A new England kit…but how does it fare against these five greats?
We may not have a manager, or a captain, or any chance of winning Euro 2012…but England do have a brand-spanking new kit.
Keeping it simple for the third home strip in succession, Umbro, presumably inspired by the Cross of St George, have opted for red rather than navy detailing to complement a creamier white tint for the body.
Featuring a woven collar with red inner stripe rib and striped rib cuff detail on the arms, the shirt also features an embroidered red Three Lions crest and red Umbro double diamond on the chest. Paired with white shorts, it will be the first time ever that blue hasn’t made an appearance on England’s first choice strip. Quite a radical departure, we think you’ll agree!
While it certainly looks smart, Quidblog are keen to assess where the latest offering stands in the pantheon of all-time great England shirts…
Design: Arguably the most iconic England kit ever made, the plain red crew neck, long-sleeves and beautifully woven Three Lions badge is most definitely worthy of a mention in the same breath as Brazil’s famous canary yellow livery. Designed by sportwear giants Umbro, although their branding didn’t appear on the outside of an England shirt until 1984, it is as garment as patriotic as the Queen’s royal robes.
Highlight: How can it be anything other than Sir Geoff Hirst’s World Cup Final hattrick against West Germany at Wembley. Although the game was broadcast on the BBC in black and white, that sunny afternoon on July 30th 1966 will forever be associated with the colour red.
Design: After severing ties with Umbro, Admiral were charged with kitting out England from 1974-1983 in an unhappy nine year spell which saw the national side fail to qualify for both the 1976 European Championships or the 1978 World Cup. At least by 1980 Ron Greenwood’s side looked good in this stylish kit. Granted, the shorts were very short indeed and the shirt material was so shiny and synthetic that it oozed flammability, but the red, white and blue banded motif on the shoulders proved very popular with supporters for whom sporting replica kits on the terraces became an increasing trend.
Highlight: They were few and far between, although two goals by Kevin Keegan against Ireland in front of a 90,000 capacity Wembley crowd helped cap qualification for Euro 1980 in Italy.
Design: Having wrestled back the contract to provide England’s kits in the mid-eighties the designs provided by Umbro in the run up to the 1990 World Cup in Italy were clearly intended to cement a longstanding relationship. The trim on the sleeves, collar and shorts of the Italia ’90 strip all incorporated Umbro's double diamond logo while abstract diamonds were incorporated into the weave of the white shirt. At a time when domestic kits were increasingly experimental, Paul Gascoigne and teammates were classically understated…which is more than can be said for Chris Waddle’s mullet and penalty taking.
Highlight: After a slow start at World Cup 1990, Bobby Robson’s side found a momentum that nearly propelled them all the way to the Final. While Gary Lineker’s quarter-final penalty brace over Cameroon proved enthralling, the volley by David Platt in the final seconds of extra-time against Belgium in the first knockout stage has to take the plaudits.
Design: As football came home for the first time in 30 years, a glorious summer of action at Euro ‘96, soundtracked by Baddiel and Skinner’s popular anthem, needed a kit suitable for the occasion. Terry Venables’ squad had exactly that (well for the home shirt anyway) with a white and navy strip that integrated turquoise flashes. At times it felt as if the whole country was sporting the same garment as England nearly put an end to decades of hurt.
Highlight: It’s tempting to say the penalty shootout win over Spain, or Paul Gascoigne's solo goal against Scotland, but the best performance by far was the 4-1 group stage hammering of pre-tournament favourites Holland. Two goals each by Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham had national hopes soaring, unfortunately Germany did what they so often do and crushed those dreams in the semi-final.
Design: Symbolic of the Sven Goran Eriksson regime, England’s first kit of the new millennium introduced a single, bold, red vertical stripe on both the shirt and shorts. A hitherto unseen motif, the go-faster look proved incredibly popular with supporters in the build-up to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea – a tournament made famous by Beckham-mania in the Far East, Ronaldinho lobbing Seaman and Brazil’s fifth triumph.
Highlight: A tough call. Despite England sporting this kit in the stunning 5-1 win over Germany in Munich, it has to be David Beckham’s one-man show against Greece in the final game of qualification. Needing to equalise in the dying seconds to secure a place at FIFA’s premiere international tournament, the Manchester United man curled home one of his trademark free-kicks from 30 yards to send the country into raptures.
What’s your favourite England kit of all-time? Which is the worst? Will you be buying Umbro’s latest offering? Who should be the next manager and captain? And do we stand any chance of winning at EURO 2012? Let us know in the comments section…
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