Football: New kit to swell kitty: A strip change for Stuart Pearce and his team brings a record deal for the FA. Henry Winter reports

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND will sport a new strip for their World Cup qualifying tie against San Marino next Wednesday as part of a contract with Umbro that will guarantee the Football Association at least pounds 15m over six years. The FA will pick up a pounds 1m bonus if England reach the 1994 final in Pasadena.

The prospect of a new kit will delight accountants at Lancaster Gate and retailers in the High Street but the cost ( pounds 45 for children, pounds 65 for adults) may not win the approval of parents whose offspring demand the latest replica to come on the market. 'It's a touchy subject in a recession, but I think a lot of people who buy them are adults who wear them to the pub,' Stuart Pearce, the England captain who modelled the attractive outfit yesterday, said.

Umbro agrees. 'It's a fallacy that all strips are bought for children,' Martin Prothero, the Manchester-based firm's promotions director, said. 'About 80 per cent are sold to adults. It is also three years to the day since England last changed their strip.' Umbro guaranteed that it will not be modified until 1995.

'There is immense pressure from customers to keep up with trends,' Peter Kenyon, Umbro Europe's chief executive, said in announcing what the company claims is a world-record deal. Retailers predict it will outsell all other national kits around the world, particularly if England do well under Pearce's leadership.

Pearce is no Cindy Crawford but he coped comfortably with his modelling duties and spoke highly of the kit he hopes to wear at Wembley if a groin injury heals. The top is traditional: white and tassle-free. Below, the baggy bug has struck: the blue, red-trimmed shorts are exceedingly roomy. The socks are a herring-bone style and tightly elasticated - tie-ups may have heard their final whistle.

(Photograph omitted)