Monday, 6 December 2010
Recently, Nike launched a new, limited edition version of the current home shirt, marketed as the Manchester United Authentic Home Shirt. It is exactly the same as the players' shirts except for one crucial difference. It has a sewn-in care label, just like the standard replicas. The real players' shirts have the care instructions printed onto the inside of the shirt. Do not be fooled.
Other than that - just like the players' shirts - it features the venting panels under the sleeves and stripes without the devil on the left sleeves.
The launch of the authentic shirt explains my previous criticism of the standard replicas. Another example of cynical marketing by Nike. The authenic shirt sells at £90 - twice the price of the standard version. I imagine it costs only a pound or two more to produce and that includes the cost of the brown cardboard box it ships in. This is a new trend I would like to see the end of. Umbro's retail shirts are exactly the same specification as their clubs' players wear, are made of far superior materials, feature fully embroidered crests and cost the same. With Umbro now being a subsiduary of Nike, this feels like replica-buying supporters of the American brand's clubs are being ripped off somewhat.
Monday, 30 August 2010
There are often a few differences between the match shirts worn by the players and replicas sold in shops. Often they are very subtle details which would be missed by most people, sometimes they are immediately obvious. A good example would be the 1994-96 home shirt. The replicas had printed sponsors and manufacturers logos and a machined crest whereas the players' shirts had an embossed Sharp logo and silk embroidered club crest and Umbro logo.
MANCHESTER UNITED NO 16 ROY KEANE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE MATCH WORN SHIRT SIZE LARGE !!!!
THE SHIRT COMES WITH ALL THE DISTINGUISHING OVERSIZED NUMBERING AND LETTERING THAT DIFFERS FROM NORMAL REPLICA SHIRTS..
THE SHARP VIEWCAM SPONSORS LOGO LETTERING IS LARGER FOR TV PURPOSES AND THE CHRIS KAY FELT NUMBERING AND LETTERING ON THE REVERSE OF THE SHIRT IS LARGER THAN ON ALL REPLICA SHIRTS... THIS IS NOT TO BE MISSED OUT ON AS I THINK ALL OF YOU WILL AGREE THAT THIS WOULD BE A SUPERB ADDITION TO ANY COLLECTION !!!
ALL OUR SHIRTS ARE BRAND NEW WITH TAGS
THE SHIRT IS NOT A CHEAP ASIAN FAKE AND IS A 100% GENUINE REPLICA SHIRT
WE MUST STRESS THAT WE ONLY SELL 100% GENUINE ITEMS, WE DO NOT SELL FAKE ITEMS
ALL OUR MATCH WORN ITEMS ARE SOURCED VIA A KIT MAN IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE.
Just ten days later, I spotted the same item being offered by another seller and this time the description was even more forceful with the claim that it had been worn by Keane in the Champions League:
You are looking at a CHAMPIONS LEAGUE MATCH WORN shirt, worn by the one of United's GREATEST EVER LEGENDS....................
It was worn for one of the group games, on the way to winning the world famous TREBLE in 1999.
Roy had a TREMENDOUS season that year, and will always be remembered for his performance in the semi against Juventus, when he selflessly galvanised the side after being booked and ruled out of the final.
It's in the EXACT condition it was in when he left the field that night.
Shirt has all the differences between match issued shirts and replicas from that time (note the pictures).
THE DISTINGUISHING OVERSIZED NUMBERING AND LETTERING THAT DIFFERS FROM NORMAL REPLICA SHIRTS..
THE SHARP VIEWCAM SPONSORS LOGO LETTERING IS LARGER FOR TV PURPOSES AND THE CHRIS KAY FELT NUMBERING AND LETTERING ON THE REVERSE OF THE SHIRT IS LARGER THAN ON ALL REPLICA SHIRTS..........
Complete one off. Any questions, please feel free to ask. And see my other items for more Match Shirts and sports items.
The photos used in both listings are the same, although one has been cropped - I believe to obscure a detail that was not present on the actual shirts the players wore in the Champions League that year - the black rectangular Vapatech label. That was not present on shirts worn in that competition due to strict UEFA rules. Neither was the red white and black 'flag' on the right arm. Keane always wore an XL size shirt, I am not aware of any verified match worn Keane shirts in a smaller size and the one in the auction is an L. The sponsors logos are the same size on players shirts as they are on the replicas, contrary to what is stated in the description and UEFA are stricter in regard to the size of sponsors logos than the Premier League, although there was no difference with these particular shirts.
The Champions League name and number sets are currently available to buy in the same size as was used on the players' shirts from the excellent Wiggy Sports online store, so this does not prove anything about the shirt other than that it is merely a replica with the correct retro printing applied to it.
