In the early history of the game, football teams were identified by the colours of their caps and socks or simply by armbands. But by the time the first ever FA Cup Final was played in 1872, clubs had adopted their own distinctive strips and team colours, which in many cases have remained essentially the same ever since.
Strict rules governed what was and what wasn't permissible in terms of colours and patterns. Goalkeepers in particular, until the rules were relaxed in the 1970s, were limited to green, blue, scarlet and white tops except for international matches, where yellow or black was the colour of choice. Green proved most popular simply because of the law of averages - very few teams wore a green football kit. Yet it wasn't until the turn of the century that goalkeepers began to take on a separate identity. Indeed, prior to the First World War, the only way a goalie was distinguishable from his teammates was by the fact that he wore a cap on his head - although it must be said that in 1909 Scottish goalkeepers were instructed to wear a different coloured jersey from the rest of their teammates.
Early goalkeeper shirts often came in two forms. The first resembled a tight fitting undershirt or long-sleeved vest can often be seen in early photographs, usually being worn by the legendary Billy "Fatty" Foulke. The second was the more traditional woolly polo neck sweater. This heavy-looking thing became commonplace during the cold winter months and only really died out in the early sixties, when fashion dictated that a more athletic jersey should be worn. These light cotton garments were already popular on the continent but it wouldn't be the last time British football was slow on the uptake.
Goalkeepers were also a bit behind the times when it came to wearing a number on the back. It was always assumed that the goalie wore the number one shirt, even if in reality he didn't. He didn't need to, really. The colour of his shirt told you where he'd be playing that afternoon. Squad numbers were originally introduced as a way of identifying the players more than anything and although goalies traditionally wear the number one shirt there's no law in the game to say an outfield player cannot wear that number. Former Tottenham Hotspur favourite Ossie Ardiles, for example, wore the number one shirt for Argentina during the 1982 World Cup Finals while fellow midfielder Norberto Alonso wore the same number when they lifted the Cup in 1978.
And it is not confined to just Argentine football. Dutch striker Ruud Geels wore the number one shirt in 1974 after the Holland squad, like Argentina team, were numbered alphabetically. Closer to home, defender Stuart Balmer was given the same number when Charlton Athletic first listed their squad in the early 1990s for the same reason.
The earliest record of numbered shirts being worn dates from the 1922/23 American Soccer League season when a team from St. Louis by the name of Scullin Steel wore numbers on the back of their tops for the 1923 Challenge Cup Final. Back home in Britain, numbered shirts didn't appear until August 1928 when Arsenal and Chelsea ran out for the new season, but that little experiment only lasted two League games and numbers didn't become compulory until 1939, although the experiment was repeated again for the 1933 FA Cup Final. However, on this occasion instead of both sides wearing one to eleven, the two teams were numbered from one to twenty-two. Everton's goalkeeper had the honour of wearing the Number 1 shirt while his opposite number in the Manchester City goal had to make do with the Number 22 shirt!
At international level they first appeared in 1937, when England wore numbers on the back of their shirts for their game against Scotland at Hampden Park. The following year numbered shirts made their first appearance at the World Cup finals in France. Sixteen years later, teams competing in the 1954 Finals in Switzerland were obliged to assign a unique 'squad number' for each player although their names would not appear on the back of the players' shirts until the 1992 European Championships held in Sweden (although Scotland did experiment with this idea in the early 1980s). The 1954 World Cup also marked the first occasion that an England goalkeeper wore a numbered shirt when Gil Merrick lined up against Belgium.
Until the mid-nineties, goalkeepers traditionally wore the same shorts and socks as their colleagues. There were exceptions, with some goalkeepers donning an all-green ensemble during the 1960s. In the early 1970s England legend Peter Shilton famously wore an all-white football kit until he was beaten by a long-range shot during a mid-week FA Cup semi-final replay at Villa Park by none other than Liverpool's Kevin Keegan - apparently Shilton's kit was too reflective under the floodlights, making it easier for opposition forwards to pick their spot. Conversely, Eastern European goalkeepers, such as the Soviet Union's Lev Yashin and Hungary's Gyula Grosics, favoured an intimidating all-black strip.
