Europa League play-off kit summary


We were so looking forward to seeing City shirts adorned with Europa League sleeve patches, but sadly, the European adventure is over after just four games. That’s not to say those games were uninteresting to kit geeks, especially the play- off round games against KSC Lokeren of Belgium.

Approval for the unique name and number font created by Sporting ID for City to use in UEFA organised competition came through in time for the first leg at the Daknamstadion, where Lokeren play their home games.


The numbers feature the 2014 club crest at the base, and both numbers and letters are split in a stencil style. Is this in reference to Hull being a port? It recalls the stencils used to mark cargo boxes, and since City’s kits would be be shipped abroad for use in Europa League games, it seems somewhat fitting, whether by accident or design.

City requested that Lokeren wear all black at home so The Tigers could give a debut to the white and blue third kit, that would act as first choice change kit in Europe. .


To comply with UEFA rules regarding kit supplier logos, the Umbro wordmarks on the shirt sleeves had to be removed. Most of them were, though the shirts of Harry Maguire and Tom Ince still had them (on one sleeve at least) throughout the game that ended 1-0 to Lokeren.


For the home leg, the amber and black striped home shirts needed some modification. Whereas for FA sanctioned competitions, white numbers on amber and black stripes are considered to be of sufficient contrast, to satisfy UEFA stipulations, a plain coloured panel on the back is required. So Umbro created a new home shirt set, with plain amber back panels that stopped three quarters down, underneath which stripes resume. As at Lokeren, the Umbro sleeve text was again absent for the 2nd leg.


Additionally, because Lokeren had agreed to wear all-black at home, they requested that we accommodate their desire to wear white shirts with black shorts in the 2nd leg, which meant a debut for the alternate amber shorts designed for use with the home shirt.


The amber back panels on the shirts sure tweaked our loins as kit geeks, how we’d love to get our hands on a matchworn, though most City players swapped with Lokeren players. As for the amber shorts at home, we have recent form: We used amber alts when Southampton came to the KC Stadium in March 2012, bringing only black shorts. City had worn amber shorts at St, Mary’s earlier in the season so perhaps they thought that was part of our first choice kit.

The use of amber shorts against Lokeren gave the occasion a special feel, we wouldn’t want to see it regularly, but it seemed somehow fitting for an extraordinary occasion. It’s just a shame City’s players couldn’t have put in a special performance to ensure progression to the group stage, City won 2-1 on the night but Lokeren’s away goal meant they went through on away goals with the aggregate score 2-2. We’d love to have seen the plain backed shirts used again, in conjunction with Europa League and Respect sleeve patches.



Ranking the 2010-2014 adidas City kits


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

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

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

1: 2012/13 away


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

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

2: 2010/11 away


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

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

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

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

3: 2013/14 home


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

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

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

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

4: 2011/12 away


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

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

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

5: 2011/12 home


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

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

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

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

6: 2012/13 home


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

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

7: 2013/14 away


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

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

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

8: 2010/11 home


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

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

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

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

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

Umbro and Hull City sign four year kit deal


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

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

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


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

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


Shirt Swapping: Bolton Wanderers (Home)

A look at the best, worst and current kits of City’s forthcoming opponents.

City host Bolton Wanderers this Saturday, so as is becoming custom, we take a look at our visitors home kits from days gone by, picking the best and worst as well as taking a brief look at the current ensemble The Trotters’ are expected to wear at the KC Stadium.

NB: we make no apologies for the gratuitous use of Sam Ricketts throughout this piece. He was after all part of City’s Class of 2008.

Best Kit

After experimenting with pink shirts, polka dots and red and white halves early in their history, Bolton are now firmly established in white and blue with red trim. The amusingly nicknamed Trotters seem to have lacked for genuinely stylish kits in the last 30 years and have had no shortage of shockers (more on that shortly). Looking at old Wanderers’ kits puts to the bed the notion that teams sharing templates is a phenomenon of the last ten years. Take a look at the Bolton kit from 1988/90, in which The Trotters (including Phil Brown) won the Sherpa Van Trophy at Wembley in 1989.

Familiar? It should be. Though not identical, the basic template is the same as Matchwinner produced for City in the the same period…

Sadly for the fans of Bolton, the club lacks a ‘killer kit’. A fairly standard Umbro offering in the mid 80s was followed by the above Matchwinner outfit before logical choice Reebok, founded in Holcombe Brook near Bolton as J.W. Foster & Sons, took over manufacture of Wanderers’ kits. Unfortunately, by and large the Reebok offerings were shockers. Whilst accepting that the 90s were not kind to football strips in general, some of the Reebok offerings were particular duffers.

