Poll: Favourite Premier League Kit 09-10 – The Winner

Posted by John Devlin

man-city-h-09-10Thanks again to everyone that voted in the poll to decide on the best Premier League kit for 09-10. There were loads of really great suggestions for the best (and worst) strips of the year. The winner of the best kit in the PL is the Manchester City Umbro home outfit. Throughly deserved, the retro-themed design is a great strip and bodes well for the next series of Tailored by Umbro designs we’ll see in 10-11. Simple, classic and devastatingly stylish.

The club’s home and away kits got good shouts as well (as did Hull’s home) but the second favourite was Burnley’s home kit (with special mention of their away as well). Another example of retro designs that have gone down well with the discerning football kits fans who visit the site!

It was neck and neck for the least favourite and Umbro’s unpopular home kit for West Ham was just pipped at the post by Spurs’ Puma home strip.

As with the choice of City kit as favourite, you’ll get no argument with me on this one! The Spurs strip just didn’t cut it for me this season to be honest and the Hammers shirt is in my view one of the less successful of Umbro’s recent outfits.


Poll: Favourite England Kit Ever – The Winner

Posted by John Devlin

england-h-80-83Well, this really surprised me! The winner of the favourite England Kit Ever as chosen by your good selves is …the Admiral 1980-83 home kit!

To be honest its not one of my favourites but in its defence it’s certainly a memorable, unique and iconic outfit that clearly holds many memories for England fans during its three years of use.

England didn’t enjoy a particularly successful time in this strip but it did see the end of the likes of Keegan and Brooking’s international careers.

There was a real spread of votes with nearly every England shirt of the past 30+ years getting a shout. The least favourite appears to be the Umbro 1997-99 home kit as worn in the 98 World Cup. Definitely not a classic in my book – too much red and blue.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to share their opinions – some really interesting views  there. Cheers.


What would you like banned from kits?

Posted by John Devlin

Friend of the site Andy Burton (from Kit Classics) emailed me recently with a list of things he’d like to see banned from being worn on the pitch:

1. Gloves for outfield players (with or without short sleeves!)
2. ‘Polo’ necks/scarves under shirts.
3. Long sleeved undershirts with short sleeved shirts (nightmare with stripes!)
4. Socks taped up covering most of the lower part of the sock.
5. Tights under shorts!!

I have to say I agree with most of them. Surely by now we can produce kits that don’t require this extra customisation (special limited edition winter versions anyone?)

I personally am glad the trend of rubbing Vicks Vapor-Rub on shirts has ended, and I also think tournament sleeve patches could be scaled down in size (or removed altogether!)

Just wondered if anyone else has any football kit related pet hates you’d like to see abolished?


Bradford City Home Kit 1999–2001

Posted by John Devlin

bradford-h-99-01Bradford City’s brief two-year stay in the Premiership 10 years ago was accompanied by a set of superb kits by Japanese firm Asics who were, in my opinion, one of the most under-rated kit suppliers of the 90s. At a time of excess and flamboyance they produced some solid, simple designs – many of which wouldn’t look out of place today.

Their home strip for Bradford (produced towards the end of the company’s venture into Premiership kits) typified their approach. A traditional design, baggy fit and rich colours (in Bradford’s distinctive amber and claret combination) with just a hint of flair – in  this case the ‘Bantams’ text embroidered on the button up collar collar. Unfortunately in the kit’s last year of use Bradford succumbed to the pressures of the top flight and were relegated down to the then Division 1.

Since then, the club have sadly slipped down the leagues but at least they can know that during their short spell in the highest level of English football they were one of the best dressed.

Worn in: The vital 1–0 win over Liverpool in the last game of the 99–00 season that ensured Bradford’s survival in the top flight that year.
Worn by: Stuart McCall, Dean Windass and Stan Collymore.


Scotland 10-11 Kit Review

Posted by John Devlin

I’ve just posted my review of the new Scotland home kit.

Read it here.


Scotland 10-11 Home Kit Review

Posted by John Devlin

scotland-home-kit-09-10One of the most eagerly awaited kits of the season (well, in my house anyway) was the new Scotland home outfit – the first to be made for the team since adidas replaced Diadora last year. Of course the massive marketing and promotional juggernaut behind the Umbro England kits has dominated the kit news in recent months but the importance of Scotland’s new strip cannot be underestimated given the lacklustre response amongst the Tartan Army towards the last few Diadora efforts and the power and status adidas have in world football.

Expectations were high and in my view, thankfully, adidas have delivered with a superb strip devoid of their usual complex trim and coloured panels and featuring instead a relatively straight forward, stylish and restrained effort. Phew.

Everyone now knows this Scotland kit is a ‘type 2 adidas design’ (although honestly, had anyone heard of a ‘type 2 adidas design’ before it was announced in connection with this strip!?) It basically means thats its a generic adidas template, badged up for Scotland. I can’t actually recall who else has worn this design to be frank and to me it doesn’t matter.

The strip combines the heritage and pride behind the Scotland strip and the gravitas and sportswear expertise of adidas. The jersey features a simple crew-style neck, the classic three-stripe trim and subtly curved piping running down the front. The shorts continue the piping theme in navy and the good old red socks are present with ‘Alba’ (Gaelic for Scotland, not the low-budget hi-fi firm) on the front.

