2019/20 third shirt by Umbro – First impressions

The new Umbro third kit was released on Tuesday 13th August, and said to be a homage to the ‘iconic colours of Boothferry Park’, a tagline that had us scratching our heads for a little while. The HCK Kitgeeks are here to ponder the deep meaning of the ‘Deep Lagoon’ colourway…

SombreEthyl: There was an interesting piece on The Guardian’s Sportblog recently, (Modern football kits are stretching credibility – they’re not worth the ballyhoo), and in it, Simon Burnton made clear his disdain for ‘credibility-testing explanations’ in kit launch text.

I chortled in recognition when he rightfully ridiculed Puma’s assertion that the new Manchester City third kit is yellow and peach to “embody the modernity of the club and its mission to play attractive, technically skilled and attacking football”, but it was the line “Gone, it seems, are the days when it was enough for a new kit to look good, or just a bit different.” that got me thinking.

Sure, we want a kit to look good, but we also want some thought put into it right? No matter how lovely the colour of a new third shirt is, you’d rather know that there was some club themed inspiration behind it than to think someone threw a dart at the Pantone Colour Institute’s latest brochure and therefore ‘Terrarium Moss’ it is.

As if to demonstrate the point, Umbro have released the 2019/20 third kit with a limited explanation of why the main colour is Pantone 19-4540 TCX…

‘Iconic colours of Boothferry Park’ said Umbro UK’s Tweet, posted just after 9am, accompanied by an image of a brooding Jordi de Wijs hanging out in one of the KCOM Stadium’s access tunnels wearing a smart looking shirt that was largely teal.

The Club’s official website gave away a little more: “The bespoke design pays homage to the iconic colours of sections of our former home, Boothferry Park – with the dug-outs and seats housing similar colours to what features on this contemporary third kit.”

Now I don’t recall seeing teal tones on dug-outs and seats in my near twenty years of attending Boothferry Park, but there was something familiar about it, and after a bit of brain racking I remembered the wooden hut at the back of the South Stand which sold tickets to the seating section of ‘Bunkers Hill’.

Though the hut was mostly painted amber and black, when the panel that covered the customer service windows on non-matchdays was dropped down, it revealed teal sections, perhaps the shed’s original colour.

Could the shed be considered iconic? Yes, because it was photographed and exhibited by Stuart Roy Clarke in his wonderful ‘Homes of Football’ collection, which was displayed at the National Football Museum in Manchester, the base of Umbro.

I frankly love this. I passed that hut every home game for years, never using it as I preferred the terrace steps of the South Stand, and when it reopened, Kempton. Using that as inspiration is all good with me, even if it did take me a while to make the connection.

As has become the norm this season, only the shirts were revealed, modelled in various poses by Reece Burke, Dan Batty, Robbie McKenzie and the aforementioned de Wijs.

The shirt has a simple V neckline that is complemented by amber panel that gives the illusion of a thin polo collar from distance. The amber is replicated on the sleeve cuffs and is a lighter shade of amber than what appears on the club crest, suggesting that tone has been extrapolated from the ticket hut photograph too.

There’s no need for a print or pattern woven into the fabric as we have on the primary and change shirts, the deep teal with amber trim is all this shirt needs. The ‘Deep Lagoon’ tone is lovely, a hybrid of blue and green that feels assertive and sophisticated.

We’ve not yet seen the accompanying shorts which are, according to the club’s site piece, rendered in ‘Medieval blue’, a tone akin to navy, and the socks will be a combination of that navy and ‘Deep Lagoon’.

Could the crest have been rendered in two-tone to fit in a little better? Perhaps, but it’s not an issue for me. I think Umbro have given us another lovely kit, and a really strong kitset for 2019/20.

I said I wanted a typically 90s tone and teal is pretty much THE colour of that decade, evidenced by its use by several sports teams in the 1990s, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL, the Vancouver Grizzlies of the NBA and the San Jose Sharks of the NHL. The Deep Lagoon tone feels both retro and contemporary.

