Man Utd's top 10 home kits of all time - ranked
Red, white and black. In that order. Manchester United's kits have followed the same theme for the last two centuries and have long symbolised tradition and glory. The team's sustained success in the 1990s coincided with the launch of the Premier League, when football began to be shown on television every week, leading to their shirt becoming the most recognisable in world football.
Between the first Premier League title triumph in 1993 and their last in 2013, almost every United home shirt adorned a player while lifting a trophy. The silverware may have become less common since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure, but United's shirts remain as popular as ever, worn all over the world from Salford and Manchester to Beijing, Cape Town, New Delhi and New York.
As excitement gathers about the launch of the club's 2023-24 home kit, GOAL picks our favourite United home shirts of all time...
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#10 Cantona's swansong, Beckham's breakthrough (1996-98)
A few eyebrows were raised when United released a kit with black diamond sleeves, while the shirts had a very baggy feel. But this was a kit that serves as a snapshot of an era of renewal for the Red Devils.
It was the last home shirt Eric Cantona wore before his shock retirement in May 1997 and is etched into the memory of United fans of a certain age for the Frenchman's wondergoal against Sunderland and his nonchalant celebration.
But while Cantona was on his way out, a new star was emerging in David Beckham. The homegrown winger scored his legendary goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon wearing this shirt in August 1996 and the following season, with United still wearing this kit, he inherited the iconic number seven from Cantona.
#9 Lovely kit, miserable season (2013-14)
After having a horrendous kit in the previous campaign which resembled a duvet cover, United had a mighty fine shirt for the first season of the post-Ferguson era. The kit consisted of a smart black collar on an otherwise unblemished red background, with none of the gimmicky patterns that had tarnished previous shirts.
The only problem was United had one of their worst seasons ever wearing this shirt, as David Moyes' dream job turned into a nightmare. There were some bright moments, such as when Robin van Persie inspired the Champions League turnaround against Olympiacos and downed former club Arsenal at Old Trafford. And there was Adnan Januzaj's emergence from the youth team, plus excitement about Juan Mata's club-record signing.
But fans' memories of this kit will inevitably be dark ones. There were plenty to choose from, including getting thumped at home by Liverpool and Man City, shock home defeats by West Brom, Newcastle and Everton, or the galling 2-2 draw against Fulham, when Moyes' side had a Premier League record 81 crosses.
#8 Honouring the treble (2019-20)
This kit commemorated the 20th anniversary of United's historic treble triumph and was released on May 26 2019, exactly 20 years on from the team's dramatic 2-1 win over Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final.
Although a different style to the kits United wore in the 1998-1999 season, this jersey had several nods to that magical campaign. The crest mimicked the shape on the special edition Champions League shirt United wore in that era and in the final. Meanwhile, the dates of the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League final triumphs were inscribed inside the shirt.
The sleeves had the numbers 91 and 93 on them, a reference to the minutes in which Teddy Sheringham scored his equaliser against Bayern at the Camp Nou and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got his winner. This gesture was particularly fitting as Solskjaer was United's manager at the time, and he still received the backing of the majority of fans.
It was an up and down season, interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, but United still had some great memories, including doing the double over Manchester City and Bruno Fernandes' flying start in the team after his January move from Sporting CP.
#7 Ronaldo in his pomp and trophies galore (2007-09)
This was another simple but effective kit design, all red albeit with subtle stripes, with twin white lines on either side of the back of the shirt, framing the name and number. And the years United wore it were among their most successful ever.
The Red Devils lifted two Premier League titles, the 2008 Champions League and the League Cup, plus two Community Shields and the Club World Cup while wearing the home shirt. And their major disappointment of the era, the 2009 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona, came while they were wearing their white away kit.
The kit was also synonymous with Cristiano Ronaldo's rise to becoming the best player in the world. The Portuguese scored 42 goals in the 2007-08 season and won the Ballon d'Or as a result. And in his second campaign wearing this shirt, he scored one of the best goals of his career against Porto.
#6 Zipping their way to success (1998-2000)
This was the first kit bearing United's controversial new badge, which removed the words 'football club'. It was also a radical departure from previous kits, containing a zip-up collar and a black and white stripe down the arms comprised of Umbro logos.
And it was the kit United wore when they dominated English football, winning the Premier League in both seasons as well as the FA Cup, although they wore a different shirt when they lifted the European Cup (more on that later).
Beyond trophies, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke struck up their magical partnership, which was helped by them being best friends off the pitch, while wearing this shirt. The two strikers scored 74 league goals between them across the two seasons.
