2014/15 home kit by Umbro – First impressions

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The wait is over…Umbro have unveiled the primary kit City will wear both home and abroad in 2014/15. So what do the HCK kit geeks make of it?

SombreEthyl: “Oh that’s beautiful. Very, very beautiful.

I consider the 1990-92 Matchwinner home to be the ideal City shirt; bold stripes with plain amber sleeves. Or at least, I did. This, I think, employs that look even better, it screams ‘HULL CITY’ even if the badge doesn’t carry the name.

As far as Umbro’s remit goes, they’ve nailed it, it’s a classic looking City kit with some neat technical features (such as the small white disc topped ventilation holes on the back). Simple round collar, lots of stripes that aren’t too thin, and solid amber sleeves to brighten a shirt that could look quite dark if the sleeves are striped too, or as they have been at times, solid black. Amber is the most important tone in our colour scheme, our kits should be bright, even with a striped shirt, and this is the way to achieve that.

Similarly, the socks should have lots of amber in them too, and if we aren’t replicating last years gorgeous hooped socks, then all amber is the next best thing. The thin black stripe on the foldover band complements the simple and elegant black shorts, which have an amber stripe of the same width on each side.

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The image leaked the day before the unveiling (grr, I hate grainy leaked pictures that have people on Twitter slagging off details they can’t see properly or may well have since been changed) showed a shirt with wonky alignment of the Umbro double diamond and club crest, that seems to have been put right, as has the sponsor, which was on a black background that did the shirt no favours at all.

The sponsor then… I have no problem with betting firms advertising on football shirts (I don’t like shirt advertising full stop, there are plenty of ways to be sponsored that don’t involve turning a team’s primary identifying mark into a billboard, but hey ho, this isn’t the time for that debate), so 12BET is a significant improvement on a pawn shop/payday moneylender.

My concern then is whether a sponsors logo affects the visual integrity of a shirt by being too big, or using colours that clash with a teams palette. With the earlier black background plate that was the case, but now that the sponsor is applied as white text with a black background, 12BET’s logo doesn’t look intrusive, and I actually think the logographic Chinese text looks cool. Nobody with Hull City’s interests at heart has opposed the club trying to tap into the Asian market for sponsorship, they just don’t think changing the club’s name to that end is worth that or necessary, and seeing hanzi text on a City shirt proves that.

The crest then… Y’know, as a shirt badge, which is often different from a club crest or a single element of it (think Arsenal with just a cannon, or City from the 1940s-1970s with a scraggy looking tiger that never appeared anywhere but on the shirts), the shield with just the tiger head and ‘1904’ looks alright, although I still think it’s daft to not have the club’s name on the shirt. It’s when you see a nameless crest on the side of the KC Stadium that it looks silly, but as a shirt badge it’s not so bad (it’s better than the awful clipart crab crest from the 1999/2000 shirt, which crest aside, I love) though I’d much prefer the beloved crest used from 2002 till the FA Cup final.

If this had the old crest, I’d declare this the perfect Hull City kit, and since the crest switch is on the club and not the supplier, Umbro should be praised to high heaven for providing the club with a perfect Hull City kit.

Verdict: Very close to perfection.

The club have indicated there may be a different sponsor or the club’s charity of the year on the shirts used in Europe, so there is the worry of an intrusive logo yet to be allayed there, but for now I’m very happy with that home kit and I’m looking forward to seeing the club’s own name and numbers fonts for Europe too.”

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JGHull: “That’s almost it. That’s not just the latest Hull City AFC kit, that’s almost *the* Hull City AFC kit. There are two things which prevent me from fawning over it completely, with one maybe more major than the other.

I’ve got to agree with SombreEthyl (which pains us both) but I think Umbro have hit their brief squarely on the head. It’s a gorgeous, bold striped shirt with a simple, slightly old fashioned collar. I like the amber sleeves too. The white Umbro detailing on the sleeve cuff adds a little something. It’s the perfect Hull City shirt.

But I can’t get past the badge.

The new badge actually looks OK in situ and I’m going to leave the politics out of it (but would seriously prefer our shirts to carry our proper name) but what went on with the kerning (designer-ponce word for the spacing between the letters)? Why is the 1 of 1904 so far away from the rest of the numbers? It’s such a simple thing. I’ve seen someone tweak it and post on Twitter and it makes such a difference. 2 more minutes spent on the badge artwork and it would have been so much tidier. I can’t unsee it. I suspect the embroidery may cover it up slightly as it might be hard to replicate at that small size with a needle and thread but look at it at a decent size and the kerning really lets it down. You can see it now too can’t you? Sorry.

