In 1990, Umbro and England expressed themselves by producing a classic kit celebrated more for its association with New Order’s World in Motion than the World Cup itself.
Umbro produced 3 kits for Bobby Robson’s men with all of them rightly taking their place in the annals of football kit history.
England wore white throughout Italia ’90 and chose red as change colours, yet it was the light-blue third shirt, bestowed with graphic design flair, which pushed beyond football to take it’s place in pop culture.
Despite the fact it was only shown in black and white, this iconic design is more famous for its place in New Order’s World in Motion video than for on-field performances.
As a 10 year-old boy, Luciano Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma and Bernard Sumner wearing a buttoned-up England shirt in a pop video certainly improved my outlook on the world and opened my eyes to influences and inspiration outside of my first love; football.
Suddenly, the healthy diet of Motown brought by my mother and A-Ha brought by kids’ TV, was open to new, more grown-up tastes.
Once exposed to New Order (happily introduced to many young lads of my generation by the cultural attachés at the Football Association), my ears were opened and my musical interest piqued.
Long before #Grime4Corbyn, there was only ever one left-wing rapper of note. The legendary John Barnes.
Any Englishman older than the age of 35 who cannot “hold and give but do it at the right time” is not worth knowing in my humble opinion. Remember, John Barnes was talking about Three Lions on his chest long before Baddiel & Skinner and the Lightning Seeds.
World in Motion may have been a song about love, it may have been a song about football, it may have been a song about passionately loving football. Whatever it was, my ears were never the same again.
The shirt was actually only worn by the England team once, away to Turkey in a European Championships qualifier in May 1991. England won that match 1-0 thanks to a goal from Dennis Wise.
Only 11 players ever got to wear that iconic shirt in anger. Lee Dixon, Stuart Pearce, Dennis Wise, Des Walker, Gary Pallister, Geoff Thomas, David Platt, Alan Smith, Gary Lineker, John Barnes plus substitute Steve Hodge. A couple of England legends in that line-up, a few iffy ones too. David Seaman wore a goalkeeper shirt of course.
Umbro replaced the shirt with another blue shirt with three massive lions emblazoned across it. Although popular enough, it could never hold a candle to the World in Motion blue.
My greatest regret in life is that I can no longer fit into the favourite England shirt of my childhood and early adolescence.
For my money, this is the pinnacle of English sartorial soccer elegance.
I’d wallpaper my whole house in this design if it was possible to do so.
What are your memories of the blue World in Motion shirt?
Please let us know in the comments section below!