By the 1970s goalkeepers in the United Kingdom began spreading their wings with regards to the colour choice of their jerseys, coinciding with the introduction of colour television sets. Keepers such as Chelsea's Peter Bonetti, QPR's Phil Parkes and Ipswich Town's Paul Cooper regulary wore a red shirt rather than green, even when there was no colour clash. Cup finals in particular seemed to give goalkeepers to the incentive to break from the norm and add a dash of colour to proceedings. In 1974 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Gary Pierce wore red in their League Cup victory over Manchester City while Alex Stepney wore a blue shirt in 1976 when Manchester United famously lost to Second Division Southampton in the FA Cup Final. Two years later, Cooper wore red when Ipswich beat Arsenal at Wembley in the same competition but it wasn't until 1984 that another goalkeeper broke ranks, with Steve Sherwood wearing the same colour when Watford succumbed to Everton.
In 1992, however, clubs in the top flight of the English league were required to rethink their choice of goalkeeper colours when the Premier League decided that their referees would wear green ahead of the start of the new league. Although home/away strips took precedent over the ref's choice of shirt, it was decreed that goalkeepers would have to opt for an alternative if it was green. The decision also saw a plethora of black away kits after the rules were relaxed regarding black tops.
These days, goalkeepers are willing to sport all manner of lurid concoctions. None more so than Mexico's flamboyant goalie-cum-centre forward Jorge Campos. But not all keepers are happy with their kits. David Seaman in particular was less than overawed at the all-red strip that made him look like "a packet of sweets" while former England international Chris Woods was once forced to wear lilac socks when playing for Sheffield Wednesday. Others have taken a dislike to their shirts purely for superstitious reasons. Arsenal goalkeepers, for example, never wear a new shirt unless it has been washed. This practice dates back to 1927 and the FA Cup Final after Gunners keeper Dan Lewis blamed his slippery new jersey for his failure to save the goal that spelt defeat.
Incidentally, it may be worth noting that although goalkeeper gloves are optional, if a keeper chooses not to wear them then he must by law wear a long-sleeved jersey that goes as far as his wrists so that the referee can distinguish the goalkeeper punching or touching the ball through a crowd of players!
Ayr United's Hugh Sproat had a novel way of winding up fans of the two Auld Firm clubs in Scotland. If Ayr were playing Rangers, he'd wear a green top, but if The Honest Men were playing Celtic, he purposely pulled on a blue jersey just to get them riled.
Welsh internationl Leigh Richmond Roose caused a similar stir when he played as a guest for Port Vale in a reserves game against his former club Stoke City in 1910. Roose insisted on playing in his old Stoke City shirt and annoyed the opposition fans further by the turning in a Man-of-the-Match performance. The game ended in a riot.
Roose also insisted on wearing the same undershirt for every game - an old black-and-green Aberystwyth top - which was never washed for fear of bad luck.
French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez is often credited for the introduction of short-sleeved goalkeeping tops into the modern game, which he first wore along with fellow keeper Pascal Olmeta during his time at Marsaille.
Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has a collection of jerseys worn by some of the great goalies of the game.
Saint-Étienne goalkeeper Jérémie Janot is known throughout France for his hatred of Olympique Lyonnais, traditional rivals of the club with whom he has played most of career, and once attempted to celebrate Lyon's exit from Europe at the hands of AC Milan by wearing a Milan kit while turning out for Saint-Étienne the following weekend. In 2005 he reinforced his eccentric reputation by wearing a Spider-man themed kit - including the mask! - for a game against FC Istres.
When Croatian keeper Draen Ladic played his 59th and final game for his country against France in 2000, he symbolically wore the number 59 on the back of his shirt.
Similarly, when Poland's Jerzy Dudek played his last international football match - and 60th appearance in total - for Poland against Liechtenstein in June 2013 he wore number 60 on the back of his shirt.
Bill Lloyd was once ordered to change his jersey before a league match in the 1950s after the referee complained it wasn't a regulation colour. According to reports, the former Millwall Football Club goalkeeper had decided to wear something that bore more resemblence to something his grandmother had knitted rather than a traditional goalie shirt.
Former Derby County, Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Stephen Bywater wears the number 43 shirt as a tribute to his mentor and former goalkeeping coach at West Ham United, Les Sealey, who tragically died at the age of 43.
Having twice broken his leg while assigned the number 13 shirt, goalkeeper Nick Hammond decided to take the number 23 shirt for The Robins 1993/94 Premier League campaign because he considered his old number to be bad luck.
Former Partick Thistle and Scotland goalkeeper Alan Rough always wore his original number 11 shirt from his first club under his goalkeeper's jersey for good luck.
Peter Schmeichel used to wear a XXXL-sized goalkeeper shirt.
