Having used a nondescript Umbro teamwear style for their third shirt in 1990-91 – see here for their Season in Kits – Manchester City had a ‘proper’ alternative for the following season.
Again, white was the choice alongside the new sky-blue home and maroon change kits, with the design reflecting that of the primary choice with its navy flashes on the right sleeve, though without the abstract pattern that was present on the home.
This shirt was first seen away to West Ham United in September of 1991, worn with blue home change shorts and navy home socks.
Nowadays, third strips are big business, with manufacturers often keen to impose their own themes across their rosters, but back then they were strictly for solving kit-clashes, so much so that City didn’t have a ‘third kit’ per se.
There were light-blue home change socks but they couldn’t be classed as third socks as they didn’t appear with the third shirt in 1991-92 – in its only other two outings that season, it appeared at Aston Villa in December in the same white-sky-navy combination as at West Ham and then in January at Crystal Palace – where the home kit would have sufficed, in all honesty – with the white home shorts and navy socks.
With City replacing the maroon away kit with a purple offering pinstriped in white for 1992-93, it meant that the white shirt was called upon even more for the first season of the new Premier League.
The usefulness of the purple was called into question in the third game of that season away to Blackburn Rovers, when it had to be worn with mismatching yellow socks to help alleviate the clash with the home side’s blue and white halves and City would wear the white against the five sides with predominantly blue jerseys – Chelsea, Everton, Ipswich Town, Oldham Athletic and Wimbledon.
While the white-white-navy combination of 1991-92 was seen again, at Chelsea, the white-blue-navy did not appear – instead, plain white socks (possibly the same as those used with the 1990-91 third) were the main choice with the shirt. At Oldham and Wimbledon – with socks that had the 1980s-style solid diamonds – City were in an all-white look, while the remainder of the shirt’s games saw it paired with blue shorts and white socks.
The blue socks finally had their night out with the white shirt in an FA Cup replay at Reading – though that mix with the hosts’ blue and white hoops, white shorts and white socks was far from ideal.
One other thing of note – Umbro had updated their logo in 1992 and many of their English clubs had updated double-diamonds on the shirts carried over from 1991-92 while the shorts continued to carry the old insignia. However, City were the opposite in that, while the home and third shirts now had the Premier League sleeve patches, they continued to have the Umbro logo with the lower-case lettering while the white and blue shorts now had the version with the all-caps wordmark.
Edit: Although, it seems the long-sleeved versions did have the new Umbro logo: