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.

HCK on the DesignFootball podcast


HCK’s @SombreEthyl was recently invited onto the redoubtable DesignFootball podcast and grilled by presenter Jay about his obsession with polyester. Tigers apparel is the main focus, but there’s also some discussion about @SombreEthyl’s interest in a certain Serie A team and their garb.


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


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…


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.”


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.”


2016/17 away kit by Umbro – First impressions


City have chosen the away kit to be the first of the three 2016/17 kit sets to be unveiled, and as in 2003/04, 2005-07, 2012/13 and 2014/15, it is mostly black. Time then for the HCK kit geeks to share their initial impressions…

JGHull: “I’m sure Mr Motherby will wax lyrically about how this shirt wicks sweat away from the skin in a feat of engineering driven by the desire to mimic the skin of a Unicorn’s bollock or something but to me, it’s just a black kit with nice socks. That’s it.

Yes, the sponsor is ace and looks good on the shirt but we all know that it’s going to be replaced with SpunkBet or some such bookmaker absolutely nobody will have ever heard of (it’s all the rage in the Premier League, let’s face it).

Whilst Umbro rarely let the side down – and they haven’t really here – this feels like the sort of kit you’ve seen before. And that’s because you have. Yes, it had a different collar but it’s more or less the same as the kit from 14/15.

8 year old *me* is becoming bored with the lack of effort with modern kits. They are becoming one of two things:

1. Boring. Driven by Ultra 27K HD+ MegaSharp TVs, kits are becoming one colour and if you’re lucky, you might get a different colour sock. (Note to Nike – this looks shit)

2. Extreme. Driven by a desire for some marketing plonker to able to tell the Chairman he got a gazillion likes, 27 tweets and 134 mentions on FaceTube, we’ve seen some kits that are purely for PR.

This kit is alright but falls into category 1. City away kits should be white. Or blue. Or green if we really want to push our luck but black is for third kits (which we now need one of).

So I’m left really hoping that we see a fat striped, black and amber, hoop socked, Hull City AFC emblazoned, semi inducing home kit (I reckon the first two are nailed on, the third possible and the fourth one? Sigh.)

Away kit? Meh. Regardless of the Unicorn bollock copying properties.”


SombreEthyl: “I’m feeling a bit misunderstood by Mr Greenwood! I’ve never been impressed by claims of 32% more sweat wicking or a shirt being 0.0000017 zeptograms lighter at the atomic level than last year or some such, I consider all of that ‘KitBollox’ and I’m not going to start liking it now! I’m all about the aesthetics.

I can sympathise with the view that this doesn’t get the kit juices flowing, but then I sympathise with a supplier being told “give us a black kit with amber trim” when we had such a kit just two seasons ago, there’s only so much scope to play with.

I like the ‘lightweight polyester diamond mesh… with an internal contrast amber colour’, I think the vent hole effect with amber peeking through looks good and gives the shirt an amber sheen, rather than being solid black as in 2014/15. I like simple, unfussy collars and the black V neck with a layer of amber trim is smart, and sufficiently different from the mitred V neck of the Everton away shirt (which shares the contrast colour mesh effect) as that has no stacked trim, instead the V neck is two piece, changing colour at shoulder level. At a time when England share the exact same template as Brazil, France, Portugal and a myriad of other international sides, City being sniffy about the similarity of our away kit to Everton’s when they’ll never be seen on the pitch together is churlish.


Derby’s away shirt has the same collar style as ours, but they don’t have the contrast mesh feature, theirs is plain black with an asymmetric colour print on one side of the chest. Only subtle changes, but Umbro can’t be charged with giving us the exact same kit as another club save for the colours used, and let’s not have the old boring template debate, templates have always existed, and at least Umbro personalise the shirt with the tiger stripe band applied inside at neck level, along with the co-ordinates of the stadium gimmick they’re doing for all double-diamond clubs.