When Lenny Pidgeley returned to Chelsea after a season-long loan with Watford, his teammates gave him the number 40 shirt to remind him of the 4-0 defeat handed out by The Blues to the Hertfordshire club in the FA Cup while Pidgeley was in goal.
When England faced Romania in their first game of the 1970 World Cup finals, goalkeeper Gordon Banks had to change his shirt half way through, switching to a red shirt - England's away kit at the time - because the yellow jersey he was wearing clashed with the Romanians' strip.
Romania's choice of strip proved problematic once again during a World Cup qualifying match in Bucharest in October 1980. Ray Clemence was forced to run out in a green and black Adidas goalkeeper top borrowed from England's opponents after it was discovered that the FA had failed to pack the alternative blue strip that was traditionally worn if the opposing team wore yellow.
Clemence's rival for the England shirt, Peter Shilton, suffered a similar ignominy towards the end of his international career. In 1989, before a Rous Cup game against Scotland at Hampden Park, Shilton was forced to don an opposition shirt after arriving at the ground to discover his kit included a dark blue jersey that clashed with Scotland's traditional blue.
West Germany's Sepp Maier wore a yellow Wales jersey when the two teams met in the mid-1970s, again due to a clash of colours with the keeper's original choice of kits.
A similar thing happened to Millwall's David Forde before the start of the Lions' game against Preston North End in December 2010 when the referee decided that his light grey jersey was too similar to the home side's white shirts. A red North End training top was eventually found and the Irishman went on to keep a clean sheet.
According to research carried out by Dr Iain Greenlees, a reader in sports psychologist, and researcher Michael Eynon at the University of Chichester, strikers are twice as likely to miss a penalty if the goalkeeper they are facing is wearing a red shirt.
Manchester United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak once had to put up with having his name mis-spelt on the back of his shirt and was forced to play as "Zuszczak" during a League Cup tie against Crewe Alexandra.
When Spain won the 2008 European Championship, third choice goalkeeper Andrés Palop wore former Spanish number one Luis Arconada's shirt from the 1984 Euro final, receiving his medal from UEFA President Michel Platini, who scored the opening goal in the same match following a mistake by the Spanish goalkeeper.
David Seaman became the first England player to wear a shirt with the Three Lions emblem in the middle of the chest - as opposed to the left breast - when he lined up to face Denmark at Wembley in March, 1994.
Portugal's Vitor Baia opted to wear the number 99 after he discovered that the No.1 jersey was taken following his transfer from Barcelona to Porto in 1999. He kept the same shirt number for the rest of his career.
In September, 2000, Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon caused a stir when he chose the number 88 to wear on the back of his goalkeeper's jersey while playing for Parma. Italy's Jewish community highlighted the fact that the figure was a popular neo-Nazil symbol but Buffon pleaded his innocence, claiming he was unaware of the hidden meaning, and offered to change numbers explaining that the League prevent him from wearing his original choice - 00 - on the grounds that it wasn't a real digit.
In February 2014, Egyptian goalkeeper Mahdi Soliman was forced to wear a Liverpool goalkeeper shirt after Ghazl Mahalla's kitman left his top behind ahead of their match with Al Ahly. With no alternative top available, the club were forced to buy a shirt from a neighbouring sportshop and opted for the kit usually worn by the Reds' Simon Mignolet. The club still had time to stick the logo of their own sponsors, McDonald's, on the front. Al Ahly won 1-0.
Leeds United's David Harvey wore a red Scotland international jersey during a league match against Leicester City in 1978.
While with Wolverhampton Wanderers, the ever-eccentric John Burridge wore a Superman outfit underneath his kit.
Blackpool goalkeeper Joe Lewis suffered the ignominy of having to wear a signed shirt when the Tangerines took on Reading in April, 2015. The shirt was originally set aside for a club sponsor but when the club discovered they did not have a spare shirt for Lewis, the keeper was left with little option but to don the jersey and get on with the match, which ended 1-1.
By a quirk of fate, neither goalkeeper wored the number one shirt in the 1978 World Cup Final. Holland's Jan Jongbloed, who replaced first choice Piet Schrijvers, wore number 8 while Argentina's Ubaldo Fillol wore the number 5 shirt at the other end.
Before fashions changed in the 1990s, Grimsby Town's goalkeepers traditionally wore a red jersey rather than the conventional green kit as this colour was considered to be unlucky within the local fishing community, who made up the club's fanbase.
