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2017/18 away kit by Umbro – First impressions

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We now know what City will look like when a change of kit is necessary on their travels in 2017/18. So what do the HCK kitgeeks make of the new Umbro garb?

 *Obligatory disclaimer*: We don’t like what the current crest stands for, it is a reminder of the petty and vindictive attempt to change our club name, but our view on this is well established, so for the purpose of this review we’re only going to talk about the work Umbro have done, and the impact of the current sponsor(s) appliques.

 


@Sombreethyl:
All white? Get in!

Though I quite like sky blue and white as a change colourway, and all black is ok, given a choice I would always plump for a traditional all-white away kit, and this ranks among the higher echelons of classic all-white City kits (2007/08, 1980-82, 1992/93) I feel.

Often, the shade of amber used on a white kit will be deeper than the amber of the home shirt (2010/11 adidas for example), so that the tone doesn’t look washed out amid a field of white, but since the amber of this shirt is in a wide yoke band, there’s enough of it to retain ‘pop’ and so the home and away ambers match. That’s a very good thing.

As on all of the 2017/18 Umbro designs, the double-diamond sleeve taping of classic 1970s/1980s shirts is referenced with a subtle, tonal weave on the yoke panel, and it looks just fantastic.

On the long sleeved versions the yoke band is truncated, presumably to maintain a uniform look with a short sleeved shirt worn with a white compression jersey underneath. I would rather it go all the way down the arm, but this doesn’t rankle like the long sleeved home shirt does.

On that shirt the oblique sleeve stripes just stop abruptly, giving the impression that a sleeve extention has been stitched onto a short sleeved shirt. In contrast, the trucation of the amber band on the away shirt looks organic.

The decision to have the three piece collar (with an upside down pentagon panel forming a V shape under a round neck) all in white was wise. Using a contrast colour would have made the collar look fussy, and the beauty of this shirt is it’s cleanness, in both design and colourway. So how about the sponsor(s) appliques? Do they detract from Umbro’s lovely, lovely shirt?

Though the wordmark of Sportpesa would have looked better in black, and made the shirt just a little more Hull City-esque, it doesn’t jar at all in navy. What will jar is that convoluted and unsightly green Burflex Scaffolding patch on the back, should what appears on the home shirt be replicated.

I don’t understand the rationale of Burflex insisting on using their colour palette on a patch (and presumably they have) as it makes their wordmark smaller and harder to read than it would have been if applied as individual letters, and the pinkish logo with white text on a green, slightly see-through patch? Dreadful.

It’s the only fly in the ointment, but as with the crest issue, it’s not something that can be pinned onto Umbro. They have given us a great change kit, one that is slightly better than the excellent 2015/16 away.

Bravo, Umbro. Bravo.

P.S. Umbro have supplied amber alternate shorts again, and white-amber-white would look brilliant. Millwall away is a fixture ripe for that combination!

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@JGHull: I’m a fan of all white kit. In fact, the 07/08 away kit is one of my favourite ever City kits.

I’m a fan of white kits with amber trim (although really do think it’s about time we tried an amber and black sash across a white base – hint, hint).

I’m a (massive) fan of the shoulder taping nodding back to Umbro days of old. The double-diamond is ace and reminds me of the kits I grew up loving.

I’m a fan of the collar, the sponsor treatment. That all works.

I get the concern SombreEthyl has about pandas and scaffolding coming along later and ruining it but that’s not Umbro’s fault and won’t ruin the version I’ll inevitably have to buy for my sons.

But that patchwork nonsense under the arm? Beats me. I just don’t get. Nike don’t have it. Adidas don’t have it either so it’s clearly a choice and not a market move. I’d love to understand the logic behind it, the necessity of it, the point of it. I’m sure it’s some breathable material that wicks sweat away in some efficient manner which inevitably sounds like marketing nonsense but I’ve already said I’m not a fan of the home kit because I think the sleeves and shoulders above and below the armpit look a mess. Whilst this kit doesn’t suffer from the same visual mess, it does retain the patchwork armpit, the seaming of which just narks me. It juts into the chest. It adds lines to a thing that doesn’t need them.

