Posts Tagged ‘ Umbro ’

Manchester United Change/Third Shirts 2001/02


Manchester United entered the 2001/02 season as the three time defending Premier League Champions but Sir Alex was already in the process of building his next team. The club added Ruud van Nistelrooy, who scored 36 goals in his first season and would go on to even bigger things the following year, Juan Sebastián Verón and Laurent Blanc with Jaap Stam leaving during the summer and Jesper Blomqvist, Denis Irwin, Ronny Johnsen, Raimond van der Gouw, Dwight Yorke, and Andy Cole gone from the club by the following season.


Another league title was not on the cards as poor results in November and December saw the Red Devils in ninth. Results would turn around but Arsenal would eventually win the league and the Double with Manchester United finishing third behind Liverpool.

Bayer Laverkusen's Oliver Neuville

No joy was found in the cups either as Manchester United lost to Arsenal in the Third Round of the League Cup and to Middlesbrough in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup. Bayer Leverkusen knocked out Sir Alex’s men in the Semi-Finals of the Champions League on away goals.

Of note this season were two notable comebacks.

Manchester United overturned a 3-0 deficit away at Spurs in the league.

The Red Devils also rescued a Third Round FA Cup tie at Villa Park with a remarkable three goals in the final 15 minutes to advance 3-2.



The change and third shirts for this season produced an interesting choice from kit manufacturers Umbro. Per Historical Football Kits:

United were one of the leading clubs that attracted considerable criticism for exploiting the replica kit market and in 2001, Umbro came up wih a novel response, creating the first reversible shirt. These were white on one side and metallic gold when turned inside out, so supporters had both away and third shirts in one purchase. The players had separate white and gold sets which were not reversible.


The change shirt saw a white chest with black sleeves and panels down the torso. Narrow white trim accent the sleeve from the armpit to the cuff. The shirt used a V neck with a collar, and gold trim was used on the collar and chest. White shorts and socks were used when needed and kept the design element around the rib cage going down most of the shorts.


Gold had not used for Manchester United’s kits previously and has not used since, with the yellow shirts of the early 70s being the closest in color. The gold change shirt was in essence a reversed out version of the white shirt, with the same collar, a narrow black band on the sleeves going all the way to the collar, and the black shorts and socks were the same as the change strip. This kit was only worn three times during the season, twice at Arsenal and for United’s away game to Olympiakos in the Champions League.

Besides the design, there are also little touches all over the shirt. Let’s start with the badge, with black replacing the red background of the standard badge and gold instead of yellow for the lettering and trim.


Above the badge is the commemorative mark for the 100th anniversary of the name change from Newton Heath to Manchester United.


The inside neck has another mark to celebrate 100 years along with the Umbro wordmark.

centenary-screen-printOn the front of the shirt is hologram which signifies the authenticity of the shirt, while on the back hem of the change shirt is an element that Umbro used during the early 2000s–the kit life span.



(images courtesy of pryoboy blog)

Everything on the white side is embroidered while the gold side uses screen printing.

While the shirt is heavy due to it being reversible, this is one of my favorites, particularly the white change shirt. The celebratory basis for the shirt is significant as well and glad I pulled the trigger on the long sleeve version all those years ago.


Resources for this post:


Check out more posts on kits from clubs and countries around the world on the Strip Club page. And yes. It’s safe for work.

John Devlin/True Colours

true colours cover

John Devlin/True Colours

John Devlin, author of True Colours: Football Kits from 1980 to the Present Day, Volumes 1 and 2, came on the SoccerNomad podcast to talk kit history and design. His wealth of knowledge is remarkable and I learned a lot. After a great conversation, we finished with some listener questions.

Learn more about kits and get in touch with John.



Sample page from True Colours

true colours sample page

Early kits

England 1872-1879


Aston Villa 1878-1879


Woolwich Arsenal 1894-1899


(images courtesy of Historical Football Kits)

Sample jersey styles from Picking Up the Threads

picking up the threads

Kit Design Elements

Tramline kit

coventry city


Sublimated dye


Collar Styles






50 Greatest Football Shirts Ever

Additional resources


Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Design Football Podcast–Manchester United kits


Design Football podcast–Manchester United 2016-17 Kit Special

manchester-united-16-17-home-kit-8manchester-united-16-17-away-kit-full strip

Jay from the Design Football blog invited me on the Design Football podcast to talk about the 16/17 Manchester United kits. We had a great conversation about United kits past and present. Check out the pod and Manchester United fantasy kits.

