- See here for an examination of City’s 1997-98 kits
- Thanks to Stirling Sievey for his help in researching this
While the 1989-90 season provided some unusual kit action for Manchester City, wearing sky blue and maroon at Aston Villa and donning a one-off third kit at Arsenal, the following campaign was also a ripe source of sartorial interest.
In total, eight different combinations were worn by the club, including three different types of shorts with the home kit and and a third shirt that had three outings with different shorts and socks in each instance.
The default home kit remained unchanged from the previous campaign, a fairly tidy effort overall with a pattern of darker blue triangles. For the first time, Football League sleeve patches were added.
As this was an era when clubs still had to deal with shorts-clashes as well as socks-clashes in the top flight, there were three variants.
Away to Sheffield United in September and then Notts County in the FA Cup in January, sky blue alternative socks were used.
Then, at Nottingham Forest on December 29, City wore light blue shorts, which had also seen action in 1989-90.
However, as these were noticeably lighter than the shirt, they didn’t offer sufficient differentiation to white shorts. So it was that, away to Arsenal in April and Manchester United in May, the maroon away shorts and change blue socks were partnered with the home shirt.
While a socks-change was needed at Old Trafford, there was no compulsion to change at Highbury, meaning that we could feasibly have had another combination, blue-maroon-navy.
With the maroon and white striped change shirt of 1989-90 proving troublesome against teams in white, City had trialled a solid maroon change shirt at the end of that campaign, though with the same cycling-jersey-style neck as the striped offering.
For 1990-91, that shirt was modified, receiving the same collar design as the home shirt. It was only worn in its intended format during that season, though, unusually, it was used at home to Tottenham Hotspur in December – the foggy weather raised concerns about visibility and clashing with Spurs.
However, the maroon kit wasn’t enough to avoid all clashes. In the third round of the FA Cup, City were drawn away to Burnley and premiered a new white third shirt, very similar to the yellow worn at Arsenal in 1990.
Oddly, however, it was joined by the away shorts and socks, making for an overall clash against Burnley’s claret and blue shirts, white shorts and socks.
In that shirt’s other two games, alternative mixes were used. At Crystal Palace at the start of April, the home shorts and socks were worn:
Then, three weeks later at Aston Villa, the blue shorts and plain white socks were called into action.
While City had used the Hampden goalkeeper shirt prior to 1990-91, in this season Tony Coton preferred a with a grey and black zig-zag pattern.
For both league games against Norwich City, who had quite a bit of green on their shirts, Coton changed.
With the yellow version of the green shirt unsuitable, he wore a grey teamwear top, referred to in the Umbro catalogue as the Number One Goalkeeper Sweater, featuring ‘1’s throughout the fabric.
In 1991-92, City would continue to employ a number of combinations and this is something we shall look at at a later date.