Every team has a history of kits, some good, some team kits, some that make you wonder what they were thinking! Many of them stick in our minds for different reasons and can gain an everlasting place in the hearts of the supporters. Manchester United is no different, in fact with its glorious history and global recognition it is probably the most apt team in the world to consider for iconic kits.
Everybody recognises the flame red shirts, white shorts and black socks which are so definitive of the club and there have been many spectacular versions over the years so this list is not going to focus on them, instead these are three kits that inspire controversy, pride and remembrance.
The first is the 1992-94 away kit, one of the first in a long time to revert back to the ‘green and gold colours of old’ which the club sported in its youth. The kit had one deep forest green side and the other side in a bright gold/yellow, a striking kit to say the least. But what was important about this kit was it’s historical meaning, green and gold were the colours used by the club in the 19th century when it was previously known as Newton Heath. It even sported the old fashioned string collar common in those days. Given the present controversy over the club’s ownership and the significant meaning of those colours to the supporters, we could soon see these kits brought back in protest.
The next most iconic kits the club has ever worn was the 1995-96 away kit in two different and equally disgusting shades of grey. The kit was not just known for being one of the ugliest ever worn by the players but for the issues which arose from it’s design. The players argued that when wearing the kit, they were unable to see each other clearly enough to pass the ball, it was dubbed the ‘invisible kit’.
During a battle against the meagre Southampton the reds fell 3-0 down by half time and manager Alex Ferguson was famously quoted at entering the changing room during half time “get that kit off, you’re getting changed”. The team then switched to their blue striped kit and performance drastically improved but it was too late to save the game and the kit was subsequently scrapped. The team never won a game in that kit.
The final most iconic kit IS one of the famous red jerseys but for a significant reason. It is the 1958 home jersey which was worn by the entire team lost in the Munich air disaster. A tragedy which shook the club, the city and all of football. It was a simple, red jersey with a white collar and no sponsor, one which was pasted all over the newspapers and headlines and thus immortalised in pictures of the lost players.
In 2008 the present club made the decision of remembering the 50th anniversary in a derby game against Manchester city which was due to take place just days after the tragedy. They wore replicas of the original kits, no names or sponsors in sight, and made a led the team to glory in a day which the memory will live much longer than the result.