SoccerNomad Podcast: EPL 16/17 Kit Preview


EPL 16/17 Kit Preview

JR Francis (@paynomind) returned to the SoccerNomad podcast to look at the kits for the upcoming EPL season. After we both rant about the Manchester teams, we gave comments on the rest of the league and picked our top 5. Plus there’s some news and notes on the manufacturers.



Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

SoccerNomad Podcast: Chris Oakley


Chris Oakley

Chris Oakley came on the SoccerNomad podcast to talk kit design and West Ham United. Chris was one of the creators and contributors of the fabulous Football Attic blog, which can be found at Check out his other projects at Kitbliss, Beyond the Last Man and his alternakits at the twohundredpercent website.

Additional Resources:

  • Chris’ video blog at the Football Attic with some of the kits he has owned over the years.
  • The Football Attic podcast on badges.
  • Check out Historical Football Kits for a good look at West Ham home shirts through the years.

Follow Chris and his projects on twitter

Some of the shirts we referenced:

Favorite of Chris’ alternakits:


Portugal away

Goal from Paolo Di Canio against Wimbeldon from 99/00 season.

Here are some of the West Ham shirts we discussed:

whu 79 80Admiral 76-80

whu 80 81adidas 80-83

whu away 60s

Away shirt 1960s

whu away 16 17

Away Shirt 2016/17

We also discussed the West Ham badge redesign:








Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

SoccerNomad Podcast: Summer Tournament Kits

copa america Euro-2016

Summer Tournament Kits

Fellow #KitNerd JR Francis (@paynomind) came on the SoccerNomad podcast to talk about kits for the upcoming tournaments this summer–Copa America Centenario and Euro 2016. We didn’t discuss all 80+ kits but discussed some general trends, mentioned some of our best/worst and had a passionate discussion about the future of US kits.

For more information, check out these podcasts and posts.

Below are images of the some shirts we discussed:

Uruguay home/away


Ecuador away

ecuador away

Jamaica away

jamaica away

Germany away

germany home

Portugal away

Portugal-Euro-2016-Away-Kit (4)

Belguim/Portugal friendly

belguim portugal

Albania set


Hungary home

Hungary-Euro-2016-Home-Away-Kits-Vote (3)

Wales home/away


Belguim away


Mexico home


Argentina away


England home

england home



USA home/Dorothyusa-2016-copa-america-home-kit-4 Dorothy - Inspiration

USA away/Cop Car

usa-2016-copa-america-away-kit-1 download


Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Chelsea Change Shirts-Premier League Era

My typical modus operandi is to spout off without information or consideration, and I have always claimed that Arsenal and Chelsea have had the ugliest change shirts in the Premier League era. In the last two decades, the two London teams have been United’s biggest rivals for hardware, so I have had a keen interest in their sporting and fashion performance. With all that said, I decided to look at each team’s away kit collection and make an informed, well-reasoned claim to their kit ugliness.

In looking at Chelsea’s away kits through the years, one thing stood out to me—the use of red shirts during 70’s and 80’s as red is not a color I would associate with the Blues at all. Definitely going to tuck that little tidbit away for future research.

As for the Premier League shirts, honorable mention for the worst strip goes to . . .

2010-11 Away

cfc 10 11

I affectionately mock this one as the Halloween kit. I have no idea what adidas and the club were going for. The black away strips have been hit and miss over the years and this one is the worst of that group.

2010-11 Third


Double whammy that season as this third shirt may have been a call back to the away kit from the late 80’s but hard to believe men had to wear this shade of green.

2012-13 Third


Robot bumble bees ahoy!!


1994-96 Away


I really don’t even know where to start. Grey and orange and blue? Crazy colored crest? Coors? This is just awful beyond words and deserves some sort of retroactive punishment.

28-JAN-95 .... Soccer .... Dennis Wise, Chelsea

1996-98 Away


Things didn’t any better for the club the following season. The Historical Kits mock up does not do this one justice. Even though I didn’t know much about soccer at the time, I knew this was ugly and cannot believe how many people had to say yes to get this produced.

96 98

1991-93 Away


Really don’t like the yellow but the color has been used by the club through the years, so what you are you going to do? Turns out this was a template jersey and Everton wore the exact some hot mess. This jersey screams 90’s!!

