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

1718away

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!

1718awaycomparison

@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.

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.

2016/17 third kit by Umbro – First impressions/A retrospective

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Usually we give our first impressions on a kit before it is worn in match action (when you can truly judge it), but life has gotten in the way and by the time we’re ready to go beyond mere Twitter reaction, the kit has been worn twice and is quite possibly already consigned to history. Still, for polyester posterity’s sake…

SombreEthyl:

Is it possible to feel sorry for a football kit? If it is, then I feel sorry for City’s purple third kit.

There is such a malaise, such a malignant fug hanging over the club right now that the automatic response to anything by the collective consciousness of the fanbase is to lash out, to react with scorn and insult. In that atmosphere, whatever any new kit looked like, it wasn’t going to be met with open mindedness.

Add that it’s an, err, challenging colour, and that even before the date it would go on retail sale had been announced City contrived to match their record heaviest Premier League defeat while wearing it, this kit was doomed from the outset.

I’ll admit, the colour description of ‘Cactus purple’ made me giggle even more than the preposterous ‘Blueprint and scuba blue’ of a year ago. “Cactii are green aren’t they?” I thought, but a quick Google images search showed that indeed there are purple cactii, so thanks for increasing my knowledge of cactaceae, Umbro.

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There was some fierce debate on Twitter about whether the shirt really was purple or pink. It’s on the red side of the purple shade spectrum for sure, in contrast to the 1999/00 away shirt which was on the blue side, but it’s still purple, and not pink. The nearness to pink has clearly ruffled some people’s feathers, maybe they’re worried that wearing such a tone suggests certain sexual proclivities, which you’d hope humanity had matured beyond in 2016, but evidently not.

It’s certainly on trend. City haven’t followed kit trends much in the past, it took us over a decade to produce an all black away kit when they’d been ubiquitous in the years immediately after ref’s gave up the monopoly on them, we never went fluoro when that fashion even reached Scarborough (who had an away kit that could be described as gall bladder green). No, the Tigers have for the best part, not strived to be at the cutting edge of football.

This third kit though, is following the current fascination for vivid colours. Take the slew of third shirts Nike have produced for their supposedly elite clubs (and Inter Milan), all of them are a combination of bold tones, Manchester City’s is orange and ‘Persian violet’ (purple), Barcelona’s is teal ‘Energy’ and ‘Green glow’, or teal and mint green while the aforementioned Internazionale’s third kit is a bright blue that graduates into lime green.

It’s not just Nike, adidas have Sunderland in a pink and purple third kit, New Balance have outfitted Liverpool in ‘Toxic green’ and grey, and City’s Umbro stable mate Derby have a ‘Marine’ third kit that looks pistachio green to my kit nomenclature un-savvy eyes.

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Nor is the fixation on vibrant colours just a kit only thing. Take the Premier League’s recent rebrand, which emphasises strong tones that cannot be mistaken for traditional club colours such as pinkish red, minty green, and purple. Going beyond football, Spotify’s new look has common elements with the Premier League redesign, a single logo depicted in a variety of constantly changing vivid tones, and colour washed images. Then there is Hull 2017, which too has embraced the strong and lively colourway design ethic, with purple one of the main tones in use.

Given both the fashion conscious colour used and a fanbase that seems to be made up mostly of beer bellied and balding middle aged men (and I count myself among that demographic), perhaps a lack of connection between the two is not all that surprising. Maybe Umbro thought this shirt would appeal to the young ‘uns, and it’s not their fault that City seem to be actively trying to price out young fans with the removal of concessionary tickets.

But you know what, I actually like this kit, and the more people talk about it in Twitter default rage, I like it more still. I like the simple crew neck in two contrast tones, black at the front, white at the back. I like the subtle shadow stripes that give the shirt a vaguely retro feel. I like the shirt’s white side stripes which are reversed on the shorts, purple on white, and I like the use of the same sock style as the home kit so there is some sense of it being part of a set. The new, circular Premier League sleeve patches work better on this kit than they do on either of the other two.

The shade of purple? Perhaps I’d have liked it to be a touch deeper, but I appreciate the hubris of it, the contemporariness of it. Maybe this would have been the right kit to have tried a two-tone crest, rendering the tiger head within a shield just in white over the purple, since purple and amber are strange bedfellows. But overall, I like it.

If you’re thinking ‘hang on, this bloke usually likes simple, traditional kits yet he likes this?’ well I like traditional and simple home and away kits, but there’s no such thing as a traditional third kit and if you’re going to let a designer run wild and be a bit whacky, the third kit is the right medium to go envelope pushing on, and if people don’t like it then so what? It will only get used a few times anyway.

This kit’s biggest crime is trying to inject some fun into proceedings when we’re all too busy being miserable to let ourselves go with the absurdity of a cactus purple shirt. We’re miserable about the way the owners have reduced the club’s soul and identity to a commodity given a pounds and pence value, miserable about the removal of concessions which threatens to curtail the support of seniors and stunt the development of the next generation of fans, miserable that relegation seems inevitable when it needn’t be.

A kit does not make defenders fail to keep track of attackers or midfielders to give away penalties. City didn’t lose 6-1 at Bournemouth because of a purple kit, but that performance did make the shirts very hard to market.

So yeah, I feel sorry for this kit, and the faux outrage about it makes me quite fond of it, I nearly fainted with joy when I got a match issued version and amusingly, I’ve had a few people ask if they can buy it off me. Nope, not ever.

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JGHull:

My first, initial response when it was first shown? Oh, that’s a shame. Why? Well, how mega would it have been for it to have been a complete copy of the City of Culture Volunteers outfit and keep it for two seasons?

Sadly, given the horrendous state our club is in that was as likely to happen as finding a Unicorn, me getting to spend some “personal time” with Kylie or a press release announcing the sale of the club to a gazillionaire who had already signed pre-contract terms with Messi, Neymar Jr and Ronaldo to join us in January and dig us out the considerable amount of shite we’re in on the pitch.

So, it is what it is. And I can’t help but like it.

It’s genuinely ours and how often can you say that? In an era where we get the same kit as other clubs within our manufacturer’s stable, I like the fact that no other side has the same strip in a different colour way.

It’s also genuinely different and how often can you say that? Our second kit this year we’ve had before. We’ve seen amber shorts paired with the home kit before. We’ve not seen this colour before – ever. It’s on brand with lots of the current crop of kits being a bit “out there” in the colours used. Both the Barcelona and Scotland away kits use pink and purples and they’re both ace kits.

So, I like it.

But I can’t help but regret the missed opportunity. Use the official colour of the City of Culture branding. Partner it with the blue in that brand book. Join in the celebrations and celebrate the city, the club and the important role the club has within the city and this could have gone down as genuinely brilliant.

Instead we’re left with a few reasons to like it but no reason to love it.

 

2016/17 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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