Classic Football Shirts
Nostalgia is very prevalent in popular culture, from remakes of classic films and music group revivals to celebration of a brand’s history. Football is no different, with fans constantly looking back at the “glory years” or a period that they remember fondly.
Images of winning moments and replays of memorable goals are often associated with the kit worn in that particular match. It means fans will recall a home or away strip for a specific moment, that cup win or a wonder goal; certain kits can be closely linked with a specific player too. Retro football shirts have become a growing commodity because of this.
Retro Manchester United shirts have become more popular with fans, particularly those longing for the glory days of the 90s. Online sites such as ClassicFootballShirts.co.uk have helped satisfy this demand, whilst HistoricalKits.co.uk are a great resources for documenting kits through the years. Manchester United’s kit history is a real journey of memories, colour and design.
Here’s a selection of the most popular, and some of my personal favourites.
1993-1995 Away Shirt
One of the most iconic United shirts, the 93-95 black away shirt is a bold design and intrinsically linked to the famous Eric Cantona kung-fu kick; the January 1995 game against Crystal Palace will live long in memory for that moment and for this shirt. United’s kit history features a number of all black kits, though this is a stand out and quite rightly a favourite amongst fans.
1994-1996 Home Shirt
With a red home shirt to design every few years, and now every single season, kit manufacturers will always look for new ideas to integrate. None have come close to the 94-96 shirt, with an Old Trafford motif on both sides. This kit was the backdrop of the 95/96 double winning season, and probably Cantona’s most iconic collar.
1990-1992 Away Shirt
United’s kits were historically made by Umbro in the 60s & 70s and, after a short spell with Admiral, were picked up by Adidas from 1980 to 1992. The 90-92 blue and white away shirt is a firm favourite due to it’s unique design which has been revived in more modern kits. Whilst not as prestigious as others, United wore this shirt in the 1992 League Cup final victory.
1992-1993 Away Shirt
Another great Umbro shirt from the 90s, the 1992-93 away shirt was only worn for one season giving it a little less exposure than others on this list. It was (famously) worn at David O’Leary’s ‘farewell’ game vs Arsenal at Highbury. The full crest design might seem a little garish to some, but if you’re going to highlight the badge why not go full size!
1990-1992 Home Shirt
The last Adidas home shirt, before being reacquainted in 2015, was this design in 90-92. There’s just something that works so well with the 3 white stripes on red, and the Adidas originals logo adds a touch of nostalgia. United home shirts that keep it simple always look classy, which this one certainly does, with the smart collar and sleeve trim.
1991 European Cup Winners Cup Final Shirt
A familiar looking style, this shirt is the white equivalent of the previous home kit. A smart, sponsorless design from adidas with red trim, and rare given it was produced for and worn in just one game; the victorious 1991 European Cup Winners Cup final.
1995-1996 Away Shirt
United have always worn their traditional colours of red, white and black, with the away strip largely being blue. The 95-96 grey shirt was short lived and infamous for the game at Southampton where, 3-0 at half time, Fergie opted for a kit change, claiming the players couldn’t see each other. The shirt was only worn 5 times in that season but is still popular due to the story surrounding it.
1992-1994 Third Shirt
On the theme of rarely used colours, green & yellow are an even rarer combination for United shirts. First worn in 1881 as Newton Heath LYR, these colours were used frequently until the team reformed as Manchester United in 1902. It was only in 1992 that United wore green & yellow again, a deliberately retro Umbro design with a draw-string collar. Green & Gold would become protest colours against the Glazer ownership in 2010 and can still be seen in pockets around Old Trafford.
1997-1999 Away Shirt
“It’s a wonderful run from GIGGS! Sensational goal from Ryan Giggs. He’s cut Arsenal to ribbons.” If any shirt could be tied more specifically to a single goal, it’d the be the 97-99 white away shirt, last seen swirling around Ryan Giggs head after his unforgettable winner against Arsenal in the FA Cup Semi-Final replay. The bold red & white markings, shield badge and occasionally used ‘Sharp Viewcam’ logo complete it.
1992-1994 Home Shirt
The twin to the green & yellow third shirt, the home version of the 1992-1994 kit was just as much a classic with bauhaus ‘MUFC’ & umbro design throughout. This shirt will of course always be remembered for the 1992/93 League win, the first in 26 years and the start of an immensely successful period for Manchester United.
The common theme between these shirts is that they all hail from the 90s and span just a 9 year period, a fond time for myself and many United fans. A mix of Umbro & Adidas but with the iconic ‘Sharp’ sponsorship across all. Nostalgia will always draw us back to times we want to relive which is why these 9 shirts make my list. In years to come there may be a few shirts from the 2000s in amongst them too, but these 90s kits will always be special.
All shirts images from ClassicFootballShirts.co.uk