Umbro have released a stunning new collection of shirts influenced by the ‘Madchester’ scene of the 1990s.
Uniting with two British icons – Factory Records and New Order – the styles commemorate a decade when Manchester was the beating heart of British culture, music and football.
Founded in 1978, the iconic independent record label ‘Factory Records’ introduced the world to a parade of revolutionary musicians and bands including Joy Division, New Order and the Happy Mondays. Not to mention legendary nightclub, the Hacienda, which changed the face of electronic music.
Key styles in the collection include a bold yellow home jersey in a vintage fit with contrast rouleau collar, jacquard pattern fabrication and trimmed with diamond and hazard patterned shoulder taping. On the front of the shirt ‘The Factory’ logo takes centre stage alongside Umbro’s diamond logo and Factory Records’ iconic ‘Hearing Protection’ graphic. An away jersey in black and a third jersey in contrast 50/50 black and yellow stripes complete the kit bag.
Also part of the selection are two New Order inspired jerseys. The band last collided with the footballing world 31 years ago when they released the iconic World in Motion in the lead up to Italia ’90. Now, they are teaming up with Umbro once again.
The Umbro x New Order collection includes two jerseys with a markedly 1990s touch. The ice blue away jersey features a vintage fit with contrast rouleau collar, jacquard pattern fabrication and trimmed with the 1990 tape detailing on the sleeve.
The chest includes Umbro’s diamond logo, Peter Saville’s ‘World In Motion Globe’ graphic from the single artwork, with New Order’s logo on the back nape. The collection also includes a white home jersey.
The entire collection will be available for £50 each on Umbro’s official webstore from Thursday 6 May.
Borussia Dortmund have continued to drop their asking price for winger Jadon Sancho, who could now cost his suitors close to £78m.
Sancho was heavily pursued by Manchester United last summer, but despite Dortmund making their £108m demands known early on, United pretended not to notice and continued to low-ball the German side until they hung up the phone permanently.
United remain interested in the Englishman, while Chelsea and Liverpool have both been linked with Sancho in recent weeks, and Dortmund director Michael Zorc recently confirmed that the 21-year-old would be allowed to leave for the right price.
At that time, the understanding was that Dortmund would accept a fee of £87m, but according to Goal, that figure is actually even lower, with the German side now happy to field offers of £78m – £30m less than they wanted last summer.
Sancho is approaching the final two years of his contract at Signal Iduna Park and Dortmund are aware that this is their last chance to sell the winger for close to his full value, unless they can convince him to sign an extension.
However, whether they will find anyone prepared to pay that kind of money for Sancho is a different question entirely.
As the story goes, most of Sancho’s suitors aren’t as committed to dropping that kind of figure on one player this summer. Beginning with United, there are bigger plans to sign a new striker and centre-back, with Dortmund’s £150m-rated striker Erling Haaland near the top of their wish list.
There’s also a hesitance to spend so much money on a player who would limit Mason Greenwood’s involvement in the first team. The 19-year-old has already been forced out of his preferred central striker role and Sancho’s arrival would effectively relegate him to the bench.
Chelsea also have bigger issues to fix than on the wing, whereas Liverpool are not expected to spend that kind of figure on one player.
Obviously things can change and those suitors may change their tune, but as it stands, a move away from Dortmund for Sancho seems unlikely.
As the 2020/21 Serie A season paused for the Christmas break, AC Milan fans’ best present was seeing their club back at the top of the Italian mountain.
The Rossoneri had found their stride in 2020, combining tactical nous with talent to create a consistent run that saw them go 27 games unbeaten in Serie A.
Stefano Pioli had found depth in a Milan side for the first time in years, getting the most out of a youthful squad headed by a veteran yet still clinical as ever in Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
That unbeaten run had to come to an end at some point, though, and it unravelled in early January as an injury-hit Milan lost 3-1 to Juventus.
While there was no immediate panic, the end of the unbeaten run cast an aura of mortality over the side and brought them back down to reality. Despite being winter champions, Milan still had city rivals Inter breathing down their neck, patiently waiting for a slip up.
Inter have since gone on to win their first Scudetto since 2010, running away atop of the table while the Rossoneri have fallen off the pace. While the season is still a much better campaign than anything that has been mustered up in recent years, the way in which Milan have fallen out of the title picture is disappointing and alarming.
From being viewed as a side with all the grit and resilience to go the stretch, Milan now look a shell of the team they were in 2020. Injuries have disrupted the side significantly, mind, with Ibrahimovic being plagued by knocks throughout 2021, but it’s no excuse to now be scrapping for the top four considering the position they were in.
For all of Juventus’ pitfalls this season that have seen them surrender the league title for the first time in a decade, they could still finish above the winter champions. Milan cannot let this happen, and must ensure they win in Sunday’s high stakes top four clash.
Home form has proven a kryptonite for Milan in the second half of the season, with a number of poor results inside an empty San Siro exposing their vulnerability most often. Juventus chalked up their 3-1 victory away at San Siro in January, before Atalanta came knocking and dispatched of Pioli’s side in a 3-0 rout at the end of the month.
Fast forward to the end of February, and Milan had the chance to redeem the poor results from decisive fixtures with a derby victory. They lost 3-0. Title charge over.
Quite simply, Pioli’s young side has run out of steam. The inconsistent home form has only done more damage in shattering confidence and harmony among the squad, with their mentality monster Swede out of action so often.
