A brief history of City in amber shorts


We love amber alternate shorts, and no 5-0 demolition at Derby is going to change that. They’re a great way of avoiding a colour clash, while retaining the colours we’re known for: amber and black.

196465homeThinAmber shorts haven’t always been alternates of course, they were part of the primary kit in 1964/65.

That kit, despite having a fabulous shirt with twin black chest hoops, proved unpopular at the time, and was dubbed the ‘banana kit’.

That disparaging term speaks volumes about what is needed for amber shirts to work: contrast.

If the shirt doesn’t have enough black in it, the addition of amber shorts will create a look that is pale and washed out, yellow, rather than the bright and distinctive amber associated with the Tigers.

That said, the switch to Polyester, which isn’t prone to colour fading as Nylon is, means a modern pair of amber shorts would be the same bright tone at the end of the season as at the start, despite repeated washing.

Despite the material change (which occurred in the late Seventies and early Eighties), amber shorts don’t seem to have been considered again for home kits.

Even as alternates, used with the ‘home’ shirts away from home against opponents with black or navy shorts, amber shorts weren’t introduced until the early 2000s.

Their use in the 2001/02 season was precipitated by a somewhat laughable incident at Feethams (the then home of Darlington) that was caused by the naive decision to have an away kit with dark shorts when the home shorts are black.

City had worn the away kit of silver shirts with navy blue shorts and socks at Derby County in the League Cup in September 2001, referee Graham Laws evidently didn’t see white shorts and black shorts v silver shirts and navy shorts as a clash.

However when the Tigers traveled to Darlington for a league game a month later in October, that game’s match official, Michael Jones, took exception to white and black v silver and navy and ordered City to don Darlington’s white away shorts  as a compromise…Darlo1st

Midway through the game however, Jones decided there still wasn’t enough distinction and so halting proceedings, had Darlington change into their away shirts. On the pitch. With a blizzard of shirts being tossed onto and off the field of play. In hindsight, the better decision would have been to have Darlington wear their white away shorts, that way they would have still been in their home shirts. Rodney Rowe might have preferred that solution, as it would have meant he didn’t have to squeeze into the number 9 white Darlo shorts, which were clearly several sizes too small for him.


The Darlo debacle led to City ordering two sets of alternate shorts to avoid any further clashes. A silver shorts set was worn just once with the away shirt, at Oxford in March 2002, however the amber alternates made to be worn with the amber home shirt with a black contrast V neck were pressed into action three times in 2001/02, and established a way to avoid a kit clash while still using the primary shirts away from home.

The Patrick branded amber alternate shorts made their debut at Lincoln on Saturday 19th November 2001. Curiously, the amber shorts had the same jacquard pattern of repeated diamonds containing chevrons as Boston United’s Paulas Benara (of Belper) branded home shirts. The chevrons pointed upwards on Boston’s shirts but downwards on City’s alt. shorts. Both it seems, were manufactured by Dewhirsts, who made apparel featuring other firm’s branding used under licence.


After the 2-1 defeat at Sincil Bank, the amber alts were used again at Luton on Tuesday 20th November 2001. That game ended in victory for the Tigers, with Rob Matthews’ goal proving enough to take all three points at Kenilworth Road. The last time they appeared in 2001/02 was in the March, when City eked out a 0-0 draw at Leyton Orient.


Amber shorts weren’t needed at Lincoln in 2002/03, when City wore their all white with navy and amber trimmed away kit. It was used as a third kit in 2003/04 at Cambridge and Southend, but not at Lincoln, where the Tigers elected to break out alt. shorts instead for a 2-0 loss in the February…


White shorts were preferred as alternates in 2004/05 (Sheffield Wednesday) and 2005/06 (Sheffield Wednesday again and Luton), but an amber set was made up for 2006/07 featuring Diadora’s arrowhead logo. They were first used at Deepdale in the October, paired with the black socks of the away kit as City went down 2-1 to Preston North End.