Classic Kit 1991 (away) - Paul Elliott

After going through their Premier League change kits I have to admit they aren’t that bad. Early 90’s kit design was bad and unfortunately Chelsea’s were really bad, and I just think the bad ones are so bad they wipe everything else. The club has some real horror shows from the 70’s and 80’s and a future post may have to deal with those.

Chelsea fans, how do you defend your club? Those with anti-Blues bias, what did I miss? Let me know in the comments below.

Special thanks to Historical Kits for the images.

Read the rest of my Strip Club posts here and follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

MatchDay Memory–Football Without Frontiers (Part 2)

Euro 2000 was one of the highlights of my soccer supporter experience, hitting heights of excitement and engagement, not matched until recently with the 2014 World Cup, while producing moments of style and quality over several weeks.



There was no place for Milosevic, Nuno Gomes or players from some of the second tier soccer nations like Turkey and Romania in the UEFA Team of the Tournament. As with most “best teams”, the balance is off, with only Figo providing any width, because Overmars or Zenden were not included.


The tournament produced some really wonderful goals, with Trezeguet’s winner in the Final, Scholl’s effort against Romania and the goals from the England/Portugal match living long in the memory.


From a fashion perspective, team kits were dominated by adidas, who made kits for half the teams.  Their templates were straight forward, focusing on rib panels that gave contrast to the kits, and very classy with simple collars. They produced one of the great French kits of all time while not making any glaring errors with the others.  Nike was slowly building their soccer portfolio and had three teams at Euro 2000.  Simple almost to a fault, they chose solid colors with either a V neck or ring collar.  Puma was around as well, producing the shirts for the Czech Republic, while Umbro furnished kits for Norway and England.

Denmark played in the tournament wearing Hummel while Italy wore strips made by Kappa.  Their shirts were notable for the tight fit and longer sleeves, very unique at the time.  Solid white or blue, Kappa logo and Italian shield. Modest but wonderful to look at. Hard to think of a better looking kit.  Of course if you looked like Cannavaro or Totti or Del Piero, the look would not be hard to pull off. Seen on the normal fan not so much. This sleeker look eventually took over soccer shirt style and replaced the baggy, wind sock versions of the 90’s.  The pendulum has swung the other way now with shirts appearing to almost be painted on (I’m looking at you Puma).


As for what the players were wearing on their feet, shoe companies, particularly Nike and adidas, continued to innovate.  Nike pushed on with their Mercurial line, which was launched in 1998 on the feet of Ronaldo.  Euro 2000 saw a very light shoe with leather funneling towards a central spot in the toe area.


Adidas developed the Predator series and released the Precision for this competition. The Sneaker Report noted:

Replaceable Traxion studs were added so players could adjust their boots to certain pitch conditions. The fold over tongue now included Velcro to ensure increased stability. The fins, which originally protruded vertically from Craig Johnston’s prototype, were now sectioned off into pinpointed groupings of thin lines. A cool design element of the three stripes thinning out towards the back of the heel was also incorporated.

predator traxion

Finally, I have often wondered if this was the greatest tournament ever.  Maybe because it was the first tournament I really watched from start to finish.  Maybe because it was that I knew so much about the players and many of them were close to my heart.  Maybe because of the stunning goals during the competition.

Miguel Delaney wrote a wonderful piece ahead of Euro 2012 making the argument that the 2000 edition had everything and might have been the greatest international tournament ever.  Laying out a premise that went just beyond the high goals per game average, he touched on the drama, the unpredictability and the tactics.

Following on about tactics, Jonathan Wilson explored the innovations of the tournament in Inverting the Pyramid.  One of these evolutions was the lone striker becoming more of the norm, with this player joined by attacking players supported by strong, hard tackling midfielders.  France moved on from the Christmas Tree of the World Cup to a defensive solid yet attacking 4-2-3-1 with Viera providing the dynamism used to get additional attackers on the field.


In the end I thoroughly enjoyed the competition.  Like my time commitment to the 2014 World Cup, due to a sabbatical from work, I was able to dedicate time to watch nearly every match, so I had a sense of overarching story lines and tactical nuances and team dynamics. Not every tournament hits the high notes but when they do, nothing is better.


Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

Recent Media Intake

Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been reading/listening to over the last week . . .

