that is lightweight, but also sturdy.

They used a number of top materials to make the boot lightweight, but the use of kangaroo leather ENSURES they are durable but they are lightweight enough to support player speed, acceleration and touch.

Despite the lack of popularity, especially in the European market, this boot is a bit of a hidden gem within the football market.

You will certainly stand out with a pair of Morelia Neo II’s when playing.

Key Features

  • Mesh material on lower boot keeps feet breathable
  • Dual lace system firmly holds tongue in place whilst playing
  • Conical stud design improves grip under foot
  • Bladed studs help with traction when accelerating
  • K-Leather on outer sole

Specification

  • Weight is 6.8 ounces (approx.)
  • Lace up closure
  • Firm and soft ground studs available
  • A range of colours are available (some sellers offer customization options too.)

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight which supports fast players
  • Great quality materials improve player touch and feel of the ball when passing and controlling
  • Stud design helps balance and grip

Cons

  • Feet are securely locked in with lace and tongue design, this makes the boots feel quite tight around this area of the foot.
  • Sizing can come up small so you made need to purchase a size bigger than normal for a true fit.

#7: Puma Future 2.1 

Puma attempted to release a modernized boot with the Future 2.1 model. The UNIQUE design and style of the boot is extremely modern and the endless ways to lace up these boots makes them unique but also stylish.

Lightweight materials make these boots extremely comfortable and the meshed design has an almost futuristic look without compromising the quality of the boot or your playing experience.

World Cup winners Marco Reus and Antoine Griezmann sport these boots showing they are suitable for players with excellent shooting ability and control.

If you want a boot that is modern and breaks the trend of how boots look and feel, then the Future 2.1 boots from model may be the boot for you.

Key Features

  • Customised lacing system to suit your foot size and shape
  • Net fit technology supports an excellent touch and lightweight feel
  • Evo knit sock supports upper foot and ankle for comfort
  • Rapid sprint out sole caters for quicker players and bursts of acceleration.

Specification

  • Endless lacing possibilities with net fit
  • Firm ground and artificial surface studs available
  • Size 6 to 13 available
  • Available in a range of colours with different customization options available.

Pros

  • Quality, modern materials make the boots extremely comfortable and lightweight
  • Sizes fit true to feet with no up or downsizing required
  • Unique looking boot which hasn’t been replicated by any other brands.

Cons

  • Design is quite slim line so aren’t suitable for wider feet players
  • Although artificial surface studs are available, these studs can be felt under foot which can cause dis-comfort.

#8: New Balance Furon 4.0

The new version of New Balance’s Furon brand was launched before the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

International players like Australia’s Tim Cahill and Belgium’s Kevin Mirallas donned the new boots in the tournament, suiting the more ATTACK minded players.

New Balance added new technology to improve on their 3.0 version of the Furon’s, the main improvement being a larger strike area and better materials to support shooing accuracy and power for attackers.

The 4.0 version of the Furon brand is simple yet stylish with flashes of vibrant colour and New Balances signature N running along the side of the boot.

Key Features

  • Fantom fit technology and hidraskin membrane supports attacking players with their shooting
  • Larger contact zone allows for a truer striker from players
  • Electro chrome plated outsole to support acceleration and speed
  • Textured mesh helps with breathability and comfort.

Specification

  • Lace up closure
  • Approx. 231 g in weight
  • Available from size 3 (children’s) up to size 13 (adults)
  • Five different colours and designs available.
  • Varying stud heights for firm ground

Pros

  • Excellent support for players who want to practice their shooting skills, very forgiving contact area helps to control shooing accuracy.
  • Very stylish, modern and made from high-quality materials.
  • Very breathable and comfortable feel on feet.

Cons

  • Fairly heavy weight, especially on first wear, and require time to break in.
  • Small tongue can cause problems when putting on the boot due to snug fit between tongue and upper foot.

Conclusion

The above boots are a range of the available boots from the best, proven boot manufacturers in the game. All have something to offer and each would be more SUITABLE for your size of feet and style of play.

Puma Kings offer the best in terms of performance, durability and value for money. Their sheer comfort is ideal and they can be used on a variety of surfaces.

As one of the longest serving boots in the game, it is no wonder that professionals and amateurs are still wearing the boots worldwide today.  By settling on these boots, you could be emulating the likes of Maradona and Pele when you pull them on.

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