Whilst dishing out some negatives, let’s also take the opportunity to highlight that font on the back again used for the “TIGERS”. It looks like the machine used in production has gone wonky.

I love City in white. I love City in white with an amber trim. I nearly really love this. Nearly.

PS Third kits should be curveball-nuts where tradition is parked for a bit. Don’t let the Cactus Purple Rage of 2016 stop you. Go nuts, Umbro. Please.

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2017/18 home kit by Umbro – First impressions

Image24Hull City Kits had the privilege of hosting the launch of the new home kit at our Tiger Rags exhibition at the Streetlife Museum of Transport.

So what did the HCK kitgeeks make of the new Umbro garb?

@Sombreethyl and @JGHull give their views and are joined by guest kitgeek @HullCityLive, a.k.a. Rick.

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@Sombreethyl: First of all I’d like to thank the club for unveiling the new home kit at the Streetlife Museum while the Tiger Rags exhibition is on, the exhibition celebrates the club’s colours and kit history and the kit launch event neatly shows the continuation of that history. I’m very proud to have been involved, and Leonid Slutsky told me he plans to come back and get a feel for club history, music to my ears.

The kit then… I’d steeled myself for sharing the same design as Bournemouth, but I should have had more faith in Umbro. After all, none of the home kits they’ve given us in recent years, 2014/15, 2015/17, and last season’s, 2016/17 have looked like what other Umbro stable mates were wearing at home.  At a time when other brands are dressing every team in the exact same garments with a colour switch, I find this semi-bespoke approach very refreshing.

I really like this. As a fan of striped shirts I’m delighted that City have plumped for stripes a fifth season in a row. After a season with really thick stripes on a shirt loosely based on the white collared strip from the mid to late Seventies, going thinner is a natural choice and these fairly thin stripes mean there is a lot of amber on show, that’s important, and it feels like a respectful nod to the shirts worn in late 1963/64. As someone who geeks out on club kit history, that is always going to appeal to me.

Now I know some people won’t get on with the oblique sleeve stripes, but I really like them, they give the shirt a dynamic look and inject a bit of fun. People have gotten a bit joyless when it comes to shirts of late, uff uff uffing about templates when every kit is a template of the brand that makes it (some are just seen more than others) and then chuntering when something distinct such as last year’s Cactus Purple is released. Suppliers must think they can’t win.

As a fan of Umbro kits since the early Eighties, seeing the subtle references to their brand heritage fills me with glee, I love the tonal connected diamonds ‘sleeve tape’ woven into the shoulder panels, it looks great. My opinions on the current crest are well documented, but the treatment of it this time round, with a ‘parquet flooring’ effect behind the tiger head, is a really classy touch. I’m also pleased that sponsor SportPesa have allowed for their ‘blue orb’ logo to be omitted and just go with the wordmark, which makes for a much cleaner look than we had last season.

Overall I think this is an upgrade on 2016/17, I could see where that kit was coming from but the collar style bothered me. No such worries here, the collar is unfussy and simple. The shorts and socks keep the 1964 look going, plain black shorts with that lovely Umbro ‘taping’ down the sides and intriguing ‘tails’, the back panel is longer than the front. The 1964 socks had two amber bands on the black turnover cuffs, these have just one. Umbro have gotten the level right, using our kit history as a starting point and giving it a modern twist.

I like this kit a lot, though I suspect @JGHull has an issue with those sleeves…

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@JGHull: Well, I’ve bought two.

And it goes against my better judgement for several reasons. The spite behind the club identity and the sheer cost of two kids kits should be enough to justify not buying them.

However, let’s make it very clear that the main reason any sensible person wouldn’t want to purchase this particular shirt isn’t to do with cost or club politics. No, it can be summed up in one word with a not so subtle use of capitals.

SLEEVES.

Who thought they were a good idea? A jaunty stripe?! I bet there is some tenuous link to some design echo of the past or a desire to try and look a bit tigery but frankly, they’re ridiculous.

This next paragraph makes me hypocritical having previously lamented kit design becoming all the same and Nike ruining it etc etc but why couldn’t we have just had the Bournemouth kit? It’s a thing of beauty. Imagine that in amber and black. Swoon.

