2017/18 third kit by Umbro – First impressions

The 2017/18 third kit has been unveiled and is now on sale. The HCK kitgeeks have been stroking their chins in contemplation, and are now joined by City matchworn collector Mike Carter in weighing in with their views…

*Obligatory disclaimer 1/2*: Our view on the current club crest is well established, so we won’t retread old ground talking about it here. This review will focus on the aesthetics of the kit Umbro have supplied and the visual impact of any sponsor appliques added.

*Obligatory disclaimer 2/2*: Some people don’t like the idea of third kits, they view them as unnecessary. We have some sympathy with that viewpoint: when the dominant colour of a club’s primary kit is uncommon, as amber is, then a third kit is only truly necessary if the change kit fails to provide sufficient distinctiveness from the home kit. However we like kits, so we don’t mind there being more of them to like.

“Yeah but they’re just about making money!”

If you’re Manchester United or Real Madrid, sure, but Hull City order replica third kit in small quantities relative to the home and away kits, so they’re not a ‘moneyspinner’ to the club. That makes them merely an additional option. This is intended to be a review of an individual third kit, rather than an ethical discussion about third kits as a whole.

 

SombreEthyl: Navy peony eh? I do love the names of the colours Umbro use, cactus purple, blueprint and scuba blue, these Pantone names are an endless source of amusement. Future possibilities include Andean Toucan, Tibetan Stone and Byzantium.

Navy peony is though a lovely colour, a deep, almost smokey looking blue that lends a classy look to this strip.  Third shirts tend to be as much leisure shirts as football shirts, and I massively prefer this to a polo shirt I’ve seen some people wearing at games recently, black and white hoops.

Seriously? Hull City leisurewear based on Hull FC’s traditional look? Hmmm.

I like the simple round collar, and the decision to use amber as the trim colour is to be applauded. The marks of supplier Umbro and sponsor SportPesa, as well as striping on the yoke panels, are in the same amber used on the crest, and it complements the main shirt colour well, while maintaining ‘pop’. Good stuff.

On some pictures the front body panel looks to be a different shade of blue to the rest of the shirt, but it seems that is down to how the light from the photo shoot lamps bounces off the differently constructed panels, because when you have the shirt in your hands under natural light the colour looks uniform. The back and sleeve pieces are more ventilated than the front panel, which has a jacquard weave of tiger stripes.

Now, every now and then there is a clamour for City to base a new shirt on the 1992/93 home shirt, with it’s all over tiger stripe print. Personally I’m not in favour of that, I think such lurid prints belong back in the 90s, but a subtle jacquard weave on a third shirts? No problem with that.

The amber stripe on the shirt yoke is replicated on the side of the shorts, and referenced on the socks with a thin amber hoop on the foldover bands. As an ensemble, this kit works.

I do prefer the all-white change kit to this, but the third kit is very good and provides a dark shirt alternative when both the primary and change shirts are light.

Third kits are only used on average twice. The outrage generated by the cactus purple shirts was massively disproportionate to their actual use, at Bournemouth and Watford. So when will we use the third kit? We’ll need a change kit at Norwich, but all white seems the better choice for clash avoidance there.

Barnsley could work, indeed any of the games at a red and white team are fair game, after all City have avoided using home shirts away to teams in red shirts on account of amber and red looking indistinguishable to colour blind individuals. If this is a consideration, then we could use the third kit at Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City. Leeds away is a possibility too.

Looking at all kit sets, I think Umbro’s City game is strong this year. The home kit is very good (an upgrade on 2016/17 I feel), the away kit is excellent (the best of the three in my view), and this third kit is pretty damn good.

@JGHull: The third kit, then. We don’t need one but let’s leave that aside for a minute.

I love a slightly nuts third kit. For me, it’s where you get permission from the fans to break any and every rule around club identity. Bright pink with yellow spots? Go on then. Why not? Stay away from making us look like any of our biggest rivals and after that, it’s something to talk about.

So having said that, let’s look at this…

Oh.

We’ve gently paid homage to a kit from an era long gone. In blue. That we wear quasi regularly. Meh.

But wait.

This kit is just a bit ace too.

Y’see, I think this template should have been the basis for this years home kit. I know, I know – in other posts on this very site I bemoan the fact that City should wear stripes at home. However, I get the reason for switching to a plain front every now and again. Commercially it makes sense and if done right, you can still get a good looking City kit. I think 2007/08 is probably the best example.

It also means we wouldn’t have had to have those tram-smash shoulders and sleeves that we have on the current home kit.

Squint a bit. Imagine the blue as solid amber. The amber trim bits now black. The tiger striping is now double brilliant. SportPesa applied in a solid black. Umbro taping on the shoulder. Black shorts and hooped hosiery. It might have been right up there as one of the classic City home kits.

