In the early 1990s, Northern Ireland had a brief but memorable period with Umbro.
The latest entry in the KitBliss 100 Greatest Football Templates series features a post by Jay from Design Football celebrating the St Etienne design that was used for the country’s home and away shirts in 1990.
The change shirt – never worn – was primarily navy, while its successor was mainly dark blue, too. After Umbro, the IFA signed a deal with Asics and their first set of kits saw white return as the choice for the alternative strip. The kits were the inverse of each other and were minimal in terms of embellishments, with the blue neck inserts the only deviation from green and white.
If those outfits kept things simple, the second set of kits from the Japanese manufacturer certainly did not. Unlike anything worn by the country before, the home shirt featured a green and navy quartered design while the red and white of the Ulster banner provided the colour-scheme for the similarly-style away kit.
It was these kits which piqued the interest of @Pjt. Previously, he requested Puma Germany kits for Euro 2016 and this time he pushed the envelope a bit further, requesting versions of the NI design for the other British nations (our own patriotism decided that the Republic of Ireland should be included too).
If doing this ourselves, we would have gone with tonal quarters, like the recent Northern Ireland adidas shirt that referenced the Asics one, but that would have been a bit too boring.
We could have gone with navy for England but wanted to differentiate from Scotland, where purple seemed a natural fit.
Orange for Ireland would have been like a mid-2000s Werder Bremen shirt, but probably would not have been accepted, given what the orange on the Irish tricolour represents.
We went for green shorts for Ireland to keep it dominant in the overall colour-balance, while green and red for Wales ties in with their real kits from that period, when Lotto were quite adventurous.
As ever, feedback is welcome, good and bad, along with future FKF requests – comment below or tweet @museumofjerseys.