Not all is lost. I like Umbro’s return to the 70s seaming. It looks ace. I like the treatment the sponsor has had, losing the weird exploding planet S mark that went above the words last year. I actually don’t mind the stripe falling between thick and thin and landing in a sort of “no man stripe land”. We’ve had them before, they’re fine.

But the sleeves are a mess. The ruin it. There’s a weird patchworking under the arm. Chest on, they leave a weird slightly smaller channel of amber thinner then the others that makes my OCD twitch come on. They’ve a weird style black shoulder pad thing going on too.

Fair play for trying something different. It’s great that they tried. However, they should have tried it, pulled faces at one another similar to those faces pulled when one sucks on a lemon and then got the Bournemouth one off the shelf.

Yet I’ve bought two. My two lads care not a jot. It’s the fabric that their heroes play in. They don’t care about the ownership. They don’t care about the badge. They care that it’s their clubs new kit and they want to wear it at parties, at training, to The Circle. There’s an innocence in that I wish I still had.

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@HullCityLive: Simple verdict: The new Hull City kit gets a thumbs up.

I was lucky enough to attend the launch event at the Streetlife Museum in Hull. Held in conjunction with the excellent “Tiger Rags” exhibition of our kit history – it was a great bit of fan interaction. The club gave fans the opportunity to see the “Tiger Rags” exhibition and the club’s, ahem, trophy collection and an opportunity to meet the new manager and players Evandro, David Meyler and Will Keane. They also provided food and drinks and a welcoming atmosphere.

It was nice to have the opportunity to judge the kits itself in the flesh and the reaction seemed positive from those in attendance. I’m a big fan of our recent pinstriped shirts from 2009 and 2015 but this year’s shirt takes it further with the solid black stripes breaking up the mass of amber and I really like the effect. It’s similar to the kit worn in 1963/64 but the black stripes are thicker than that one too.

The dilemma I’ll continue to have when it comes to purchasing the shirt (or any merchandise whatsoever) is the badge. I’ve no issue with the design of the crest but with the spiteful reason for its existence. It’s becoming less of an issue the more the failed attempt to rebrand the club feels like a distant memory but it still nags away. The only other thing I consider a negative is the shade of amber which is a little too close to orange on the scale for my liking but not enough for it to be a big issue.

The sleeves will cause some contention and the debate was already raging at the launch event but they look fine. Different but fine. The obvious join between the sleeve and the side of the chest is more of an issue for me than the irregular stripes on the sleeves. I’ve only seen a short sleeved version but I do wonder if those striped will look really peculiar when the players sport long sleeves.

The shorts are very plain but inoffensive. The WWF logo is a little gaudy but it’s there for a good reason so gets a pass. The socks have a black band with amber detailing around the top which breaks up the monotony.

As well as the nice effect of the thick amber stripes and the solid but thinner black stripes, there are several other positives. The sponsor’s logo for SportPesa has been massively improved from last season with a bolder font and the removal of the ugly blue “S” logo. The new Umbro detailing on the shoulder is a nice touch. I’ve liked it on all of their kits so far. The black on the shirts and shorts matches much better than on last years and the stripes being the same on the back as the front is good news too. I prefer a collar but after last season’s monstrosity, a simple black round-neck is welcome.

Many fans would have complained if we’d got a template kit but I’d still have preferred a black and amber version of Bournemouth’s Umbro shirt for next season. It would have been a better version of the 1999/00 home shirt. This runs it a very close though. The striking stripe pattern is certainly unique amongst our modern kits.

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HCK Kitcast – episode 1

Ahead of the Tiger Rags exhibition,  we thought we’d take a retrospective look at the 2016/17 kit set. Opinions on kits can harden or soften over time, and sometimes a kit becomes viewed through the prism of a successful or failure filled season. So do we feel the same way about the white collared home shirt and the cactus purple third shirt now, as we did when we first saw them? James Richardson of TigerTube and Crap 90s Football joins us for this first HCK Kitcast.

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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.

