Ah, the 1990s. The decade famous for Britpop, Sunny Delight and Tamagotchis. Oh – and Manchester City being unrelentingly shite.

Maine Road, the club’s former home, was like a cathedral of misery, stuck firmly in the long shadows of Old Trafford. Their famously loyal fans seemed keen on a sporting form of self-flagellation, so bleak were the team’s prospects back then.

We all know what happened next. Money, that’s what happened. And lots of it. Enough to swap Kevin Horlock for Kevin De Bruyne.

But despite all the change the Citizens have seen over the last two decades or so, one constant has remained: they nearly always have brilliant kits. It’s weird – maybe the sky blue lends itself beautifully to a football shirt, or maybe they have just been lucky. Either way, we’ve delved back through the Citeh archives to pick out ten of our favourites.


10th - 1988-1990 - Away

10th - 1988-1990

As the 1980s drew to a close, City found themselves in their natural habitat: the lower reaches of the First Division (or the Premier League in today’s money). As discussed above, the following decade would be a grim one for the blue half of Manchester. However, the club’s away kit in 89/90 was anything but mediocre. Featuring vertical stripes with a Korean-style blue collar, this was peak Umbro. If you own this, guard it with your life.


9th - 1989-1991 - Home

9th - 1990-1991

Another Umbro classic. The navy button-down collar, the triangle two-tone graphic, that iconic brother sponsor. This one has it all.


8th - 2005-2006 - Away

8th - 2005-2006Reebok? On a top ten shirt list? Surely not! Hear us out. This one makes the cut purely for its weirdness. It almost doesn’t look like a football shirt, does it? It captures the baggy, shabby style that was so typical of that era, and the navy and blue combo just works.


7th - 2000-2002 - Third

7th - 2000-2001City have had a few red and black striped away shirts over the years and pretty much every one of them could have made this list. But this one, produced by Le Coq Sportif, makes the cut thanks to the sponsor logo integrating seamlessly into the overall design.


6th - 2020-2021 – Home

6th - 2020-2021Times change, and so do the kits. Among Manchester City's recent designs, one of our favourites is undoubtedly the home jersey worn in the 2020/21 season. It’s got a sort of David Hockney swimming pool effect that has us pining for a package holiday to Benidorm. They’re doing pints for a Euro there apparently.


5th - 2012-2013 – Third

5th - 2012-2013You might have forgotten about this little beauty. It was a rarely-worn third shirt, after all. But look at it. It’s gorgeous. The two-tone grey with electric blue flourishes is a colour combo we never knew we needed. The jersey represented Umbro’s swansong with City, their last offering before Nike swept into the Etihad and delivered a series of fairly beige kits.


4th - 2009-2010 – Home 

4th - 2009-2010Umbro again, obviously. The home kit used in the 2009/10 season was simplicity and elegance personified, a nod to the club’s proud history.


3rd - 1993-1995 – Third

3rd - 1994-1995We’re on the podium now and the double diamond is back again. And my, what a kit this one is. Famously modelled by Liam Gallagher, the third shirt used between 1993 and 1995 featured a flappy colour and thick pin stripes (is that a thing?). Chuck the sponsor on the front and you got yourself one of the great Man City jerseys.


2nd - 1996-1997 - Home 

2nd - 1996-1997In second place, we’ve gone for another 90s classic, this time a glorious home shirt from Umbro. It might have even made top spot were it not for the fact that City got relegated from the Premier League wearing this (remember Steve Lomas wasting time by the corner flag not realising his team needed another goal? Peak Man City). The giant shield behind the badge – an Umbro design feature from that season – only adds to the magic, while the striped collar deserves its own statue outside the Etihad.  


1st - 1998-1999 – Away

1st - 1998-1999Corrr, those Kappa x Man City shirts were something else, weren’t they? The electric blue home was sensational, as was the away shirt used in the 97/98 season. But this one tops the lot. It helps it was worn in one of the most iconic Man City matches of all time – the dramatic triumph over Gillingham in the play-off final. But this bad boy is worth its place on aesthetics alone. Fluo jerseys had been restricted to Borussia Dortmund before Kappa delivered this for the Citizens. A masterpiece.


Think we missed one? Take a look at our collection of Manchester City shirts.


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