Geat one-offs – Middlesbrough, 1990

The 1989-90 season saw Middlesbrough create history as they made it to a Wembley final for the first time.

Wins over Port Vale, Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United gave Boro victory in the Northern section of the Full Members’ Cup, then sponsored by Zenith Data Systems.

During that season, the club’s home kit – self-produced under the brand name Skill, though oddly featuring an ‘i’ as the logo – looked like this:

Middlesbrough’s opponents were the winners of the Southern section, Chelsea. The Blues were aiming to become the first team to win the competition twice, having claimed the first running of it in 1985-86, when both they and Manchester City wore change kits.

This time, Chelsea would be in their usual strip but with added commemorative text around the crest. However, to mark the special occasion, Middlesbrough dispensed with the red bars on the upper body of the shirt and added more white where their sponsor Heritage Hampers was sited.

The special inscription was rendered as ‘ZENITH data systems’ so as to match the company’s branding. In addition, a simpler shorts style, featuring the Skill logo, was also used.

Unfortunately for Boro, the shirt’s sole outing was a losing one as Chelsea won 1-0. Even more unfortunately, Chelsea would be the source of Wembley disappointment twice more in the 1990s, along with Leicester City.

While they would gain their first major honour in 2004, winning the league cup, that final took place in Cardiff and they are still waiting for that maiden victory at the home of English football.

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