#5 The collar returns (2010-11)
Kit manufacturers Umbro dropped the collar in 2000 from their home shirt designs and Nike followed their lead when they became the club's kit maker in 2002. But the collar came back a decade later in a fine design which compensated for a particularly bad home shirt in the 2009-10 season which resembled a rugby league outfit.
This kit also benefited from a trim white line down the sleeves which looked like a nod to the 1998-2000 shirt. This was a memorable season on the pitch as well, as United swept to their record-breaking 19th league title to truly knock Liverpool off their perch.
The team were wearing the home shirt when they clinched the title away to Blackburn with a late Wayne Rooney penalty. Rooney also scored his sensational bicycle kick in the derby win over Manchester City wearing this shirt.
It was also a great season for Dimitar Berbatov, who wore the shirt when he struck his hat-trick against Liverpool and put five goals past Blackburn on the way to winning the Premier League Golden Boot.
#4 A memorable marketing ploy (1997-2000)
United were at the forefront of football's commercial expansion, and in 1997 launched a special kit that the team would only wear in the Champions League. It was a bold move, as only the teams who finished in the top two in the Premier League qualified for Europe's elite competition, meaning the shirt could have had a very short shelf life.
The shirt was all red with a red, white and block collar, while the badge was decked in a new background with one star to mark the team's only European Cup triumph at the time from 1968. And in a marketing dream come true, United ending up lifting the trophy in 1999 wearing this very shirt, with Bayern Munich having to ditch their red home kit for the final to avoid a colour clash.
The image of Solskjaer sliding to his knees after scoring the winning goal against Bayern at Camp Nou will never be forgotten by any United alive at the time. But the three-minute miracle in Barcelona was far from the only big win United had wearing the shirt. They wore it in their epic semi-final clashes with Juventus that season and against Inter, while the previous season they enjoyed their first major win over Juventus at Old Trafford.
They were also wearing the shirt when they were crowned world champions, beating Palmeiras in the 1999 Intercontinental Cup, even though it was not a Champions League match.
#3 Old Trafford in the background (1994-96)
After becoming the first champions of the newly created Premiership and then retaining the title and winning the FA Cup, United's popularity was soaring when they launched this shirt to an army of new fans. The predominantly black collar differed to the previous edition, but the most interesting feature was the backdrop of the newly developed Old Trafford.
United's first season wearing the shirt was highly eventful but ultimately disappointing as they missed out on the league title to Blackburn (albeit wearing their black away shirt on the final day of the season at West Ham) and lost the FA Cup final to Everton.
But the following campaign was glorious. Led by the returning Cantona, United chased down Newcastle to reclaim the title. And they won the FA Cup final against Liverpool of all teams, Cantona scoring the crucial goal before lifting the trophy.
#2 Busby Babe legacy (2006-07)
The club went back to their roots with this stripped-back shirt to commemorate the 50th anniversary of United's first campaign in the European Cup under Sir Matt Busby, the side affectionately known as the Busby Babes.
The shirt had an extra poignancy as it was modelled on the last shirt the team wore before the Munich air disaster in 1958, in which 23 people, including eight United players, died. The following season, to mark the 50th anniversary of the disaster, United's players wore a version of the shirt with no sponsor, logo or badge in the derby against Manchester City.
The shirt is fondly remembered now for marking the start of United's third golden age under Ferguson, when they ended a four-year wait by beating Jose Mourinho's Chelsea to the Premier League title. And they did it playing some scintillating football, with Ronaldo and Rooney's partnership blossoming right after they had clashed in the World Cup quarter-final between England and Portugal.
#1 Cantona's iconic collar (1992-94)
There's nothing like the first time. After 26 years without a league title which had also witnessed relegation, United became English champions once more, in the first edition of the new Premiership, and they did it wearing this beautiful kit with its string collar. The collar became legendary when Cantona joined United mid-season from Leeds and turned it up in one match in order to keep warm in the cold.
As United won that game, he decided to play with the collar up for the rest of his career for good luck. Cantona transformed United from title challengers to title winners and was quickly nicknamed 'The King' by adoring fans. The Frenchman led United to successive titles wearing this shirt and scored two penalties in the 1994 FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Cantona was not the only star to emerge wearing this shirt. Ryan Giggs had his breakthrough season in the 1992-93 campaign after winning the Youth Cup the year before as part of the Class of '92.
But the crucial first title had another, all the more unlikely hero. Step forward Steve Bruce, who scored two late goals to turn what looked to be a 1-0 defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday into a 2-1 win which effectively clinched the title, heading in the winner in the 96th minute and sparking jubilant celebrations on the Old Trafford pitch from Ferguson and assistant Brian Kidd.