We’ll see if Umbro do as they did in 2014/15 and not have separate black shorts for home and away kits, and use the same design for both, which seems fairly sensible although if the shirts have an amber sheen but the shorts are plain black, that might make them look mismatched. My answer to that? I’d love to see amber alternate shorts used with the black shirts and socks, I adored that admittedly off kilter look at Doncaster in 2014.

Thinking of the occasions we could wear black shirts for greater contrast in the Premier League in 2016/17 against teams that wear dark shorts, then Tottenham, Southampton and Sunderland spring to mind as games where we could go black-amber-black.

I rather like the socks with the thick amber band underneath the black turnover cuffs.

Though I do prefer all white as our default away kit, I understand that in the age of three new kits a season the need to freshen things up effectively precludes having one every season. Black now feels naturally part of the change kit rotation alongside white and blue, and that is no bad thing, especially if it forces the home kit to have more amber in it. Any home kit with a striped shirt should be as bright as possible, and the black away kit from 2014/15 meant amber sleeves and socks on the home (though hooped socks are even better).

In summary then, this is a decent if not exciting away kit.

2015/16 third kit by Umbro – First impressions


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The kit itself then. Blueprint and Scuba blue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*To keep score of modern Umbro City kits…

PERFECT: 2007/08 away

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

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

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

MEH: 2015/16 third


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

2015/16 away kit by Umbro – First impressions


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Sleeves? Amber

Short trim? Amber

Sock trim? Amber

Collar? Amber.

And black.

What, wait?

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

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

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

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

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


2015/16 home kit by Umbro – First impressions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014/15 third kit by Umbro – First impressions


The 2014/15 home kit is unanimously loved by the HCK geeks, whereas the away kit divides the opinions of SombreEthyl and JGHull. The third strip is the charm, says no one, but Umbro have revealed City’s alternate change kit, activating our opinion glands which are ready to spurt…

SombreEthyl: “A fusion of classic tradition (white away shirts) and nascent tradition (using blue, which recalls the city being the capital of synthetic ultramarine dye production as well as being one of Hull’s civic colours, as a change tone), that works for me, as does a keeping it simple approach to design. I like this. A lot.

When I see some of the attention seeking designs from brands trying way too hard to make a name for themselves, such as Warrior’s horrific Liverpool change kits both last season and this, as well as Macron’s tendency to splash as many of their logos on a shirt as possible, I’m very grateful that Umbro are capturing the zeitgeist for understated and classic designs.

A white shirt, blue shorts and white socks, each with just a touch of contrast trim, it’s a very attractive combination and is harmoniously put together.

There will come a time when envelope pushing design is in vogue again, but at a time when Hull City are trying to establish themselves as a regular and respected Premier League constituent, a restrained and tasteful set of kits fits the bill and Umbro have delivered with all three designs.

Though I’d have preferred the wrap over V neck that’s used on Everton’s white third kit, (that collar style is perhaps my favourite ever, it harks back to an age of classic kits in the late 80s to early 90s and I’d dearly love to have a City kit featuring it), it is understandable that Umbro would shy away from replicating that look for us when you see the endless and tedious faux-rage generated about templates on kit review sites.

A sponsor insisting on having their logo in brand colours can cause some hideous colour collisions (remember that purple and lime green NTL applique on Aston Villa’s claret and sky blue home kit? Eww!) but 12BET’s insistence on having part of their logo in red isn’t as jarring as it sounds. Umbro sensibly rendered part of the sponsor blue on the artwork they supplied the Premier League for the annual handbook, but I don’t think the splash of red on the final version looks incongruous on this shirt, and that’s probably down to its very basic styling.

Umbro’s slightly superfluous sleeve wordmarks will need to be covered to comply with kit rules in UEFA sanctioned competition, which will be addition by subtraction in terms of overall kit appearance, even better, they’ll be covered by Europa League patches, an embellishment second only to the FA Cup patches City used in the Semis and Cup Final.

