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England's Uniforms

England's Alternate Uniform
1988

1984 Away Uniform
1987 Home Uniform
1988 Away Uniform
 
 

Not worn in play

Description      
Pale blue short-sleeved shirt, with square rhombus shadow stripes, each with a darker right half and all set slightly to the left of an underlying diagonal grid. Navy blue crew-neck, with thin white stripe in middle and two thin red stripes either side of it. White button on a navy blue rectangular insert beneath the neck, adjoining an overlapping white rectangular insert on the inside of the shirt. Pale blue underarm-half of hem, with outer white front quarter and outer navy blue back quarter on left sleeve, and outer navy blue front quarter and outer white back quarter on right sleeve. Thin navy blue stripe along shoulder. Embroidered emblem on left breast. Two embroidered navy blue concentric diamonds on right breast, with 'umbro' in navy blue lower-case lettering underneath. Navy blue numbers on reverse, in the same font as on the previous Umbro England shirts, with a white border, outlined in navy blue.

Pale blue shorts, with white drawstring, check shadow pattern and navy blue waistband. Thick white panel comprising lower third of seams, joining two thin navy blue stripes edging upper two-thirds of seams, with a rectangular navy blue block across the middle. Two embroidered navy blue concentric diamonds on left thigh, with 'umbro' in navy blue lower-case lettering underneath. Embroidered emblem on right thigh.

Pale blue socks. Solid white diamonds across tops, edged with two navy blue hoops.

Variations
  • A long-sleeved version of the shirt was also produced. The cuffs were navy blue, with a thin white stripe in the middle and two thin red stripes either side of it.
 

Someone at the Football Association was determined to re-introduce a pale blue uniform to the England palette, obviously mindful of the fondly-remembered kit worn at the 1970 World Cup, against Czechoslovakia.

This is the only explanation for the persistent attempts to establish pale blue as England's second-choice colour in the ten years between 1986 and 1996. Firstly, at the World Cup in Mexico, pale blue shorts and socks were paired with the white shirt against Argentina, when white shorts and red socks would have been the usual alternative.

Then, for the 1988 European Championship in Germany, England were issued with this all-blue number, seemingly without any hope of it actually being worn in the tournament, or anytime else, for that matter. A new red uniform had also been introduced just before the tournament, in the Rous Cup, against Colombia. This was, presumably, the second-choice uniform and provided the perfect contrast to the white and navy blue home kit. So, unless England were going to face the red and white stripes of Paraguay in the European Championship, they would not need a third-choice. The cynical might suggest it was introduced purely to generate replica sales.

Nevertheless, the FA persisted with the notion that a pale blue kit was essential. This one did, at least, appear in a European Under-21 Championship fixture, against Turkey, in Izmir on April 30th, 1991. Both short and long-sleeved versions were worn in the same game. Strangely enough, it was already redundant by then, as the full international side wore the latest pale blue uniform the very next day.

Another blue kit appeared in 1992, before the indigo blue kit of 1996, which was officially launched as England's second-choice, finally put paid to any pale-blue preferences when it was worn in the traumatic shootout defeat against Germany.

England face the camera in their new blue kit at Bisham Abbey on June 6th, 1988, less than a week before their disappointing European Championship campaign in Germany.

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