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.

Kit news round-up: Shorts stories and play-off patches

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The Tigers wore amber alternate shorts for the play-off semi-final at Derby on Saturday 14th May. Nothing odd about that, City went amber shorted twice in the league in 2015/16 (at Sheffield Wednesday in October and Brentford in November) and once in the FA Cup (at Bury in late January).

Indeed the most notable shorts story came at Derby in the league in April, when an off colour City lost 4-0 to the Rams, looking sartorially off colour by matching the away kit’s white shorts and socks with the amber with black primary shirts.

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A closer look at the shorts worn at Derby in the play-offs, however, offers an explanation for the earlier white shorted look at the iPro Stadium. The amber shorts worn earlier in the campaign were the 2014/15 alternate shorts recycled for this season (the thin black side stripes are a giveaway, they correspond to thin black bands on the cuffs of the otherwise amber 2014/15 home socks), but when the stock ran out, the Tigers opted to mix and match elements of the home and away kits.

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To prevent a re-occurrence in the play-offs, supplier Umbro advanced the delivery of next season’s alternate shorts, and those were used in the 3-0 first leg drubbing of derby. It is curious that City have worn two distinctive shorts in the 2015/16 year, but neither set was purposefully designed to go with this year’s primary shirt. Still, we love amber shorts used away from home, so are pleased there’ll be some in 2016/17.

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In other news, a photo on the club’s Twitter account revealed the play-off final shirts will have different sleeve patches to those used in the regular season. The patches feature the exultant player trailing a cloud of confetti graphic that appears on match tickets, and were first used in the 2014 edition of the play-offs.

 

 

City try a new look at Derby

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City’s performance was ugly at Derby, as the Tigers’ automatic promotion hopes took a potentially fatal blow in a 4-0 defeat. Their sartorial showing was below par too, as City elected to pair the away kit’s white shorts and socks with the home shirt.

The mash-up seems an odd choice,  inconsistent with how we’ve worn the home shirt with non-standard shorts so far this season. At Sheffield Wednesday in October, City used the amber alternate shorts (designed for use with the 2014/15 home kit) since the primary kit shorts of the home side are black. That look was replicated at Brentford in November, again to avoid a black shorts v black shorts clash and again at Bury in late January in the FA Cup 4th round.

City have also worn amber alternate shorts at Derby before, in 2011/12 in a 2-0 win and in 2012/11, another win, this time 2-1. The amber on white/white mash-up is the seventh look the Tigers have sported this season: in addition to the regular home kit (1), full away kit (2) and all-amber when away (3) ensembles, they’ve worn black home shorts with the white away shirts and socks (4, at Charlton), the white away shirts with home shorts and socks (5, at Forest) and the blueprint/scuba blue third kit (6) twice, at Bristol City and Rotherham.

The Derby away game also saw a first airing of the deep blue ‘keeper kit since late December when it was at Preston. You can view our updated season kit tracker here.

 

2014/15 away kit by Umbro – First impressions

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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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.

2014/15 home kit by Umbro – First impressions

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The wait is over…Umbro have unveiled the primary kit City will wear both home and abroad in 2014/15. So what do the HCK kit geeks make of it?

SombreEthyl: “Oh that’s beautiful. Very, very beautiful.

I consider the 1990-92 Matchwinner home to be the ideal City shirt; bold stripes with plain amber sleeves. Or at least, I did. This, I think, employs that look even better, it screams ‘HULL CITY’ even if the badge doesn’t carry the name.

As far as Umbro’s remit goes, they’ve nailed it, it’s a classic looking City kit with some neat technical features (such as the small white disc topped ventilation holes on the back). Simple round collar, lots of stripes that aren’t too thin, and solid amber sleeves to brighten a shirt that could look quite dark if the sleeves are striped too, or as they have been at times, solid black. Amber is the most important tone in our colour scheme, our kits should be bright, even with a striped shirt, and this is the way to achieve that.

Similarly, the socks should have lots of amber in them too, and if we aren’t replicating last years gorgeous hooped socks, then all amber is the next best thing. The thin black stripe on the foldover band complements the simple and elegant black shorts, which have an amber stripe of the same width on each side.