On New Years Day 2007 the amber alts were utilised again, this time with the amber socks from the previous campaign’s home kit. Nick Barmby scored twice in a 2-1 win at Hillsborough.


Umbro took over as kit supplier in the summer of 2007, but none of their home kits worn for three memorable seasons – which took in a first Wembley visit (2007/28), our first top flight campaign (2008/09) and relegation from the Premier League (2009/10) – had a set of alternate shorts.

The next batch of amber shorts were provided by the brand with the three stripes: adidas.

Derby v Hull City 19 November 2011

adidas took over for the 2010/11 season, in which the Tigers found themselves back in the Football League. There were no alternate shorts that campaign, instead City got by with mash-ups: mixing and matching parts of the home and away kits. The first adidas amber alts appeared in 2011/12, debuted along with amber alternate socks at Derby in Nick Barmby’s first match in charge after Nigel Pearson hot-footed back to Leicester.

The look was replicated in the next two away games, at Southampton when the black shorts of the Saints necessitated it, and at Coventry, when there was no real need given the all-sky blue kit of the home side.

Used with the ‘Tiro 11’ template home shirts, the amber shorts were chromatic reversals of the primary black set, with a curved contrast panel that starts at the hem then truncates and slashes past the three stripes on the sides.

When City turned out at Crystal Palace in all-amber, it was pretty clear that it was aesthetics driving the choice of apparel away from home rather than clash avoidance. Kitman John Eyre told us: “The lads said they like the amber shorts after the win at Derby so they’ve been requesting them, Nick likes the all amber as well.”


Nobody anticipated City turning out in amber shorts at home however, at least until Southampton arrived at the KC Stadium with only black shorts.


The Saints kitman evidently presumed the amber shorts used at St. Mary’s were part of City’s primary kit. Instead of going all-amber, the black primary socks featured in the 2-0 defeat.

The final use of the amber alts. came at Portsmouth. Another 2-0 defeat.

You might expect that six uses of primary kit alternate shorts in 2011/12 represents peak amber shorts, but you’d be wrong! The promotion season of 2012/13 not only saw an increase in alt. shorts use, but there were two distinct amber sets! City didn’t even wait until the regular season began to debut one of the new sets, breaking them out in pre-season in a game at Grimsby (check out that retro ball design).


The 2012/13 away kit was all black, and utilised a different style of shorts to those of the home kit. Both kits also had amber alternates, and the away kits alternate shorts were used just once, at Doncaster in the League Cup. This was the only time to date when the Tigers have dressed in black over amber.

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The primary kit’s alternate shorts were used on seven different occasions in Championship action, starting with Sheffield Wednesday…


Then came Birmingham City…


Derby County…


Bolton Wanderers…




Huddersfield Town…


…and Ipswich Town.

Feast became famine in 2013/14, the last season of the adidas contract, as there were no new amber alts. The previous season’s  alternates for the home kit were re-used just once, in pre-season at Winterton.

The royal blue away kit had two sets of socks, one red and one white, providing sufficient enough contrast to make alternates for the home shirt redundant.


The FA Cup Final against Arsenal was the last game in which adidas dressed the Tigers, as the club renewed acquaintance with Umbro. The return of the double-diamond coincided with a new club crest that was suspiciously club name free, coming as a name change was blocked by the FA.

Hull City became the last team to qualify for UEFA competition as losing cup finalists in 2014/15, in future years the Europa League qualifying spot would pass to the highest ranked Premier League team not yet qualified if the cup winner qualified by other means.

After overcoming AS Trenčín of Slovakia in the Third Qualifying Round , City faced KSC Lokeren in the Play-Off round. The Belgian side agreed to wear their away kit at home in the first leg so that City could wear their European change kit, with the agreement they could wear their home kit in the second leg in Hull. That meant amber shorts at home for the Tigers, in a game that would end in elimination despite a 2-1 win.  The shorts featured a bespoke font that loosely resembled the stencils used on cargo containers, appropriate for a port city side travelling abroad.