Instead we’ve got it in Blue (fine), as a 3rd kit (be braver) and that we’ll barely wear.

I think we might have wasted the tiger stripe effect and I think that’s a shame.

@MikeCarterHKR: I like it when clubs take up the option with their manufacturer to issue a third kit, as they are often a little quirkier than the standard home and away kits and they offer the chance to wear something other than regular club colours.

So 2017/18 brings us deep blue with amber trim, and early feedback seems positive, especially with those who I’ve spoken to about it. I really like it.

Hidden inside the design is a faint tiger print effect which I hope means that one day we may see more of the infamous design associated with the Tigers in the early 1990s. As with the other shirts, the crest has a fantastic brickwork pattern background which makes it one of the most striking and powerful on any Hull City shirt, ever. It helps me forget the monstrosity of a crest from the 2013/14 adidas kits.

On the back of the shirt is ‘TIGERS’ which is in line with the 2017/18 home and away strips but it’s in one of the worst fonts imaginable.

A new feature is the shoulder trim design, a heat bonded strip of plastic with Umbro logos. I’m a huge fan of the Umbro tapering on the home and away shirts as a tribute to Umbro’s history and heritage, but these matching heat bonded plastics gives us another subtle approach into manufacturer branding but without being too overpowering.

It’s also nice to see Sportpesa supporting the design by allowing a change in the colour of their logo to match the amber tone used in the strip.

Overall the shirt scores highly with me, as someone who purchases every shirt regardless of colour, design or manufacturer, it’s nice to be able to wear a shirt which is different from the norm, but still expresses the club’s image at heart.

2016/17 third kit by Umbro – First impressions/A retrospective

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Usually we give our first impressions on a kit before it is worn in match action (when you can truly judge it), but life has gotten in the way and by the time we’re ready to go beyond mere Twitter reaction, the kit has been worn twice and is quite possibly already consigned to history. Still, for polyester posterity’s sake…

SombreEthyl:

Is it possible to feel sorry for a football kit? If it is, then I feel sorry for City’s purple third kit.

There is such a malaise, such a malignant fug hanging over the club right now that the automatic response to anything by the collective consciousness of the fanbase is to lash out, to react with scorn and insult. In that atmosphere, whatever any new kit looked like, it wasn’t going to be met with open mindedness.

Add that it’s an, err, challenging colour, and that even before the date it would go on retail sale had been announced City contrived to match their record heaviest Premier League defeat while wearing it, this kit was doomed from the outset.

I’ll admit, the colour description of ‘Cactus purple’ made me giggle even more than the preposterous ‘Blueprint and scuba blue’ of a year ago. “Cactii are green aren’t they?” I thought, but a quick Google images search showed that indeed there are purple cactii, so thanks for increasing my knowledge of cactaceae, Umbro.

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There was some fierce debate on Twitter about whether the shirt really was purple or pink. It’s on the red side of the purple shade spectrum for sure, in contrast to the 1999/00 away shirt which was on the blue side, but it’s still purple, and not pink. The nearness to pink has clearly ruffled some people’s feathers, maybe they’re worried that wearing such a tone suggests certain sexual proclivities, which you’d hope humanity had matured beyond in 2016, but evidently not.

It’s certainly on trend. City haven’t followed kit trends much in the past, it took us over a decade to produce an all black away kit when they’d been ubiquitous in the years immediately after ref’s gave up the monopoly on them, we never went fluoro when that fashion even reached Scarborough (who had an away kit that could be described as gall bladder green). No, the Tigers have for the best part, not strived to be at the cutting edge of football.

This third kit though, is following the current fascination for vivid colours. Take the slew of third shirts Nike have produced for their supposedly elite clubs (and Inter Milan), all of them are a combination of bold tones, Manchester City’s is orange and ‘Persian violet’ (purple), Barcelona’s is teal ‘Energy’ and ‘Green glow’, or teal and mint green while the aforementioned Internazionale’s third kit is a bright blue that graduates into lime green.

It’s not just Nike, adidas have Sunderland in a pink and purple third kit, New Balance have outfitted Liverpool in ‘Toxic green’ and grey, and City’s Umbro stable mate Derby have a ‘Marine’ third kit that looks pistachio green to my kit nomenclature un-savvy eyes.

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Nor is the fixation on vibrant colours just a kit only thing. Take the Premier League’s recent rebrand, which emphasises strong tones that cannot be mistaken for traditional club colours such as pinkish red, minty green, and purple. Going beyond football, Spotify’s new look has common elements with the Premier League redesign, a single logo depicted in a variety of constantly changing vivid tones, and colour washed images. Then there is Hull 2017, which too has embraced the strong and lively colourway design ethic, with purple one of the main tones in use.