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The image leaked the day before the unveiling (grr, I hate grainy leaked pictures that have people on Twitter slagging off details they can’t see properly or may well have since been changed) showed a shirt with wonky alignment of the Umbro double diamond and club crest, that seems to have been put right, as has the sponsor, which was on a black background that did the shirt no favours at all.

The sponsor then… I have no problem with betting firms advertising on football shirts (I don’t like shirt advertising full stop, there are plenty of ways to be sponsored that don’t involve turning a team’s primary identifying mark into a billboard, but hey ho, this isn’t the time for that debate), so 12BET is a significant improvement on a pawn shop/payday moneylender.

My concern then is whether a sponsors logo affects the visual integrity of a shirt by being too big, or using colours that clash with a teams palette. With the earlier black background plate that was the case, but now that the sponsor is applied as white text with a black background, 12BET’s logo doesn’t look intrusive, and I actually think the logographic Chinese text looks cool. Nobody with Hull City’s interests at heart has opposed the club trying to tap into the Asian market for sponsorship, they just don’t think changing the club’s name to that end is worth that or necessary, and seeing hanzi text on a City shirt proves that.

The crest then… Y’know, as a shirt badge, which is often different from a club crest or a single element of it (think Arsenal with just a cannon, or City from the 1940s-1970s with a scraggy looking tiger that never appeared anywhere but on the shirts), the shield with just the tiger head and ‘1904’ looks alright, although I still think it’s daft to not have the club’s name on the shirt. It’s when you see a nameless crest on the side of the KC Stadium that it looks silly, but as a shirt badge it’s not so bad (it’s better than the awful clipart crab crest from the 1999/2000 shirt, which crest aside, I love) though I’d much prefer the beloved crest used from 2002 till the FA Cup final.

If this had the old crest, I’d declare this the perfect Hull City kit, and since the crest switch is on the club and not the supplier, Umbro should be praised to high heaven for providing the club with a perfect Hull City kit.

Verdict: Very close to perfection.

The club have indicated there may be a different sponsor or the club’s charity of the year on the shirts used in Europe, so there is the worry of an intrusive logo yet to be allayed there, but for now I’m very happy with that home kit and I’m looking forward to seeing the club’s own name and numbers fonts for Europe too.”

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JGHull: “That’s almost it. That’s not just the latest Hull City AFC kit, that’s almost *the* Hull City AFC kit. There are two things which prevent me from fawning over it completely, with one maybe more major than the other.

I’ve got to agree with SombreEthyl (which pains us both) but I think Umbro have hit their brief squarely on the head. It’s a gorgeous, bold striped shirt with a simple, slightly old fashioned collar. I like the amber sleeves too. The white Umbro detailing on the sleeve cuff adds a little something. It’s the perfect Hull City shirt.

But I can’t get past the badge.

The new badge actually looks OK in situ and I’m going to leave the politics out of it (but would seriously prefer our shirts to carry our proper name) but what went on with the kerning (designer-ponce word for the spacing between the letters)? Why is the 1 of 1904 so far away from the rest of the numbers? It’s such a simple thing. I’ve seen someone tweak it and post on Twitter and it makes such a difference. 2 more minutes spent on the badge artwork and it would have been so much tidier. I can’t unsee it. I suspect the embroidery may cover it up slightly as it might be hard to replicate at that small size with a needle and thread but look at it at a decent size and the kerning really lets it down. You can see it now too can’t you? Sorry.

To summarise, put the old crest on and we’re done – Hull City shirt design could be ticked off as mission completed. It’s that good.

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As for the full kit, I’d always have hooped hosiery. Always. It just looks fantastic with the striped shirts. Maybe next year Umbro? However, that’s a minor gripe really.