To summarise, put the old crest on and we’re done – Hull City shirt design could be ticked off as mission completed. It’s that good.

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As for the full kit, I’d always have hooped hosiery. Always. It just looks fantastic with the striped shirts. Maybe next year Umbro? However, that’s a minor gripe really.

My last words are reserved for the sponsor. I think the Chinese text looks brilliant. Seriously. A Hull City shirt carrying an Asian sponsor looks brilliant – I don’t really care that it’s a bookies. Let’s face it, the horse has bolted on bookies slapping their names all over Premier League kits but as a logo, 12BET looks great. I’m glad the design was changed from a black sponsors patch across the stripes to an heavy black keylined logo too (the patch being seen on the leak that SombreEthyl refers to above). To top it off, the club seem happy that it’s a great deal for them which frankly makes it a great deal for everyone. An Asian sponsor paying good money and without having to change the club name to attract them is a win-win for everyone.

Verdict: Well played Umbro. Very well played.

The leaked images imply the away kit will be all black, which necessitates a third kit. We’re hoping for classy all-white, but when both change kits are unveiled (and here’s hoping there’s no crappy leaks this time), we’ll let you know what we think. Now it’s your turn. Disagree with a our Umbro love-in or ready to jump on the double-diamond bandwagon? Give us your thoughts.

Get Our Kits Out #5: 2005/06 home shirt #6 Jon Parkin

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This 2005/06 home shirt, used numerous times by forward John Parkin, stands as evidence of the foul means employed by defenders in order to thwart the advances of a player that fans nicknamed ‘The Beast’, in a year in which City acclimatized to the newly rebranded second tier.

The shirt was worn in a ‘Coca Cola Championship’ meeting with Coventry City at the KC Stadium in January 2006, a game that ended 2-1 to the visitors. During the game, Coentry’s Welsh defender and Phantom Of The Opera mask wearer Robert  Page got away with a flagrant foul in the box that was missed by ref Andy Woolmer, but not by club photographers who captured the entire sequence,

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In the goalmouth melee, Page grabbed Parkin by the scruff of his (shirt) neck and dragged the burly striker to the floor, not leaving go even with both players grounded. The grab and pull move tore the white collar hem clean off, and ripped Parkin’s name in two on the back!

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After the game, the shirt (which featured the Football League’s new font set for names and numbers and updated competition patches on the sleeves) was sold by the club on Ebay, unwashed and signed, and it fetched £160. The buyer listed it on Ebay 7 years later which is how we picked it up.

Ranking the 2010-2014 adidas City kits

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The four year deal signed with Umbro to supply kit to The Tigers will soon bring to an end City’s (sometimes fractious) four year association with the brand with the three stripes. Whereas the boldly striped, turnover collared home shirt adidas made for The Tigers between 1979-1982 is still spoken of in reverential terms (despite it being modelled by some of the worst performing City squads in club history), it is fair to say we haven’t had a truly classic home kit from adidas since they became supplier for a second time in 2010. That is in part because other (highly visible) teams have shared the same templates as us, and having an unpalatable sponsor splashed across some of the garments has harmed overall perception of them.

Sponsor desirability aside, we reckon that adidas have done a better job with the away kits over the last four years than with the primary uniforms, and wondered where some away kits would rank when all eight distinct kits worn over the last four seasons were grouped together, so after a team huddle, we’ve put together a HCK ‘power rankings’ of adidas City kits used between 2010-2014.

We’ve tried not to consider feats achieved by the team wearing it when wearing each strip, the example of the 1979-1982 home kit shows that a uniform set can be considered classic even if The Tigers were terrible during the period of its use.

1: 2012/13 away

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In the absence of a classic home shirt, the nearest adidas have come to producing an iconic kit for The Tigers over the last four years is the all black with amber trim away set used in 2012/13. This kit gave City a brooding, menacing look when on their travels, and was sometimes used just because it looked good, not because there was any kit clash, such as at Elland Road in a memorable win over Dirty Leeds.

