Daniel Chapman’s excellent book on Leeds’ journey under Howard Wilkinson, entitled Do You Want To Win?, mentions that the summer of 1992 brought the beginning of what should have been a five-year deal with Admiral but instead it lasted just a season. Another Leeds fan, CK, wondered how the club might have looked if they had instead stuck with Umbro during the 1990s – the FKF request was made ages ago and we can only apologise that it took so long to execute.
By the end of 1991-92, Leeds’ home shirt was two years old and the away was three, each having had Top Man and Yorkshire Evening Post as sponsors. If Umbro had been staying on, then it’s possible that the away would have been replaced in 1991 in order to establish a two-year kit cycle – for the purposes of this, we will assume that the deal for the club to stay with the form was brokered late and they came up with three new kits for 1992-92, the first of the new Premier League.
We have also kept the YEP on as sponsors as Admiral were both kit manufacturers and sponsor in 1992-92. The real-life home shirts of Ipswich Town, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest provide the inspiration for home, away and third respectively.
When Leeds moved to Asics in 1993-93, the Japanese company designed a yellow and blue striped away shirt, while there was a third kit with green and a darker blue, becoming the away in 1994-95.
Thistle Hotels came in as sponsors, so the 1992-93 Umbro home would have had to be reworked.
In Umbro-ising these, we have gone with Inter Milan and Celtic/Chelsea (aways) as the bases.
A new home kit would have been due in 1994-95 and that takes its cues from Ajax, albeit without the central stripe.
The green/blue remained for 1995-96, but was actually replaced by an all-yellow offering during that campaign due to visibility issues. Pume retained yellow as the second choice when they arrived at Elland Road in 1996 and so we have merged those for a 1995-97 change strip.
One kink is the fact that Thistle Hotels were replaced as sponsors by Packard Bell in the summer of 1996, so two versions would be needed for this kit, based on Lazio’s home from back then. The home uses the England design premiered in 1996.
Puma looked to Leeds’ back catalogue of home shirts for their new away strip in 1997 and landed on the blue and yellow halves that were used from 1934-49.
In the absence of a handy Umbro halved design to cannibalise, we have cheated slightly by using Ajax again. If nothing else, it would at least create an authentic need for further outings for the yellow kit at Blackburn Rovers, as happened in reality.
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