Fantasy Kit Friday, 25-8-17 – Hull City in Umbro in the 80s
Last year, Les Motherby of Hull City Kits made a request for Fantasy Kit Friday, looking to see his club in adidas mid-90s styles.
Now, having curated a wonderful exhibition of City kits as part of the Hull 2017 UK City of Culture celebrations, he is back with another suggestion, one that is a new departure for FKF – kits over a timeline of six years.
He has already posted the outline of the request on his site, and we produce the bulk of that here with the kits inserted. For each home kit, the black shorts are the primary with the amber short the alternative option. Over to you, Les.
The starting points for our brief were thus:
1) We’re an established Umbro club nowadays, but missed out on one of their finest epochs. So what if City didn’t go with Admiral in 1982, instead going with the double diamond?
2) What if red hadn’t been introduced as a trim colour by flamboyant chairman Don Robinson?
3) Although we’re omitting red, we shall retain the sans-stripes ethos of the time (even though we love and favour stripes), and when considering Umbro templates of the 1980s we’ll stay clear of Watford designs, as there’s little fun in merely switching yellow to amber.
Nothing typifies the early 80s more than pinstripes, indeed City went with that shirt style in 1982, with red pinstripes breaking up an otherwise plain amber shirt. So if we’re re-imagining, there needs to be a bit of a twist on the prevailing style of the era, and that twist will be tighter pinstripes.
Stoke City used a shirt design between 1983-85 that used pinstripes that way on a thick V necked shirt with solid colour sleeves. The home shirts Umbro made for City in 2015-16 had a faint whiff of this design (though that one had a wrapover V neck and the pinstripes are farther apart).
City of course retained red pinstripes when the kit was refreshed in 1984, changing material to a silkier, shinier polyester, and throwing another 1980s kit design staple into the mix, tonal shadow stripes. The effect was have alternating amber tones, matte and shiny, split by the red stripes.
Merely tweaking the design we’ve chosen for 1982-84 would be boooooring, so instead we’ve gone with what seems like a natural progression, turning pinstripes 45 degrees. Umbro pulled off this trick with a Sheffield Wednesday away shirt used between 1986-88.
Sure, we’re assuming a shirt used from 1986 was on an Umbro drawing board two years prior, but this is Fantasy Kit Friday, so your nit-picking claims of anachronism be damned!
Watford fans wondering what their home shirt could have looked like had the Hornets done a deal with Admiral need only look at Hull City’s 1986-88 home. Though it was a great design, the colour is all wrong for the Tigers, it’s clearly more yellow than amber. Let’s right the wrong of the past with an Umbro kit…
Having gone from vertical pinstripes to diagonal, the next logical progression seems to be crossed pinstripes. Handily, Umbro made the same deduction, supplying supplying Chelsea and Manchester City with home shirts featuring that pattern.
Though there were two versions, the Tigers essentially kept the same away kit throughout the Admiral era: White with black pinstripes. That’s six seasons with one change style, a period in which we wore three distinct home shirts and had four different brands advertised on them. We shall then, use only one Umbro design to cover the whole period, keeping it to traditional all white with amber and black trim, no red in sight. Sheffield United used an interesting template for an away kit used between 1986-89, rendered in electric custard yellow with red and white panels.