I’m rather excited about seeing this shirt with a unique name and number font for Europa League games added too. What I’ve seen has stencil lines through it, like what you’d see sprayed onto cargo boxes, quite appropriate for use abroad I’d say

I’m duty bound to say I’d have preferred the old logo with City’s name and nickname, but regardless this is a lovely kit, and while it references tradition, it takes us in a new direction where away kits are concerned. The three kits supplied have justified our initial excitement that Umbro are back, and since the competition they faced to supply City was from Warrior and Macron, every Tiger National should be glad we’ve gone double diamond.”


JGHull: “Oh my. That’s tremendous.

It’s the right blue. It’s the right white (heh). It’s better than the away kit.

I’m a massive fan of white as our change kit but historically, blue has been used before and I like us in it too. Admittedly, not the deep blue from last season (that was a bit of disaster) but light blue has become one of our key club colours. And this kit is stunning.

A simple shirt with round neck collar (will any of the players nick that with scissors for comfort? Hard to see where it sits on that picture of Jake Livermore – often if it’s too high or too tight, some players gets the scissors out), simple blue shorts, white socks with a simple blue hoop. Simple then, but very effective.

The sponsor including red is OK – I’d have loved to have seen that in plain blue or black but it doesn’t do any damage. I do wonder though why the red is insisted upon on this kit but not the other two kits? The red could have been used on both of the other strips so whilst this doesn’t hurt the strip at all, it stands out that it’s been used here.

The badge? Blah blah blah. I’ve said it before. Fix the “1” and it’s OK as a shirt badge but I’d rather it had the club name on. The club are finally using Hull City in their press, artwork and social campaigns so hopefully we can see a revision of the crest for next season.

Overall, Umbro have created three great playing strips for this season and they deserve to sell plenty of them. However, I said it about the second kit and I’ll say it again – kits become memorable because of when and where they are worn. And City are in Europe. It doesn’t get more memorable than that so Umbro have every chance of these kits being loved for a very long time.

2014/15 away kit by Umbro – First impressions


Having shown us the very sexy home kit last month, Umbro have revealed the primary change kit City will use in 2014/15. The chin stroking HCK kit geeks are ready to give their view…

SombreEthyl: “Hmm, that’s pretty good.

Although it doesn’t quite stir the loins like the home kit, which still has me in its thrall and makes me coo every time I see it, this is a rather decent design and a good addition to Umbro’s City kit pantheon.

Back to black then… I’ve always preferred all white as a first choice change kit, but when you’re replacing kits every season then it’s good to mix it up a bit, and I like the idea of a white-black-sky blue away kit rotation. Besides, a black away kit pretty much necessitates a third kit, so there is still room for all white yet! As an unabashed kit nerd I’ll never complain about having a third kit, I’ve never bought into the idea that a third kit is a rip off, that a fan is somehow compelled to buy all three kits. You aren’t, and I’ve no time for third kit based faux-outrage .

As far as all-black goes, the 2003/04 away kit was a bit of a game changer; the sight of Ian Ashbee, clad in a mean looking black kit with amber trim, his face flushed and arms pumping in triumph after scoring the goal against Yeovil that sealed a promotion 18 years overdue, that look signalled all-black as an accepted alternative for a change kit.

It’s true that a black kit isn’t veering very far from our regular look, but there is something pleasing about being able to avoid a clash while still wearing our club colours, just with the order reversed. If you can’t wear amber and black on your travels, then wear black and amber!

Although quite a simple design, the shirt has a rather interesting neckline that is both crew neck and V-neck, exposing a round amber underpiece that creates the impression that a black top is being worn over the home shirt. It’s a collar style used on the home and away shirts Umbro have made for French club Nantes this year, but thankfully it isn’t on any other English club’s shirts (at least as far as I’ve seen) so it doesn’t look so generic and templatey, that might be the biggest plus of going with Umbro; we won’t be sharing kit design with a glut of other Premier League clubs.


I’ve made my feelings about the revised club crest clear on the home shirt review; the crest itself isn’t ugly, but the underlying reason for the change doesn’t sit right with me. Still, I’ve liked shirts carrying a crest I don’t like before (such as the 1999/00 home and away shirts) so I won’t make out that the crest sullies the shirt, I’d just rather our shirts carry the club name.