UEFA regulation compliant shirts were made ahead of the Lokeren game in the anticipation of Europa League group stage qualification. They featured a ‘free zone’, a plain amber panel on the back for increased name and number legibility. With European interest ended after just four games, the ‘Euro shirts’ became ‘cup shirts’, and were used at West Brom in the League Cup with amber shorts.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Nikica Jelevic of Hull City scores his team's third goal despite the efforts of John O'Shea of Sunderland during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Hull City at the Stadium of Light on December 26, 2014 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

The amber shorts were given one domestic outing in 2014/15, at Sunderland in the Premier League, so they had Premier League numbers applied. City won 3-1.


A third letterset style was applied to the 2014/15 amber shorts when they were re-used in 2015/16. City won 2-0 at Brentford in the November Championship fixture.


They were next worn at Bury in the FA Cup Fourth Round. City won 3-1 courtesy of a Chuba Akpom hat-trick.


The 2014/15 amber shorts must have been in short supply by April 2016, because City used the white away shorts and socks with the home shirts. It wasn’t pretty, nor was the performance as the Tigers crashed to a 4-0 defeat. When City faced Derby again in the play-offs, they did so in all new amber shorts. Evidently Umbro supplied the 2016/17 alt. shorts ahead of schedule. a 3-0 win put the Tigers in the driving seat going into the second leg.


The 2016/17 alternate shorts set was next used in the August in a League Cup game at Exeter. Adama Diomande (2) and Robert Snodgrass scored the goals in a 3-1 win to put City in Round Three.


The Premier League numbers added to the amber shorts in 2016/17 were white, rather than black. Those shorts were next worn at Sunderland in the November.


Within a month they were put to use again, this time at Tottenham in December. The result was the same though, another 3-0 defeat.


The FA Cup Fourth Round saw the last use of amber alts. in 2016/17. Another three goal deficit in defeat, 4-1, this time to Championship Fulham. With City bottom of the Premier League, the cup was considered a low priority by head coach Marco Silva, brought in to attempt a rescue of City’s top flight status.


Back in the Championship, with Russian Leonid Slutsky now picking the team, the Tigers had a mercurial start to the 2017/18 season. New amber alts. made their first appearance at Derby, the game was a defensive nightmare and ended in 5-0 defeat.

Just days later the amber shorts were on show again, this time at Fulham. Another defeat ensued though, the Cottagers won 2-1.


The complete amber alternate shorts record

10th November 2001, Division 3 Lincoln 2 City 1
20th November 2001, Division 3 Luton 0 City 1
23rd March 2002, Division 3 Leyton Orient 0 City 0
28th February 2004, Division 3 Lincoln 2 City 0
21st October 2006, Championship Preston 2 City 1
1st January 2007, Championship Sheffield Wednesday 1 City 2
19th November 2011, Championship Derby 0 City 2
29th November 2011, Championship Southampton 2 City 1
10th December 2011, Championship Coventry 0 City 1
17th March 2012, Championship Crystal Palace 0 City 0
20th March 2012, Championship City 0 Southampton 2
27th March 2012, Championship Portsmouth 2 City 0
20th July 2012, Friendly Grimsby 0 City 0
28th Auust 2012, League Cup Doncaster 3 City 2
6th October 2012, Championship Sheffield Wednesday 0 City 1
17th November 2012, Championship Birmingham 2 City 3
21st December 2012, Championship Derby 1 City 2
23rd February 2013, Championship Bolton 4 City 1
11th March 2013, Championship Burnley 0 City 1
30th March 2013, Championship Huddersfield 0 City 1
13th April 2013, Championship Ipswich 1 City 2
16th July 2013, Friendly Winterton 0 City 6
28th August 2014, Europa League Qual. City 2 Lokeren 1
24th September 2014, League Cup West Brom 3 City 2
26th December 2014, Premier League Sunderland 1 City 3
3rd November 2015, Championship Brentford 0 City 2
30th January 2016, FA Cup Bury 1 City 3
14th May 2016, Championship Play Offs Derby 0 City 3
23rd August 2016, League Cup Exeter 1 City 3
19th November 2016, Premier League Sunderland 3 City 0
14th December 2016, Premier League Tottenham 3 City 0
29th January 2017, FA Cup Fulham 4 City 1
8th September 2017, Championship Derby 5 City 0
13th September 2017, Championship Fulham 2 City 1


