Twice as nice – England, 1992
The England home and away kits launched just before the 1990 World Cup had a lifespan of almost three years, something which would be unheard of nowadays.
Even back then, it was unusual – it seems strange to watch An Impossible Job, the documentary covering the ill-fated qualification attempt for USA94 and to see the 1990 strip in action at a time when teams in the new Premier League were decked out in laced shirts and baggy shorts.
However, while the blue 1990 third shirt, forever associated with World in Motion, only had one actual outing, against Turkey in 1991, it was replaced a year before the other two.
While it had more or less the same shade of blue – and identical socks – to its predecessor, the shirt was quite different stylistically. Though it had new all-caps Umbro logo associated with 1992-93, the design was of the 1991-92 vintage, using a bat-wing cut, while the shorts were still short.
Most notable were the three lions diagonally arranged across the chest – similar to those on the badge but more cartoon-like, while they were of different sizes and each had unique ‘movement outlines’. The smallest of the three was replicated on the left leg of the shorts, while the shirt and shorts had a typical early 1990s geometric shadow pattern.
It was limited to just two appearances, though, both friendlies – the first against Czechoslovakia in March 1992 and then against Spain that September. In each case, the opposition wore red home shirts, so England’s home strip would have worked if necessary.
However, while superfluous third kits would become far more prevalent at club level, England wouldn’t need a third strip again until 2017, against Scotland – and even then, it was the previous away kit that was used.