- Thanks to Andrew Dalton for his sharing his research
Umbro’s over-arching theme for 1992-93 was traditional looks, as baggier shirts and shorts were accompanied by the use of laces on the necks.
While few of the new strips were exact copies of those that had gone before – and the ultra-modern fabric patterns added to the anachronism stew – by and large there was a sense of familiarity with teams’ new home strips.
For Sheffield United, after an unusual-but-not-unattractive tri-striped design for the previous two years, the new strip called to mind the Admiral style of the 1970s, with the red and white stripes augmented by thick black trim. It was the first time since 1981 that the first-choice socks were white, while white shorts and socks hadn’t been paired together as a default look since 1967-68.
After promotion to Division 1, Dave Bassett’s side had endured slow starts in both 1990-91 and 1991-92 before securing survival in the second half of the season. In a bid to get his side going earlier, Bassett decided to hold a Christmas party in August and it had the desired effect as the Blades beat Manchester United 2-1 in their opening Premier League game with Brian Deane – wearing long sleeves – having the honour of scoring the first goal in the new competition.
Alternative black shorts and socks (the latter identical to the Manchester United home set) were available and all four combinations of default and change items appeared with the home shirt – white shorts/black socks at Chelsea, black shorts/white socks at Manchester City and black shorts and socks at Blackburn Rovers (in the FA Cup), Coventry City, Everton and Leeds United. Incidentally, red change socks would be used in 1993-94, most infamously in the final game against Chelsea that saw United relegated.
Those sets of shorts and socks would also see usage with the club’s other two shirts. The yellow and red change kit remained from 1991-92, when it had also appeared with the black home shorts and socks (and white alternative elements) from the previous home strip.
This time around, its only outing in its default format in the Premier League was away to Ipswich Town, but there were four mashups.
Yellow-black-black was the choice against Blackburn in the league, while there was a yellow-black-red mix against Manchester United, Middlesbrough and Queens Park Rangers. In the first away game of the season, against Liverpool at Anfield, they opted for white shorts and socks with the yellow (incidentally, Liverpool goalkeeper David James wore blue) while the game away to Southampton saw them in yellow-white-red.
During 1991-92, a white third shirt – almost identical to the Nottingham Forest away – had been launched, proving popular. It was retained and used six times, in four different formats. Five of the games saw black shorts used – with black socks against Bristol City in the Coca-Cola Cup and Arsenal in the league, white socks against Aston Villa and in the game that relegated Forest, and with the red away socks in a FA Cup replay at Burnley. The only exception was the second trip of the season to Anfield in the league cup, where they played in all-white.
The club finished the season in 14th place out of 22 in the Premier League and reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1961, losing to rivals Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley.
In total, the club appeared in 13 different kit combinations (11 in the league) using only three different types of shirts, shorts and socks – just under half of the maximum of 27 mixes possible.