Given both the fashion conscious colour used and a fanbase that seems to be made up mostly of beer bellied and balding middle aged men (and I count myself among that demographic), perhaps a lack of connection between the two is not all that surprising. Maybe Umbro thought this shirt would appeal to the young ‘uns, and it’s not their fault that City seem to be actively trying to price out young fans with the removal of concessionary tickets.

But you know what, I actually like this kit, and the more people talk about it in Twitter default rage, I like it more still. I like the simple crew neck in two contrast tones, black at the front, white at the back. I like the subtle shadow stripes that give the shirt a vaguely retro feel. I like the shirt’s white side stripes which are reversed on the shorts, purple on white, and I like the use of the same sock style as the home kit so there is some sense of it being part of a set. The new, circular Premier League sleeve patches work better on this kit than they do on either of the other two.

The shade of purple? Perhaps I’d have liked it to be a touch deeper, but I appreciate the hubris of it, the contemporariness of it. Maybe this would have been the right kit to have tried a two-tone crest, rendering the tiger head within a shield just in white over the purple, since purple and amber are strange bedfellows. But overall, I like it.

If you’re thinking ‘hang on, this bloke usually likes simple, traditional kits yet he likes this?’ well I like traditional and simple home and away kits, but there’s no such thing as a traditional third kit and if you’re going to let a designer run wild and be a bit whacky, the third kit is the right medium to go envelope pushing on, and if people don’t like it then so what? It will only get used a few times anyway.

This kit’s biggest crime is trying to inject some fun into proceedings when we’re all too busy being miserable to let ourselves go with the absurdity of a cactus purple shirt. We’re miserable about the way the owners have reduced the club’s soul and identity to a commodity given a pounds and pence value, miserable about the removal of concessions which threatens to curtail the support of seniors and stunt the development of the next generation of fans, miserable that relegation seems inevitable when it needn’t be.

A kit does not make defenders fail to keep track of attackers or midfielders to give away penalties. City didn’t lose 6-1 at Bournemouth because of a purple kit, but that performance did make the shirts very hard to market.

So yeah, I feel sorry for this kit, and the faux outrage about it makes me quite fond of it, I nearly fainted with joy when I got a match issued version and amusingly, I’ve had a few people ask if they can buy it off me. Nope, not ever.

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JGHull:

My first, initial response when it was first shown? Oh, that’s a shame. Why? Well, how mega would it have been for it to have been a complete copy of the City of Culture Volunteers outfit and keep it for two seasons?

Sadly, given the horrendous state our club is in that was as likely to happen as finding a Unicorn, me getting to spend some “personal time” with Kylie or a press release announcing the sale of the club to a gazillionaire who had already signed pre-contract terms with Messi, Neymar Jr and Ronaldo to join us in January and dig us out the considerable amount of shite we’re in on the pitch.

So, it is what it is. And I can’t help but like it.

It’s genuinely ours and how often can you say that? In an era where we get the same kit as other clubs within our manufacturer’s stable, I like the fact that no other side has the same strip in a different colour way.

It’s also genuinely different and how often can you say that? Our second kit this year we’ve had before. We’ve seen amber shorts paired with the home kit before. We’ve not seen this colour before – ever. It’s on brand with lots of the current crop of kits being a bit “out there” in the colours used. Both the Barcelona and Scotland away kits use pink and purples and they’re both ace kits.

So, I like it.

But I can’t help but regret the missed opportunity. Use the official colour of the City of Culture branding. Partner it with the blue in that brand book. Join in the celebrations and celebrate the city, the club and the important role the club has within the city and this could have gone down as genuinely brilliant.

Instead we’re left with a few reasons to like it but no reason to love it.

 

2016/17 away kit by Umbro – First impressions

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City have chosen the away kit to be the first of the three 2016/17 kit sets to be unveiled, and as in 2003/04, 2005-07, 2012/13 and 2014/15, it is mostly black. Time then for the HCK kit geeks to share their initial impressions…

JGHull: “I’m sure Mr Motherby will wax lyrically about how this shirt wicks sweat away from the skin in a feat of engineering driven by the desire to mimic the skin of a Unicorn’s bollock or something but to me, it’s just a black kit with nice socks. That’s it.

Yes, the sponsor is ace and looks good on the shirt but we all know that it’s going to be replaced with SpunkBet or some such bookmaker absolutely nobody will have ever heard of (it’s all the rage in the Premier League, let’s face it).

Whilst Umbro rarely let the side down – and they haven’t really here – this feels like the sort of kit you’ve seen before. And that’s because you have. Yes, it had a different collar but it’s more or less the same as the kit from 14/15.