Shirt Swapping: Aston Villa


It’s been a while since we’ve done any ‘shirt swapping’, in the sense of taking a look at the current and historical kits of another club in addition to Hull City. With the 2017/18 season upon us, we thought we’d cast a critical eye over the garb of our opening day opponents, Aston Villa, selecting their three best home kits, the worst, and judging the latest offering.

*Disclaimer* These things are naturally subjective, and done just for amusement, so don’t get bent out of shape if we’ve missed out a kit that you really like.

The three best Aston Villa home kits…



The look of claret bodied shirts with blue sleeves has been an Aston Villa staple since the late 1800s, but the Villans have experimented on occasion. Between 1981-1983 there was an Ajax-ification of the basic design premise, with a thick claret band parting blue that was now more prominent, part of the body panels rather than just on the sleeves.

There were several versions of the shirt, a sponsor was added in 1982/83 and a set for use in UEFA competition pared down use of the maker’s mark, but for our money the unsponsored domestic 1981/82 version is best.  This had a Le Coq Sportif logo on each sleeve and a centrally placed club crest.  All versions of this shirt were matched with white shorts and blue socks.

Macron referenced this kit in 2013/14, but it wasn’t a patch on the original, worn when Villa were defending the title and cutting a swath throughout Europe, winning the Champions Cup against Bayern Munich.



Hummel’s 1986 Denmark primary kit is one of the most iconic designs ever produced, and the template worked well for Southampton, Coventry and Hellas Verona too. A claret and blue version didn’t quite hit the spot when used by Villa between 1987-89 though, but Hummel’s follow up, worn for the 1989/90 campaign, fared much better.

The crossover V neck of the 1987-89 shirts was updated with chevrons replacing thin stripes, as was the Raglan sleeve construction, only this time the body was solid claret and the sleeves all blue. Hummel’s chevron logo appeared in pairs on each sleeve (the long sleeved version had two distinct pairs on each sleeve), whereas previously they were repeated inside sleeve ‘tape’. Overall, this was a much more restrained shirt than the one it replaced, but that design restraint meant the ensemble looked far more like what you’d expect from a Villa kit.



It can be hard to let preconceptions go, and in the back of my mind there’s an automatic association with Nike and shirts that are overdesigned and garish. Sure, they’ve got form when it comes to that, but frankly which manufacturers haven’t? Nike have in fact  produced some great shirts that are devastatingly simple: Holland 2002, Arsenal 2010/11, England 2013/14 and France 2014 all qualify, as does the Villa home from 2009/10.

It featured a simple round collar, with a thin blue yoke panel bridging the gap between the collar and cuffs on an otherwise claret shirt. In future years sponsors would insist on fussy logos accompanying their wordmarks, but at this point Villa had the name of their nominated charity Acorns ( a Birmingham and West Midlands children’s hospice) in a clean, sans-serif and all lower case font. Lovely.

Honourable mentions…  1985-87 Henson1992-93 Umbro (with lace up collar), 1998/99 Reebok.

The worst Aston Villa home kit…



There exists a strange kit netherworld inhabited by shirts that are quite attractive designs, but that don’t work as shirts for the team wearing them. This is one such example. It’s hard to go wrong with claret and blue, they work so well together, and those tones in stripes looks rather good indeed. It’s just that this kit doesn’t say Aston Villa. The colours are right, but the styling is wrong for the club.