In a perfect world there would have been a small amount of contrast amber trim on the collar and it wouldn’t have the Cash Converters logo on the front (a decision way beyond adidas’ making), but even advertising a tat shop couldn’t taint the majestic appearance of this kit , which had its own set of amber alternate shorts (distinct from the amber alt shorts designed for the home shirt) that were used just once, in a League Cup clash at Doncaster. You wouldn’t want to have seen that look a lot, but it was a striking matchup and a handy alternative.This kit was used less after City signed a player with some level of colour blindness, causing City to go more with the home shirt with amber shorts and socks, but it was nonetheless a lovely set and the best produced in the four years being supplied by adidas.

2: 2010/11 away

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Though we’re happy with the occasional change-up, we prefer to see City wear traditional all-white when playing on the road when a change kit is necessary, and adidas nailed it with the 2010/11 away kit.

The set features just enough amber trim to make it unmistakably a City away kit, while also offering the flexibility of mash-ups using parts of the home kit. This happened a lot during our first season after relegation from the Premier League, the white shirt was worn with black shorts more than once, and sometimes with the black home socks too.

The white shorts were used with the home shirt on occasion, such as in the televised win at Preston. The back of shirt sponsor above the player names didn’t look as jarring as it did on the home shirt that year, but the strip would have benefitted aesthetically from it not being there at all, and that can’t be pinned on adidas.

Having the adidas logo on the breast as opposed to being centrally positioned would have looked more balanced, but this was still a lovely kit that ticks all the boxes on a requirements of a traditional City away kit checklist.

3: 2013/14 home

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It’s all about the socks for us, where the 2013/14 home kit is concerned. We’d been hankering for hooped socks for some time so yelped with glee when they made a return. Black socks with striped shirts can make the overall set look too dark, and amber socks often look washed out compared to the shirt ( that’ll happen with different materials), but if you have hooped socks that are black and amber in equal measure, the amber looks right and you don’t have to change when away if the home team uses solid black hose.

The shirt is just fine too (apart from the sponsor which is blah, blah, blah you know our views on the tat shop by now). Thick stripes? Ding! That’s always the starting point of a good City home kit. The collar, which reverses the stripe alignment, is a contemporary adidas staple (it appears on Bayern Munich’s Champions League shirt) and we’re not as fussed as some by the angular black sleeve panels so the competition patch doesn’t get applied unevenly over adidas’ trademark three stripes.

The one benefit of that black sleeve panel is it allows City’s kitman to be able to issue black compression undershirts rather than amber, as the white elastane hidden within the form fitting garment makes the shade of amber hard to get right. What is poor is the embroidered club crest, which looks shrunken and distorted, giving the tiger a bozz-eyed appearance.

The shorts used give the kit SOME distinction from West Brom, who have the same shirt and socks template, but our true love is the glorious pair of hooped socks which elevate this over other recent /// home kits. If we had our way, we’d always have striped shirts and hoopy hose.

4: 2011/12 away

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Light blue was once a home kit colour for Hull City, when amber dye was prohibitively expensive post WW2 and blue dye was readily available from local firm Reckitts, at the time the world’s largest supplier of blue pigments. As a result, it makes for a welcome change kit colour when we’re not in all-white or all-black.

This shade of blue was termed ‘Argentina blue’ by adidas and the shirt was normally paired with white shorts though on occasion alternative navy-blue shorts were used. Featuring a simple collar, white piping trim and a shadow pattern of shiny horizontal bands on the front, this was a rather nice away shirt. Early concept images showed the same horrific black sponsor patch that blighted the home shirt, totally unnecessary on a solid colour shirt, but the club responded to online criticism by removing the patch, to their credit.

It isn’t the most memorable of away kits, but it was decent, and found use as a third shirt in 2012/13 when the all-black away kit wasn’t sufficient to prevent clashing. Derby used the same template for their home shirt, but that isn’t anywhere as near as annoying as sharing the same home kit template with another team from the same division.

5: 2011/12 home

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Never has a perfectly functional City home shirt been so sullied by the application of a sponsor patch (and before you suggest the Needler’s Sweets patches on the front of Pelada’s leopard spot aberration usedbetween 1993-95, that was far from being a perfectly functional home strip!) as on the 2001/12 home kit.

As in the season previous, adidas gave us the same template as they supplied Stoke with, and that’s frustrating, but critiquing this set from only a City kit perspective, this is a decent strip before the sponsor patch is added, and we saw that when it was used san-sponsor for the ‘Legends Game’ part of Andy Dawson’s testimonial year events.