While I’m in broad agreement with Simon Burnton that some kit launch blurb is eye-rollingly corny, and I feel not every kit needs a narrative, I do appreciate knowing that thought and effort has gone into our third kit, we’ve not just been assigned an on-trend colour on a whim, there is a link to Hull City here. Keep your modernity signalling peach Manchester City, we’re fully immersed in ‘Deep Lagoon’.

@MikeCarterHKR: Umbro have revealed our third and final shirt for the 2019/20 season.

My initial thoughts? Yowie Wowie! This is absolutely wonderful!

You’d be forgiven for not getting the throwback to Boothferry Park, but it’s nice to have a shirt linked to our former home, after Umbro confirmed it’s based on the old South Stand ticket hut through emojis. It’s not something that I remember but I’m sure others will have fond memories.

I find it really interesting when clubs have a shirt which has a connection (to the club) or a story behind it. This fits that bill nicely.

I love the colour combination of teal and amber. They’re not two colours that I would have put together but they work so well. Once again Umbro and Sportpesa have colour coordinated their branding to add an easy on the eye finish. This is something which has become the norm, but complimenting it shouldn’t ever stop. Not every brand or manufacturer would do this like Umbro and Sportpesa.

We have the smallest amount of taping on the shoulder, but it’s enough to put a smile on my face. I asked, and Umbro delivered! (Yeah this had nothing to do with me).

The neckline on the third shirt is my favourite of the three we have this season. The fact it doesn’t flow all the way around doesn’t bother me, which does surprise me considering my quasi-OCD behaviours for things being complete, as it does come to an unnatural stop half way around the front. It could also be the closest we get to a polo collar, as it looks like one from the distance.

The neck and trim both have an amber finish, the usual nod to our primary shirt colour which once again adds a nice finish.

I’m intrigued to know which colour name and number set we’ll use. I would assume it would be white but how good would it look in amber if the EFL make one.

Umbro have delivered well on the whole once again this season, after seeing it in action the away is growing on me and the home beautiful. This third shirt completes the trifecta of shirts but it saddens me that we’ll have to wait almost 12 months to see what else Umbro has up their sleeve for Hull City. It’s certainly going to be tough to improve on in 2020/21, but I’m excited to see them try.

@Adz238: What an absolute shame……..

That we will only wear this a few times this season! Well, I said I wanted a green third choice shirt and teal is close enough, the throwback to the South Stand ticket shed colours is an amazing touch by Umbro , surely any fan must applaud that reasoning even if the shirt isn’t their cup of tea. Knowing we have a supplier that considers our club history and gives us kits that can be called Hull City kits and not just a recoloured template is just phenomenal.

Double-diamond taping on the shoulders is an element I have absolutely loved on the shirts for the last few years, so I’m glad it is back in some form here, and that makes the third shirt unique this season. I’ve said when discussing both the home and away shirts for this season shirts that the Sportpesa wordmark changing font and more importantly colour to complement the shirt has been a massive bonus and it’s a great touch again, making it the same as the trim and supplier logo gives the shirt an integrated, uniform look, I’d like to have seen the crest have a change to match, but isn’t that big a loss.

The navy peony third shirt of a couple of seasons ago is one of my favourite Hull City shirts and this runs it close, certainly one of my favourite third shirts.

Well done Umbro!

 

The new shirt goes on sale Saturday 28 August at Tiger Leisure

The Kitcast by Hull City Kits – episode 8

The Kitgeeks review the 2019/20 Hull City away shirt by Umbro, Mikey tells us his favourite white City shirts and Les takes an in-depth look at the 2010/11 away shirt.

 

2019/20 change shirt by Umbro – First impressions

It’s gonna be all-white! City’s new Umbro change kit that is, though we only saw the shirt in launch images on Tuesday.  The HCK Kitgeeks have had time to beard-stroke and form opinions, so what do they make of it?

 

SombreEthyl: Like a sash wearing ambassador serving Ferrero Rocher to his guests, Umbro are really spoiling us Tiger Nationals, and they’ve nailed it again with the 2019/20 away shirt.