8 year old *me* is becoming bored with the lack of effort with modern kits. They are becoming one of two things:

1. Boring. Driven by Ultra 27K HD+ MegaSharp TVs, kits are becoming one colour and if you’re lucky, you might get a different colour sock. (Note to Nike – this looks shit)

2. Extreme. Driven by a desire for some marketing plonker to able to tell the Chairman he got a gazillion likes, 27 tweets and 134 mentions on FaceTube, we’ve seen some kits that are purely for PR.

This kit is alright but falls into category 1. City away kits should be white. Or blue. Or green if we really want to push our luck but black is for third kits (which we now need one of).

So I’m left really hoping that we see a fat striped, black and amber, hoop socked, Hull City AFC emblazoned, semi inducing home kit (I reckon the first two are nailed on, the third possible and the fourth one? Sigh.)

Away kit? Meh. Regardless of the Unicorn bollock copying properties.”

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SombreEthyl: “I’m feeling a bit misunderstood by Mr Greenwood! I’ve never been impressed by claims of 32% more sweat wicking or a shirt being 0.0000017 zeptograms lighter at the atomic level than last year or some such, I consider all of that ‘KitBollox’ and I’m not going to start liking it now! I’m all about the aesthetics.

I can sympathise with the view that this doesn’t get the kit juices flowing, but then I sympathise with a supplier being told “give us a black kit with amber trim” when we had such a kit just two seasons ago, there’s only so much scope to play with.

I like the ‘lightweight polyester diamond mesh… with an internal contrast amber colour’, I think the vent hole effect with amber peeking through looks good and gives the shirt an amber sheen, rather than being solid black as in 2014/15. I like simple, unfussy collars and the black V neck with a layer of amber trim is smart, and sufficiently different from the mitred V neck of the Everton away shirt (which shares the contrast colour mesh effect) as that has no stacked trim, instead the V neck is two piece, changing colour at shoulder level. At a time when England share the exact same template as Brazil, France, Portugal and a myriad of other international sides, City being sniffy about the similarity of our away kit to Everton’s when they’ll never be seen on the pitch together is churlish.

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Derby’s away shirt has the same collar style as ours, but they don’t have the contrast mesh feature, theirs is plain black with an asymmetric colour print on one side of the chest. Only subtle changes, but Umbro can’t be charged with giving us the exact same kit as another club save for the colours used, and let’s not have the old boring template debate, templates have always existed, and at least Umbro personalise the shirt with the tiger stripe band applied inside at neck level, along with the co-ordinates of the stadium gimmick they’re doing for all double-diamond clubs.

We’ll see if Umbro do as they did in 2014/15 and not have separate black shorts for home and away kits, and use the same design for both, which seems fairly sensible although if the shirts have an amber sheen but the shorts are plain black, that might make them look mismatched. My answer to that? I’d love to see amber alternate shorts used with the black shirts and socks, I adored that admittedly off kilter look at Doncaster in 2014.

Thinking of the occasions we could wear black shirts for greater contrast in the Premier League in 2016/17 against teams that wear dark shorts, then Tottenham, Southampton and Sunderland spring to mind as games where we could go black-amber-black.

I rather like the socks with the thick amber band underneath the black turnover cuffs.

Though I do prefer all white as our default away kit, I understand that in the age of three new kits a season the need to freshen things up effectively precludes having one every season. Black now feels naturally part of the change kit rotation alongside white and blue, and that is no bad thing, especially if it forces the home kit to have more amber in it. Any home kit with a striped shirt should be as bright as possible, and the black away kit from 2014/15 meant amber sleeves and socks on the home (though hooped socks are even better).

In summary then, this is a decent if not exciting away kit.

2015/16 away kit by Umbro – First impressions

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Fight Night was also Kit Night on Saturday, as local boxer Luke Campbell revealed Umbro’s new Hull City away kit before his televised scrap with Tommy Coyle. The HCK kit geeks never pull punches when they opine on City polyester, and here they mull over whether all-white is all right…

SombreEthyl: “Traditional all-white is a great starting point for a change kit, so I’m predisposed to like this from the outset. The devil though, is as they say, in the details, so let’s consider those.

The collar. It’s vaguely reminiscent of the style used on the flint grey away shirt Umbro supplied for our first Premier League campaign. It’s alright, I’m certainly not emotionally wounded by it like JGHull is, but I do wish we’d used the same wrapover V-neck style as the home shirt, in comparison the two tone round collar seems a downgrade. Because the longer, wrapped over panel is black, I feel the amber on the sleeve cuffs and sock bands would be enhanced by a small amount of black tipping trim to better visually connect them to the collar. I acknowledge that the black Umbro double diamond logos and wordmarks on the sleeves are there to achieve such a connection, but I feel it could have been done a wee bit better. Just a wee bit though, this is a minor gripe, overall I think Umbro have given us an attractive shirt.