My last words are reserved for the sponsor. I think the Chinese text looks brilliant. Seriously. A Hull City shirt carrying an Asian sponsor looks brilliant – I don’t really care that it’s a bookies. Let’s face it, the horse has bolted on bookies slapping their names all over Premier League kits but as a logo, 12BET looks great. I’m glad the design was changed from a black sponsors patch across the stripes to an heavy black keylined logo too (the patch being seen on the leak that SombreEthyl refers to above). To top it off, the club seem happy that it’s a great deal for them which frankly makes it a great deal for everyone. An Asian sponsor paying good money and without having to change the club name to attract them is a win-win for everyone.

Verdict: Well played Umbro. Very well played.

The leaked images imply the away kit will be all black, which necessitates a third kit. We’re hoping for classy all-white, but when both change kits are unveiled (and here’s hoping there’s no crappy leaks this time), we’ll let you know what we think. Now it’s your turn. Disagree with a our Umbro love-in or ready to jump on the double-diamond bandwagon? Give us your thoughts.

Umbro and Hull City sign four year kit deal

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As predicted on our Twitter feed, Hull City will wear Umbro made kits in 2014/15 and for three seasons beyond after signing a 4 year deal with the Cheadle based firm.

Umbro did a great job with City’s kits between 2007-2010, their plain amber shirt from 2007/08 is synonymous with promotion achieved via the play-offs at Wembley, their only true striped City shirt of that deal was worn when The Tigers cut a swath through the Premier League in the early part of 2008/09 (including away wins against Arsenal and Tottenham) as City defied the odds to stay up. Umbro’s pinstriped 2009/10 was lovely, and clothed our players in their first appearance in the Barclay’s Asia Trophy contested in Beijing, China, although it had an unhappy end when City were relegated back to the Championship.

Our favourite Umbro City kit? The magnificently pure all white away kit from 2007/08 that also saw service in 2008/09 as a third kit worn at Newcastle in an FA Cup tie. We look forward to seeing Umbro’s first offering as part of the new deal,and the effort they put into marketing City kits.

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The teaser campaigns run ahead of the three seasons they made apparel for The Tigers were professionally, tastefully and respectfully done, they made Hull City feel like a.celebrated stable member rather than just a team to foist ubiquitous templates onto, and it is good to see Britain’s most noted kit maker recover after they were cruelly gutted and ditched by Nike.

Having Dean Windass and Geovanni be part of the deal unveiling as ‘Umbro heroes’ at half time between City v Arsenal was a lovely touch. Is it too late for Umbro to whip us up an FA Cup final kit? Probably, though it would be nice to see us play at Wembley without a tat shop being advertised on our garb. Adidas got a raw deal seeing that plastered on their shirts, though it is yet to be soon who will replace the pawnbrokers as main club sponsors for 2014/15.

 

Hull City in hooped socks – a potted history

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Here at Hull City Kits, we’ve long been vocal proponents of a return to hooped socks, so we whooped with delight when the club teased us all yesterday with a photo showing part of the new City home kit, revealing that hoopy hose will be part of the ensemble. It was as if our entreaties to the kit god Polyesteus had finally been answered!

Hooped socks look great, and the amber hoops brighten up a kit with striped shirts that can look rather dark when paired with black shorts and socks, which is the norm. That has led to using alternate socks with the home kit, such as at Manchester United, Tottenham and Portsmouth in 2008/09 and when we used the previous season’s amber home socks away to Ipswich in 2006/07. Hooped socks remove the need for using alts in games where the opponents have dark stockings.

City have had hooped hose before, most recently in the early 80s when red was part of City’s palette at the behest of much loved former chairman Don Robinson. Most recently that is if you don’t include the socks of the 2009/10 home kit, which visually connected the stockings to the jerseys by replicating the pinstripes of the shirt, though from our point of view that makes them pinhoops, and not proper hoops, although we did like them.

So let’s have a look at when City have used hooped socks…

1935/36

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The first use of true hooped socks by City came in 1935/36, when The Tigers wore a rather untigerish kit that was ultramarine blue and white. Ultramarine dye was made locally by Reckitts so it was easy to source, but the reasons for this one season change have eluded us when we’ve researched past kits. The blue shirts used after the resumption of league operations have been explained, certain dyes were prohibitively expensive and rationed by the Board of Trade so we wore light blue in 1946/47, returning to amber and black the season after. But why we wore a deeper blue in 1935/36 is for now unclear.