City, in partnership with the double diamond brand, continue to channel the summer of 1992:  contrasting a garish but fun animal print home shirt with a restrained yet sexy, not to mention traditional, white change shirt featuring a Jacquard weave that elevates it beyond the ordinary. You’re not going to top the attention grabbing home shirt, and Umbro have been sensible to not try, instead offering up a minimalist alternative to a ‘challenging’ primary shirt, not everyone can pull off the tiger stripe look after all.

As a traditionalist, you’re halfway towards pleasing me with an away shirt if it’s white, that’s what I instinctively expect City to be wearing if they’re not able to wear amber and black. I accept that you can’t do that year on year in the one-year kit cycle era, so I like that City have established a rotation of all-white (2015/16, 2017/18 and now 2019/20) and all-black change kits (2014/15, 2016/17 and 2018/19) while with Umbro, keeping to the club’s palette for the first two dress options and using the tertiary kit for experimentation..

The details then…  I quite like the neck style, I certainly prefer this inverted triangle inset panel to the odd trapezoid of the home shirt, in fact I wish this collar was on the home shirt too to make it look part of a set, much as Matchwinner’s obliquely cut placket and sleeve arch did in 1992/93. The self-coloured crew necks on the Everton home and Derby County away shirts give them a training shirt look to my sensibilities, that isn’t the case here and it’s because of the contrast black and styling of the collar…

The amber piping separating the set in sleeves from the thin black cuffs on the short sleeved shirts is the only flash of amber aside from that on the crest, but that is absent on the long sleeved version which has just a thicker black cuff. It’s no dealbreaker, but I would like to have had the amber piping on the neck too, lest anyone of a Rugby League persuasion note that the shirt is black and white, like that of our co-tenants at the KCOM Stadium. The choice of having only a sliver of amber trim does make the crest stand out though, maybe that’s a conscious decision since the crest is new.

SportPesa have an updated version of their wordmark on the new season’s kits and it suits being on the chest of a shirt much better than previous iterations, this is a clean and classy looking sans-serif font with no outline, rendered in black, and it complements the shirt well. The shirt blighting vinyl patch on the 2011/12 home is still fresh enough in the memory to ensure that a carefully considered shirt advertisement is noted and praised.

The most striking feature is the Jacquard weave pattern of ‘shattered diamonds’, a motif that shows up on other Umbro jerseys this year, such as the Derby County and 1. FC Nürnberg aways. I think this feature really enhances the shirt, without it there’d be a functional change shirt but little to get excited about. I’m a big fan of Umbro as a brand, they have real heritage and authenticity, and since we regrettably missed out on double diamond kit in their mid 1980s to mid 1990s pomp*, I love seeing Umbro legacy references such as this Jacquard weave.

Only the shirt was shown in the launch images, and it was paired with black track pants, so it’s hard to get a feel for what the full kit will look like, but I like the shirt a lot. I think its understated nature is a strength, not a flaw, and I reject the notion seen a few times on Twitter that we should have replicated the yoke full of tigers stripes from the home on the away. Let’s face it, that wouldn’t make you think ‘Oh, a Siberian Tiger’, you’d think ‘that’s Zebra-esque’. No, the job Umbro have done show’s good taste.

As a guest at the Ambassador’s reception proclaimed… “ECCELENTE!”

*The Museum of Jerseys website encouraged us to daydream about 1980s Umbro Hull City kits, even rendering them as part of the ‘Fantasy Kit Friday’ feature. You can see the classic Umbro templates we went for at http://hullcitykits.co.uk/fantasy-kit-friday-umbro-80s/

@Adz238 Oh I do love playing away……

Fresh, clean and a little different despite white being a familiar change tone for City. We seem to go white/black/white/black these days with the away kit, and I’m not gonna lie, I love a white away kit.

The weave of broken double diamonds in the main shirt body is absolutely amazing but unlike the Derby shirt that looks a little like a training shirt, this really does look good as a match shirt. The amber piping on the sleeves is a great touch, and SportPesa’s new font works really well because of its simplicity. The black text ties with the neck line, cuffs and manufacturer logo.

