While Manchester United were the go-to for general criticism about excessive kit releases in the 1990s, they weren’t the first club to switch to a one-year cycle for home kits.
We stand to be corrected on this, but we’re fairly sure that Middlesbrough hold that accolade, having had a new first strip every year since 1994, when they partnered with Italian firm Erreà (Aston Villa are next, having changed each season since 1997).
At that time, Boro had settled into a pattern of red home shirts and white shorts and the 1999-2000 home conformed to that, though with frustratingly mismatching navy and white trim.
That season’s change kit was white with a large purple band and black trim.
Perhaps it was because of the banded design, or maybe it was just that the shirt was well-received by supporters but, for 2000-01, the new home kit took that style, with an altered collar.
The white chest-stripe recalled the design of the 1970s, which had reintroduced between 1984 and 1987 but its only appearance since then had been in 1997-98.
It was the first time since 1982 that the first-choice home shorts were red (squad numbers were included for the first time – we could have sworn that that rule came in in 1997 but it seems not), while the Erreà logo layout also changed and the material was an improvement.
Great shirt . It was the same design. But with a much more breathable material. The 99/00 shirts were really bad for static. Bloody electric shock all the time lol. https://t.co/rYGLWo6xiZ
— Boroshirtcollector (@Boro_shirts) September 23, 2018
After an okayish start, things turned for Middlesbrough in October, as they lost eight games out of nine up to December 9. By that stage, Terry Venables had been brought in as joint-manager alongside Bryan Robson and the team won three and drew seven of their next ten to steady things.
They eventually came 14th, but any team with Paul Ince wearing number 9 doesn’t deserve to finish higher.