I would also have preferred for the Umbro marks on the chest and sleeves (and while I’m at it, those sleeve wordmarks are wholly redundant and unneeded) to have been applied in amber, because once you add the mostly white Premier League sleeve patches and white numbers and letters, the amount of amber on this shirt will be quite diluted.

Similarly, the white edging to the ventilation holes on the back should have been amber to maintain the look of a club specific garment. The front of the shirt readily identifies it as part of a Hull City kit, but from behind? Not so much. Just a tiny bit of amber on the back would have made a big difference, HULL CITY AFC stitched underneath the collar piece for example, would have really enhanced the shirt.

The sponsor looks a lot bigger on this shirt than on the home version, but again I quite like the Chinese text part of 12BET’s logo so that’s not an issue.

I like that the home shorts are reused for the away kit, it creates a uniformed look across the sets, and having socks that are a chromatic reversal of the home kit’s hose offers the flexibility to use home or away shirts and socks interchangeability should the need arise. I wonder if there are amber alternate shorts to further increase mash-up options, I quite liked the varied amber shorts adidas created so we could still wear the home shirt if the home team wore dark shorts.

Verdict: Not the most practical, but a smart away design nonetheless. 

I’d have liked a wee bit more amber contrast trim on the shirt, but overall this is a fine away kit and another classy design from Umbro, I’m pleased they are showing signs of a strong recovery after their cruel gutting by former owners Nike. If the home kit is A- then I’d give the away set a mark of B+.

Not sure about that away keeper kit though!”


JGHull:  So that’s new away kit is it? It’s ‘alright’.

I know it goes against the initial Twitter reaction (I saw one tweet describe it as ‘beautiful’ – really?) as well as the reaction of SombreEthyl, but I’m a bit ‘meh’.

Perhaps that’s because I’ve seen it already – most of us on social media saw the leak and you could see enough of it in that leak to make today’s announcement a bit of a non-event. That’s a shame as I wonder if my reaction would have been different if I’d not seen it. We’ll never know.

Let’s be clear – I don’t dislike it. It’s clean, uses our correct club colours and whilst I too would prefer us in an all white get up when we can’t wear our home kit, I agree with SombreEthyl that black kits have their place in our wardrobe. I also agree with his suggestion that pairing it with amber shorts could create a smart looking option. However, I just don’t get the over the top excitement surrounding it. Even Tom Huddlestone couldn’t hide his excitement stating in the press release that “the lads are buzzing with the new away kit” and that they “could feel the quality”. Tom, did you really say that? Heh.

Maybe the inevitable third kit will be all white? And whilst City in blue is good too (the Argentina blue kit from adidas looked great), I wouldn’t want the blue and red experiment of last year to be repeated.


I think my major problem with it is that it reminds me of the training wear, which frankly I think is a bit iffy. Go look at it on TigerLeisure.com – it’s not great is it? No detailing, no design, just plain black stuff with the Umbro logo and that badge (I too am going to leave the badge out of it this time). If you’re looking for adventure, you can have it in plain purple.

I know this sounds harsh but take the badge off and it looks like the cheaper stuff near the door in Sports Soccer. Am I being mean? Perhaps, but it’s not the snazzy Climacool gear that adidas provided us with in the last few years and it’s certainly not a good look for “wor Steve” as he prowls the touchline.

Let’s face some facts though – whilst kit geeks like us will pore over the details of our new fabric, it’s the moments that occur whilst wearing it that make a kit a classic.

Ian Ashbee punching the air at Yeovil. City at Watford in a play-off semi. City at Wembley for the play-off final. Great City kits need great City moments. Maybe this kit gets its moment in Europe? Fingers crossed.

Verdict: Smart enough alternative to a great home kit, impact dulled  by a leak and ‘matching’ training wear.

There’s just the third kit to be unveiled now, when it is we’ll let you know what we think. Now it’s your turn. Are you happy to be back to black? Give us your thoughts.