Now on to that neck line… I’m not a massive fan of it – it’s the only part I’d change, maybe to make it join up in black would have been a better look.

All in all though Umbro have once again given us a belter of a kit, and it’s very fitting that we have a white away shirt to contrast a tiger print home as we did in the early Nineties. A solid 9/10 from me, Umbro take a bow!

Now let’s keep our fingers crossed for another throwback and have a green third kit.

@MikeCarterHKR: As Hull City fans we’re accustomed to having a white alternative shirt, and many of them have been absolutely beautiful, and I think Umbro are doing a great job with kits for Hull City. Unfortunately this one is not among the greatest in my opinion, though I suspect my fellow kit geeks will receive it well.

The shirt features a shattered double diamond Jacquard weave, which you’d be forgiven for not spotting straight away, it’s not obvious on all of the release pictures. This weave appears on a number of new Umbro shirts, it’s a recurring theme in 2019/20, and I can appreciate how it creates a little bit of character for the shirt and ties in very well with the brand, but I wouldn’t be disappointed if it wasn’t there. This is probably the shirt’s most notable feature, so since it doesn’t do anything for me that’s probably why I’m not in love with this shirt.

The sleeve edging is sleek on the short sleeved shirts, thin amber piping meets the black sleeve cuffs and looks a much nicer finish than that on the 2015/16 away shirt, which had alternated colours. I miss the Umbro sleeve taping of the last few years and some Umbro shirts this year, such as Burnley home and Bournemouth third, do have some double diamond imagery on the sleeves, but I do love the simplicity of the cuffs here.

I’m not a fan of the trapezium insert on the neck of the primary shirt and hoped it wasn’t going to be on all of our 2019/20 shirts as it feels over-complicated and cumbersome. To keep the theme of using shape nomenclature going, we have a white isosceles triangle on the away shirt underneath a solid black neckline. I don’t hate this, but I would have quite liked a discreet polo collar, which would have been an additional nod to the 1992/93 change shirt.

As on the home shirt, the SportPesa wordmark is rendered in black. Not all sponsors would be as accommodating as SportPesa have been with City so for that they deserve a tip of the hat, year on year their their branding has looked better on our shirts.

To summarise, this shirt would probably be included in a conversation of best white Hull City away shirts, well if I wasn’t in the discussion! It’s a simple shirt and given the edginess of the home that’s probably what was needed. It gives those who aren’t totally sold on the home shirt a good alternative option. I don’t think it’s got edge to better Umbro’s efforts in 2007/08 and 2017/18 but it is another shirt which has been very well received with me.

The new shirt goes on sale Saturday 20 July at Tiger Leisure

The Kitcast by Hull City Kits – UMBRO SPECIAL

Umbro, the venerable brand and current supplier to the Tigers, turn 95 this year and that warrants a Kitcast special. The Kitgeeks ponder the best Umbro City shirts of the modern era, and True Colours author John Devlin, the high priest of illustrated polyester, considers the wider appeal of the double diamond brand.

The Kitcast by Hull City Kits – Episode 5

The latest (and shortest) Kitcast is available for your viewing pleasure/displeasure. We cover the 2000/01 away shirt in depth, rank Umbro’s black kits, consider some of the WWC loveliness and a tribute to ‘La Società Ginnastica Sampierdarenese’.

2018/19 third kit by Umbro – First impressions

Sometimes you need to see a kit in action before you can offer an opinion, and the 2018/19 third is such a kit. So now that we’ve seen the ‘Sulphur Spring’ shorts in all their glory in the 3-2 win at Rotherham, it’s time to opinion up… 

Disclaimer: We don’t like what the current crest stands for, this is well established, but that’s on the club and not on Umbro, and it’s their work that we are discussing here. Our not mentioning the crest should not be considered as tacit approval of it. 