Of course Umbro aren’t responsible for the club crest or sponsor(s). The nameless crest will forever be associated with Assam Allam’s spiteful (and seemingly never ending) attempt to rebrand the club, and the more I see it the more I dislike it, I want to not have to say this anymore, I want it gone. The sponsor has been decried as small time and a joke by many, but it really doesn’t offend me and Flamingo Land’s wordmark has been applied in the least obtrusive manner possible. Would the shirt look better without a sponsor? Of course, but that’s true of any shirt. From a kit aesthetics point of view, the worst part of relegation to the Football League is secondary shirt sponsors, and the logo of Hull’s Lionel Hutz will sully the back of these shirts.

I might prefer a different collar style, but I think Umbro have supplied us with a classy and unfussy away kit. The simplicity of the shorts design allows for interchangeability with the home shorts if required, it wouldn’t look an odd pairing at all, indeed I wonder if there are alternate amber shorts for the home kit again as white-amber-white could look pretty good.

As for the kit launch, I applaud whoever had the nous to use the platform of the Luke Campbell – Tommy Coyle fight. Billed as East Hull v West Hull, taking place at Craven Park, with fighters wearing shorts in the colours of Hull FC and Hull KR, the appallingly named ‘Rumble of the Humber’ encounter had a distinctly Rugby League flavour. Injecting some Cityness into proceedings then, with Luke Campbell wearing the new away shirt as he made his way to the ring (live on Sky Sports, natch), was a wily move. Was that an admiring glance I saw from legendary mic-man Micheal Buffer? I think it was, and wonder if he was tempted to announce “Let’s get ready to Umbroooooooooooooooo!”

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JGHull: “Let’s skip all the rest of it and get straight to the collar shall we? Who thought *that* was a good idea?

I’m a fan of City in all white. In fact, the Umbro away of 2007/08 is one of my all time favourite shirts. This though? It’s close to being a belting City kit but I can’t see past the two-tone collar colouring cock-up.

Sleeves? Amber

Short trim? Amber

Sock trim? Amber

Collar? Amber.

And black.

What, wait?

It’s just not anchored to the rest of the kit in any way – and I’m not having the Umbro identity used to justify it either. Plain amber collar and we’re off and running with a classy City away kit. Alternatively, bring some black in to the strip elsewhere? If we must split the collar, shouldn’t we split the cuffs or short trim or something somewhere?

It just doesn’t work and don’t let SombreEthyl try to convince you otherwise…

I’m not going to comment about the sponsor and badge as I did during the home kit review (sponsor: fine, badge: visually not bad but forever tainted).

As for the kit launch, I thought this was really well done. High fives all round for whoever had the idea of asking Luke Campbell to wear it during his ring entrance. It was also nice to see the image that followed it up on social media referred to us as Hull City.

Very nearly a cracker, it would have been if they’d used one colour on the collar, like on my corrected version here….”

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2014/15 third kit by Umbro – First impressions

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The 2014/15 home kit is unanimously loved by the HCK geeks, whereas the away kit divides the opinions of SombreEthyl and JGHull. The third strip is the charm, says no one, but Umbro have revealed City’s alternate change kit, activating our opinion glands which are ready to spurt…

SombreEthyl: “A fusion of classic tradition (white away shirts) and nascent tradition (using blue, which recalls the city being the capital of synthetic ultramarine dye production as well as being one of Hull’s civic colours, as a change tone), that works for me, as does a keeping it simple approach to design. I like this. A lot.

When I see some of the attention seeking designs from brands trying way too hard to make a name for themselves, such as Warrior’s horrific Liverpool change kits both last season and this, as well as Macron’s tendency to splash as many of their logos on a shirt as possible, I’m very grateful that Umbro are capturing the zeitgeist for understated and classic designs.

A white shirt, blue shorts and white socks, each with just a touch of contrast trim, it’s a very attractive combination and is harmoniously put together.

There will come a time when envelope pushing design is in vogue again, but at a time when Hull City are trying to establish themselves as a regular and respected Premier League constituent, a restrained and tasteful set of kits fits the bill and Umbro have delivered with all three designs.

Though I’d have preferred the wrap over V neck that’s used on Everton’s white third kit, (that collar style is perhaps my favourite ever, it harks back to an age of classic kits in the late 80s to early 90s and I’d dearly love to have a City kit featuring it), it is understandable that Umbro would shy away from replicating that look for us when you see the endless and tedious faux-rage generated about templates on kit review sites.

A sponsor insisting on having their logo in brand colours can cause some hideous colour collisions (remember that purple and lime green NTL applique on Aston Villa’s claret and sky blue home kit? Eww!) but 12BET’s insistence on having part of their logo in red isn’t as jarring as it sounds. Umbro sensibly rendered part of the sponsor blue on the artwork they supplied the Premier League for the annual handbook, but I don’t think the splash of red on the final version looks incongruous on this shirt, and that’s probably down to its very basic styling.