It surely cannot be a coincidence however that the blue jerseys used in 1935/36 were the first to be adorned with a crest over the heart. It wasn’t a tiger head emblem though, that didn’t appear on City shirts till 1946, rather it was the civic crest of three stacked coronets within a shield. The crest of the city of Hull is coloured Azure and Or, or blue and gold. Azure has many shades, including azzurrum ultramarine (literally, blue from beyond the sea.) Was this kit a respectful nod to the city of Hull? Using the city’s crest and main colour (achieved with a locally produced dye) would suggest that is the case, though we cannot say that definitively.

Anyway, the socks of this unfamiliar but nonetheless striking kit were blue and white hoops. 1935/36 was a disastrous campaign for City, it ended in ignominious relegation. Blue was ditched and amber and black returned, but some players didn’t get the memo it seems, the 1936/37 team photo shows several players wearing hoopy socks with black and amber shirts and shorts.

1947/46

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City spent the first year at Boothferry Park wearing light blue shirts, but went back to amber and black the following campaign, only The Tigers had lost their stripes. Harold Needler favoured solid colour shirts so City turned out in jerseys that were all-amber aside from a black turnover collar and a tiger head picked out in black stitching on a sewn on amber square.

Fans not old enough to have seen City play in this kit are nonetheless familiar with it as whenever a photo of the legendary Raich Carter is used it is in this kit. Usually he is pictured in plain amber socks, but for one season this kit was used with fetching hooped stockings.

This looked great, but superficially very similar to Wolves, who also wore solid colour shirts, black shirts and hooped socks. If we’d stuck with striped jerseys then such comparisons could not be made, but we’d abandoned our highly distinct look so the hooped socks had to go. Bah!

1960/61

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The next shirt used by City, from 1955 to 1961, was similarly paired with hooped socks for just one season and is usually pictured with largely amber socks with black turnover bands. Whereas the 1947-55 shirts were initially paired with hoopy hose that were then dropped, the solid amber jerseys with V shaped collars in black ended their run with horizontal stripe stockings used for the 1960/61 campaign.

1962/63

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Hooped socks were used with striped shirts for the first time in 1962/63, as City continued to tinker with their look in the early Sixties. These shirts, with thin alternating black and amber stripes of equal width, were used for just one season, in 1963/64 City wore another striped design, this time using thin black stripes over wider amber bands.

1964/65

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For the only time in club history, The Tigers used amber shorts as part of a primary home kit in 1964/65. The look wasn’t popular and was disparagingly nicknamed the ‘banana kit’. The shirts were rather lovely, featuring two black bands on the chest, but with no black shorts to give the kit contrast and make the amber pop, the whole outfit looked rather washed out. Like the shirts, the socks featured two black hoops, and could have been part of a classic kit had only black shorts been used. As it happened, the ‘banana kit’ never had chance to ripen, dispensed with after just one season. The socks did make a brief reappearance in 1970 however when player-manager Terry Neill wore them for a photocall.

1984-86

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The 2013/14 home socks will end a 27 year hoopy hiatus. The last time City wore stripy stockings was back when The Tigers had red in their palette, during the tenure of the slightly bonkers but beloved chairman Don Robinson. The former wrestler and Scarborough based entrepreneur was said to have stated the red represented the blood players were willing to spill for the cause, which sounds very much like a Robbo quote (he once said City would be the first team to play on the Moon). The amber, black and red hooped socks had white feet and were paired with two distinct shirts made by Admiral, who like hair and mobile phones, were massive in the Eighties.

City’s shirts for 1984/85 were updated versions of those used between 1982-84 (which were paired with solid red socks), featuring alternating matte and shiny stripes separated by red pinstripes. The stripy socks used with that shirt for two seasons were retained when Admiral produced a rather yellow set of shirts for the 1986/87 season that featured black chest bands and red sleeve rings and bore the name of sponsor Twydale, a local turkey purveyor. City changed the socks for 1987/88 however, going with largely amber hose.