Eddie and Robert broke down the fallout of Shirtgate for the Manchester United Redcast, with Rio failing to wear the Kick It Out T-shirt, which left Fergie out on a limb.  Is this the beginning of the end for the defender or just a simple miscommunication?  As for the Chelsea game, they noted that once Rooney starts scoring, he usually scores in bunches and they hope that Fergie doesn’t make a mistake like the one against City last year, ie highly defensive 4-5-1.

Speaking of Manchester United, I found an excerpt from Rob Smyth on Guardian Sport.  He wrote a piece on Roy Keane for an upcoming book Life’s a Pitch: The Passions of the Press Box about Smyth compared the Manchester United midfielder to pop icons Tyler Durden and Tony Soprano, which was interesting.  Reading this piece you understand why he will never be a good manager—he simply demands a level of performance that is impossible to consistently attain.

Moving on to Arsenal, Nick Hornby was on last week’s Men in Blazers to talk about the release of the 20th anniversary of Fever Pitch, the future of fandom, comments on the season thus far and thoughts on his e-book Pray, which recounts the dramatic 2011-12 season.

As for the Premier League in general, looks like the US EPL rights are going to the Peacock.  After a relationship of over 15 years with Fox (regional channels, the creation of Fox Sports World which morphed into Fox Soccer Channel and even led to the Champions League Final being shown on FOX), and leased games to the four letter network, the biggest league in the world is being shown the money and is moving to elsewhere.  Richard Deitsch posted Friday on that NBC, in particular NBC Sports Network, looks to be in the driver’s seat, with BeIN also a possibility.  It will be interesting to see if NBC shows games a la FOX national and if they develop an online platform and/or use their vast array of channels.

Nike sold Umbro.  Yawn.  The company will not exist in 10 years. Get over it.

Finally, there was lots of buzz this week about the possibility of the US hosting the 2016 Copa America.  At first it seemed like a done deal but there has been significant back tracking and conflicting details.  Would it be a 12 or 16 team tournament?  If it is 16 teams and involves several CONCACAF teams, does not seem like a Copa America but a Copa of the Americas? I don’t mind the US hosting and being and invited participant but it does seem weird that this country would host the 100th anniversary of a South American tournament, radically changing the structure and make up of the competition.  Just sayin.  Grant Wahl offered some other considerations for

One player who probably won’t be there is Landon Donovan.  Roger Bennett sat down with US star for ESPN FC.  The long time face of MLS and the USMNT spoke about his future, including possibly not playing at the 2014 World Cup.  I appreciated his self-analysis about motivation and his desires for the future.  He has given a lot to his clubs and his country and maybe it’s time to move on.

Strip Club–Sky Box Edition

For Manchester United, white or blue was the typical away kit over the years, with a yellow based strip occasionally thrown in, but in 1993 everything changed.  The Red Devils introduced the all black away kit, which has produced a stylish edge to their collection over the last 20 years.



Building on their first league title since 1968, the Reds went on to win their first league and FA cup double, a feat that had not been done since Arsenal in 1971.  Unfortunately, involvement in the Champions League did not last long.  After drawing 3-3 with Galatasary at Old Trafford, the Reds traveled to Istanbul, where the hosts held them to a scoreless draw and gave them an away experience they would never forget.

The following season saw them come up short on three major fronts, finishing second to Blackburn in the league, losing the FA Cup to Everton 1-0, and getting knocked out of the Champions League at the Group Stage after heavy defeats away to FC Barcelona and IFK Gothenburg.

The kit itself was sweet.  In my limited experience in soccer at the time, I had not seen a black jersey, but when I saw Cantona and Co. run out in the black strip with yellow and blue highlights, I knew I wanted one.  Sadly, I have never picked one up.  I have had a couple of chances on ebay but have never pulled the trigger.



The next time the black kit appeared was the magical Treble season, although for the life of me, I can’t remember them even wearing it except for maybe the Charity Shield.

If you don’t know the story of the season, stop reading this and get researching.  That campaign had everything–narrow defeats, crushing victories, sumptuous games (especially the games against FCB in the Champions League), one of the greatest goals ever scored, and of course the most dramatic finish ever to any game, Solskjaer against Bayern Munich.

Of the black kits, this is my least favorite.  Might be the neon green trim, might be the Umbro logo being a touch too big, might be the collar.  Just something about the strip does not do it for me.