Umbro’s slightly superfluous sleeve wordmarks will need to be covered to comply with kit rules in UEFA sanctioned competition, which will be addition by subtraction in terms of overall kit appearance, even better, they’ll be covered by Europa League patches, an embellishment second only to the FA Cup patches City used in the Semis and Cup Final.

I’m rather excited about seeing this shirt with a unique name and number font for Europa League games added too. What I’ve seen has stencil lines through it, like what you’d see sprayed onto cargo boxes, quite appropriate for use abroad I’d say

I’m duty bound to say I’d have preferred the old logo with City’s name and nickname, but regardless this is a lovely kit, and while it references tradition, it takes us in a new direction where away kits are concerned. The three kits supplied have justified our initial excitement that Umbro are back, and since the competition they faced to supply City was from Warrior and Macron, every Tiger National should be glad we’ve gone double diamond.”

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JGHull: “Oh my. That’s tremendous.

It’s the right blue. It’s the right white (heh). It’s better than the away kit.

I’m a massive fan of white as our change kit but historically, blue has been used before and I like us in it too. Admittedly, not the deep blue from last season (that was a bit of disaster) but light blue has become one of our key club colours. And this kit is stunning.

A simple shirt with round neck collar (will any of the players nick that with scissors for comfort? Hard to see where it sits on that picture of Jake Livermore – often if it’s too high or too tight, some players gets the scissors out), simple blue shorts, white socks with a simple blue hoop. Simple then, but very effective.

The sponsor including red is OK – I’d have loved to have seen that in plain blue or black but it doesn’t do any damage. I do wonder though why the red is insisted upon on this kit but not the other two kits? The red could have been used on both of the other strips so whilst this doesn’t hurt the strip at all, it stands out that it’s been used here.

The badge? Blah blah blah. I’ve said it before. Fix the “1” and it’s OK as a shirt badge but I’d rather it had the club name on. The club are finally using Hull City in their press, artwork and social campaigns so hopefully we can see a revision of the crest for next season.

Overall, Umbro have created three great playing strips for this season and they deserve to sell plenty of them. However, I said it about the second kit and I’ll say it again – kits become memorable because of when and where they are worn. And City are in Europe. It doesn’t get more memorable than that so Umbro have every chance of these kits being loved for a very long time.

Away kit makes debut at Queens Park Rangers

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The new Umbro all-black away kit made its debut yesterday on the opening day of the 2014/15 Premier League campaign. City bested QPR 1-0 at Loftus Road courtesy of James Chester’s 52nd minute headed goal (marker Rio Ferdinand seemed more interested in Chester’s shirt, grabbing a feel, than contesting the ball), but had ‘keeper Allan McGregor to thank for maintaining the lead when he saved Charlie Austin’s penalty late on. McGregor was wearing the Aqua and Navy ‘keeper kit released for use with the away kit.

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Aside from new attire, there were other notable kit occurrences... Nikica Jelavić finally got the diacritic above the C in his surname added to a Hull City shirt. Everton applied the acute accent when he played for them, and somewhat obviously it featured on his Croatian national team shirts at the World Cup in Brazil, but since his arrival from Goodison Park in the January transfer window, City had not bothered with the accent. 

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Additionally, James Chester lost a Premier League sleeve patch at some point before his goal. He had both patches earlier on, but the applique from his right sleeve is clearly missing in goal celebration images. The patches, made by Sporting ID, were made much lighter at the start of last season, they clearly don’t glue them like they used to.

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2014/15 away kit by Umbro – First impressions

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Having shown us the very sexy home kit last month, Umbro have revealed the primary change kit City will use in 2014/15. The chin stroking HCK kit geeks are ready to give their view…

SombreEthyl: “Hmm, that’s pretty good.

Although it doesn’t quite stir the loins like the home kit, which still has me in its thrall and makes me coo every time I see it, this is a rather decent design and a good addition to Umbro’s City kit pantheon.

Back to black then… I’ve always preferred all white as a first choice change kit, but when you’re replacing kits every season then it’s good to mix it up a bit, and I like the idea of a white-black-sky blue away kit rotation. Besides, a black away kit pretty much necessitates a third kit, so there is still room for all white yet! As an unabashed kit nerd I’ll never complain about having a third kit, I’ve never bought into the idea that a third kit is a rip off, that a fan is somehow compelled to buy all three kits. You aren’t, and I’ve no time for third kit based faux-outrage .

As far as all-black goes, the 2003/04 away kit was a bit of a game changer; the sight of Ian Ashbee, clad in a mean looking black kit with amber trim, his face flushed and arms pumping in triumph after scoring the goal against Yeovil that sealed a promotion 18 years overdue, that look signalled all-black as an accepted alternative for a change kit.

