If Arsenal were to never produce another away kit for the rest of time, there wouldn't be the faintest resemblance of disgruntlement.
North London would be silent, the capital itself would've been tranquil and all the football attire fanatics could sit calmly in their La-Z-Boy chairs gazing upon their collections with the upmost fulfilment. After all, the 1991 bruised banana kit was, and still is, the crème de la crème.
Striking in all the right ways, its offensive in-your-face boldness captures the imagination in a way few jerseys ever have. It draws you in, and then prompts you to cough up whatever fee it would take to own such #hardgarm.
The previous away strip holds legendary status for being adorned on that fabled Anfield evening, so in order to top that....erm, top, the tides of invention needed to be turned. Arsenal had won the league the season prior and all was rosy. A fresh strip to follow? Great. But a new man was needed to lead the line, usher them into new campaign and front this glorious piece of footballing majesty.
Enter, Ian Wright.
An eccentric playing style with gentlemanly conduct off it, there was no better fit; and, above all, he fit the kit. Yes, of course, everyone does* since it's so damn beautiful. But that's not the point. Ian Wright and the bruised banana just worked.
[*Okay, sure, perhaps not everyone. I'm sure it wouldn't suit various world leaders, but hey ho.]
Even more fitting is that Wrighty bagged his first goal for the club donning the slicing yellow and black triangles, a pattern that incites a certain cockiness, suggesting it's not even remotely concerned with what you think of it. Wright, coincidentally, fell neatly into that bracket. Undeterred by what others said, he did his talking on the pitch.
His debut goal was memorable, too. Paul Davis' pass found him on the edge of the area, he slipped to the point of needing to prop himself up, shifted the ball onto his right and found the bottom corner. Arms aloft, warm embraces all round, and all the while looking bloody fantastic in the yellow.
While the reasons for Wright being cherished so fondly by all associated with Arsenal are indubitable (blatantly obvious, if you'd like), why the bruised banana has passed the test of time is a bit of a chin scratcher.
Addressing the obvious elephant in the room, yes, it's utterly superb (to some, anyway). But plenty of glorious kits have been produced over the years that, while wonderful in their own right, are often lost into oblivion. Yet this 1991-93 effort remains imperious.
Wright's arrival at Highbury could well have attributed to that. He's a legend of the club, after all. Maybe, though, it's the obnoxious nature of the kit that's endeared it into the hearts of many. In some ways, its beguiling charm enhances the overall quality.
Fans yearned for the return of the bruised banana ever since it was shelved. Efforts were made to recapture the essence of that strip with various other away attire. Yellow featured heavily since, but they just weren't it.
When adidas took to the stage with the 2019/20 edition, hearts melted and wallets opened. The Arsenal store sold out of the new-look bruised banana in a matter of hours. Queues the Queen would've been proud of stretched from Holloway Road to the lower tiers of the Emirates. Well, not literally, but you get the picture. Yours truly had to wait three weeks to get one. No joke.
An outstanding promo video announced the kit to the masses. Who was in it? Of course, Ian Wright took centre stage. The great man, in many ways, is the bruised banana. Who better to inaugurate the newest volume than he who shone so brightly in the original.
It's fabulous in every way. Perfect. What it is and what it signifies go hand in hand. A legendary kit immortalised by the memory of an icon.
Arsenal's bruised banana.
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