Reflections on the away kit with amber shorts

Rather than opine straight away, we thought we’d let our thoughts on the kit worn at Doncaster percolate for a bit. City wore the black away kit with alternate amber shorts for the League Cup tie, a look described by some Twitter users as a ‘kitastrophe’. After time to reflect on it, here’s what we think…

JGHull: I love it. Anyone describing it as a ‘kitastrophe’ is wrong. Even the sponsors logo looks alright!

I’m a white away kit man but you can’t deny this kit is a gem. The standard black shorts were always going to cause an issue at some point due to the opposition kits we’re due to encounter as the season progresses. Knowing this helps understand that these shorts were designed to be worn with this kit – it’s not a case of John Eyre making it up as he goes along. I’m not 100% sold on the trim on the thigh which finishes the brand stripes short but I think the look overall is a really, really smart one.

Having said that, I do understand the concerns of the Twitterati. How many playing kits have we actually got? Two variants of the home kit (short variants), two variants of the away kit (again, short variants) and two variants of the third kit (guess what? short variants).

The key thing though is that the variants are all thought about and considered. It’s not the case of playing in home shorts with a third shirt and the training socks due to some administrative balls up, but evidence of Kitstodian Eyre caring sufficiently to ensure that City’s attire is as smart as possible.

It’s important to have a man who cares in charge of the fabric…

SombreEthyl: When the black away kit was released one of my first thoughts was ‘two pairs of black shorts’, and thinking about the teams in the Championship with black or navy shorts, I had a feeling we’d see a black-amber-black combination at some point. I wasn’t expecting us to use different amber shorts to those worn with the home shirt in pre-season though.

I like the look, I like that we can wear an away kit but still have our main colours on show, and this ensemble puts more of our main colour on display. Its a far stronger look than Argentina blue and white would have been.

I can understand people voicing disapproval at first, it’s natural to initially dislike something unfamiliar and it isn’t a look we’ve ever seen before, but I think it’ll grow on people if used again an Sheffield Wednesday is a probable, though we could go all amber.

I’d rather see this combination, I’ve grown to love it,  it reminds me of a look Borussia Dortmund sometimes sport away from home. I don’t like mixing and matching kit for the sake of it, but this was necessary because of the home team’s shorts so its all good.

In the interests of balance and fairness, we should probably mention Doncaster Rovers’ kit.  It’s, err, alright…

Tigers trial a new look at Donny

Kitman John Eyre opted against using the third kit at Doncaster last night, instead pairing the new black away shirt with alternate amber shorts for the League Cup tie at the Keepmoat Stadium. Donny’s black shorts ruled out both the home or away shorts (both are black), giving Eyre three choices; The home shirt with amber shorts (as worn in pre-season), last season’s away kit of Argentina blue shirts and white shorts which serves as third kit in 2012/13, or as was worn the black away shirt with amber shorts. This was a second consecutive use of the away shirt which made it’s match debut at Charlton on Saturday.

Interestingly, the away shirt comes with a set of amber shorts distinct from those designed to work with the home shirt, so adidas have supplied two sets of alternate shorts in amber, as well as two sets of black shorts. The combination of black shirts, amber shorts and black socks is a flip of the home kit colours, and creates an intriguing but unfamiliar look, one we may see again. Sheffield Wednesday pair black shorts with blue and white stripes shirts, so the blue 3rd shirt isn’t really an option. Whether we go with the home set or the away set on October 6th, we’re likely to wear amber shorts at Hillsbrough. Other opportunities for alternate short usage comes in December (Watford/Derby) and February (Bolton).

Tell us what you think of last night’s look.

Shorts stories: Cut from the same cloth

Since Boston United switched from blue and white to amber and black in 1951, City and The Pilgrims have shared a colour scheme.

At the turn of this century, the sharing went a step further, with the two teams sharing the same fabric for kit elements despite arrangements with different and unrelated sportswear brands.

After an unseemly incident at Darlington in October 2001 that led to City borrowing the home side’s away shorts (and Darlo players changing shirts mid-game on the pitch), The Tigers commisioned some alternate amber shorts that could be worn with the plain amber shirts and socks in away games when the home side wore dark shorts.

