Kit of the Week #68: United’s Unknown Pleasures

Manchester United stake their own claim to the Mancunian music scene with the release of their new Joy Division themed tribute shirt.

Answering rivals Manchester City’s 2019-20 Haçienda inspired kit, the Red Devils’ new away shirt by Adidas appears to follow the same sound-wave artwork of the post-punk band’s debut album Unknown Pleasures.

OK, OK, OK, we’re kidding.

Neither Adidas or Manchester United make mention of Joy Division in their promotional blurb whatsoever, but we’re not alone in seeing the resemblance to the radio astrological graph of a dying star which was so beloved by Bernard Sumner, it was turned into an iconic album cover by Factory Records’ designer Peter Saville (who would later work with Umbro to produce tailored England football shirts).

Joy Division, Manchester, Unknown Pleasures
The cover of Joy Division’s 1979 debut album Unknown Pleasures

Instead, as a rather literal extension of Phil Delves’ comparison of some modern football shirt patterns to bus seats, they prefer to focus on saluting United’s traveling away support, whilst showing players making the most of Manchester’s extensive public transport network.

Please insert your own Inbetweeners jokes here . . .

Manchester United, away, kit, Adidas
Look at them, not a face-mask in sight

The real “unknown pleasure” besides that intricate hand-drawn pattern, is the colour of United’s new shirt.

At first glance, it would appear to be the latest in a line of black away shirts dating back to 1993, but officially the shirts are listed as “legend earth green.”

In some lights they look like a darker grey, whilst in others, TV cameras can make them appear to be brown.

Marcus Rashford, Manchester United, kit
Taxi for Rashford?

The green is apparently a nod to Newton Heath and Manchester’s railways but we much prefer to think of these as singing to Joy Division, but perhaps Puma and City got there first.

In many ways it’s refreshing for Adidas to leave the inspiration behind a new football shirt a little more open to interpretation in the same way we debate the meaning behind songs, films and other pieces of art.

Overall, this is another perfectly proficient display from the Old Trafford outfit, we just feel this would look Sharp-er with a plainer, less intrusive sponsor’s logo.

Whilst we may still be waiting for the first great Manchester United shirt of their second Adidas era, we are at least a little Closer.

What do you think of United’s new away shirt by Adidas?

đź›’ You can shop for this & all this season’s new releases at Kitbag.com. đź›’

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