FEATURED BRANDS: UMBROJune 2, 2017
Based in Manchester, UK, Umbro has been creating sportswear and football kits since the 1920s, combining its heritage in sports tailoring with modern football culture to outfit some of the worlds best teams. We take a look at the brand’s storied past to show you where they’ve been and where they’re headed next.
1924 – Umbro is Established
Humphrey Brothers is established by Harold and Wallace Humphreys, a small sportswear company based on the outskirts of Manchester. Taking the ‘UM’ from Humphreys and the ‘BRO’ from Brothers, the company soon began training as Umbro.
1930 – Umbro Factory
To cope with the demand for Umbro’s products and to offer an unprecedented 48 hour delivery service, the company’s first factory is established.
1934 – FA Cup Final
Manchester City and Portsmouth take part in the FA Cup Final at Wembley, both wearing Umbro kits made using the innovative Tangeru fabric which used Peruvian pima cotton. City are the eventual winners, and send a telegram to Umbro thanking them for the excellent quality of the products, stating ‘The fit, quality and smartness of the entire outfit was undoubtedly perfection.’
1935 – The Umbrochure is Introduced
Starting out as a simple list of products, the Umbrochure would go on to become a full color brochure celebrating the world of Umbro. It was one of many innovations from the brand’s early years which also included 48 hour delivery timings and product innovations like the brand’s famous ‘Fricshunfree’ shorts and Tangeru jerseys.
1939 – Umbro Aid the War Effort
Switching from the production of football kits to military uniforms and fittings for the inside of Lancaster Bombers, Umbro lent a hand to the war effort, which helped keep the company afloat during the Second World War.
1959 – Umbro Soccer Set is Introduced
The first opportunity for fans to own replica kits, the Umbro Soccer Set had shirts, shorts and socks boxed up in one package – another innovation in the football world that is now considered part of the fabric of the game.
1966 – World Cup win
In 1966 England won the world cup, but outside of England’s win fifteen of the sixteen teams at the tournament were kitted out in Umbro. On the domestic front, 85% of British clubs at this time were wearing Umbro kits.
1970 – The Aztec Shirt
Another World Cup win for Brazil in Umbro, this time in Mexico. The aptly named Aztec shirts were the innovation of the time, a lightweight and breathable garment designed to combat the heat of a Mexican summer.
1976 – Taping is Introduced
An iconic design feature from the Umbro archives, Umbro taping was first introduced in 1976 as rules about sponsor logos on football shirts were relaxed.
The Umbro diamonds running down the sleeves on kits for teams such as Everton, Scotland and Wolves are now regularly regarded by fans as their finest ever, and taping has returned in various incarnations since this first golden era.
1985 – Umbro’s First footwear
Umbro’s first foray into the world of footwear – the Cascavel leather boot – is released in Brazil. Previously, a partnership with adidas saw the German brand provide footwear while Umbro handled the kits. From the Cascavel, Umbro’s boot offering quickly grew, and would soon include a number of iconic footwear styles.
1992 – The Speciali is Introduced
Still going strong today as an evergreen part of Umbro’s boot collection, the Speciali was first introduced in 1992. One of the lightest boots on the market at the time, made in Italy using some of the finest leather available, the Speciali would become a truly iconic boot, worn by some of the finest players in the world during its lengthy career.
1996 – Shearer Shines at Euro 96
The Premier League’s all-time top goalscorer, Alan Shearer is an English icon of the modern era – and wore Umbro Speciali boots throughout his career. 1996 marked a truly special time for Shearer and Umbro, as he finished as top scorer at the European Championships in England, before moving to his hometown club, Newcastle United.
England were beaten in the semi-finals, but the excitement around the tournament meant that the Umbro kits of the time have become iconic for fans of this era.
2001 – Michael Owen wins Ballon d’Or
Only the fourth English player to win the prestigious trophy, celebrating the finest footballers in Europe, Michael Owen was awarded the Ballon d’Or in 2001 following his tremendous exploits for club and country.
Bursting into the public’s attention with his goal against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup, Owen wore Umbro boots throughout his career, during which he was recognised as one of the finest strikers of his generation.
2014 – 90 years young
For a brand that’s part of the fabric of football, a 90th birthday is particularly special, Umbro marked the occasion in 2014. 90 years on from when Harold Humphreys launched his innovative sportswear company, Umbro is proud to still be part of the sport they love, and still looking to the future.