The amber shorts were soon pressed into action and were used twice in November 2001, first in a 2-1 defeat at Lincoln and then in a 1-0 win at Luton. Whereas City’s plain amber 2001/2002 home shirts featured a ribbed, needlecord weave, close inspection of the alternate shorts shows a shadow pattern of chevrons in diamonds woven throughout.

This diamond pattern was used on Boston’s home shirt from, 1999/2000, a shirt ‘made’ by Belper based sportswear firm Paulas Benara. In reality the shirts were made in East Yorkshire by Dewhirsts Sportswear Ltd. of Driffield (who have a factory on Amsterdam Road, Sutton Fields in Hull) as were City’s kits despite the Patrick branding.

Though City’s alternate shorts carry the French sportswear firms stylised P logo, they’re  undoubtedly made from the same fabric as Boston’s Paulas Benara branded amber shirts, meaning our alternate shorts were quite literally cut from the same cloth as Boston’s shirts.

Alternate amber shorts make first appearance

Last season City used amber shorts with the home shirt on six occasions; at Derby, Southampton, Coventry, Crystal Palace and Portsmouth and once at home, donning the alternates when Southampton foolishly brought only black shorts with them.

Amber alternates will be part of the 2012/13 ensemble too, and will work equally well with the black away shirts (please hurry up and unveil the away kit City!) as the largely amber primary shirts.

The new alternate shorts were given a debut in last weeks friendly at Blundell Park, a 0-0 draw with Grimsby who wore their traditional get-up of black and white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks, hence the need for City to go with amber shorts.

The block of black at the top of the home shirts provides enough contrast for the amber shorts to not look make the whole kit look washed out, but not so much contrast the amber components appear to be different shades. We’re a fan of amber shorts being used away when the home side use black shorts and our away shirt wouldn’t really work (such as at Derby) but it is disappointing that these don’t look sufficiently different to last years shorts.

Mark Cullen was one of several players at Grimsby wearing undershorts that if used are supposed to match the shorts worn over them, but they were a bit too orangey to be truly described as matching. Kitman John Eyre said he is hopeful of getting undershirts that match the amber of the home shirts far more than last years yellow undershirts, but these orange undergarments don’t fill us with faith that they will. Saying that, the rule about undershirts is they must match the main colour of the sleeve, and it is arguable that they’re mostly black, in which case black undershirts could be used, Robert Koren got away with it at Winterton, even using thumb-holes for true ‘thumbing nose at authority’ effect.

“He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing”

Back in December, we ran a feature on the surprisingly numerous occasions when City have had to borrow bits of another teams kit in order to avoid a clash. We’re always scouring for old City photos so as to build a complete picture of what the Tigers have worn down the years, and recently we aquired two images that help us take a step nearer that goal. These photos, though depicting kit anomolies, don’t explicitly show City wearing another teams kit however, instead they show the Tigers wearing shorts without any team markings in one, and lending another team some of our apparel in another.

The first image from 1990/91 shows Dave Bamber rounding Plymouth’s keeper for City’s only goal in a 4-1 Barclay’s League Second Division defeat in October 1990. Paired with our regular Matchwinner home shirt and socks are some white short shorts that the eagle-eyed will notice carry the Umbro double diamond.

These may have been borrowed from Plymouth but they had no Pilgrims insignia on them, and Plymouth didn’t wear Umbro kit in 1990/91, they wore apparel made by Ribero, who at the time also made kit for Blackburn and Fulham (and would go on to make Norwich’s famous ‘bird poo’ kit that was worn when The Canaries beat Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup)

Plymouth had worn Umbro kit the year before though, and the Pilgrims page on Historical Football Kits shows that they wore white shorts with a green double diamond yet no Plymouth badge in 1989/90. The Umbro mark looks black on the above photo, so although the shorts were probably old Plymouth stock, it’s hard to state that was the case with certainty.