In saying that, Reebok managed a simple kit which worked well in 1997.

Carrying the shirt marque as a sponsor, the Reebok shirt had a rounded collar with ‘V’ neck detailing that tied in nicely with the navy underarm panelling and shorts. In not trying too hard (a flaw of lots of 1990’s kits), it really worked.

Worst Kit

Where to start with this 2009/10 kit? The pocket on the chest? The asymmetrical shoulder stripe? The irregular vertical banding detail across the stomach? The swirled pattern stockings? Did I mention the pocket? A bloody pocket. On a football shirt. What do you think Sam used to keep in his handy pocket? Heh.

Dishonourable mentions go to pretty much all of the Reebok kits worn by perma-idiot Jason McAteer as well as those strips worn by our very own Phil Brown. Go take a look at them here – there are too many to list.

Current Kit

This year Bolton wear an adidas kit whilst playing in the Reebok Stadium. Odd? To the casual observer yes, though Reebok are now part of the adidas Group having been bought for $3.3 billion in January 2006.

We’ve hammered pretty much all recent Bolton kits, so this is a shock. it’s lovely. OK, you could question the sheer size of the sponsor on the chest and non-club colour it adds, but the clean lines and unfussy detailing make it a 30 yard screamer of a kit and better than all other recent offerings.

It’s early days yet but this could become the finest kit in Bolton’s modern history. We wonder what Wanderers fans make of it.

Current Home Kit ranking (out of 100): 85

Tigers announce squad numbers and back-of-shirt deal renewal

We now know what will appear on the backs of City’s players shirts in 2012/13 after the club announced both the squad numbers and secondary sponsors yesterday. There is only one change to numbers 1-15, with  ‘keeper Eldin Jakupović taking the number 1 jersey after it was vacated by Adriano Basso.

Seyi Olofinjana swaps 30 for 16 (James Harper’s in 2011/12) and Nick Barmby’s 18 is unallocated, we wonder if that is a conscious choice. With the exception of Jakupović, the new signings get high numbers in a squad set that seems based on continuity. Ben Amos gets 22, Abdoulaye Faye 23, Sone Aluko 24, .Alex Bruce 28 and Nick Proschwitz takes number 33, which is unlikely to denote his importance to the team given the money paid for him.

Underneath the numbers, the logo of Scientific Laboratory Supplies (SLS) will appear for a second season after the Hessle based pipette and Petri dish suppliers  renewed their back of shirt deal. This is SLS’ third year of having their mark on City kit, having begun as back of shorts sponsor in 2010/11
City’s 2012/13 squad numbers in full…
1. Eldin Jakupovic
2. Liam Rosenior
3. Andy Dawson
4. Paul McKenna
5. James Chester
6. Jack Hobbs
7. Cameron Stewart
8. Corry Evans
9. Aaron Mclean
10. Robert Koren
11. Jay Simpson
12. Matty Fryatt
13. Mark Oxley
14. Tom Cairney
15. Paul McShane
16. Seyi Olofinjana
17. Liam Cooper
19. Joe Dudgeon
20. Jamie Devitt
21. Mark Cullen
22. Ben Amos
23. Abdoulaye Faye
24. Sone Aluko
25. Daniel East
26. Sonny Bradley
28. Alex Bruce
32. Conor Townsend
33. Nick Proschwitz

Harper still hungers for Tigers’ apparel

James Harper’s time at Hull City was more notable for his disheveled physical appearance than for decent playing appearances. The former Arsenal trainee joined the Tigers following spells with Cardiff, Reading and Sheffield United, playing in 31 games for City, usually with his shirt untucked and with socks rolled over his shin pads. 

Some things it seems don’t change, and though Harper was released at the end of June, he’s still turning out with his shirt untucked, hanging over City shorts, only for Hungerford Town!

Harper played 45 minutes for the Crusaders (who play in the Southern League Division One South & West) in their friendly against Wokingham & Emmbrook on Tuesday. He did so wearing his 2011/12 Tigers white and Argentina blue away shorts. Heh!

Evidently Harper sees Hungerford as a brief stop until he finds a new Football League club, he was reported to be in talks with Doncaster back in May, presumably the club he finally signs for will issue some of their own shorts.

Thanks to Michael Powell for spotting this on Hungerford’s Twitter feed and sharing.