The Shirts of the 1992-93 Manchester United Season
(Posted on 26/09/21)
Manchester United had come close to winning the league title before the first Premier League season in 1992-93 but hadn’t lifted the trophy since 1967, maybe a change of kit manufacturer would be the missing element or just one special signing. The Red Devils did both.
The red side of Manchester had high hopes for the first Premier League season of 1992-93. Some exciting young talent had emerged in the previous two seasons and the addition of a new Danish goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel, in 1991 looked to have moved the squad close to winning their first title since 1967. The squad may have already had a title in the bag if it wasn’t for a terrible late run in 1991-92, where they won only one of their last five matches, handing the league to bitter rivals Leeds United. Some would say they bottled it, which is something we certainly wouldn’t be saying about Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side by the end of the decade.
At the start of the season there was little movement in the transfer market, which in present times would see a fair few #fergieout hashtags reverberating around Twitter. Ferguson knew they needed another piece to complete the jigsaw, and in November they found that piece. A new King arrived at Old Trafford, his name was Eric Cantona.
Although the signing of Cantona was massive in the club’s fortunes we like to think kits have a lot to do with success. The side had a new manufacturer for the start of the new Premier League season, Umbro. One of Britain’s oldest kit manufacturers made the deal to take over from Adidas and they didn’t hold back with their first designs for the club.
Umbro were adventurous in the early 90s. They didn’t do plain kits with no design features which you'd maybe expect from a manufacturer’s first crack at a home shirt nowadays. The lace-neck collar on this shirt was a masterstroke. A design feature that helped produce two of the most beautiful shirts of the 90s - We’ll go onto the other one very soon! This feature coupled with the subtle but very 90s Umbro pattern in the material elevates this shirt to be one of Man United’s greatest. The red is right, the design is right and the results were right to make this a classic.
Man United’s best ever home kit?
When Umbro played it safe - by their standards - with the home kit they must have given a bit more freedom to the designers for the away kit because this kit is outrageous. Dark blue kits had traditionally been used on third kits in the 80s but Umbro promoted the colour to the away kit. The colour wasn’t a problem for fans, this blue is synonymous with the George Best and Bobby Charton team that won the European Cup back in 1968, it was the pattern that overlaid it. Umbro added a massive crest graphic to the material and what seemed to be a random pattern of black smudges all over the kit. It’s so bad it’s good.
Hall of Fame or Shame?
Umbro looked back at the club’s history for inspiration for the Man United third kit. It was 90 years since the club had left behind their old name Newton Heath and installed the famous red as the home kit main colour. Before this the club mainly played in yellow and green home kits in a half and half design. The Umbro designers applied this colour template to the already excellent silhouette of the home shirt. The lace-neck collar elevates this kit to the top level of shirt design. The 'Glazers Out' campaign protestors have used the gren and gold colours over the last decade so it’s not likely we’ll see the colours back until the club is sold.
Man United’s greatest third kit?
In addition to the kits it’s worth mentioning a few of the training items. Long bench coats and drill tops are just what we’d come to expect from 90s Umbro but what we wouldn’t have thought of was a white and black training version of the away kit. Love it or hate it, once again, it’s bold from Umbro.
This season was the start of Manchester United’s domination of English football. Eric Cantona’s arrival and the emergence of a young player called Ryan Giggs might have played a part in the success but that first year of Umbro kits made the side look like a Championship winning side and they delivered for the next few decades.
(Approx $293 / €259)
(Approx $247 / €219)
(Approx $455 / €403)
(Approx $260 / €230)
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