The Evolution of the Manchester United Jersey

Tucked away in rainy Manchester, one of England’s most iconic soccer clubs is working on its domestic and international comeback. Despite winning the Europa League but not the Champions League this past season, Manchester United are currently amassing new talent to give its manager, José Mourinho, no excuse for losing the next Premier League campaign.

On the road to recovery, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is scheduled to take the field at Old Trafford come the new year. Ibrahimovic will rock the number 10 shirt and provide “extra quality” to the Manchester-based squad as one of the top strikers in the league. Additionally, the new roster includes international stars such as Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelöf, who will sport this year’s Adidas-crafted, Chevy-sponsored jerseys. However, this particular kit is just one of the many variations that both current and former United players have donned on the field. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane to see the transformation of the Manchester United kit throughout the decades.

United Uniforms

 

Manchester United’s kit has maintained one consistent design element since 1902: its color. Red and white have been the primary colors utilized, while their rival on the other side of town, Manchester City, operates under blue and white. Although not required, handlebar mustaches prevailed between 1902 and 1909. Surprisingly, Manchester United wasn’t always known by its current name or colors.

The club was originally founded in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR (Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway) by railway workers who were interested in playing association soccer. They sometimes wore green and yellow kits in the beginning. John Henry Davies, a brewery owner in Manchester, financially rescued Newton Heath in 1902, signaling a change to both the name and colors we know today. Manchester’s primary kit experimented outside of its predominantly red design between 1922 and 1927. This new version featured a white base for the shirt, accented with a red “V” running from the shoulder to stomach.

Once World War II ended, Manchester United kicked into gear to become a dominant figure in global soccer. Their stadium was bombed during German air raids in 1941, but former player, war-hero, and newly appointed manager Matt Busby used this tragedy to unite a team and city. He would serve as the club’s manager for over 25 years. Busby successfully brought together the club’s “Famous Five”: Jimmy Delaney, Stan Pearson, Jack Rowley, Charlie Mitten, and Johnny Morris.

Sharp became the club’s first kit sponsor in 1982 and remained so until 2000, after which he was replaced by Vodafone. Several of the club’s most iconic players – David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, and Peter Schmeichel – had the chance to play for the Red Devils during this era.

ibrahimovic-kit

United’s current kit is the most commercially lucrative one in the club’s history. Adidas entered into a contract with the Manchester-based club in 2014 through a deal, which earns United nearly $100 million a year. Their sponsor, Chevy, recognized the value in advertising on the front of the Red Devils’ kit – paying $80 million a year for this privilege.

United They Stand

Even though the club will be playing in the Champions League next season, a sixth-place finish in the Premier League table won’t satisfy many United supporters. With a loaded roster including players such as David de GeaPaul Pogba, and the newly resigned Zlatan Ibrahimović, supporters and sponsors will expect nothing less than worldwide glory.

I come to finish what I started @manchesterunited

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This year, the jersey will be designed by Adidas, sponsored by Chevy and, of course, owning its red and white roots. Snag your official Manchester United Premier League gear at the best place for licensed soccer merchandise – Fanatics.com.

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