 

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2016/17 home kit by Umbro – First impressions

1617homeMainCity have announced their new sponsor, a Kenyan bookmakers, and revealed the home kit for the 2016/17 campaign. The HCK kit geeks, who recently gained PhDs in polyester assessment, are ready to opine…

SombreEthyl: “The shirt has a Curate’s Egg feel to it, as parts of it are excellent. I like the nod to the late 70s white collars, but the wishbone collar does nothing for me. Bold stripes are good (that too seems to be a nod to the 1975-79 home shirt by Europa, though with the colour order reversed) but I think the amber to black ratio is ever so slightly off.

A striped shirt needs as much amber as possible to keep the shirt bright I feel, and Umbro got this spot on in 2014/15 by having plain amber sleeves. It’s the big block of black on the sides that’s the issue I think, though the size of the shirt might be a factor. A thin amber side panel breaking up that black could have made a big difference.

When I first saw the teaser video, I thought the thick amber central stripe was to be flanked by two thinner black stripes, irregular width stripes would have worked well as then there’d be more amber on the sides. The tone of amber appears to be very deep, almost orange on some images but not on others, so I’ll reserve judgement on that until I see it in the fle…err, polyester.

The sponsor. The wordmark of the Kenyan bookies is clean and inoffensive, and very small on the shirt. Sportpesa appear to have sacrificed the size of the wordmark in order to get the logo in, whereas just going with the company name would have made it far easier to read, and would look cleaner overall. That said the light blue logo roundel being on a thick black stripe means that it doesn’t ruin the shirt (it’s less obtrusive than say, ToteSports wordmark in red and green over an amber field on the 2009/10 home shirt). No big grumbles about the sponsor’s application, and though it’s a betting firm, the word bet doesn’t appear so that’s good.

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Overall I like the shirt, but I think I could have liked it much more. Regular collar, thin amber side panels and just the sponsor wordmark and I’d love it.

The shorts though, I really don’t like the shorts. They’re being used for both home kit and away, and yet they don’t work with either. On the away the matte black jars with the shirt’s amber layer, which gives the black an amber sheen (or if you’re being unkind makes it look brown). With the home kit, the shirt and socks have white trim, but the shorts have none.

A thick amber side stripe with a flash of white either side would make all the difference to the home kit (and the away kit can use the amber alternate shorts used at Derby in the Play-offs to fix the mismatched blacks issue).

The socks are functional, but non-notable. Like the shirts, the amber looks orange, almost fluoro orange on some photographs, but again I’ll reserve final judgement until I see them up close.

In summary, this is pretty good, but a few tweaks away from being really good.”

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JGHull: “There’s something about it which I just don’t like. I think in summary, the thing I dislike the most is the fact that it could have been a cracker and it isn’t.

The 70’s throwback styling – well intentioned and a cool idea. The collar – the Everton style collar would have been just fine.The badge (and timing of the kit launch) – *bites lip*

The sponsor – word mark would have be fine here. Make it bigger so it’s seen and get rid of the clip art, GCSE logo.

The shorts – I’m as irritated as Les on these.

The socks – glow in the dark orange. Surely some mistake?

I’ve not seen it with my own eyes yet but the pre-season friendly photography re-inforced my initial view. It doesn’t look quite right. The amber stripe on the rear of the short appears a slightly different tone of amber again. How hard can it be to get the same colour throughout a strip? (I hope I’m wrong, this is all based on photos)

The other thing we’ve yet to see is what the underarmour looks like – given the collar, I’d imagine a lot of players will wear an undershirt. I think the ruling is that it must match the sleeve so it could be an amber one, or it could be a black. I’m hoping they wear black to prevent yet another potential amber/orange being introduced but I don’t think a rounded undershirt collar will sit visually well underneath this style collar. We’ll see.

However, the only shirts I buy are kids kits nowadays and the kids kit will not have the sponsor on. If it only had the rounded collar, it’d have been a killer City kit. “Fat” striped 70s throwback without sponsor? Swoon.

As it is, it’s nearly great. Shame.”

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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.

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2015/16 third kit by Umbro – First impressions

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Releasing a third kit late in October? Hmm, ok. Here’s what the HCK kit geeks make of it…

JGHull: “I just can’t summon up any excitement over this kit and I think it boils down to it feeling like somebody else’s. It’s not “us”.