Here is a clip of Ryan Giggs scoring in the 3-3 draw with Barcelona in the 1998-99 season while wearing the away shirt (in a home match, oddly enough):
Spot the difference:
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
The blog is intended to become a comprehensive reference for all Manchester United transfers, with unbiassed references from national newspapers (where available) for each deal.
I have just completed the Premier League years, with the early Ferguson years to follow shortly.
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Much of this has been with the help of visitors and contributors to unitedkits.com. Thanks goes out to the following:
Alessandro Bacci, John Bailey, Anthony Barras, Joel Bobrucki, Charbel Boujaoude, Mike Brannan, Alan Brennan, Keith Ellis, Alex Howells, Paul Jolleys, Brian Landamore, Leslie Millman, David Moor, Marvin Nash, Tommy Nielsen, Athanasios Papathanasiou, Simon Shakeshaft, Pete Wyatt.
There are more but it's getting late. If I've missed off your name, I apologise but feel free to shout at me in the comments box.
All the main kits worn by United and Newton Heath are available to view on my Flickr account, here. Sorry about the excessive watermarking, but a lot of stuff is getting lifted and we are not getting the credit for it unfortunately.
Wednesday, 14 July 2010
Much like the current Brazil home shirt, it features a thin stripe down the sleeves and on the left arm there is a black devil. Why it could not have been a red devil is anyone's guess, frankly. The back of the shirt features an odd shadow pattern that brings to mind the emblem of the evil Decepticons from the Transformers cartoon series, and (a pet hate of mine) just below the collar the script "MUFC" is printed in the same rubbery material as the stripes. Unlike on practically every other Nike shirt this year, there is no contrast trim at the end of the sleeves, just a simple hem. Another cost cutting measure? Possibly, I feel it would have looked a fair bit better with it.
I have noticed a couple of differences between the replica versions and the players shirts. There is an extra panel of material with ventilation holes under the arms of the match shirts and the stripe on the left sleeve does not feature the devil logo. Curiously, the venting is the same as on the Brazil home jersey and is featured on the replica versions of that shirt - why have they not bothered to include it on the United shirt? Again, it can only be down to cost - very sloppy, Nike.
Sadly, (in common with all United kits since the 2008/09 white away) both shirts also feature the cheap, machined club crests within a sewn-on patch where only the red devil is embroidered. Obviously this is a cost cutting exercise at Nike (most of their other clubs have similar crests currently), but stangely (especially considering the reduced cost of manufacture due to the recycled materials) the prices of the shirts have gone up by about £5.
Nike seem to have scant regard for UEFA rules when it comes to designing kits and once again, this will mean that they will have to use a modified version of the home shirt in European competition. The sponsor's logo will probably have to be smaller and the stripes on the sleeves most likely contravene the rule about leaving a "free zone" there to accommodate the UEFA starball and respect patches.
The home kit (with alternate white socks) was debuted by the reserves in a 4-0 win in the Jack Crompton Trophy two days before it was due to be officially revealed at Ashton Curzon's Tameside Stadium. Thanks to Paul Jolleys for the photos:
These questions are difficult to answer. In simple terms, if you are a match-going fan who is part of the green and gold movement, you should really be leaving your traditional red club colours at home anyway as it makes a better visual protest if you are seen in only the green and gold of Newton Heath rather than "diluting" it with red. It just kind of defeats the point. If you are not a match goer, it doesn't really matter what colours you wear.
At the time of the Glazer takeover, a boycott of the kits (along with other products by Nike and the other official sponsors) was urged by some supporters but was not successful. Although no real fresh attempt has been made to convince supporters to do so this year, it seems that there would likely be the same response.
Some supporters see buying the latest shirts as just another part of how they support the club, just as some see going to the match as such. There are thousands of those who do both, of course.
The facts are that under the terms of the deal United signed with Nike almost a decade ago, the sportswear firm formed a wholly-owned subsidiary to control United's global licensing and retail operations (link). The club get a guaranteed set fee in the region of £23m from Nike per year, regardless of the amount of shirts sold. In the grand scheme of Nike's business, it doesn't mean a great deal. Last year, Nike had revenues of over £12 billion. The vast majority (over 50%) of their business comes from their footwear range. They spend around 13% (roughly £1.6 billion) of their annual revenue on advertising and sponsorships, and their deal with United (even if you factor out any money Nike make from it) is worth around 1.4% of that. It's fairly obvious to say that Nike's main interest in United is in increasing their brand profile and market share. Their sponsorship of United guarantees their swoosh logo a place in the sports pages of newspapers worldwide almost every day of the year. A few hundred thousand £40 shirts not sold would not make a difference to Nike or ultimately to the Glazers either.
Doing things to make sure that the Glazer family do not continue to profit from fans is something many of us are rightly concerned about, but I really do not believe on the available evidence that boycotting shirts will have any effect at all other than to save the would-be customer £40 or so. Ultimately, do what you think is best for your club and for yourself.