SombreEthyl:  

Hmmm, I’m a little bit disappointed with this, and not because there’s some whackiness to it, in the form of fluoro shorts and trim on the shirt and socks, but because there’s not enough whackiness: it’s demi-whacky, and I wish they’d gone full on with the whack.

Because that’s what third kits are for: to be significantly different to the primary and change kits, that and to annoy the tedious curmudgeons who comment on Twitter accounts such as KitCrimes and AwayKitWatch. That means pushing the envelope, using colours, styles and sometimes patterns that you couldn’t, or at least shouldn’t use on home kit, and maybe the away too if a team is known for a certain change kit style. There’s no such thing as a traditional third kit, so tradition shouldn’t be a consideration when a third kit is conceived.

That, is why this kit makes me feel disappointed. A white shirt? That’s what I associate with a Hull City change kit, such as the ace one Umbro gave us last season, so to have it for a third kit feels a bit… safe, and safe doesn’t push envelopes, it seals them and puts second class stamps on them (Yes, yes, I know ‘push the envelope’ stems from aviation and refers to the technical limits of a plane’s performance, but let me have it).

Using a fluoro tone? Oh I’m all over that, it’s time for us to have some kit fluorescence, after all we missed out when it was first a kit trend, back in the late nineties when everyone was getting their rave on (Borussia Dortmund/Sheffield United/Celtic), even Scarborough, with their bile duct green Avec number. However I wish we’d gone full fluoro, shirt and socks too instead of just shorts, though of course that would probably rule out yellow, given we have largely amber primary shirts, but neon green, blue or purple are ruled in, and all of those would work as they offer something massively different to our black shorted primary and change kits.

Perhaps it’s the purple kit of 2016/17, or more pertinently the reaction to it (see earlier remark about miserable ‘KitCrimes’ types whose commentary about football kits is almost always utterly joyless). Social Media produces more heat than light, and the reaction to Cactus Purple seemed to be overwhelmingly negative, and perhaps that’s why Umbro and City, or just one of them, we might never know, erred on the side of safe when adding some whacky fluoro fun here. I’d have loved City to have gone with something similar to what Umbro have given Schalke this season.

Some of the criticisms I’ve seen I don’t agree with: “It look’s like a Leeds shirt!” Nah I don’t buy that, City have as much, if not more right to white shirts as they began using them in 1904, whereas Leeds copied Real Madrid’s look in the early Sixties. Plus, while yellow is a staple Leeds’ trim colour, it’s never looked like this, I don’t see a Leeds shirt at all, and when the ‘Sulphur Spring’ shorts are worn, the kit certainly doesn’t resemble anything about the White Shite. “What’s yellow got to do with Hull City?” Well that’s an irrelevant question, third kits aren’t about club colours, in fact they should be about an absolute contrast from club colours.

While some people rather like the addition of a subtle grey tiger stripes beneath the sponsor wordmark, but I’m not so keen on it. The jacquard weave tiger stripes of last season’s third shirt worked brilliantly, but this not so much. It feels like a late addition, an afterthought, and the stripes look like they’ve been rendered in charcoal, created by those machines you see in shopping centres that take your photo and ‘hand draw’ you, and real tiger stripes are more solid than that.

I’m not sure I can put my finger on why, but I found myself liking this kit a little bit less after I first saw it in use at Rotherham. Overall I think this kit is ok… just ok. I like the inclusion of a fluoro tone on a Hull City kit, but I would have preferred fluoro use to be more full hearted. I can’t shake the feeling an opportunity has been part seized, but not fully.

Putting this kit in a wider context… Umbro have given us five ace kits in a row, all three 2017/18 kits were wonderful, and the primary and change from this season are brilliantly executed. This one, well it’s ok, but not quite as whacky as I’d hoped.

@MikeCarterHKR: The 2018/19 third shirt has hit the racks in Tiger Leisure, so what to make of it? Umbro have produced, in my opinion, two very good shirts for use at the KCOM and on our travels this season, so perhaps it’s not quite surprising that I am left a little bit underwhelmed by the release of the third shirt.

