Growing up in the 90s, Umbro was everywhere. You weren’t one of the cool kids if you didn’t have an Umbro schoolbag, and those Pro Training sweatshirts were the stuff of legend. But first, and foremost, they were the biggest name in football kit. Not just at home, where Umbro supplied eleven out of the twenty two Premier League clubs in its inaugural season as well as all five of the home nations, but abroad too; with the likes of Ajax Amsterdam, FC Internazionale and the Brazilian national team.
Umbro is one of those special brands. Getting a new shirt was a very memorable moment, and I can tell you exactly where I was when I got each and every one of mine, the first of which was the Manchester United 1992/93 home shirt. It had 'Giggs 11' printed on the back, and Premier League patches sewn onto the sleeves. I still have it hanging in my wardrobe, with the original collar lace still intact. It doesn’t fit anymore, but it has become one of my most prized possessions.
The first kits I ever made on a computer were Umbro’s Man Utd shirts of the early 90s. I made them on my Dad’s PC using Microsoft Paint on Windows 95. I still have them, somewhere. Printed in colour and glued onto some cardboard from old cereal boxes. They were terrible (I was only twelve years old) but it laid the foundations for the kits I’ve been making for PES for the past 15 years.
I was delighted when I heard that Classic Football Shirts & Mundial were planning to celebrate Umbro’s 95th birthday with a pop-up exhibition in Manchester. Even more so when I found out that I would be in Manchester while it was open, as I had tickets for United‘s match against West Ham at Old Trafford.
When I stepped off the tram at St Peter’s Square and made the short walk to the exhibition, I was completely blown away. CFS & Mundial did such a fantastic job of putting everything together. Seeing shirts that I had forgotten about, some very fond favourites and even some that I never knew existed, was just amazing to me. I just wish that I could have spent more time there, but kick-off was fast approaching.
I left that exhibition and made my way back across town with a phone full of photos and a head full of inspiration. That whole afternoon, even in the car on the long drive home, the ideas just kept coming.
So, this is my love letter to Umbro; a heartfelt thank you for every football kit and the memories they invoke whenever I see them, made in the only way I know how. What follows is a selection of 25 of the greatest Umbro football kits ever, created in the highest detail as a very special edition kit pack for use in PES2019.
These kits are a part of football’s heritage, each telling their own unique story. The 1934 FA Cup Final kits - Umbro’s first and also the first of their 107* major honours as Everton ran out 3-0 winners against Manchester City at the Empire Stadium. The West Brom green & yellow away strip from 1977, made famous by players such as Cyril Regis & a young Bryan Robson. The infamous red England away kit from 1966; quite possibly the most iconic kit in this entire collection, and the Manchester United European home kit, worn on that famous night in Barcelona 20 years ago this May.
I hope you enjoy using these as much as I have enjoyed making them. Umbro holds a very special place in my heart and I hope that I have done them justice.
Happy 95th birthday, Umbro.
5x FIFA World Cup 8x UEFA European Cup/Champions League 7x UEFA Cup/Europa League 11x Premier League 9x First Division (Up to 1992) 11x FA Cup 11x League Cup 15x Scottish Premiership 15 8x Eredivisie 7x Ligue 1 5x Copa Libertadores 5x CONCACAF Gold Cup 5x AFC Asia cup
Download the Umbro kit pack here
By Gary Butcher @swoosh1968