The home kit? It’s us (even if a bit “Wolves”). The away kit? It’s us (even if the collar irritates me). This? It’s a West Ham away kit, isn’t it? It doesn’t feel like ours. Throw in the fact that we don’t actually need it either this season – we’re covered by our primary and change kit – so when we wear it, it’ll be out of one need only. To flog a few. And whilst I know other clubs do it, I’m a parent so insert generic moan about costs here. Grumble, modern football, grumble grumble.

I don’t love it. I don’t hate it. It’s just a bit ‘meh’.”

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SombreEthyl: “Necessity is the mother of invention, at least to begin with. Later on however, necessity takes a back seat to allow commercial imperative to ride shotgun.

City have needed a third kit in past years, take 1995/96 for example, when the home shirt was solid amber and the away shirt maroon with amber trim, meaning an all white third shirt was a necessity when we visited the claret and amber clad Bradford.

Do we really need a third kit this season? No, no we don’t. There’s enough flexibility with the home kit, alternate shorts and away kit to cover any kit clash on our travels, as we’ve already shown this season.

The home team has white in their shirt and home shorts? Wear the amber alternate shorts (retained from last season) with the primary shirt and socks as we did at Sheffield Wednesday.

To avoid wearing mostly amber shirts when playing away to a team in red shirts to help out a colour blind player? Mix the white away shirt with the home kit shorts as we did at Charlton and Nottingham Forest. The home and away kits are interchangeable enough to cope with any clash eventuality.

The third kit then is merely a commercial imperative, and perhaps more so for Umbro than for the club. I believe that City initially resisted having the third kit but had to give in to contractual stipulation, as when we signed the deal with Umbro as a Premier League club, three kits per year were part of the deal.

Why would we resist? Well, we probably have to take so many thousand units for retail and shifting all of them in a season when home games are drawing 8000 less spectators than the previous season may prove a challenge.

The kit has been available to the kitman to use if needed for a while, but upon the lauch the club has said it wanted to spread the launch dates of each kit ‘to ease financial burden’.

The kit itself then. Blueprint and Scuba blue.

BLUEPRINT AND SCUBA BLUE! Just typing that raises my blood pressure, prejudices me against it and makes me want to kick whichever Nathan Barley came up with that pretentious nomenclature squarely in the cock. It’s navy blue with light blue trim.

Those colours don’t say Hull City very much do they? Yes, I know a third kit is supposed to look completely distinct from the home and away colours, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reference familiar tones.

Umbro got this spot on last year, amber and black striped home shirt, black away shirt (which necessitated an alternate change shirt) and a third shirt that used familiar City change colours in a new way: a white shirt, as per tradition, trimmed with a blue similar to the civic tone of azure and similar to the hues used for away shirts in 2004/05 (riffing on the shirts worn at home in Boothferry Park’s inaugural year), 2009/10 (also by Umbro, termed ‘fusion blue’) and 2011/12 (listed by adidas as ‘Argentina blue’ and reused as a third kit in 2012/13).

If using light blue as trim on this new kit is being passed off as a theme continuation, it sure doesn’t feel like it, but rather that we’ve gone with Umbro’s featured colourway for 2015/16, just as two-tone purple (used for our primary keeper shirt and training wear last season) was in 2014/15.

Admittedly, as leisurewear the shirt looks quite fetching, the contrasting tones of blue work well together and the muscle car racing stripes are pretty funky, but as a City shirt, I dunno, when looking at it I can’t escape the thought ‘prototype West Ham away kit’. I don’t see a City change kit in the way I did when we played in the 2014/15 third kit at Lokeren, Newcastle and Liverpool.

I imagine this kit would look very good if it appeared on FIFA ’16, as then you wouldn’t see the elements that don’t work in great detail. I really don’t like the collar, it’s weird, and means that each of the three shirts has a different collar. I wish they’d used the same style as the home shirt on all three, firstly because retro styled wrapover V necks look ace, and secondly because it would have given some visual connection to three diverse designs and made them look like  a set rather than three shirt styles chosen with darts and photos.

