2019/20 change shirt by Umbro – First impressions

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@Adz238 Oh I do love playing away……

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019/20 primary kit by Umbro – First impressions

Umbro caught everyone by surprise on Friday when they released a primary shirt that riffs on the infamous 1992/93 tiger stripe home. So what do the HCK Kitgeeks make of it?

SombreEthyl: 

Well, it had to happen at some point. In the 27 years since the 1992 Matchwinner home shirt seared itself onto the footballing collective consciousness, it’s gone from ridicule to really cool. Once it topped every ‘worst kit ever’ list, but in the last few years the price of Matchwinner replicas on auction sites has rocketed and there has been a growing clamour to again have tiger stripes on a City shirt. It had become inevitable that a new shirt would reference the original sooner or later.

For my part, I wasn’t keen on revisiting the 1990s. Sure, I love the retro kitsch of the original, but felt that kind of lurid, all over print, belonged in the past. I was OK with using it as a warm up shirt design, but I feel such a tight pattern isn’t really appropriate for a match shirt. The purpose of a match shirt is to clearly distinguish a team from the opponent, to stand out, whereas a tiger’s stripes are a natural camouflage, they help a predator blend in to the background as it stalks prey. On a vertically striped shirt the amber stripes pop, they are easy to pick out, but the tight pattern of tiger stripes blurs together the black and the amber, from a distance the amber is hard to make out.

Umbro have recognised that, and in doing so have changed my mind about having a shirt with tiger stripes to an extent, because this is really good.

Their decision to have just a band of tiger stripes on the upper chest, and to have those stripes clearly defined and spaced out on a field of amber, is brilliant, and what makes this shirt work on every level. There should be no issue of ‘camouflaging’ here, it meets the basic match shirt requirement of distinctiveness in a way the 1992 shirt did not.

I like that the tiger stripe pattern on the shirts is uniform, it looks the same on every shirt, because a football shirt IS a uniform, the asymmetrical striping on the 1992/93 shirts was not a good thing. I’m OK with the stripes ending at the set in sleeves, and although I don’t love the collar, the inset trapezoid panel seems a bit unnecessary, I don’t mind it either.

My preference would have been for a small, black polo collar, but I suspect the window of such collars being used, such as on Manchester United 2013/14, France 2014 and Manchester City 2015/16 primary shirts, has been closed. (There’s a good article about this here… ‘The sunset of polo collar in football fashion’)

As much as having tiger stripes can be so, this is a really tasteful way of referencing both the club nickname and the 1992 home shirt, there’s nothing gaudy about it, and in contrast to the original, it doesn’t feel like a novelty affair. The sympathetic treatment of the sponsor wordmark is worthy of praise too.

The shirt has looked an orange tone in launch photographs, but I wonder if that’s just some over zealous Photoshop colour saturation, I’m hoping so.

It’s fascinating that very little has been made of the shorts and socks, the launch has been all about the shirt. We haven’t yet seen the 2019/20 home ‘kit’. There was an image of the black shorts and another of the amber socks, both seem simple affairs with minimal trim.

I believe Umbro have created a modern classic here. They’ve taken an iconic shirt as inspiration and given it a fresh, modern look that isn’t gaudy and anachronistic in the slightest. I was against a rehash of the 1992 shirt, but I’m not against this, it’s excellent.

We need to talk about the crest aesthetics though… Since it’s release and the seemingly rapturous response to it, something has gnawed away at me but I’ve left it unsaid. We’re all delighted to have the name back on the crest, but I think that delight is making people willing to overlook what’s happened to the tiger.

The great job Umbro have done in spacing the tiger stripes out, so that from afar it’s not a blurry mess is juxtaposed by what the club have done ‘updating’ the tiger head, which is now a blurry mess.

The stripes of the 1970s tiger head needed cleaning up, more definition, and what we have is less. A real tiger does not look like the creature on the new crest, and what the hell happened to the chin? It’s just been shaved off.

Now this can be easily fixed, we don’t need a new crest, it doesn’t need a total overhaul, it just needs looking at again.

@Adz238 So it’s here… the 19/20 home shirt, and I’m loving the throwback tiger print at the top of the shirt. Umbro have managed to do it with a lot of class and not make it to ‘in your face’.

I’m slightly disappointed that there’s no Umbro branding on the sleeves this season, I really liked the double diamond taping that’s been on the shoulders or sleeve cuffs the last two seasons.

I’m happy that Umbro is white to make it stand out from the rest and that SportPesa has stayed with the theme to keep a bit more black on the shirt, the way the badge goes in to a stripe makes the name on the badge pop out too.

All in all I’m very very happy with it, in a scale of 1-10 I’d give it a solid 8.5.

@MikeCarterHKR: When I am asked the question “who makes the best football shirts?” I always reply Umbro.

Why? Just look at what they’ve done with Hull City, again and again and again.

The new shirt is a clear throwback to our Matchwinner shirt from the early 90s. The stripes across the chest are just enough for me, they’ve been smart and logical with the placement, clearly showing club and sponsor branding. Umbro and Sportpesa have again colour coordinated their branding to give the shirt that finishing touch.

I would have liked to have seen what the shirt would have looked like if the stripes had extended to the sleeves too though, and the lack of Umbro taping disappoints me, but I feel I can bypass those feelings by hoping we’ll get some on the away or third shirt.

The neckline is something which confuses me a little. The solid black line meets an amber trapezium in the centre. I feel this is something which over complicates the neckline and a solid black crew finish would have looked better.

Our 2019/20 home shirt is the first to feature the new club crest, which sees the return of the club name to our shirt for the first time since 2013/14. The crest is again, presented in a parquet style on the shirt and I love this application.