City have had quasi-hoops since then; Pelada supplied socks with two thin black bands and black tops in 1993/94 when they slapped their logo over that of Matchwinner on the famed tiger stripe kits after City had a dispute with the Scottish firm and asked Pelada to come up with a new tigerskin kit. When they did, it wasn’t pretty.

Olympic’s 1998/99 home kit had black socks with a fairly thick amber stripe on the turnover band as well as another at shin level which created a hoopy look depending how far a player turned the tops over, and we’ve already mentioned the ‘pinhooped’ socks of the 2009/10 home kit, but none of these were truly hooped socks.

The 2013/14 set are however, which makes us very, very happy. Hip hoops hurray!

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The liked and loathed list 2012

What did you like about City kits in 2012?

JGHull: The black away kit is far and away the best kit adidas have come up with for City and whilst accepting that all our kits have been templates, this is the one which most looks designed for us. I’m also a fan of the FA rule change which has stopped excessive white tape or ridiculous length white ankle socks being used. Whilst coloured tape being used is hardly earth shattering, I’m pretty certain no kit designer ever expected to see their kits worn with white golf socks. Glad it’s been stopped.

SombreEthyl: I think the black away kit is tremendous, and winning at Leeds wearing it puts it on the path to being an iconic City away kit like the 2003/04 all black affair. I’m pleased we’ve used last years away kit as a 3rd kit this year too, the Argentina blue shirts are quite classy. Considering my oft stated disdain for Cash Converters association with the club, I actually found the Tash Converters appliques at Bristol City good fun. I also appreciate adidas producing undershirts that are nearer to amber than last season’s yellow efforts.

What did you loathe about City kits in 2012?

JGHull: It’s become a bit too easy to bash the sponsor but, well, it’s Cash Converters. It’s not a great look really is it? Aside from that, we’re still waiting for the auctioning of the Poppy shirts. Come on City, I’ve some cash that I wish to chuck your way.

SombreEthyl: First time round, the Tash Converters things was fresh and novel, but the second time? I wasn’t keen at all. I thought Cash Converters had seen the light about big patches after needlessly ruining a good home shirt last season, but they did it again, needing an ‘amber’ patch to cover their normal logo on the home shirt, only it wasn’t the same amber as the shirt and looked naff.

What other kits have you liked in 2012?

SombreEthyl: Green shirts did it for me this year, Germany away is my favourite kit of 2012 and it was a travesty that it didn’t get an airing at Euro 2012. I also adore Northern Ireland’s green with white pinstripes shirts. Domestically, Umbro continue to do a great job for Manchester City, the ‘zinfandel’ away kit is truly beautiful, that Nike have mugged Umbro and taken the Manchester City and England accounts off them is criminal. Sashes always look good, and Fulham’s third shirt is brilliant, kudos to the sponsor for being content with a smaller wordmark to not impact design integrity.

JGHull: It’s been a decent year for kits. I’m a fan of the new Spanish shirt which will be worn in the Confederations Cup. The V neck styling without a v neck just works really well and whilst the FIFA patch is a bit big, it doesn’t really stop the shirt looking smart. I too was a fan of the Germany away kit and would also have liked to see it worn at the Euros. Other lookers – Rangers home, Bolton home, Chelsea 3rd and AC Milan away.

What other kits have you loathed in 2012?

SombreEthyl: I don’t know what has gotten into Nike the last year but some of their current stuff is horrific. Barcelona’s orange gradating into yellow away kit is near vomit inducing, and Arsenal’s purple, black and red hooped away kit? Blimey, that’s not a good look. Nor for that matter is Manchester United’s gingham check home shirt, it’s an interesting concept that shouldn’t have left the drawing board. They seem so poorly made too, I saw some kits up close in a Niketown store and they were pulled and frayed before anyone had taken them home to wear. All this made from recycled bottles stuff, who wants to wear Panda Pops bottles?