It’s true that a black kit isn’t veering very far from our regular look, but there is something pleasing about being able to avoid a clash while still wearing our club colours, just with the order reversed. If you can’t wear amber and black on your travels, then wear black and amber!

Although quite a simple design, the shirt has a rather interesting neckline that is both crew neck and V-neck, exposing a round amber underpiece that creates the impression that a black top is being worn over the home shirt. It’s a collar style used on the home and away shirts Umbro have made for French club Nantes this year, but thankfully it isn’t on any other English club’s shirts (at least as far as I’ve seen) so it doesn’t look so generic and templatey, that might be the biggest plus of going with Umbro; we won’t be sharing kit design with a glut of other Premier League clubs.

1415awayfront

I’ve made my feelings about the revised club crest clear on the home shirt review; the crest itself isn’t ugly, but the underlying reason for the change doesn’t sit right with me. Still, I’ve liked shirts carrying a crest I don’t like before (such as the 1999/00 home and away shirts) so I won’t make out that the crest sullies the shirt, I’d just rather our shirts carry the club name.

I would also have preferred for the Umbro marks on the chest and sleeves (and while I’m at it, those sleeve wordmarks are wholly redundant and unneeded) to have been applied in amber, because once you add the mostly white Premier League sleeve patches and white numbers and letters, the amount of amber on this shirt will be quite diluted.

Similarly, the white edging to the ventilation holes on the back should have been amber to maintain the look of a club specific garment. The front of the shirt readily identifies it as part of a Hull City kit, but from behind? Not so much. Just a tiny bit of amber on the back would have made a big difference, HULL CITY AFC stitched underneath the collar piece for example, would have really enhanced the shirt.

The sponsor looks a lot bigger on this shirt than on the home version, but again I quite like the Chinese text part of 12BET’s logo so that’s not an issue.

I like that the home shorts are reused for the away kit, it creates a uniformed look across the sets, and having socks that are a chromatic reversal of the home kit’s hose offers the flexibility to use home or away shirts and socks interchangeability should the need arise. I wonder if there are amber alternate shorts to further increase mash-up options, I quite liked the varied amber shorts adidas created so we could still wear the home shirt if the home team wore dark shorts.

Verdict: Not the most practical, but a smart away design nonetheless. 

I’d have liked a wee bit more amber contrast trim on the shirt, but overall this is a fine away kit and another classy design from Umbro, I’m pleased they are showing signs of a strong recovery after their cruel gutting by former owners Nike. If the home kit is A- then I’d give the away set a mark of B+.

Not sure about that away keeper kit though!”

1415awayback

JGHull:  So that’s new away kit is it? It’s ‘alright’.

I know it goes against the initial Twitter reaction (I saw one tweet describe it as ‘beautiful’ – really?) as well as the reaction of SombreEthyl, but I’m a bit ‘meh’.

Perhaps that’s because I’ve seen it already – most of us on social media saw the leak and you could see enough of it in that leak to make today’s announcement a bit of a non-event. That’s a shame as I wonder if my reaction would have been different if I’d not seen it. We’ll never know.

Let’s be clear – I don’t dislike it. It’s clean, uses our correct club colours and whilst I too would prefer us in an all white get up when we can’t wear our home kit, I agree with SombreEthyl that black kits have their place in our wardrobe. I also agree with his suggestion that pairing it with amber shorts could create a smart looking option. However, I just don’t get the over the top excitement surrounding it. Even Tom Huddlestone couldn’t hide his excitement stating in the press release that “the lads are buzzing with the new away kit” and that they “could feel the quality”. Tom, did you really say that? Heh.

Maybe the inevitable third kit will be all white? And whilst City in blue is good too (the Argentina blue kit from adidas looked great), I wouldn’t want the blue and red experiment of last year to be repeated.

1415awaydetail

I think my major problem with it is that it reminds me of the training wear, which frankly I think is a bit iffy. Go look at it on TigerLeisure.com – it’s not great is it? No detailing, no design, just plain black stuff with the Umbro logo and that badge (I too am going to leave the badge out of it this time). If you’re looking for adventure, you can have it in plain purple.

I know this sounds harsh but take the badge off and it looks like the cheaper stuff near the door in Sports Soccer. Am I being mean? Perhaps, but it’s not the snazzy Climacool gear that adidas provided us with in the last few years and it’s certainly not a good look for “wor Steve” as he prowls the touchline.

Let’s face some facts though – whilst kit geeks like us will pore over the details of our new fabric, it’s the moments that occur whilst wearing it that make a kit a classic.

Ian Ashbee punching the air at Yeovil. City at Watford in a play-off semi. City at Wembley for the play-off final. Great City kits need great City moments. Maybe this kit gets its moment in Europe? Fingers crossed.

Verdict: Smart enough alternative to a great home kit, impact dulled  by a leak and ‘matching’ training wear.

