It started with a reply to a previous Hibernian FKF…
…and we decided to go the whole hog, bridging the 23-year gap between Manchester United leaving adidas in 1992 and resuming the partnership in 2015. Essentially, it’s a follow-on to the Liverpool 1996-2006 and 2012-19 versions.
We’ll split into a few parts, with the first one covering the period up to the end of 1996-97. A couple of things to note – each kit follows the colourway of the real-life releases; the crest changed slightly when Umbro came on board in 1992 but we have retained the white-backed one of the adidas era; and the shields are those of adidas rather than the ones that appeared on the Umbro shirts a few years before the German firm did it.
If adidas had stayed beyond 1992, there’s a chance that there would have been a new change kit for 1991-92 so as to stagger the home and away launches for alternate years, but that’s moot for the purposes of this.
People bemoan templates nowadays but back in 1992 adidas only really had three designs in the first generation of Equipment offerings and so we have shared them out across the home, away and third.
1993-94 and 1994-95
It’s easy to forget how much of a mould-breaker the black Manchester United away kit was in 1993 – in England anyway, as St Mirren had beaten them to it by two years. However, up until 1992, English clubs hadn’t been allowed to have black shirts as they would have clashed with match officials.
For the adidas version, we have gone with the Arsenal away design, but in the variation seen on the Porto change kit, with the stripes in the same colour as the body but outlined. All three of their kits in 1993-94 had black first-choice socks, but doubling up on shorts and socks colours was nothing new for them.
The 1994 home strip is based on Germany’s, while the third – introduced mid-season, like its predecessor, uses the striped layout that Argentina had at USA94.
For the infamous grey kit, we have used the quartered design that Rangers had in 1995-96 (Liverpool had it too, but with a grandad collar). The Red Devils never won in that shirt, with its tenure coming to an end at half-time away to Southampton – showing all of the possible mashups would have been too much but we had to make an exception for this, as they used the home shorts and alternative home socks in that game.
The early retirement of the grey kit meant a whole new suit of strips for United in 1996-97, with third again coming in during the campaign.
Again, Germany provides the basis for the home – a white collar and cuffs would have make it too similar to the 1990-92 strip – while the away is an open goal in terms of using the Spain design to recreate the classic Admiral change kit of the late 1970s. The third is a common adidas design from 1996.
Part 2 will be coming soon. Feedback is welcome – comment below or tweet @museumofjerseys.