For the last decade we have been used to seeing Manchester United and Manchester City face-off on the pitch to claim the bragging rights of football in the North West. And while we will have to wait at least another couple of months before we see the red and blue halves of Manchester resume their on-pitch rivalry, two of Cenk Ünal’s recent concepts provide us with an off-field battle.
We have seen both teams’ confirmed 2020-21 home shirts, as well as City’s away version, but as yet neither team has unveiled their third shirt (despite a slew of recent leaks). Given their designs, the two shirts facing off in today’s concept review would likely fit the mold of a third shirt, with both using alternative approaches to displaying sponsors and crests, and using local features or former players as inspiration. So in the first match-up of 2020-21, let’s see who comes out on top.
Beginning with the red half of Manchester, Cenk has based this shirt on the 1996-97 Manchester United Goalkeeper shirt. The Umbro effort was typically outlandish, but taking some of its design points and colour scheme, this concept is composed of a black base, with pink and purple shades dotted throughout.
Meanwhile, the diamond chequered pattern throughout the top feels like a typical adidas design from recent seasons, and allows the flashes of colour to sit well within the shirt. And while this design may previously have been suited to a goalkeeper’s shirt, the inclusion of a simplified badge and reflecting adidas originals logo means that this shirt could easily be slipped on by United’s outfield players today.
As for the blue side of Manchester, Cenk has opted for a lighter design. The concept’s whiteness is toned down by the use of grey for the features on the shirt, and also allowing the dots of sky blue to sneak into the shirt as well.
These patterns include horizontal pinstripes on the arms, and for the mural-type designs which also bear the club’s founding year, 1894. The shirt would fit in well with the club’s releases so far this season, paying homage to the history of both the city of Manchester and the club.
Who wins the first Manchester derby of the season?
For it’s slightly more retro look and the inclusion of that adidas originals logo, I have to go for the United concept on this occasion. But that said, I still think that we could easily see similar designs for both clubs in the future.
Which of these Manchester derby concept kits caught your eye? Tell us in the comments below!
Who is Cenk Ünal?
Cenk is a concept designer from Turkey, and his designs are typically inspired by an element of the city or country the team he is designing for is based in, or by a shirt from years gone by. His talents and design technique were recently shown in our Residency series. You can keep track of all of his work on Twitter and Instagram.