The second picture is a bit more cut and dried. It shows Delroy Facey celebrating his goal in the 3-0 win over Luton Town at the KC Stadium during our 2004/05 Coca-Cola League One promotion campaign.

It also shows a dejected looking Luton goalkeeper, Slovenian Dino Seremet, wearing a borrowed City keeper jersey. Boaz Myhill, in nets for The Tigers that day wore grey, so presumably The Hatters kitman brought only a grey keeper top, necessitating the loan of a green Diadora jersey that didn’t even carry the Coca-Cola League competition patches.

In both of these cases the side lending some kit suffered defeat, so maybe the “he that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing” proverb rings true.

Tigers wear amber alternate shorts at home v. Southampton

By our reckoning, City hadn’t worn amber shorts for a home league match since 1965 until last night, when League leaders Southampton arrived at the KC Stadium with only their black primary shorts. Rather than make the Saints wear a set of our shorts, City deferred and wore the amber alternates with the regular black socks for the 2-0 defeat.

It created an odd look, perhaps we should have gone with the amber alternate socks too, but the kit inventory is not stored at the KC Stadium, rather at the Millhouse Woods Lane training complex and bused in for each game, so it is understandable that during a quick dash to Cottingham only the alternate shorts were collected.

City have previous when it comes to choosing to change themselves rather than lend a visiting opponent some kit, back in August 2004 Bradford tipped up with only black shirts with amber trim, so City wore the sky blue away shirts and socks with black shorts. The Tigers lost that game too, maybe we should force the opponent to wear some of our kit after all.

As well as wearing the amber shorts twice in a season against Southampton (having used them in the game at St. Mary’s in November) City have now worn them in back to back games, as they were used with the amber socks in the 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on Saturday.


Festive kit tracking

All three games played over the festive period were notable from a kit-watching standpoint. The Tigers wore the Argentina blue and white away kit at Middlesbrough on Boxing Day, marking only the second time we’d worn the change kit in it’s original guise; with white shorts. The first time we used white shorts was in September in the 1-1 draw at Doncaster, all other uses of the away shirt saw it paired with navy blue shorts.

At Burnley on New Year’s Eve, City used amber socks with the first choice shirt and shorts. Mystifying, as Burnley wear white socks at home, so there was no colour clash. The game at Turf Moor marked the first time The Tigers had worn this combination since playing Bradford City in a pre-season friendly.

The only home game over the festive period was against Derby, in which we wore our full first choice kit. As a mark of respect to Gary Ablett, who died on January 1st following a 16-month battle against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, all City players wore black armbands. Ablett, a two time league champion (both with Liverpool) and FA Cup winner (once with Liverpool, once with Everton), played 5 games for City while on loan in 1986.

The updated 2011/12 kit tracker is HERE

Amber shorts & socks set used at Coventry

Strictly speaking, there was no need for City to break out the amber shorts and socks at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday, as the regular black shorts and socks don’t clash with Coventry’s sky blue. Still, we like them a lot, so it was good to see them regardless. Péter Gulácsi wore the all white keeper kit in the 1-0 away win, as Murphy, the Sky Blue’s keeper, wore a green jersey.

Beg. Borrow. Steal.

In order to avoid a colour clash when on the road, The Tigers have been known to mix and match elements of both home and away kits.

Sometimes though, City kitmen have displayed a tragic lack of foresight and failed to take sufficiently distinguishable apparel, forcing the club to borrow pieces of kit from an opponent and take to the field bearing the home club’s crest.

The shame of it!

Some notable occurrences are;

v. Bradford (January 1982)

City tipped up to a snow covered Valley Parade for a Division 4 encounter evidently unaware that the Bantams home kit was white shirts, maroon shorts and white socks. Presumably City took white shorts with them thinking Bradford still wore black shorts at home, having paired white shorts with the home shirt the previous season at Tottenham and Sheffield United. Thus City, whose home shorts were black, found themselves wearing Bradford’s black away shorts (as seen on Nick Deacy, above) for the 1-1 draw.

v. Watford (January 1988)

City’s 3rd round FA Cup tie with top flight Watford took three games to decide, with The Tigers succumbing to a 1-0 defeat at Vicarage Road in a 2nd replay.