I love the fact that we’ve tried to be a little bit more out there with the colour but I want more of it! We have a tiger style print across the chest on this one in a faint grey, I’d love to see what the shirt would look like with this also in the ‘Sulphur Spring’ colour.

The continuation of the Umbro tapering on the sleeves pleases me greatly as I feel this is the best part of all three of our kits this season. The shorts and socks do the business for the shirt, the full colour shorts are a great match and make up for the lack on colour on the shirt.

Overall we’ve been given another solid trio by Umbro but I do feel we’ve been treated to really beautiful third kits in the past and this one isn’t quite up there.

 

 

2018/19 change kit by Umbro – First impressions

The 2018/19 change kit was unveiled last week and goes on sale today, making it time for the HCK kitgeeks (and guest reviewer @MikeCarterHKR) to stop stroking their chins and offer an opinion on Umbro’s work… 

Disclaimer: We don’t like what the current crest stands for, this is well established, but that’s on the club and not on Umbro, and it’s their work that we are discussing here. Our not mentioning the crest should not be considered as tacit approval of it. 

SombreEthyl:  It’s 15 years since Hull City first unveiled a black playing kit, and in that time the darkest of tones has become firmly established as part of the change kit rotation. Indeed this is the third all-black kit supplied by Umbro since they replaced adidas in the summer of 2014, and they’ve got it down to a fine art. Sure it’s tricky to get all black wrong, but that takes nothing away from Umbro, who have got this very, very right.

The most noticeable thing about the shirt is the collar, which feels like a throwback to the round neck of the 1965-69 primary shirt, and that is a lovely touch. It’s clear that Umbro pay attention to our kit heritage and drop elements of it into modern kits, such as the 1963/64 thin black stripes that were replicated on last season’s primary shirt, and for that, I love the double-diamond brand a wee bit more.

In an age of Nike giving all of their teams the same shirt on the grounds of ‘form follows technology integration’, Umbro adding bespoke elements to their templates gets the balance right.

It simply isn’t economically viable for every team in the Umbro stable to get a truly bespoke kit, no matter how many fans moan and treat ‘template’ as a dirty word. If Manchester City and Chelsea get templates, then who are West Ham, Blackburn Rovers and Hull City to expect better? Yet they and us do indeed get more effort in terms of aesthetics than clubs challenging for the Premier League and Champions League, so I’m delighted by that.

This change shirt has a different construction to the primary, which has true raglan sleeves. Here, there are raglan sleeves of a sort, made up of at least three interlocking panels. You won’t see this from afar since the sleeves aren’t in a contrast tone as they are on the primary shirt, but I suspect it ensures a better fit across the shoulders.

Collar trim is often replicated on the cuffs to create a balanced look, that isn’t the case here but the shirt does not suffer from that choice one bit: a feature across 2017/18 Umbro designs is double-diamond ‘taping’ on the sleeve cuffs, and it looks glorious in amber on black here.

SportPesa’s wordmark has been rendered as well as it possibly can be, amber text on a black field will always stand out, as a sponsor wants it to do, but importantly it fits in, it doesn’t look jarring or out of place. This treatment is a quantum leap of an improvement on the 2016/17 application when the wordmark looked tiny, dwarfed by the Kenyan bookies’ ‘globe’, which brought colours that don’t belong on a City shirt to a City shirt.

We didn’t see black shorts on the initial launch image, which showed Jon Toral, Stephen Kingsley and Daniel Batty in track pants hanging about near the Lord Line building like a gang of trespassing ASBO scamps. Presumably that’s so the players didn’t get bitten by ticks and contract Lyme Disease, but it made us wait briefly to see if a black change shirt meant a second set of black shorts.

Indeed it did, the change kit’s black shorts are a distinct set from those of the primary kit, (not the first time we’ve had two sets of black shorts in a season, we did that in 2003/04 and 2012/13, both promotion seasons!) and frankly I like this set more. The double-diamond ‘taping’ matches the trim of the shirt sleeves giving the visual balance I referred to earlier, and looks great. Completing the kit are black socks that offer useful interchangeability with the primary kit’s set should need arise.