Bold stripes on both front and back always get our approval, and having plain amber sleeves brightens up a kit that can look quite dark if (as is usual with striped shirts) black socks are used with the black shorts. It wasn’t just the sleeves that were plain amber on this shirt, as the yoke sections were tonally solid too, and though the extended, overlapping collar piece looks like it was inspired by a pharmacy staff uniforms, it looks just fine.

Some parts of the shirt were made of a mesh material to help with sweat wicking, and as a result some panels looked to be a different shade of amber than others when vied from some angles (or when the shirt was wet). This happens on all kits, but is less obvious on a red or blue shirt than it is on amber, but given that it’s part of a performance garment that needs to have moisture dissipation properties, we think it should be overlooked. Peel off the sponsor, and this is a decent Hull City home kit.

6: 2012/13 home

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The only non-striped home shirt during adidas’ four year run was used during City’s 2012/13 promotion campaign, and it wasn’t quite solid amber, because of a large black panel on the front. This is an ok kit but not one that causes excitation, though it is notable for working well when paired with amber alternative shorts.

Ordinarily amber shirts matched with shorts and socks that are also amber lack sufficient contrast trim to stop the tone looking pale and washed out, but the hefty black panel on the top part of this shirt meant the amber still ‘popped’ and didn’t appear to be same shade as a faded dishcloth. The promotion, sealed on a chaotic final day of the season, is what will keep this kit in the memory, not the design, which Fulham have used as an away kit in 2013/14, The Cottagers wore their red and white version for the 6-0 thrashing at the KC Stadium.

7: 2013/14 away

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The use of high blue and red for an away kit got some people’s goat when this kit was first released, and some fans voiced displeasure at the unbalanced look created by having red socks with blue shirts and socks that don’t have much red trim to link the full kit together.

We feel it’s ok to throw something different in now and then where away kits are concerned, such as when we went purple and white on our travels in 1999/00, as long as we have an away set that looks like it’s a City kit more times than not. On that charge, this kit is guilty, nothing about it says Hull City, even if blue is a main colour of the city’s civic crest* and even though City have worn blue as a home kit, in the 1930s. This is an alright football strip, even with the red socks (that were sometimes replaced with white hose when the home side had a predominantly red kit, creating a Chelsea-ish look) but as a Hull City kit, it doesn’t get much love.

*Thinking about the civic crest (of three stacked coronet crowns in gold on a field of blue), a mostly blue kit with metallic gold trim would say ‘City of Hull’, if not Hull City. Maybe not a bad idea for 2017 when our fair port is celebrated as a city of culture.

8: 2010/11 home

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The first home kit of the 2010-14 adidas deal was based on a template also used by Stoke. Fuzzy stripes had been popular on the continent in the preceding few years, especially in Italy where Juventus and both Milan clubs had their black stripes rendered in a blurred or softly defined manner.

The stripes on this City shirt had the look of oily tyre tracks, which wasn’t a great look, yet having them on both sides of the shirt would have at least made the kit look balanced, the back panels on these shirts were plain amber (and sullied by a back of shirt sponsor advertising ambulance chasers Neill Hudgell Solicitors, that was unwisely placed above the player names and applied in blue and red) that created an odd effect when one City player faced forwards and another player faced them, making it appear that City players had different, non-uniformed shirts on.

That goes against the entire point of a football kit, which is to definitively identify who is on the same side. Having fuzzy stripes on the back would have meant using white for the screened on player names, squad numbers and back of shirt sponsor, which would have looked far smarter, and having a back of shirt sponsor (which served to highlight our parlous financial state after relegation from the Premier League) underneath the squad numbers on player shirts would have looked better than having two stacked rows of text in different typefaces, which was a cluttered and messy combination.

Some fans didn’t like the way the club crest looked or how it was applied. It was similar in appearance and construction to the Lextra competition patches heat bonded onto the sleeves of all nPower League teams.The two layered patch featured a printed felt tiger head and club name over a shiny, woven amber field, creating a multi dimensioned look. Like sleeve patches, the crests were ironed on rather than stitched on.

With solid stripes printed on both front and back panels, the back of shirt sponsor applied in white underneath the numbers and an embroidered crest, this kit’s shirt would have looked far better, but as it is, it’s the main part of the worst of the four home kits and in our mind, the worst overall.