In the first game, a 1-1 draw, City borrowed Watford’s black away socks (Pictured right is Richard Jobson) as their own red change socks clashed with the legwear of The Hornets.

A replay at Boothferry Park failed to settle to matchup, ending 2-2 to set up another trip to Vicarage Road.

v. Watford (November 1988)

City met a recently relegated Watford in the league the following season, again failing to realise red is part of The Hornets colour palette. This time, City borrowed Watford’s white away shorts (seen on Mally Shotton, below).

v. Exeter (August 1999)

City ventured to far off Exeter to begin their 1999/2000 Nationwide League Division Three campaign.

City’s purple and white away kit was yet to be delivered by manufacturer Avec,  and facing a side pairing red and white striped shirts with black shorts and socks, player-manager Warren Joyce’s men could not don the garments intended to be worn with our home shirts.

Instead they borrowed The Grecian’s purple away shorts and socks (purple was an inexplicably popular away colour choice that season), teaming them with black and amber (as seen on Colin Alcide and Warren Joyce, above). Not a strong look.

v. Darlington (October 2001)

A kit clash is all in the eye of the beholding referee it seems. City’s 2001/02 away kit of silver shirts with navy blue shorts and socks wasn’t deemed too similar to Derby County’s white shirts and black shorts when we played at a still gleamingly new Pride Park in a League Cup tie.

The man in charge of  Darlo v. City, Mr. MJ Jones, evidently thought that silver and navy blue did indeed clash with white and black, and  since City had failed to take alternate shorts with them to Feethams, asked The Tigers to wear the Quaker’s white Xara away shorts with our silver shirts (seen above on Justin Whittle, who appears to be using an elastoplast as a captain’s armband).

Poor Rodney Rowe, he wore number 9 for City that year and was given the Darlo number 9 shorts with little consideration given to sizing, they were a little bit snug and his movement appeared constricted somewhat. It might have been a better idea to have Darlington wear the white shorts, as they worked with their white home shorts, though it all became a moot point halfway through the first half when the referee ordered a change, forcing Darlington to wear their red away shirts and sparking unseemly scenes of shirts being lobbed back and forth, sidelines to pitch, and players changing on the pitch.

After this game, City had manufacturer Patrick knock up two sets of alternate shorts, one set amber (used at Lincoln and Luton), the others silver (used at Oxford) to avoid a similar happenstance.

v. York (December 2003)

City’s menacing black away kit was popular with fans and players alike, so we used it on our travels even when the home team’s kit clashed not one jot. We took it to Bootham Crescent (it hadn’t yet been renamed, *guffaw*, Kit Kat Crescent) not realising The Minstermen used navy blue socks with their red shirts and navy shorts, so The Tigers sported York’s red socks for the Boxing Day clash (as seen on Andy Dawson, below).

v. Newcastle (September 2008)

Our most high profile episode of kit borrowing came in our first Premier League season. Ahead of the game, some fans openly wondered online what we’d wear at Newcastle as the flint grey away kit didn’t offer much distinction from the Geordie’s black and white duds. Not that our kitman thought about that, we could have taken the all white kit from the previous season (made by Umbro, sponsored by Kingston Communications as was the 2008/09 away shirt, and used when we returned to St. James Park in the FA Cup later in the season) but didn’t, so instead we used The Magpies’ white away shorts and socks for the 2-1 win (as seen on Dean Marney, Ian Ashbee, Marlon King, Peter Halmosi and Andy Dawson, all below).

Kit borrowing is by no means a practice unique to City, for example Chelsea once wore Coventry’s red and black chequered away shirts at Highfield Road after their dozy kitman failed to recognise a lack of contrast between sky blue and royal blue.

Perhaps the most famous instance of impromptu kit replacement came in the 1978 World Cup when France donned Argentinean club side Kimberly’s green and white striped shirts to face Hungary (seen below), so viewers watching black and white television sets could tell the difference between the sides.