Flamingo Land’s yellow trimmed orange wordmark, relatively tasteful on the white away shirt, looks incongruous here on a backdrop of dark and light blue. I try to not let the badge bother me but it just does, so repetition for emphasis and all that, I want to see Hull City AFC on a club crest ASAP, though that is far beyond Umbro’s design remit.

I think I would have definitely liked this more if the collar had been simpler, if the sponsor logo had been rendered in white to match the Umbro logo and wordmarks, and oddly, if it wasn’t a City shirt. I struggle to not view it through the distorting prism of City kit geekery and a love of visual identity tradition.

If I could see just a football kit, I’d likely say it was a rather nice football kit. Maybe I’ll learn to do that in time, though we probably aren’t going to see that much of this kit. I thought we’d see it at Milton Keynes, but we wore the home kit in the 2-0 win, so when? Leeds away maybe? I doubt we’ll get more than three games out of it.

Overall Umbro have been very good for Hull City in recent years*, but this kit feels like a slight misstep compared to the other kits made during the current deal and it is most certainly unnecessary.”

*To keep score of modern Umbro City kits…

PERFECT: 2007/08 away

EXCELLENT : 2008/09 home, 2009/10 home, 2014/15 home, 2015/16 away

VERY GOOD : 2007/08 home, 2014/15 away, 2014/15 third

PRETTY GOOD : 2015/16 home, 2009/10 away

MEH: 2015/16 third

SILLY, NOT EVEN PRACTICAL AS AN AWAY KIT, FORCING US TO BORROW ANOTHER TEAM’S SHORTS AND SOCKS, GRRRR : 2008/09 away.

If you like the third kit and want to buy it, it’s available to purchase from Tiger Leisure.

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2015/16 away kit by Umbro – First impressions

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

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

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

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

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

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

CoolHand

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

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

Sleeves? Amber

Short trim? Amber

Sock trim? Amber

Collar? Amber.

And black.

What, wait?

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

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

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

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

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

collar-fixed

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2015/16 home kit by Umbro – First impressions

Umbro have unveiled the primary kit City will wear as they adapt to life back in the Championship in 2015/16. Here’s what the HCK kit geeks make of it…

SombreEthyl: “This kit is somewhat like the Curate’s egg, in that parts of it are excellent.

The collar for example, I utterly love 80s style wrapover V-necks, so I’m delighted to see a City shirt with one. The amber socks with black bands, I like those a lot too.

The rest of it? It’s ok, but it doesn’t excite me. A pinstriped Umbro home shirt? We only have to go back 7 years for one of those, which means the black sleeves were a necessity to save this shirt being a carbon copy of the 2009/10 edition. Pinstripes are quite attractive, but I’ll always tell you that I prefer bold striped shirts.

The reason I prefer amber and black striped home shirts is because they visually scream ‘Hull City’, even when the club name is not featured anywhere on the kit (like, err, the one this kit replaces). When you go with solid amber shirts, or nearly solid amber by featuring pinstripes, then no matter how lovely the design (and Umbro’s 2009/10 pinstriped shirt was beautiful) it’s hard to not subconsciously think “it looks like a Wolves shirt”, and this one really does, look!

The more vivid shade of amber used since the start of last season really compounds that. I can understand the logic of wanting to match the shirt amber to the Pantone used in publications, but it feels like the tail is wagging the dog. The publications Pantone should be changed to match the shirt amber, not the other way around, or maybe we just all need to accept that colours look slightly different dependent on whether they are applied to fabric, seen on screen or printed onto paper.

The newer amber tone is deeper than we’re used to in recent years, more orangey than that used by adidas (2010-2014) or by Umbro first time around (2007-2010), but it’s less jarring when used with striped shirts such as last year because of the contrasting nature of dark and light(ish)stripes. When there is a solid block of the new amber though (and pinstripes don’t stand out over distance), it seems noticeably deeper, and therefore nearer to what Wolves term Old Gold. I don’t care that there’s a slight difference to the amber when printed on white paper, it has to be deeper there to truly stand out, but when on a shirt and contrasted by black stripes or trim, I prefer the slightly lighter shade used before 2014/15.