Umbro and Hull City sign four year kit deal

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As predicted on our Twitter feed, Hull City will wear Umbro made kits in 2014/15 and for three seasons beyond after signing a 4 year deal with the Cheadle based firm.

Umbro did a great job with City’s kits between 2007-2010, their plain amber shirt from 2007/08 is synonymous with promotion achieved via the play-offs at Wembley, their only true striped City shirt of that deal was worn when The Tigers cut a swath through the Premier League in the early part of 2008/09 (including away wins against Arsenal and Tottenham) as City defied the odds to stay up. Umbro’s pinstriped 2009/10 was lovely, and clothed our players in their first appearance in the Barclay’s Asia Trophy contested in Beijing, China, although it had an unhappy end when City were relegated back to the Championship.

Our favourite Umbro City kit? The magnificently pure all white away kit from 2007/08 that also saw service in 2008/09 as a third kit worn at Newcastle in an FA Cup tie. We look forward to seeing Umbro’s first offering as part of the new deal,and the effort they put into marketing City kits.

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The teaser campaigns run ahead of the three seasons they made apparel for The Tigers were professionally, tastefully and respectfully done, they made Hull City feel like a.celebrated stable member rather than just a team to foist ubiquitous templates onto, and it is good to see Britain’s most noted kit maker recover after they were cruelly gutted and ditched by Nike.

Having Dean Windass and Geovanni be part of the deal unveiling as ‘Umbro heroes’ at half time between City v Arsenal was a lovely touch. Is it too late for Umbro to whip us up an FA Cup final kit? Probably, though it would be nice to see us play at Wembley without a tat shop being advertised on our garb. Adidas got a raw deal seeing that plastered on their shirts, though it is yet to be soon who will replace the pawnbrokers as main club sponsors for 2014/15.

 

Get Our Kits Out #4: 2013/14 home shirt #6 Curtis Davies

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This short sleeved 2013/14 home shirt was issued to and worn by City captain and player of the year elect Curtis Davies. The sleeves carry the updated Premier League competition patches (designated ‘Pro-S’) and on the back are the new numbers and letters (called ‘PS-pro’). The old ‘SensCilia’ appliqués, used between 2007-2013, had a felt-like feel, but the shinier and plastic feeling replacements are lighter and the graphics look sharper.

DaviesFrontThis shirt was likely used in several games, but was last worn in the 1-0 home win over West Ham in September 2013 and has not been washed so is stained with KC Stadium turf in several places. Davies played the full game.

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August Kit News Round-Up

Sagbo1Kit supplier adidas released a statement yesterday, apologising for delays in the production and delivery of City’s 2013/14 training kit. The Tigers had been wearing neon yellow and navy training kit in pre season while their own blue or black apparel was being produced, evidently wearing gear made for Sunderland (their away kit is neon yellow and navy) badged with City crests as an interim measure. Consequently the launch date for new training gear on sale in Tiger Leisure has been and gone, hence the apology from the German sportswear giant. We rather like the neon yellow apparel, and would love to get our hands on some, whether part of City’s current palette or not.

AltShortsOf more concern than the training kit is the home kit shorts, which have also been delayed. City wore the new home shirt and fetching hooped socks in friendlies at North Ferriby and Winterton last month, using shorts from last season’s kit range. At Ferriby, the black 2012/13 home shorts were worn, with the ‘home’ amber alternate shorts from the last campaign being used against Winterton Rangers.

BragaSocksWanting to take a complete new kit to Portugal, kit man John Eyre elected to use the royal blue, white and red away kit in two friendlies played in Albufeira. The full away kit with red socks was used in the 0-0 draw against Sheffield Wednesday, in which the Owls wore their new away kit (a black and yellow affair made by Puma). Against SC Braga however, City debuted alternate blue socks against the Portuguese League Cup holders, who use red socks with their primary kit.

AMacGoalkeeper kits from 2012/13 were used in all friendlies until City ventured to eastern Germany to face Dynamo Dresden. Alan McGregor wore the light green 2013/14 ‘keeper kit for the first time in the 1-0 win at the glücksgas stadion, while the outfield players wore the full away kit as Dresden play in yellow and black. The Dynamo game proved educational, teaching us the German word for kitman; John Eyre was listed in the matchday programme as City’s ‘Zeugwart’.

Tommy Coyle represents!