JGHull: Barcelona home and away are hideous. How can such an esteemed club let their supplier get away with such nonsense? I’m bored with the Nike 3 inch cuffs and plain shirt look too – Everton, Brazil, Arsenal etc etc. Yawn. To say both of those kits are Nike, you wonder what their process is. From wild and wacky (which doesn’t work) to plain, understated and well, a bit boring. On another note, was the Millwall away kit worn at the KC this year the worst kit to ever play on the turf of The Circle?

Hopes for 2013?

JGHull: Stripes for our home kit please with no faffing. I’d be more than happy with the current WBA kit delivered in our colours. I’d also like Nike to forget they ever did a deal for the England kit and let Umbro carry on…

SombreEthyl: I’d like stripes too, but what I really want is hooped socks. We’ve had them before and they look great. Hopefully the Cash Converters deal won’t be renewed, and we’ll be in the Premier League so can drop back of shirt ads, which don’t look good.

The 2012/13 home kit : Some early thoughts

The 2012/13 adidas home kit was revealed at 6am this morning, and HCK’s JGHull and SombreEthyl forwent another hour in bed and battled eye-blear to offer their initial thoughts…

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I’m finding it hard to get overly excited by the new kit as it follows a template, the adidas Autheno 12 design.

I probably feel that way fundamentally because I’m a stripes man and this is a plain shirt, but also because this kit’s template exists on sportswear sites for Sunday League teams (such as here for example, thankfully it isn’t available in  amber and black) means it feels a bit less special somehow.

I’m pleased the sponsor is ‘cut out’ and whilst I wish we had a different sponsor,  it looks as good as it can do with the same ‘cut out’ applied to last year’s away shirt (eventually). The sponsors patch is bigger this year but the lack of patch means the new size probably won’t be noticed by most. The collar on the kit is a V which is better than any flappy collar or round neck but it might just be a bit too chunky. Whilst not as pronounced as the Liverpool kits of the mid 1990s (also made by adidas), it looks quite “fat”. Hopefully it’s one of those things that look better in the flesh.

The shorts don’t appear to be massively different although I suspect they are subtly somehow to ensure supporters want to update to the latest ones. I wonder if we’ve got any amber change shorts this time out?

One highlight for me is the amber socks – they simply look better than black! In saying that, I suspect with the away kit being black, we’ll match away socks with home shirt at some point in the season. I’m really looking forward to seeing the away kit.

Will I be buying one? I’ll not be at the front of the queue but suspect I’ll pick one up at some point – I’m a kit geek and *need* one – but at the moment, I’m not sure this shirt will ever be properly loved.


SombreEthyl

Typical, I bemoan us using the same template as Stoke two years in a row, then when we don’t, Stoke unveil a gorgeous design I’d be happy to see reproduced in amber and black.

I would have preferred stripes again but given that 6 out of the last 8 home shirts have been striped maybe it is time for plain shirt proponents to get their way this time.

When I first saw it I thought it looked like the Starfleet uniform Worf, Data and Geordi wore in Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s a design I’m warming to though, even if I find the sponsor too unpalatable to wear myself. Maybe I could boil wash the sponsor wordmark off, it certainly looks easier to remove than the monstrous patch on last years home shirt and I’m thankful we’ve not made the same mistake twice.

I’m not as sniffy as some about templates because I think most kits have followed templates to some extent, Wolves and City wore pretty much the same kits in the late 50s, the 60s and 70s. Most adidas 80s kits we consider classics now were the same basic kits in different colours or with different team specific detail. France ’84? Ipswich just added a sponsor and a horse. Holland ’88? The Soviets wore the same shirt in red and later West Germany wore a green version, template use is far from a modern phenomenon. I don’t like City consecutively using the same template as another side but does it bother me that Middlesbrough use this design for their away kit? Not in the slightest.

The announcement that a fan who takes a photo of themselves wearing the new shirt will get a squad number made me roll my eyes. A few years ago Bryan Hughes had his wages doubled but was told months later he’d not even get a squad number, now you can get one by spending £45 and posing for a picture, squad numbers have lost their cachet it seems. It perplexes me that the club don’t use adidas to organise launches more than they do.

