With England set for two more World Cup qualifiers this week, pay attention to a familiar name on the pitch, one that's time is limited. As Umbro will not be around for much longer.
Trading tradition for the swoosh, is a bold move but it is not as though The FA care about tradition when a major trophy has not be won in 46 years. Personally I could not feel more disappointed. I just love sporting my England kit (home or away) on the streets of Toronto (where I am from). I am proud to wear the 3 lions anywhere (football, rugby or cricket I have them all) and Umbro just make a fantastic quality kit. And ending this relationship makes me sad. So I decided to pay tribute to Umbro and how they have designed some of the most beautiful kits in world football.
What is to follow is my Top 5 Home and Away England kits.
This is a kit that came out before I knew about football, or England for that matter. I was 2 when the '82 World Cup was held in Italy, but I just love this away kit. It would not look out of place today on the back of Steven Gerrard leading our midfield against Germany in a quarter-finals where we would not get shafted by a terrible non-goal call.
Right around the time that I started to gain an interest in football (as a 10 year old), England were sporting this fantastic kit in the 1990 World Cup. With the sharp looking collar as well as subtle yet noticeable pattern it (again) is a kit that would not look out of place on our England squad today.
This kit has sentimental value as it is the first English kit I purchased. It is of course the English away kit that made Wayne Rooney into a household name, and subsequent first choice England striker. But visiting England for the first time after Euro 2004, I saw this kit on sale at JJB Sport (on Oxford Street) and had to get it. I went and also had my name (FRASER) and my number (8) placed on the back of it and still wear it with pride. As we all should as England supporters.
Easily the classiest England away kit in years. And while I prefer Umbro to Nike I am aware that this Umbro away kit comes from the Nike years. I will give Nike their credit here in producing a comfortable form fitting shirt (that I have) that looks back to the classic England away look of the 1960's.
Three Geoff Hurst goals. England's only World Cup. No debate needed.
This is not the most original design, but it works. When looking at this jersey you will not mistake it for any other country other than England.
The benchmark for and England home shirt. Classic, white, plain and understated. This is the design that seems to be modified slightly over the years and we can all look back to 1966 to appreciate it.
Having St. George's cross on the right shoulder is a fantastic addition to this home white. It maintains the subtlety which is common with the classic England white by adding a piece of England to that shirt.
For me this is the England white that most resembles the 1966 design. The collar and number on the front of the jersey are perfect updates to give the jersey its own distinction in the range of England whites. This is an Umbro/Nike joint venture which does can provide hope that Nike will continue on producing top notch whites.
A very classic World Cup (for the wrong reason) for England but produced the best England white kit of all time. The unique v-neck collar in blue and red along with the overall feel of this shirt for me, make it in best one England has ever worn.
I do not wish to come across as a downer on Nike replacing Umbro as the official kit supplier to England. Nike has done a good job at Celtic maintaining the tradition and heritage of the kit while giving it its own edge. And perhaps I am coming across as an old fart (at 32) but Umbro and England just work, like Manchester United and Nike. You could not see them with any other kit provider.
Tailored for Umbro by me.