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England's Uniforms

England's Alternate Uniform

1986 Away Blue Uniform
1987 Home Uniform
1988 Away Red Uniform
1990 Away Blue Uniform

Not worn in play

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 back, 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.

  • 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 kit to the England palette, obviously mindful of the fondly-remembered all-sky-blue 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, though, just as in 1970, the lighter blue was taken as second choice because of the hot climate.

Then, for the 1988 European Championship in Germany, England were issued with this all-blue number. A new red kit had also been introduced just before the tournament, in the Rous Cup, against Colombia. This would have provided the perfect contrast to the white and navy-blue home kit, but the new blue kit was, once again, taken as second choice, presumably as a more comfortable option in a warm German summer.

Nevertheless, the FA persisted with the notion that a pale-blue kit was required. This one did, at least, appear in an Under-21 fixture, in Turkey, three years later. 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 kit on 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 without there being a red alternative, finally put paid to any pale-blue preferences when it was worn in the traumatic shootout defeat against Germany.

Match in which England Under-21 wore the 1988 Away Blue Uniform
Season 1990-91


Lawrie McMenemy

UEFA Under-21 Championship preliminary match
101 30 April 1991 - Turkey 2 England 2 [1-1]
Alsancak Stadyumu, İzmir
Çam, Osman
Shearer, Campbell
England: David James, J.Dodd, C.Vinnicombe, D.Lee, D.Blackwell, C.Tiler, D.Hillier (G.Stuart), J.Ebbrell, Alan Shearer, I.Olney (K.Campbell), R.Wallace.

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.