Dips in form from the likes of Jens Petter Hauge and Rafael Leao have hurt the side. Injuries to Ibrahimovic, Davide Calabria, Ismael Bennacer and others have also played their part, as has the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the futures of Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Calhanoglu. For all the wonderful work Pioli did in bringing the squad together, Milan now look severely disjointed.
There’s no reason why they cannot pull it back together to end the season strong, however, and a fixture away to Juventus presents them the opportunity to do it in style. The squad is back to full fitness and Pioli must make it clear that every game from now until the end of the season is a cup final; players must prove their worth ahead of next season, with places up for grabs in an improving side.
Juventus are floundering, and while Cristiano Ronaldo clawed back a late win against Udinese last time out, it papered over some rather large cracks. Andrea Pirlo’s side look bereft of creativity and even more down in confidence than Milan. Pioli needs a win just as much as the club does; failure to qualify for the Champions League would be disastrous.
Mentality looks to be an issue as a youthful Milan side attempts to hang on to what looked like a successful season, but there is enough talent and personality in the squad for them to better Juventus on Sunday.
The 3-1 defeat in January must be taken personally and used as fuel to ensure a victory away from home that can engineer a strong end to the season.
Just 24 hours on from Manchester City’s superb win over Paris Saint-Germain to book their place in this season’s Champions League final, Chelsea looked to make it an all-English final as they faced Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues opened the clash as slight favourites to emerge from the tie having notched a crucial away goal in Madrid last week, though the main talking point shortly before kick-off was Real’s starting lineup…
So, we’ve finally got over the starting XIs, can we all just sit and watch what should be an enthralling contest now?
Oh right, we’re talking kits now, are we?
Returning players and kit colours out of the way, it was finally time to concentrate on the action, though it was a familiar old topic that soon reared its head.
Different day same old sh*t, Timo.
But then, just when the world looked like turning their back on the misfiring German, a moment of magic arrived!
Alright, it was literally a tap-in from about one yard out, but we’re letting him have this one.
Get in Timo! Who said a leopard can’t change its spots, eh?!
Well, maybe some can’t…
With just 20 minutes remaining the tie was finely poised with the visitors knowing just one goal would take the tie into extra-time.
Chelsea had numerous opportunities to put the game to bed and though they hadn’t taken them, the reason Real were still in the contest was all down to one man…
As the clocked ticked towards the 90-minute mark it was clear the nerves were beginning to set in for the Chelsea players.
Were it not for Courtois the game would have been over long ago, and despite Real’s blunt attack you just got the feeling they would fashion one decent opportunity before the end of the game.
Or maybe not…
2-0 to Chelsea and there was absolutely nothing Zinedine Zidane’s men could do to stop them marching on to this season’s Champions League final.
Let the party begin. Well, actually not quite, there’s still one thing we need to sort out.
Be honest, how many of Chelsea’s summer recruits could you confidently point to and say ‘yeah they’ve really improved the side’?
Frank Lampard splashed £222m on a plethora of players at Stamford Bridge last summer, yet the majority of the discourse around the club over the past few months has surrounded how well Thomas Tuchel has done since arriving – nothing to do with Lampard’s glut of summer recruits.
What a time for the majority of them to turn up when the club needed them most.
The Blues headed into the second leg of their Champions League semi-final tie with Real Madrid as slight favourites given the away goal afforded to them by Christian Pulisic at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium last week.
However, Tuchel more than anyone would have known the importance of his side maintaining their composure against a Real side who’ve proven themselves to be up to the task on the big occasions in Europe’s premier competition multiple times before.
To say they maintained their concentration would be an understatement.
Every single player in Blue was absolutely superb at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, though Edouard Mendy, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz deserve more plaudits than most.
Starting with the former, while we originally asked how many of Chelsea’s summer recruits had actually improved their side, we’re not naive enough to be unable to recognise that Mendy has been a severe upgrade on the error-prone Kepa Arrizabalaga. That being said, many questions have been asked as to whether he’s actually good enough to be their number one moving forward.
His display against Los Blancos proved he’s more than up to the task, producing two sublime saves from Karim Benzema in the first half to retain his side’s lead.
Next up is Chelsea’s misfiring German duo.
Eyebrows were raised when Pulisic was dropped to the substitute’s bench following his stellar performance in Madrid last week, with Havertz given the nod in the false nine position and Werner pushed out to the left.
The opening 20 minutes of the clash were basically a microcosm of the pair’s time in west London. There was certainly no lack of effort or endeavour, though pieces of pure quality were few and far between and the one time Werner did find the back of the net he was caught offside when he really shouldn’t have been.
But finally the misshapen pieces of the jigsaw came together.
Following some brilliant work from N’Golo Kante, Werner linked up nicely with Havertz and the former Bayern Leverkusen man chipped a sumptuous effort against the crossbar before Werner followed in to head home.
From then it was a completely different performance from the pair, with Havertz looking far more dominant leading the line and yet again finding himself desperately unlucky to be denied by the crossbar following a towering header.
We’ve picked out three of Chelsea’s summer signings but in truth there were others who shone on the big stage, with Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva both impressing on the night.
There wasn’t a bad performance from a player in Blue and Real simply had no answers for the questions Chelsea posed them.
Lampard may not have been able to get the best out of his influx of new arrivals in the summer, but Tuchel absolutely has and the Champions League final against Manchester City on May 29 is far from a procession for Pep Guardiola’s men on this performance from the Blues.