- As always, we are standing on the shoulders of United Kits when it comes to topics like these
It was the look that launched a thousand kits.
Nike’s Victory template had quite the lifespan as a teamwear option, being used by Scunthorpe United as an away as recently as 2013-14 (two years after they had it in home colours), but the original and best offering was as part of Manchester United’s suite of kits in 2009-10.
The club’s new adidas kit has a noticeably increased level of black, but, just under a decade ago, this was a bold step by Nike. The inspiration was the strip worn by United between 1922 and 1927, but that had been a white shirt with a red ‘v’.
As usual, United were happy to change shorts and socks away from home rather than wearing an away kit. Sometimes, this was almost to an overkill level, as white socks were used against the blue of Blackburn and Birmingham. As usual, they opted for the white socks as first choice in Europe.
The same style featured on the change kit, which was primarily black. Two years previously, they had also had a black second shirt in the style of the home and that was trimmed in red, so perhaps Nike were seeking to avoid suggestions of unoriginality by going with blue as the accent colour.
However, that meant that they had two black pairs of shorts and socks differentiated only by trim colours, and with bespoke alternatives for the away kit, they had two sets of almost identical white shorts and socks too (a black-white-black combination wasn’t used).
In fact, they had a third set of white socks, as the previous season’s away kit was retained as a third, disrupting the ‘v’ motif. This was worn against AC Milan and Bayern Munich in the Champions League, and there were white shorts available for this outfit too, though only seen in a pre-season friendly against FC Seoul.
Pleasingly, the same Victory template as on the home and away kits was carried over to the goalkeepers’ strips.
A white version with a red chevron, effectively the modern-day interpretation of the 1920s base material, was marketed, but its only competitive outing was in an early-season loss to Burnley – the alternative home shorts and socks were used.
Instead of that, bluey-green and yellow shirts were worn instead, both more than 20 times.
A royal blue, to reflect the away kit, would have been nice, but probably wouldn’t have been as useful as the sea-coloured shade. That had matching shorts, while the yellow top utilised yet another black set.