Greatest Man City kits: the Cityzens’ best-ever shirts

From their days at Maine Road through to the never-ending success at the Etihad, Manchester City have had some legendary shirts. But what are the greatest Man City kits ever? Here are our top five.

Like many clubs, City’s first supplier was Umbro after making kits in-house for decades. The signature British brand produced the Sky Blues’ kits all the way through to 1997 when Kappa took over.

Following two colourful seasons with Kappa, Le Coq Sportif took up kit-making duties. Their stint as supplier oversaw the new era of City and Sheikh Mansour’s purchasing of the club. This fresh start included a return to Umbro in 2009 before going big-time with Nike in 2013.

Nike’s six-year spell in the Northwest included City’s record-breaking 2017/18 campaign, where they scored 100 points in the league. Despite the success, Man City swapped to Puma for the 2019/20 season, who still provide kits to this day.

However, none of the German brand’s efforts feature on our greatest Man City kits list.

#5: 2011/12 away

Starting our rundown of the greatest Man City kits is one that perhaps flies under the radar from that unforgettable 2011/12 season. Although the home shirt deservedly receives plaudits, we argue that this one is nicer.

Umbro delved into the archives to find inspiration for this one. Red and black stripes, reminiscent of the away strip from the late 60s and early 70s, make up this 2011/12 effort.

Then, in keeping with the timeless feel, Umbro opted to put their logo and the ETIHAD sponsor in gold. A classic round-neck collar and black shorts & socks combine to create a super clean, effortlessly fantastic kit.

The fact that City used it during their title-winning campaign cements its place as one of the club’s all-time shirts.

#4: 2015/16 home

The majority of Nike Man City kits have proven popular with fans; however, this 2015 effort is arguably their greatest.

Nike re-introduced a retro collar for this home jersey, resplendent in white. They also made the traditionalist sleeve cuffs white to add to the throwback aura. Further elements include the shield-mounted club crest, a feature that the US sports giant incorporated for a few years.

Meanwhile, the uncluttered sky blue was a perfect background for the navy sponsorship logos to stand out.

This campaign was ultimately lacklustre for Man City – although they did win a League Cup. Additionally, this was the first season that Kevin de Bruyne played at the Etihad. So, this gorgeous strip may bring back positive memories, too.

#3: 1997/98 away

As mentioned earlier, Kappa produced Man City kits for just two seasons, concocting one of their greatest during this period.

The 1997/98 strips were the first to bear the club crest featuring the golden eagle. Sadly, though, the new look did not bring good fortune. City, already in the first division, were relegated to division two (the third tier of English football) in 1998.

But let’s focus on the shirt, not the poor performances of those wearing it. Bearing the fabulous sponsor of “brother”, the chest also had a maroon stripe housing the electrical supplier’s logo. Just above this, the top section of the shirt was navy with maroon/white trim.

Housed within the navy was Kappa’s logo plus the new Man City badge. In similarity to their predecessors, Umbro, the Italian brand also put a collar on the jersey. This was typical of the 90s, but also looked super cool.

Kappa then gave themselves further brand exposure via their logo taping that ran down the shoulders and sleeves. To be honest, it is a brilliant element that benefits the overall shirt design.

Despite the poor memories associated with it, Kappa’s 1997/98 away shirt is definitely one of the greatest Man City kits.

#2: 2013/14 third

Claiming the runner-up spot in our greatest Man City kits list is a stunner from 2013/14. Once again, Nike made a trio of top-notch shirts for this campaign. We have opted for their alternate offering, though, which was a rare on-pitch sight.

A crisp white jersey boasted a pair of wonderful sky blue and navy stripes. These ran vertically along the left-hand side of the shirt, although the Etihad sponsor did split them midway down.

The US brand’s brilliantly simplistic design also had the club crest mounted on a shield, which helps it stand out on the stripes.

(Photo by Sharon Latham/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

City rarely used this third kit, instead making use of their home and black away strips. Still, it is a cracking reminder of a season where Yaya Toure was absolutely unplayable.

The Ivorian scored 20 league goals from midfield as City lifted the title over Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool. Manuel Pellegrini’s side also added another League Cup to the trophy cabinet that season.

#1: 1989 – 1991 home

Top of our greatest Man City kits list is the undeniably stunning home shirt from the start of the 90s. Football kit culture was booming, so City and Umbro decided to produce an all-time classic.

The UK sportswear brand went for a two-tone triangular design for this kit. Whilst striking, it also added a subtle layer to the Cityzens’ strip. That outstanding “brother” sponsorship then comes into play as its navy lettering really pieces the shirt together.

The sponsor combines with the collar, which Umbro also elected to put in navy. Similarly, the maker’s logo has the same colourway on the right-hand side of the jersey.

Finally, the use of Man City’s traditional, circular badge is definitely a popular one among retro kit collectors.

Umbro gave the Maine Road faithful some sublime jerseys throughout the 1990s, intertwined with Manchester’s emergence as a beacon of popular culture.

That’s what makes this shirt so iconic: it marks the start of an era for the City and is thus our no.1 pick of the greatest Man City kits.

Featured image credit: Getty