As as a Scotland fan I am delighted with the kit and mightily relieved the adidas branding didn’t overtake the identity of the country. My only gripe, and I am not alone in this view, is that the large Scottish crest watermark on the front of the shirt just doesn’t seem to work. In principle the idea is sound, although a little early-90s, but I think its just the application of the crest looks, dare I say, cheap. Its only a small moan to be honest, and I have a suspicion it will look a lot better in the flesh which I hope to discover when I purchase my replica when they are released in the Summer.

It’s a great start to adidas’ relationship with Scotland and thanks to a 1–0 win over the Czech Republic in the kit’s only outing so far, a great start to new boss Craig Levein’s managerial career with the national side.


QPR Kit History

Posted by John Devlin

At last, I’ve finished the QPR kit history from 1976 to date.

You can find it here.


Aberdeen Home Kit 1982-84

Posted by John Devlin

aberdeen-h-82-84

For me one of the best kits from the early 80s was Ipswich’s all blue adidas outfit with non-contrasting V-neck/cuffs and white pinstripes. North of the border Aberdeen wore a red version that definitely rivals Ipswich’s kit for class and elegance. It also accompanied the Dons in their most successful era where they broke the Old Firm dominance of the Scottish game. Thanks to Alex Ferguson’s management and a superb set of players they won the League in 83-84, the Scottish Cup (82-83, 83-84) and of course the European Cup Winners Cup triumph over Real Madrid (82-83). All in this simple yet smart kit.

Worn in: The unforgettable 2-1 win over mighty Real Madrid in the 82-83 season.
Worn by: Gordon Strachan, Willie Miller, Alex McLeish and Mark McGhee.


England Away Kit Review

Posted by John Devlin

In anticipation of the kit’s first taste of action this Wednesday, I’ve just posted a review of the new England away kit. You can read it here: http://www.truecoloursfootballkits.com/articles/england-away-kit-review


England Away Kit Review

Posted by John Devlin

england-away-09-12The new England away kit has a lot to live up to. Since the home design was rebooted by Umbro in 2009 questions were asked about how the red (lets face it, its not going to be anything but red these days!) away strip would match up.

Umbro whetted the appetite of the England faithful and football kit fans in general with a launch campaign heavily web-orientated with an unveiling date set for the 3rd March friendly with Egypt.  I was fortunate enough to be invited up for a sneak preview of the kit with a presentation by Aitor Throup (the conceptual brain behind the design) and David Branch – the leading designers behind England apparel. Aitor  explained at length the thinking behind the design before removing black veils from mannequins to reveal the outfits.

The kit is loosely based on the Aztec jersey – a version of which England wore in ’66 – but Aitor and David are keen to point out, this is NOT a lazy re-hash of the kit worn in England’s finest hour.

27231_339950426512_613716512_4080240_5004068_nEssentially the designers wanted to take a ‘body and movement’ approach to the kit and looked at the most common action stance a player would take during a match (generally arms bent, leaning forward) and constructed the shirt around this position before examining the results. The designers discovered that traditional seams/panels wouldn’t necessarily provide the optimum comfort/performance level required for the shirt’s use on the pitch. Therefore an angular, slightly abstract set of panels were formed that wrapped around from the back of the shirt on to the side and pulled over onto the shoulders. Unorthodox perhaps but specifically designed for the shirt in action. This curious construction is most noticeable on the long sleeved version (can’t help but think Umbro ARE leaning towards the long sleeved jerseys being the definitive version of this strip – a move that more than echoes ’66!) where the innovative panels are clearly marked across the elbows giving a ‘base layer’ feel. These panels are in three slightly different shades of red, giving a subtle but interesting effect. The neck is to all intents and purposes a crew design, but with a lower front and higher back – again designed for comfort on the pitch. Similarly the cuffs follow suite with the backs extending a good inch or so lower than the cut at the front.

Ah yes, the cuffs. The stylistic element that has caused most debate amongst football fans and I have to confess they jarred with me at first. But then, the more I looked at and examined the shirt the more sense they made. They’re different, stylish and eye-catching and now I believe that the use of this simple contrasting feature gives the design an extra unique quality.

Umbro aren’t shouting about technology in this design. The varying fabrics aren’t radically contrasting colours that scream “look, hi-tech breathable fabric!” and have led to scores of recent kits adorned with unnecessary white panels that spoil the overall integrity of a kit’s colour scheme. Of course the technology is there but this kit is all about the fit. Tailored to be comfortable and effective on the pitch.

Suprisingly, given the home kits switch to white shorts, the away’s shorts are also white. Although now the England badge and Umbro logo are rendered in red (so as not to spoil the simplicity of the red and white design) and simple vertical stripes are added to each leg. Like the cuffs the front of the shorts on the thigh is considerably higher than the back. The socks, which like the home are minus visible Umbro branding) seem to aesthetically borrow from the recent trend of taping the bottom of the socks around the ankle. It is not yet known what change shorts will be worn with the kit – very possibly the navy change pair from the home outfit.

My belief was that the shirt would be a grower and that a lukewarm initial response would increase in approval once replicas were bought and people realised what a stunning piece of clever design it really is. However, after the surprise launch of the shirt by Kasabian at a Paris gig the overall opinion of England fans has been incredibly positive. I have to agree and the more I see the shirt the more I love it. When you compare it to the previous England away you realise how dated that design now looks and illustrates how far Umbro have come with their modern tailoring approach to their kits.

After the incredible experience of having the outfit presented to me by the designers themselves (a real privilege) and analysing it in detail I can’t help but think that its an absolute classic and a perfect companion outfit for the home strip, ensuring that whether or not Capello’s squad bring home the World Cup trophy this summer, they will definitely be one of the best dressed teams in the tournament.


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