An FA Cup final appearance will often render a shirt memorable, and this strip is certainly that, but a Wembley outing doesn’t make up for this very good shirt being a bad fit for this club.


Rating the current Aston Villa home kit…



Villa are in the second year of a deal with Under Armor, the Baltimore (USA) based brand. They seem to be going for a ‘luxury bag’ look, with embossed lions throughout the front and back pieces. A would be V-neck collar is squared off by an upside down pentagon shaped panel that straddles the border of ‘interesting’ and ‘fussy’. There’s the standard issue betting sponsor on the front, with Unibet’s interconnected balls logo tastefully applied in white, avoiding their brand colour of green was a wise choice.

There’s nothing to get excited about here, and nothing to enrage either, if this strip represents an upgrade on the first Under Armor Villa home shirt, it’s ever so slight an upgrade. The 2016/17 shirt had an unwieldy sponsor as a downside, but a tidy collar and placket as an upside. The embossed lions feel like they’ve been added just to create a different look from the plain finish of the previous year and whereas the rounded seams on the sleeves may offer a better fit than the straight cut set in sleeves of 2016/17, visually it neither adds or subtracts to the overall look.


Tiger Rags audio description now available


The Streetlife Museum has no audio description equipment at present, so to assist Tiger Rags visitors with visual impairment, we are offering an MP3 download that guides you around the room and describes all the exhibits.

Matt Rudd of Absolute Radio provides directions for our recommended route, while David Burns of BBC Radio Humberside is the exhibit guide.

To download, click here.




PRESS RELEASE: Tiger Rags – The Fabric of Hull City AFC


Tuesday 20, June, 2017


Amber and black – The colours of culture 

A group of lifelong football fans have worked together to ensure their beloved Hull City plays a part in the UK City of Culture 2017 celebrations.

The group are putting the final touches to plans for an exhibition of classic Tigers’ kits, which will go on display from Monday 3 July.

Tiger Rags – The Fabric of Hull City AFC will run from Monday July 3 to Tuesday October 2 at the Streetlife Museum of Transport. Entry will be free.

The exhibition is part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017’s Creative Communities Programme.

Les Motherby, author of the Hull City Kits blog and an avid hoarder of memorabilia, has brought together a number of local collectors to exhibit their prized player worn shirts, on public display for first time.

He said: “Hull City may not have a glorious, trophy-laden past, but they have an interesting history regardless, one that means a lot to Tigers supporters.”

“Shirts worn by players are the ultimate physical representation of that history, they evoke memories of past players, games and seasons.”

“Hopefully the club will have their own museum one day but until then this exhibition, part of the Creative Communities Programme for Hull 2017, offers a chance for people to celebrate the visual identity of Hull City.”

Councillor Terry Geraghty, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Leisure and Chair of Hull Culture & Leisure, said: “Over the years Hull City have grown to become an integral part of the fabric of the city and its identity. The club is loved by locals and recognised all around the world.

“We are delighted to be working with Les Motherby by hosting the Tiger Rags exhibition, an individual Hull 2017 community project, at the Streetlife Museum, enhancing the experience further. I am sure it will prove a huge hit with visitors, supporters and residents alike.”

The Tiger Rags exhibition has two themes, Plurality of Polyester and International Tigers.

Plurality of Polyester will run from July 3 to September 3, followed by International Tigers from September 4 to October 2.

The first two months will focus on kit design.

Examples of different styles will be on display, as will shirts from the 1980s.

Shirts will also commemorate teams from 2008, 2014 and 2016, when the Tigers reached Wembley finals.

There’s also a UEFA rule compliant match shirt from City’s brief but memorable foray into European competition.

From September 4 to October 2 the exhibition switches to International Tigers.

The last month of Tiger Rags acknowledges the part played by foreign footballers during Hull City’s rise from the basement division to the Premier League, with a display of shirts worn by players from around the globe who have come to Hull to play for the Tigers.