Sponsor aside, this is a decent enough kit. I like the use of amber socks to brighten up the overall kit, they had to be really since the away kit is going to be all black and presumably there will be amber alternate shorts again that will be interchangeable with both home and away shirts. For the last two years adidas have done a better job with the away kit than the home and I think that will prove true for a third time when we see the change kit, but this home kit is alright, and I think it’ll grow on me.

The liked and loathed list 2011

 What did you like about City kits in 2011?

JGHull: I *heart* the all amber strip that has been used away this season. My little boy has the white away strip from last year and the full kit looks ace. Under used and under appreciated that strip.

SombreEthyl: I really liked the white away kit from last season too, I think adidas have done a better job with away kits for City than homes overall, I like this years Argentina blue shirt and the navy alternate shorts were a nice surprise. Using amber shorts and socks with a home shirt when away isn’t new, but this years version looks better than all the others, I’d love a pair of those amber shorts.

 What did you loathe about City kits in 2011?

JGHull: Whilst the sponsor was contentious, I think the lack of foresight as to how their logo would appear on the striped home shirt was a bigger issue and being honest, a bit of a clanger. At least the away shirt sponsor was applied properly – in the end.

SombreEthyl: That black sponsor patch on this years home shirt is just awful. I’m not impressed by the calibre of the company sponsoring us, regardless of how much they paid, but even letting that go, they didn’t need to ruin what is a better home shirt than the one it replaced. The yellow undershirts worn with short sleeve jerseys irritate me, I wish players would just wear long sleeved jerseys, and I didn’t like the constant mixing of bits of home and away kit last season.

What other kits have you liked in 2011?

JGHull: Inter Milan away, River Plate away, a splendid kit from Adidas for the Chelsea third strip, the newly released Germany kits (both) for use at Euro 2012 and the away kit Sweden wore at Wembley. As you can see I have a thing for contrast sashes on shirts, although I’d have moved the details of the fixture on the chest into the sash below the double diamond branding.

SombreEthyl: Initially I wasn’t keen on AC Milan’s thin stripes, but now I love that shirt. I agree about Germany’s kits, that green away shirt is gorgeous. Umbro have been consistently good the last few years, the current Peru shirt is delicious, Sweden away rather lovely, and I like the navy England away shirt and respect the brave choice to go away from red. Coventry’s retro kit is lovely, it deserves to be worn by a better side, and Darlington’s Errea home shirt is uncharacteristically good.

What other kits have you loathed in 2011?

JGHull: There are a few in the MLS which make me feel a bit “kit sick”. New York Red Bulls take branding to a whole new, and unacceptable, level and as someone who owns a few LA Galaxy bits of kit, the new kit is ruined by a horizontal yellow pipe across the collarbones. Not quite sure what Adidas were thinking there.

SombreEthyl: Nike have produced a few horrors this year, that Barcelona shirt with the stripes that change width is rank, I don’t like the fuzzy striped Juventus shirt either. My estimation of Puma kits is quite low, but even by their standards they messed up Newcastle’s home shirt, it’s ‘orrible!

Hopes for 2012?

JGHull: I’m looking forward to seeing what Umbro come up with for the Euro 2012 challenge with the England kit hopefully being more than just subtle changes as per the last home kit release. I’d imagine it’ll continue on Umbro’s “retro” theme (see Manchester City) but would be nice for it to be visibly different from the last couple. City to remain in stripes please, coupled with an all white away kit (it’s white’s turn for 2012/13!)

SombreEthyl: That Cash Converters go bust, voiding their deal with City. Failing that, Tiger Leisure releasing an unsponsored batch of replicas would be nice. Using Milan’s template for the 2012/13 home kit shirt be ok with me, as would using the Germany away kit for City’s change duds, we could sing the “who sometimes play in green” bit of ‘Black and amber team’ again.  England need to drop the lighter shade of blue for the shorts, back to navy for the Euro 2012 kit please, and Puma, please, please, don’t make Borussia Dortmund look ridiculous.