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By 1992, United had been kitted out by adidas for 12 years and despite some nice enough designs along the way, the relationship did appear to be going stale. Simultaneously, the club were also struggling to get their hands on that all-important league trophy that had eluded them for so long. But with Alex Ferguson’s young side gathering strength season upon season, the final piece required in the Old Trafford puzzle was an absolute humdinger of a kit to spur them on to glory. Up stepped Umbro who absolutely stormed it with one of the greatest shirts in United’s history and one that was the starting point for an era of almost unrivalled success.
The early '90s were witness to a post-modern acknowledgement of past football fashions that complemented the technological advances and contemporary styles of the day. Out went the sleek, modernist approach that defined the '80s and in came proper old-fashioned collars and button-up plackets, inspired by kits of yore. In United’s case, though, Umbro pushed the retro feel even further and even introduced a lace-up collar – a style that in 1992 had last been seen regularly in football 60 years previously.
Combine this with the flamboyant, baggier shirt sizing that was widespread in fashion both on and off the pitch at the time, liberally decorate the fabric with a 3D geometric jacquard weave of the club’s initials, add the familiar and iconic Sharp logo and sprinkle just the right amount of red and black trim, and you have yourself a bona fide classic kit. One that was fit for champions.
Written by John Devlin, founder and illustrator of TrueColoursFootballKits.com.
John can be found on Twitter and True Colours is also on Facebook.
This shirt is part of The 50 Greatest Football Shirts Ever. The full list can be viewed here.