It's a make-or-break year for Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini and his expensively assembled band of millionaire talent. But despite an undoubted increase in the number flashy cars at their Carrington training ground, there is certainly nothing flashy about their new home kit for the 2010-11 season, made by Umbro.
Umbro have taken it back to basics with City's new strip, taking inspiration from some of the classic kits of old, but also building on the smartness and tailored principles of last season's ensemble, though the new style certainly looks less fussy.
A crew front collar has been added for comfort and a subtle pinstripe effect has returned to the front panel - a feature that sends pangs of nostalgia through those who remember some of City's finest teams, including the 1968-69 side that won the FA Cup as reigning league champions.
The sleeves on the shirt are made in a 'raglan' style, with one piece of fabric continuing all the way to the neckline, while the white cuffs on the shirt take their inspiration from some of the 1970s City strips. The shirt is brilliantly comfortable, which means Mancini's boys won't be able to blame their strip if they fail to mount their expected title challenge this season!
Aside from the traditional sky blue home kit, City have also have a navy blue strip to be worn away from Eastlands. The official launch of the kit was a rags vs riches story, seemingly an attempt to show that the club's millionaire players have not forgotten their roots - Joe Hart, Emmanuel Adebayor, Micah Richard, Dedryck Boyata, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wayne Bridge and Kolo Toure turned up to play locals at Sara D. Roosevelt Park in New York during the club's US tour.
There is not much else to add about the navy away kit as it is very similar to the home strip in style, though Umbro's technical team boast that the kit moves with the player's body, creating comfort and ensuring the shirt articulates in all the right places. Modelled on base layer technology, the shirt is made out of different technical fabrics each designed to fit the player's bodies, add ventilation and aid performance. To see videos of the game, visit www.umbro.com. The Manchester City Home and Away shirts are now available, priced £45 from www.mcfc.co.uk