Next up is the all black kit from 2003-2005, which saw several key events in the history of the club and the Premier League—the Invincibles of Arsenal, the sale of David Beckham, the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, the sale of the club to the Glazers, and the rise of Abramovich’s Chelsea.  The 2003-04 season was the first of three in a row in which they did not win the league, finishing third behind the unbeaten Arsenal and Chelsea, but the Reds did win the FA Cup, beating Millwall 3-0, their 11th and last one to date. In the Champions League, they won their group before losing to Porto in the first knockout round, partly due to Howard’s flub in injury time, which allowed Porto to progress and win the competition, launching the phenomenon of the Special One.

The following season Jose Mourinho arrived at Chelsea and led them to their first league title in 50 years.  United finished third again despite a late surge in the winter months, but back to back defeats in April to Norwich and Everton ended their hopes.  The Red Devils reached the FA Cup Final, which Arsenal won on penalties.  A pair of 1-0 defeats to AC Milan knocked United out of the Champions League again at the first knockout hurdle.

The jersey is simple, with, as the Pride of Manchester Website notes, A ‘watermarked’ flower pattern adds a nice touch to the jersey.  The only drawback of the kit is that the collar, which has an understated white accent, is a little too wide.  I received this kit as a gift and it’s a size too big which takes away from my enjoyment of it.  If it was the correct size, I would wear it all the time.



Two years later the black kit was back, this time during a successful campaign for the Reds.  Anderson, Owen Hargreaves, Nani and Carlos Tevez arrived to strengthen the squad, which ended with a European Double.  Manchester United won their 16th league title, surging past Arsenal and holding off Chelsea at the end.  The Blues would be their opponent in the in the first all English Champions League Final.  An early CR7 goal was cancelled out by Lampard and the game remained scoreless through the second half and extra time, in which Drogba got sent off.  Looked like all was lost when Ronaldo missed his spot kick, but England’s Brave John Terry slipped on his kick and it hit the post.  Anelka, the seventh kicker for Chelsea, stepped up with a chance to extend the shoot out but Edwin van de Sar saved it, and Manchester United were European Champions for the third time.

The range of kits for this campaign is one of the best ever.  Each jersey is classy, with the black kit keeping things simple with red piping across the shoulders and a white stripe down the back.  Love this kit and need to get my hands on one.



The fall of 2009 was year one of ACR (After Cristiano Ronaldo), and it saw good fights on all fronts but only one trophy—the Carling Cup.  Wayne Rooney had a phenomenal season, scoring 34 goals but it wasn’t enough as Chelsea reclaimed the league and won the FA Cup as well.  United finished second in the league and lost early to Leeds in the FA Cup, which launched the career of Jermaine Beckford, and by career I mean decent transfer fee and disappearance from English football.  In the Champions League, Rafael’s sending off against Munich in the second leg set up a tense finish, which was decided by a fantastic effort for Arjen Robben.

The following year was jammed packed with success, drama and a large dose of reality.  Results before Christmas were mixed as the Rooney contract saga played itself out.  Eventually Wazza got onside and flourished with Chicharito, who had arrived in the off-season, and by the end of the season he had moved past Berba in the pecking order and scored an early goal against Chelsea that all but sealed the title, the 19th title that took United ahead of Liverpool.  A possible treble was on as well, but defeat in the FA Cup semis to the blue side of Manchester (thanks Michael Carrick) and a masterclass from FCB in the Champions League Final meant that the Red Devils only won a single trophy and revealed the gap between the champions of England and the champions of Europe.

The home kit was an homage to the early 1920’s, and this away kit takes it a step further with the black kit and royal blue chevron.  I hated it at first but it has grown on me.  In the first year, the sponsor was AIG, while in the second, it was Aon. The material of the kit is amazing and weighs almost nothing.  If I come across it on the web at reduced price, I might pick it up.


Special thanks to . . ., which is an amazing resource.  For Manchester United in particular, it has a digital representation of every kit from the days of Newton Heath until now. was bills an online encyclopedia of Manchester United that broke down each campaign by competition, including all player appearances and a season recap. The site helped me jog the memory for each season and set me on my way for research.  It is now only via an app. Take a look.

YouTube.  What a treat to relive amazing moments in the history of Manchester United.  Sometimes the quality isn’t awesome but it gets the job done.

Finally, for another opinion, check out Bleacher Report’s Top Ten Manchester United kits.