Judging this kit on its own merits, I really like it, it’s a great addition to the City kit pantheon.

Presumably the third kit is going to predominantly light in tone, a third set of dark shorts would be preposterous! Although I feel the black change shorts are better than those of the primary kit, I would rather the change kit shorts to have been amber, and interchangeable with the primary shirts. This would have elevated amber shorts from being alternates to officially part of the kitset. A minor quibble however.

On a broader point, I do wonder if we’re using all-black as a change kit too often. We’re on a two year cycle it seems, having used all black in 2016/17, 2014/15 and 2012/13. That seems to be a club choice rather than it being down to Umbro, and black is a club colour after all.

Looking beyond Hull City, though, and black often feels like a slightly clichéd, ‘it works well as leisurewear with jeans’ get out from needing to be truly creative, there’s a philosophy of ‘black for black’s sake’. That’s not a charge aimed at Umbro here, by any means, I’m loving what they’ve supplied City this last few years, all three 2017/18 kits were strong and they are on track to repeat the feat in 2018/19.

Perhaps I’m being just a bit hypocritical to even consider black shirts as overused, as I’d have an all-white change kit every season if it was up to me, but then we have a tradition of white change kits that began over a century ago.

Black change kits have become a modern tradition, and this is one of the better iterations. Played Umbro!

@JGHull:  Smart. But hard to get mega excited by.

It reminds me of 2015/16 change. Similar principles at play, just in black. Whilst the taping offers something a little different to the solid cuffs on 2015/16, it’s not radically different in style.

Whilst mentioning 2015/16, it’s also worth mentioning City’s away kit should be white. I know, I know – Yeovil Away uff uff uff – but I like us in white. So there.

Having said that, if you were having a go at a plain black kit, you’d be happy if this was the culmination of your work. The double diamond taping that appears on all Umbro kits this year is lovely and a throwback for middle aged folk everywhere.

The treatment of the sponsor is nicely done again too. I’ve not seen Les’ words at the time of writing but I bet they mention amber shorts. So, yeah, what Les said. Amber shorts with this would be ace. The home kit is double brilliant this year due to a new look stripe and this falls short of the home kit in terms of inventiveness. But it’s a nice enough plain black kit with snazzy taping bits and a better than normal launch.

Lastly, hopefully it does also mean the third kit can be a bit more out there. So, come on Umbro. Let’s have a colour nobody can agree on again. It’d be fun to disagree on social media over “snot green” or “lime sherbet” *

*yes, I’d like a green 3rd kit

@MikeCarterHKR:  Whilst you’re sat reading this over a morning cuppa, or maybe on the commute to work, I’m likely stood outside the Prospect Centre Tiger Leisure waiting patiently in line to pick up this new piece of Hull City merch! It is, for me, one of those shirts that you just need to pick up on release day.

Umbro have once again smashed it out of the park with their efforts to provide us with another top notch Hull City strip. Plain black has been used a few times in recent seasons, and was largely well received by fans, and this looks to have quickly gained similar respect.

It is a simple yet effective look for the Tigers on their travels. The follow up of a third shirt allows us to have the all black attire without compromise of a kit clash. SportPesa have encouragingly allowed their name to appear in club colours rather than their corporate tones and it is amazing how such a small touch can have such a huge influence on a kit.

In 2018/19 Umbro have once again returned to retro roots with the famous Umbro taping appearing across the sleeves! This, in my opinion, is a great finishing piece to the kit and again in colour coordination with the Tigers colours. I am a huge fan of the 70s-esque taping and to see it return for a second season is fantastic! Even though we’ve seen it before, it has a unique twist on an effective design style. The amber neck trim just adds to the shirts appeal for me and it’s nice to see a crew neck finish return to a Hull City shirt.

Beautiful. Glorious. Sexy. These are just three of the words that I would use to describe the new Hull City 2018/19 change shirt.

 

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.