In the days before multi-coloured goalkeeper shirts, it was rare to see a goalkeeper in a shirt other than green unless you were an Arsenal fan during the 1982/83 season. Throughout that particular campaign goalkeepers Pat Jennings and George Wood collectively wore all four traditional colours - Green, red, blue and white - thanks in part to the Gunners' strange choice of a green and blue away kit.
Orlando City goalkeeper Tallman Hall become an internet sensation when eagle-eyed viewers spotted the words "Team Crest Here" instead of an Orlando badge on his shirt when he took to the field to face Seattle Sounders. Having become the most talked about goalie on social media, Hall explained that the badge had come loose before the game and had been ripped it off to avoid it annoying him during the game.
Boca Juniors goalkeeper Carlos Navarro Montoya wore a particularly eye-catching/vomit-inducing kit depending on your point of view during the 1995/96 season. The baggy yellow kit featured splashes of blue and pink with white stars and was rounded off with a cartoon truck on the front with a cartoon version of Montoya behind the wheel. And if that was enough, he also had a white version in case of a possible kit clash...
When Petr Cech signed for Arsenal in 2015, he opted to wear the number 33 shirt, partly due to his age at the time of signing and also because he had played 333 Premier League games before joining the Gunners.
When England met Sweden at Wembley in 1968, Alex Stepney walked out in a blue jersey for what would prove to be his one and only international cap, despite Sweden wearing blue shirts for the fixture instead of their traditional yellow. Stepney quickly changed into a yellow jersey, with a red number 12 on the back, which was the first time an England keeper had taken to the field in a numbered shirt. In the second half, Stepney switched to a jersey without a number on the back. It turns out the first shirt had been issued to Stepney for the European Championships in Italy the following month before officials found the jersey he should have been wearing at half-time.
Back in May, 1973, Peter Shilton became the first England goalkeeper to wear a green jersey in an international since the War when he was selected to face Czechoslovakia for a friendly in Prague.
Danish goalkeeper Jørgen Nielsen never actually made an appearance for Liverpool during his time at Anfield, but his shirt did. Back in September 1999, during a game against neighbours Everton, the reds goalkeeper goalkeeper Sander Westerveld was sent off in the 77th minute along with the Toffees' striker Francis Jeffers after they got into a fight. However because Liverpool had used all of their substitutions, left back Steve Staunton borrowed Nielsen's shirt and filled in as goalkeeper for the remainder of the match.
Chile international keeper Miguel Pinto designs his own goalkeeper shirts and regularly incorporated a lion or owl into his designs, which were the mascots of his first club Universidad de Chile.
When Liverpool Football Club's online store decided to post an image with the names of the club's new summer signings on the back of the team's shirts for the new season, they were left as red-faced as the club's home kit when eagle-eyed punters noticed that they'd incorrectly spelt the name of goalkeeper Adam Bogdan. Some Liverpool fans must have been wondering who Bogden was...
Third Lanark goalkeeper Jocky Robertson was such a big Heart of Midlothian fan that when the two sides met in the 1959 Scottish League Cup final, Robertson wore a Hearts shirt beneath his own goalkeeper's jersey. Hearts won 2-1 but Robertson played outstandingly for his side despite his split allegiances.
Brazil international João Leite reguarly added the phrase "Jesus Saves" onto the front of his goalkeeper shirt before games until officials took exception to his actions and banned him from doing it again. On hearing the news, Leite allegedly retorted "They can take Christ off my shirt but nobody can remove him from my heart."
Uruguayan goalkeeper Pablo Aurrecochea has donned a ranged of whacky goalkeeper tops during his career, including designs that have featured Mickey Mouse, the Hulk, Batman, the Pink Panther and Krusty the Clown from The Simpsons.
In July 2016, Dunfermline Athletic goalkeeper David Hutton decided not only to change his squad number but also the name on the back of his shirt, running out for the Pars with the name Sinclair-Hutton and the number 43. "That is my wife`s name," the keeper explained. "She asked if I would do it so I did it for her dad as well. 43 was my squad number when I started at Aberdeen."
Colombia international goalkeeper Miguel Calero used to have a pair of wings on the back of his jersey around his number as a nod to his nickname, El Cóndor.
In September 1981, Associated Television were unable to screen match highlights of Derby County's clash with Leicester City on their Star Soccer programme because Derby's goalkeeper Roger Jones' shirt was emblazoned with a sponsor logo in the fist half, which fell foul of the TV broadcasting rules of the time.