I am happy that we haven’t gone down the route of stripes, pin stripes or twin stripes this season even though that is against our brand image. I feel clubs need to make changes every once in awhile to keep things fresh. I can see this shirt being a bigger seller for the club and I hope the reintroduction of the name, and the new club crest makes this shirt a must buy for all Hull City fans.

The new shirt goes on sale Saturday 29 June at Tiger Leisure

2018/19 third kit by Umbro – First impressions

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

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

SombreEthyl:  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

2018/19 change kit by Umbro – First impressions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*yes, I’d like a green 3rd kit

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

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

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

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

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

 

2018/19 primary kit by Umbro – First impressions

The 2018/19 primary kit was unveiled seven days ago, and it’s time for the HCK kitgeeks (and guest reviewer @Adz238) to spill the beans on what they make of Umbro’s work… 

 

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

 

@JGHullI like it.

My only issue right now is the weird block style on the rollover of the sock. As for the shirt, the stripes are different and I like them, they make for an interesting change from either large block stripes or pinstripes.

The biggest thing around the shirt for me though is that it connects properly. Unlike the balls up of last years shoulders, the collar, the stripes and the sleeves all connect seamlessly together.

The black sleeves are carried by plenty of amber on the front and back even if the the underarm of the sleeve appears to have some odd amber insert which cuts the lovely Umbro taping short. Why not solid black all round?

I’m assuming it’s comfort related somehow. Anyway, I’m picking a little. It looks ace and whilst my preference is for thicker stripes, this is a rather lovely change from the norm. So I like it. And that’s before you drape it over the delectable Jon Toral. Swoon

@Adz238: Where to start? How about the double-diamond cuff trim? That is stunning. I know other Umbro teams will have them but they are such a classic touch I’m happy that we got them too!

The double stripes on the body are a great touch as well, something that is both new and keeps the shirt bright with the amber flashing through the middle of the black. The neck line is also something I really like, I feel it leads brilliantly from the black sleeves into that contrasting amber, it cuts off the solid colour and amplifies it all at once.

I’m also a big fan of the sponsor staying simple, not reverting to the blue ball in the middle that I couldn’t stand a few years ago. Keeping it simple really helps make it a beautiful shirt.

The shorts have a nice flash of amber at the back and are quite contemporary, which is fantastic to see with the shirt making nods to the more classic stripe pattern. Moving on to the socks…. I’m happy that they are hooped, I’m a fan of hoops, however in this instance I feel the top of the sock is a lazy finishing touch with a black square left at the top of the turn over looking a little (a lot) out of place!

It’s a shame on an otherwise brilliant football sock. All in all a solid 9/10, surpassing last season’s Home kit, I’d go as far as to say it’s probably the best home kit of recent years.

SombreEthylBlimey. I’m in love.

Pulse-racing, pupil dilating, loin-stirring polyester love.

Now, I liked the 2017/18 home shirt a great deal when it was first unveiled, dynamic angled sleeve stripes and all, and came to really love it, to the extent that I could not conceive that Umbro could top it with their 2018/19 follow up. Yet here I am making declarations of love immediately after a kit unveiling.

I’m delighted that we have another striped shirt, we pretty much own the look of amber and black stripes and should always use it for that very reason. That said I think it’s important to maximise the amber in a striped shirt so that overall it looks bright. When grainy images of the kit photo-shoot appeared on Social Media, it was the black Raglan sleeves that stood out to me and I feared they would make the kit look dark overall. Thankfully that isn’t the case as the black stripes on the body panels are quite thin, allowing amber to dominate.

I think Raglan sleeves look better and fit better than set in sleeves, so they represent an upgrade on the 2017/18 home shirt I feel. I wouldn’t say the black stripes on this shirt are better than those of the previous iteration, but I like them a lot. To some the shirt has amber pinstripes atop black stripes, but instead I see a series of twin-stripes, rather than pinstripes. You know the stripes that appear on muscle cars from bonnet to boot? That’s what I see, and I think it’s a good way of retaining stripes but presenting them in a fresh way.

I think I preferred the round collar of the 2017/18 shirt to what’s going on here, but it doesn’t offend my sensibilities at all. Similarly double diamond ‘taping’ looked better going down the sleeve on the 2017/18 shirt than it does here on the cuffs, but the amber on these cuff bands serves to break up the blackness of the sleeves well.

This shirt reminds me of both Nike’s Inter shirt from last year and a shirt Puma made for Borussia Dortmund a few years ago. That’s good aesthetic company to keep!

The club have promised us they’ll start using Hull City rather than just Tigers or the Tigers in communications, and ‘We are Hull City’ on the shirt launch blurb was great to see. It’s a shame that doesn’t extend to the new kit, which still has TIGERS on the back near the neck but no mention of Hull City. I get that the kit will have been signed off months ago, prior to the promise to start using the club’s playing name, but this throwback to a more antagonistic time still rankles. To remedy this, I’d love to see ‘Hull City’ added to the player shirts with heat bonded letters under the numbers. Many German Bundesliga teams have the club name on the back of the shirts in this manner. I don’t think this will happen, but it would make me love a shirt I already love a lot a bit more.

Onto the shorts, they’re perfectly functional and don’t  inspire much comment, unlike the socks. I like the ‘twin-hoops’ which visually connect the socks to the shirts, but the splitting of the foldover band into a block of amber and a block of black is a little jarring. This might be something that I get used to, but on first viewing it looked strange.

It’s not enough to sully what I think is a wonderful kit however. I really didn’t think Umbro could make me love a kit more than I love the 2017/18 home, but they’ve pulled it off. Played, Umbro!

 

2017/18 third kit by Umbro – First impressions

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh.

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

But wait.

This kit is just a bit ace too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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