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There was some tidy cross-promotion work done last week when local boxer Tommy Coyle promoted his fight with Derry Mathews at Craven Park by visiting the KC Stadium for a new City home shirt. The 2013/14 Tigers kit went on sale Saturday, the same day that ‘Boom Boom’ fought mouthy Scouser Mathews on the same card as Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell making his pro-boxing debut.

Even better than the shirt holding photo-op was Coyle sporting the new home kit’s brilliant hooped socks for the fight, pairing them with black and amber boxing shorts. Coyle bossed the fight, with Mathews later admitting that the Hull fighter “bullied” him in each round, but our lad succumbed to a superb left hook in the tenth round that took Coyle down.

Aesthetically speaking at least, Tommy Coyle is our champion, wearing City socks for a pro-boxing fight makes him somewhat of a legend in our eyes.

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2013/14 home kit – The HCK verdict

Like a burlesque performer, City have gotten us hot under the collar by performing a strip tease this week. On Monday they revealed the new home kit socks, on Tuesday we saw the shorts, and today we’ve feasted our eyes on the shirt. So now we’ve seen the lot, in all it’s shocking glory, what do we make of the 2013/14 home kit?

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A shirt with bold stripes and hooped socks, what is there not to love about this kit? Well, the sponsor for one, but y’know we’ve stated our objections to that deal oftentimes so I won’t re-tread old ground now, and at least it has been applied in the least ugly fashion and there is no appalling black patch across the chest.

The stripes are the perfect width in my view; it’s instantly recognisable as a Hull City shirt which is a great starting point. The contrast striped collar is an interesting look, I’d have preferred a cleaner collar design but I think it will grow on me. The amber yoke panel means the Drei Streifen don’t look messy on a striped shirt and should ensure a better fit across the shoulders.

I like plain amber sleeves on a striped shirt to brighten the overall look, the thick, oblique black sleeve stripes on this shirt create a big expanse of black, but when the Premier League patches are added to player shirts it will break that space up and will look just fine.

The City crest on this shirt is like on the away shirts, a bit smaller than what we’ve had on other City kits. Maybe the scroll banners on the bigger crests fall foul of the Premier League rules on crest size, though it didn’t seem an issue in 2008/09 and 2009/10. The smaller crest bunches up the detail on the tiger head and make it look a bit squinty eyed, which is a shame, though the crest being stitched on rather than heat bonded is a good thing.

The shorts are just fine, the truncated three stripes match how those on the shirts are broken to make room for a competition patch so there is design continuity. Then there is the socks, have I mentioned that I love the socks? I adore hooped socks, and like the adidas brand so I’ve been waxing lyrical about these since they were revealed on Monday. I collect matchworn City shirts, and as much as I’m looking forward to getting a player worn home shirt at some point, I’m more interested in getting some matchworn hooped socks, and yes I know that sounds weird.

Template kits are nothing new, and it’s a fact of life that unless you’re a Chelsea, Bayern or Real Madrid sized club, you’ll share a kit design with other clubs. West Brom use this design as an away kit, that doesn’t bother me at all, but if they use the same template for their home kit I’d be a bit miffed about that. Sunderland and Stoke, the other Premier League sides who wear stripes and have adidas as kit supplier use different templates for their home shirt so hopefully none of the stripy shirted adidas teams will share a template for a home shirt, though there are only so many stripy templates to go round. Brentford’s home shirt looks great from the front, it’s a really clean striped design, but the back is solid white, and I don’t like that, if their shirt was stripes front and back I’d have been happy to use the same shirt.

As for the shirt we’ve got, the positives far outweigh the negatives, and I like this kit a lot, especially those sexy hooped socks (I’ll have ten pairs please).

Credit to the club for building up interest with the teaser pics on social networking sites, that and the reveal using the adidas #all-in slogan has been pretty well done. Contrast our launch with that of the Sheffield Wednesday away kit, not only is the shirt trainingwear dross, but they didn’t have shorts and socks ready in time so had players in trackie pants looking like chavs scratting about outside an off licence.

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JGHull

Smart.

There’s really not a lot to dislike here – it’s what a City kit should be. Broad stripe, black shorts, hooped socks. I’m also really pleased we’ve gone with the template that has the striped back (no official shots of it yet but the WBA Away shirt uses the same template and that has a full striped back).

The collar treatment draws the eye a little and I’d have probably preferred a plain black trim to the collar rather than the black V but that’s nit picking.