Exhibited items will inevitably evoke memories, and Tiger Rags want to capture those memories, and ask that visitors share them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #TigerRags

An audio description will also be available for people to download onto their mobile devices from www.hullcitykits.co.uk

Streetlife Museum of Transport is free and open Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday 11am – 4.30pm.

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said: “Hull City are woven into the fabric of the city’s cultural identity so it is fantastic to have such an amazing collection of memorabilia on display as part of Hull 2017.”


For more information, please contact:
Les Motherby on les@tigernation.co.uk or 07887 555679

Images – Flyer/poster PDF   Flyer/poster JPG


Tiger Rags is one of 60 new projects to receive funding through the Hull 2017 Creative Communities Programme, which is being delivered in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund, a Principal Partner of Hull 2017.

A total of £750,000 is being invested in the programme, which was set up to celebrate, nurture and support local talent and develop opportunities for emerging artists.

In addition to cash from Hull 2017 and the Big Lottery Fund, the projects will receive staff support to build capacity in the arts sector, helping to create a legacy. The Creative Communities Programme is also being supported by Hull and East Riding Charitable Trust.

The projects – which range from photography exhibitions to music and food festivals and choral and orchestral concerts to audio-visual installations – will see local artists, community groups, cultural and other organisations in the city working with local people of all ages to create new artistic work, events, installations and other activity throughout 2017.

For a full list of projects visit: https://www.hull2017.co.uk/discover/article/sixty-community-projects-inspire-creativity-across-hull-2/

About Hull UK City of Culture

Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is a 365 day programme of cultural events and creativity inspired by the city and told to the world. Hull secured the title of UK City of Culture 2017 in November 2013. It is only the second city to hold the title and the first in England.

Divided into four seasons, this nationally significant event draws on the distinctive spirit of the city and the artists, writers, directors, musicians, revolutionaries and thinkers that have made such a significant contribution to the development of art and ideas.

The Culture Company was set up to deliver the Hull 2017 programme and is an independent organisation with charitable status. It has raised £32 million, with over 60 partners supporting the project, including public bodies, lottery distributors, trusts and foundations and local and national businesses. Key contributions are coming from: Host City – Hull City Council; Principal Partners – Arts Council England, BBC, Big Lottery Fund, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, KCOM, KWL, Spirit of 2012, Yorkshire Water and the University of Hull; Major Partners –Associated British Ports, Arco, BP, the British Council, British Film Institute, Green Port Hull, Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, MKM Building Supplies, P&O Ferries, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Sewell Group, Siemens, Smith & Nephew and Wykeland Group.

68 per cent of the funding is dedicated to public facing activities, including the widest range of cultural events in every corner of the city, with a further 11 per cent for legacy and contingency. More than £5 million is being invested in volunteering, learning and community engagement. £1.6 million is being invested to ensure a legacy after 2017. This includes capacity building, such as supporting existing events so they can grow, staging curtain-raiser events, developing future programming for after 2017 and building a new platform to support a unified ticketing system for the city.

Hull 2017’s International Partners are: Aarhus, Denmark, which is European Capital of Culture 2017; Reykjavik, Iceland; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; and Freetown, Sierra Leone (twinned with Hull). These relationships are reflected in a number of events throughout the year.

For information go to www.hull2017.co.uk

Follow us on Twitter @2017Hull Instagram @2017hull Facebook HullCityofCulture
About Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.

It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year it invests over £650 million and awards around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.

About Hull & East Riding Charitable Trust 

The Hollingbery Family founded the business in 1933 with the first Comet superstore opened in Hull in 1968. The business was subsequently sold to Kingfisher and in 1985 the charity was established with the defined purpose of donating funds to help and support charities, both national and local, and other deserving causes, provided that direct benefit was forthcoming for people who live in Hull or the East Riding of Yorkshire.

For more information, including on how to apply for funds, see http://hullandeastridingtrust.org.uk/

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.