The shade of amber, like the crest and the sponsor, can be pinned on the club rather than Umbro. Some people like the updated crest because it’s minimalist, and usually I’d plump for minimalist design over complicated visuals, but the crest exists only because our owners hate our 111 year old identity and won’t put the club’s actual name on a kit. For that reason alone the crest stinks and I long for a crest with Hull City AFC on it.

Flamingo Land’s logo appearing on the shirt is once again a club decision and nothing to do with Umbro’s entirely workable home kit design. I’m not snobbish about the company sponsoring us, I think it’s entirely preferable to the hock shop we had blighting three adidas shirts. I do find it funny however that the owners insist we can crack the Asian market with a name change and yet end up with a North Yorkshire zoo/theme park as sponsor. We can be thankful though that their logo has been applied in the least aesthetically displeasing manner, given that it could have been on an utterly incongruous green patch.

The shorts are (like last years) very basic, nothing wrong with that, and the thin amber hem band visually connects them with the black shirt sleeves, which also have amber tipping bands.

Overall then, this is a decent enough kit. I don’t think Umbro have supplied City a poor home shirt, but it was always going to be tough to top their 2014/15 home kit which was just a crest with Hull City AFC on it and hooped socks from utter City kit perfection.

I have big hopes for the away kit, which I believe to be traditional white, and if it has the 80s style wrapover V-neck, I think I’ll like it more than the home kit.  One last thing, why do players have to do that stern look to the camera thing nowadays? Dawson, McGregor and Robertson look miserable as sin, which makes you wonder ‘do they hate this shirt?’ or ‘Are they gutted to still be at City by the point kit photos are taken’, it’s just ridiculous. Look at Andrew Robertson’s face! He looks like he’s just been forced to watch his cat eaten by jackals. A wee smile would not knack the kit reveal. Oh alright, maybe a McGregor grin would, but can we inject a bit of joy into kit releases (and no I don’t mean those quarter hearted fake goal celebrations sometimes used) or at least drop the existential stares? Ta.”

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JGHull: “Pinstripes then. Not my preferred choice but we’ve worn them before and I understand the reasons for bringing them out again. Let’s face it, trying to design with bold striping year in, year out gives the manufacturers a problem in making them significantly different from the year previous.

Having said that, making one pinstripe shirt different from the previous incarnation is also a difficult trick which is why I suspect the black sleeves have been introduced. It also has a thicker solid black stripe under the arm running the length of the shirt. Does this in turn lead to an amber back? From these images, it’s hard to say conclusively but there’s a glimpse of amber under Robertson’s arm so I suspect so. I understand the commercial reasons for the black sleeve but I’m not sure about it at first view. Perhaps it’ll grow on me in the flesh.

I’m a fan of the shorts and sock combo with minor ‘hoopage’ appearing on the socks. I’m a fan of a hooped stockings (do your own jokes) but this one hoop coupled with a pinstripe shirt works well.

The sponsor? Given the current climate at the club and the lack of positive stories recently (name change malarky, Airco, relegation…), I’d have loved them to give the chest placement away to a local charity. The last minute nature of the deal must mean that the revenue from it is relatively minor compared with previous years and in light of the parachute payments, perhaps we could afford to be different this year. The Allam family are known to be incredibly generous with charitable donations and perhaps this was a bit of an opportunity missed. Just a thought.

Having said all of that it’s a Yorkshire based family attraction and not a betting firm or pawnbrokers so I’ve absolutely no issues with it despite all the puns it’ll provide the journos with. It’s tastefully done too and sits on the shirt without causing any design headaches. Happy days.

Just that badge to talk about then. Sort the typography out (1 904?) and it’s not bad in its own right. However, it will always be associated with the name change and for that, I can never be a fan. I’d love to see our full moniker rightfully in place on our club crest. In time? Fingers crossed.

Overall, it’s smart and Umbro rarely let any club they deal with down but I’ll never truly love it. For me a City kit is a bold stripe, black shorts and a hooped sock affair and suspect that’s what we’ll see next year given the pinstripe/bold strip rotation. Maybe even next year, we’ll see our name reappear on it too.”