City home shorts are hard to balls up but add in the hooped socks and it’s a smart looking, genuinely “City” City kit.

I’ve got to say it though haven’t I? The sponsor. Whilst the colouring of the sponsor allows the logo to fit into the kit better than in previous years, it’s still a low rent brand to be associated with. Shame really. The hunt is on to find an unsponsored one.

Overall, it’s been a bit of duff year for kit geeks with very little to get excited by. Everton have basically launched the same kit as last year and the England/Man City Umbro demise has led to lots of identikits, particularly for goalkeepers. Whilst it’s easy to long for the days before the blatantly obvious templating that we have now, it does feel a bit of an off year across the board.

It seems to be a year with lots of team wear that looks like trainingwear (I’m looking at you awful City away kit – but there are others) and we all know the actual trainingwear will be identikit too. It’s just a bit tedious this year.

Having said all of that, this home kit is a proper City kit. I’m a fan of kits which uniquely identify clubs and broad amber and black stripes, black shorts and hooped socks does exactly that for Hull City AFC, The Tigers…

Hull City in hooped socks – a potted history

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Here at Hull City Kits, we’ve long been vocal proponents of a return to hooped socks, so we whooped with delight when the club teased us all yesterday with a photo showing part of the new City home kit, revealing that hoopy hose will be part of the ensemble. It was as if our entreaties to the kit god Polyesteus had finally been answered!

Hooped socks look great, and the amber hoops brighten up a kit with striped shirts that can look rather dark when paired with black shorts and socks, which is the norm. That has led to using alternate socks with the home kit, such as at Manchester United, Tottenham and Portsmouth in 2008/09 and when we used the previous season’s amber home socks away to Ipswich in 2006/07. Hooped socks remove the need for using alts in games where the opponents have dark stockings.

City have had hooped hose before, most recently in the early 80s when red was part of City’s palette at the behest of much loved former chairman Don Robinson. Most recently that is if you don’t include the socks of the 2009/10 home kit, which visually connected the stockings to the jerseys by replicating the pinstripes of the shirt, though from our point of view that makes them pinhoops, and not proper hoops, although we did like them.

So let’s have a look at when City have used hooped socks…

1935/36

hoop35

The first use of true hooped socks by City came in 1935/36, when The Tigers wore a rather untigerish kit that was ultramarine blue and white. Ultramarine dye was made locally by Reckitts so it was easy to source, but the reasons for this one season change have eluded us when we’ve researched past kits. The blue shirts used after the resumption of league operations have been explained, certain dyes were prohibitively expensive and rationed by the Board of Trade so we wore light blue in 1946/47, returning to amber and black the season after. But why we wore a deeper blue in 1935/36 is for now unclear.

It surely cannot be a coincidence however that the blue jerseys used in 1935/36 were the first to be adorned with a crest over the heart. It wasn’t a tiger head emblem though, that didn’t appear on City shirts till 1946, rather it was the civic crest of three stacked coronets within a shield. The crest of the city of Hull is coloured Azure and Or, or blue and gold. Azure has many shades, including azzurrum ultramarine (literally, blue from beyond the sea.) Was this kit a respectful nod to the city of Hull? Using the city’s crest and main colour (achieved with a locally produced dye) would suggest that is the case, though we cannot say that definitively.

Anyway, the socks of this unfamiliar but nonetheless striking kit were blue and white hoops. 1935/36 was a disastrous campaign for City, it ended in ignominious relegation. Blue was ditched and amber and black returned, but some players didn’t get the memo it seems, the 1936/37 team photo shows several players wearing hoopy socks with black and amber shirts and shorts.

1947/46

hoopcarter

City spent the first year at Boothferry Park wearing light blue shirts, but went back to amber and black the following campaign, only The Tigers had lost their stripes. Harold Needler favoured solid colour shirts so City turned out in jerseys that were all-amber aside from a black turnover collar and a tiger head picked out in black stitching on a sewn on amber square.

Fans not old enough to have seen City play in this kit are nonetheless familiar with it as whenever a photo of the legendary Raich Carter is used it is in this kit. Usually he is pictured in plain amber socks, but for one season this kit was used with fetching hooped stockings.

This looked great, but superficially very similar to Wolves, who also wore solid colour shirts, black shirts and hooped socks. If we’d stuck with striped jerseys then such comparisons could not be made, but we’d abandoned our highly distinct look so the hooped socks had to go. Bah!

