Updated: Monday, 17th February 2020 @ 2:59pm

Suited and booted: MM’s top ten classic Umbro Football kits

Suited and booted: MM’s top ten classic Umbro Football kits

| By Josh Nicholls

There are few bigger names in sport than David Beckham and it was in this strip that Beckham after a disastrous World Cup 1998 rebuilt his reputation and began his ascent to super stardom.

With its revolutionary zip-up collar and its distinctive black and white trim to break up the flaming United red it was Beckham battle wear as his accuracy from set-pieces and penetrative crossing destroyed defences up and down the land.  

Another salient feature of the kit was the black and white Umbro tramlines down the sleeves and the blur of red, black white as the peroxide blonde Beckham’s arms worked furiously as he stormed down the right-hand side is a sight many United fans will never forget.

Equally memorable for fans of the Red Devils was the sight of Dwight Yorke with his collar upturned Cantona-esque terrorising centre-halves with partner in crime Andy Cole.

Manchester City Home Shirt 2009-2011

City ended 35 years of hurt by winning their first trophy since 1976 in this kit and secured Champions League qualification for the first time under the stewardship of Roberto Mancini.

The tailored slim-fit sky blue shirt showed off the considerable physiques of Micah Richards, Yaya Toure and Mario Balotelli but it was the stocky Carlos Tevez, who was the star for the Blues during the era of this kit.

The Argentine fired 20 Premier League goals for the Citizens wearing in this shirt endearing himself to Blues fans with memorable strikes at Eastlands against Chelsea and Stoke City in particular.

Of course the success City enjoyed in this kit was followed up with a Premier League title the following season but the same but after his much-publicised fallout with Mancini Tevez’ reputation was never quite the same amongst City fans after that. 

England Italia ’90 Kits

Umbro supplied the fabrics to the last World Cup England fans can truly be proud of. The kit appeared in arguably the greatest England World Cup song of all time World In Motion.

It was donned by Steve McMahon, Peter Beardsley, Paul Gascoigne, Chris Waddle and Des Walker who provided vocals prior to the John Barnes famous rap.

The red shirt also re-emerged into popular culture in the summer of 2011 when it was worn by Jay in the Inbetweeners Movie when the four friends venture down the Malia Strip.

That night ended in tear for Jay as it culminated in him sleeping on an ants nest and it was the tears of Paul Gascoigne wearing white after England’s semi-final penalty shoot-out exit at the hands of Germany that probably prompts the most memories of these kits.

The neat button-up navy blue collar led down to white jersey which incorporated a faint kaleidoscopic silver trim which was vey in-fitting with contemporary fashion in the late 80s and early 90s.

Not that some fans would have noticed the subtle patterns embedded in the white shirt as another defining moment for this shirt was Terry Butcher’s claret seeped jersey after he battled through a World Cup qualifier against Sweden after sustaining a head injury.

For the squeamish David Platt’s exquisite over-the-head volley against Belgium in Italia 90’s round of 16 may be one of the shirt’s may be a less repulsive reference point.

In red, Gary Lineker’s pitiful penalty as he attempted to equal Bobby Charlton’s all-time England goals record against Brazil, is something the crisp-loving would like to forget but few fan ever will.

Brazil USA 1994 kits

One of the greatest ever to behold at a World Cup is to see the yellow shirts of Brazil flowing forward as their players manipulate the ball with invention, freedom and joy on the biggest stage of all.

Complimented beautifully with green trim on those royal blue shorts the Brazil shirt has for so many tournaments been synonymous with the magic of the World Cup.

Brazil won four of their five World titles in Umbro but their attire of ’94 was by far the most fetching. It’s dark green collar and trim mingled seamless with that famous yellow, which was supplemented by the Brazilian football logo in faded gold just below the chest area of the shirt.

The strip is best-remembered for being worn by Romario at his devastating best, as well as for being the winning jersey in the first ever World cup decided on penalties.

The alternative blue strip was not without its charm either and is a fabric forever etched into the tapestry of the World Cup, thanks to Bebeto’s famous baby-rocking goal celebration after scoring against the Netherlands in the quarter finals, days after his wife had given birth to their third child.


Scotland 1978 kit

Is there a kit that encapsulates the word ‘retro’ better than the Scottish strip of 1978? With its wide colours and classic combination of navy blue and white the kit worn by the heroes of the tartan army back in Argentina ‘78 is a throwback to the days of perms, platform shoes and when Scotland actually qualified for tournaments.

The minimalistic but smart shirt was intended to be uniform for the Allie Macleod’s side as they took the world by storm in South America.

Alas this did not materialise.

Despite boasting kop icons Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Souness not to mention Manchester United’s Lou Macari, Gordon Mcqueen and Joe Jordan in their squads, Scotland quest to win the World Cup ultimately ended in heroic failure.

The Scots ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime in the tournament throwing away an early lead to lose their first match 3-1 to Peru. A tepid 1-1 draw with Iran followed before the Macleod’s side miraculously defeated tournament favourites the Netherlands 3-2 in their final group match.

However Scotland had left themselves too much to do and exited the finals on goal difference.

Nonetheless Scotland’s 1978 kit will always be remembered for being worn by Archie Gemmill, who scored one of the World Cup’s classic goals against Holland.

Like most great football kits, it made its way into popular culture with footage of Gemmill’s goal featuring in Danny Boyle’s 1996 cult classic Trainspotting, when the film’s lead character Mark Renton remarks after the climax of his first sexual experience in a considerable while: ‘I haven’t felt that good since Archie Gemmill scored in 1978!

Jorge Campos Mexico goalkeeper shirt

All goalkeepers are crazy as the saying goes and flamboyant Mexican shot-stopper did nothing to dispel this cliche with this multi-coloured ensemble that he wore for El Tricolor during the 1994 World Cup.

Chelsea home shirt 04/05

The kit that Chelsea donned as marshaled by the self-confessed 'Special One', Jose Mourinho, they stormed to their first title in 50 years with a then record points total of 94. Frank Lampard's two goals at Bolton Wanderers' Reebok Stadium which clinched the title is perhaps the most memorable moment the Londoners enjoyed in this shirt.

Columbia home shirt World Cup 1994

One of the most iconic footballers ever to grace World Cup turf was undoubtedly Colombia’s flamboyant number ten Carlos Valderrama. Sporting an outrageous blonde afro and a bushy moustache the midfielder always caught the eye, even it was not always for his technical proficiency as a footballer. Valderrama helped Umbro’s yellow Colombia shirt with a blue collar and trim become one of the most notable in World Cup history.

Liverpool home shirt 1982/83

Worn by the Anfield club when they were still the undoubted superpower in English football, Umbro’s red home shirt with its v-neck and golden club crest, not to mention its yellow and red away counterpart is still donned by fans to this day. The Reds also enjoyed a successful campaign in this kit winning their 14th league title and defeating Manchester United 2-1 in the League Cup final during what proved to be Bob Paisley’s final season at the club. Ian Rush is likely to hold particularly fond memories of this kit as he fired 31 goals over the course of that season.

Everton home shirt 1997/1999

The late 90s may not have been the most successful period in Everton’s history but they did at least look good. The primary royal blue of the kit was complemented stylishly by yellow and white trim as well as a navy blue oval which incorporated the club crest. Umbro recently agreed a new kit deal with Everton, but they will be hard-pressed to re-create a kit of this standard. Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson fired the goals that staved off relegation for the Toffees, while a young Danny Cadamarteri set of dreadlocks (remember him?) also became a regular – temporarily –  in this kit.

Main image courtesy of Fendy Zaidan and Chelsea image from John Dobson, both via Flickr, with thanks.