There’s just the third kit to be unveiled now, when it is we’ll let you know what we think. Now it’s your turn. Are you happy to be back to black? Give us your thoughts.

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’.

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.

2013/14 away kit – The HCK verdict

201314awaykit
After revealing the socks on Friday, City unveiled the rest of the new away kit on Monday, posting photos on social network sites that showed Irish international’s David Meyler and Robbie Brady modelling the largely blue change kit.

HCK honcho’s JGHull and SombreEthyl disagreed rather strongly about the socks on Monday morning, so Awaykitgeddon was a real possibility after both saw the full kit…

JGHull

That’s the new away kit is it? Sigh.
 
I don’t hate the template – it’s actually not bad. Bolton are using it for their home kit this year and it looks pretty smart. I’m a bit bored of kits this year with so many clubs wearing the same kit and long for the days of a bit more originality. However, given we’re in the age of the template, it’s alright.
 
Is it a good City kit then? I don’t think so, no.
 
Firstly, it’s clearly a blue kit, negating my comments about that sock where I suggested we could look like Palace (I’ll be back on the socks shortly). Blue is a historic colour associated with City so being fair, that line of argument has weakened. However, *that* blue isn’t right. It just isn’t. Firstly, it’s not the correct hue for City and secondly, it makes the kit look a lot like recent training wear we’ve had. 
 
Next up, the shorts. Template shorts, same blue. OK, not too much to hate there. Still the wrong blue, still look like training kit but match the shirt. A bit odd that the maroony red isn’t referenced in the short trim though, if you’re going to have it in the shirt.
 
Encasing the calves, lastly we have the socks. Those bloody not-really-a-red socks. Who thought that was a good idea? Red socks? With a full length blue kit? I just don’t get that decision at all. Having debated it briefly on Twitter, Liberia once had a blue kit with red socks and it looked insane. The marketing shots we’ve had are a teaser sock shot and then a shirt/short combo so we’ve not had the full kit in one shot yet but I just can’t get my head round that. Visually, it’s going to be mental. Surely?
 
If the red hint in the shirt wasn’t there and the sock was a blue, I’d be underwhelmed and moaning about the wrong blue but I’d not be hating it. As it is, the not-really-a-red colour with a not-really-a-red sock? Not for me. It looks like an England cricket 20/20 kit gone wrong.
 
I’ve not even mentioned the sponsor yet. I think SombreEthyl and I agree that we wish this was Karoo, Dove House or Allam Diesel Marine etc than Cash Converters. I’d take a bookies again before them. I do however think marketing has been pretty good (although I’d have cropped the background image to not include empty seats!) and the timing of the release should ensure they sell a few this weekend. Fair play for that.
 
Imagine it in white with amber and black hint colours. It’s better isn’t it?

SombreEthyl

We’ve covered our objections to the current sponsor to death so I’ll leave well alone here, and just focus on what it appears on.

I like it. I don’t love it, but it’s a decent, solid away kit. I’m glad it’s a blue shirt, and I’ll counter JGHull’s point about the blue not being right by stating that the blues used in 1935/36 and 1946/47 were quite different shades. The home shirt worn in the first year at Boothferry Park was quite a light blue, like the away/third kits we had in 2004-07 and 2011-13, but the blue used in 1935/36 was quite deep, described as ‘ultramarine’ and like the shade used on the civic crest at the time. This blue is somewhere in between, and I’m just fine with it.

As for the red, I think it complements the blue very well and if we didn’t use it and went with just white as a contrast colour, then it wouldn’t be different enough from the Argentina blue shirt we’re retiring. I do agree that maybe a bit more red is needed in the shirt and certainly some on the shorts to make the red socks work but I think it’s something that’ll grow on people. If there is a pair of red alternate shorts then I’d go blue-red-red at Fulham, Newcastle, Newcastle and Norwich, and blue-blue-red at Sunderland if they don’t have red socks next season.

The template appears very similar to that of our black away shirt in 2012/13, but with a simpler collar. At first that bothered me, but if we use the black shirt as a third kit then at least both change kits look like part of a coordinated set. Blue seems to have become part of a three kit rotation for our away strips, we’ve cycled through all white, blue and black and amber, and since all three have historic use I’d be happy for that pattern to continue.

In recent years adidas have made better away kits for us than home, I’m really hoping that trend is reversed this year and we have a real doozy of a home kit, preferably with a striped shirt. Given that Bolton (home) and Stoke (away) are adidas kits with hooped socks, I’m really hoping our home kit has them too as I’m a bit of a hooped sock fetishist. Come to think of it, this kit would have looked good with blue and red hooped socks as it would have connected the shirt and socks better.

Still, I rather like the new away kit. Do I love it? No, but I’d buy it.