1960/61

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The next shirt used by City, from 1955 to 1961, was similarly paired with hooped socks for just one season and is usually pictured with largely amber socks with black turnover bands. Whereas the 1947-55 shirts were initially paired with hoopy hose that were then dropped, the solid amber jerseys with V shaped collars in black ended their run with horizontal stripe stockings used for the 1960/61 campaign.

1962/63

hoop62

Hooped socks were used with striped shirts for the first time in 1962/63, as City continued to tinker with their look in the early Sixties. These shirts, with thin alternating black and amber stripes of equal width, were used for just one season, in 1963/64 City wore another striped design, this time using thin black stripes over wider amber bands.

1964/65

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For the only time in club history, The Tigers used amber shorts as part of a primary home kit in 1964/65. The look wasn’t popular and was disparagingly nicknamed the ‘banana kit’. The shirts were rather lovely, featuring two black bands on the chest, but with no black shorts to give the kit contrast and make the amber pop, the whole outfit looked rather washed out. Like the shirts, the socks featured two black hoops, and could have been part of a classic kit had only black shorts been used. As it happened, the ‘banana kit’ never had chance to ripen, dispensed with after just one season. The socks did make a brief reappearance in 1970 however when player-manager Terry Neill wore them for a photocall.

1984-86

hooproberts

The 2013/14 home socks will end a 27 year hoopy hiatus. The last time City wore stripy stockings was back when The Tigers had red in their palette, during the tenure of the slightly bonkers but beloved chairman Don Robinson. The former wrestler and Scarborough based entrepreneur was said to have stated the red represented the blood players were willing to spill for the cause, which sounds very much like a Robbo quote (he once said City would be the first team to play on the Moon). The amber, black and red hooped socks had white feet and were paired with two distinct shirts made by Admiral, who like hair and mobile phones, were massive in the Eighties.

City’s shirts for 1984/85 were updated versions of those used between 1982-84 (which were paired with solid red socks), featuring alternating matte and shiny stripes separated by red pinstripes. The stripy socks used with that shirt for two seasons were retained when Admiral produced a rather yellow set of shirts for the 1986/87 season that featured black chest bands and red sleeve rings and bore the name of sponsor Twydale, a local turkey purveyor. City changed the socks for 1987/88 however, going with largely amber hose.

City have had quasi-hoops since then; Pelada supplied socks with two thin black bands and black tops in 1993/94 when they slapped their logo over that of Matchwinner on the famed tiger stripe kits after City had a dispute with the Scottish firm and asked Pelada to come up with a new tigerskin kit. When they did, it wasn’t pretty.

Olympic’s 1998/99 home kit had black socks with a fairly thick amber stripe on the turnover band as well as another at shin level which created a hoopy look depending how far a player turned the tops over, and we’ve already mentioned the ‘pinhooped’ socks of the 2009/10 home kit, but none of these were truly hooped socks.

The 2013/14 set are however, which makes us very, very happy. Hip hoops hurray!

hoopprog

Get Our Kits Out #3: 2000/01 Away shirt #3 Andy Holt

We acquired this shirt from a former club employee, so have no doubts regarding its authenticity, even though there is a slight anomoly with the letters used on the back. The Football League adopted squad numbers and player names on shirts in 1999 and standardised the font used by its 72 member clubs. The letters used came in two sizes, 73mm for match prepared shirts, 62mm for replicas sold in the club shop.

This long sleeved shirt (only short sleeved replicas were on sale in Tiger Leisure) has Holt’s surname applied in the smaller sized letters. Perhaps City had run out of some of the full size letters by the time he arrived on loan from Oldham, A low quality photograph from the Torquay away game (a 1-1 draw in which Holt scored) seems to back up that assumption, his shirt letters appear to be smaller than those on the Gulls’ keeper he’s contesting the ball with.

The letters making up sponsor IBC’s wordmark are applied in vinyl, another oddity, as most player shirts that season used raised felt. Photos from the Torquay game show both felt and vinyl letters in use, vinyl was used on the shirts of players who arrived during the season, such as loanee Mark Atkins who like Holt played between March and May 2001. Holt though, became a permanent signing, joining for £150,000 from Oldham.

The polyurethane Nationwide League competition patches straddle the maroon sleeve stripe and yellow piping, they have cracked after washing.