Jerseys, knickers and anklets of 1934 inspire City's Wembley shirts

A long-forgotten telegram found in Umbro's vaults helps Manchester City to honour their FA Cup final heritage

A telegram sent by Manchester City to their kit suppliers after their triumphant 1934 FA Cup final, which was unearthed by chance in an archive, has been the inspiration behind the shirts the club will wear against Stoke City on Saturday.

The telegram of 5 May, 1934, which, in a nod to the days of such communication, includes the club's telegraphic address 'Football Manchester', was sent from Maine Road by club secretary Wilf Wild, thanking Humphreys Bros – whose names spawned the Umbro company name – for the "jerseys, knickers, hose, slips and anklets" used in the Wembley final seven days earlier. "The fit, quality and smartness of the entire outfit was undoubtedly perfection," Wild wrote.

It was while researching the project of creating Saturday's shirts that David Blanch, a senior designer at Umbro, discovered the telegram and has created a modern version of the same type font for the player numbers and names, which have been bonded on to the shirts. "Many fonts in football look retro and rigid but this one has a real authenticity about it," Mr Blanch said yesterday.

The shirts and the Mercer jackets which the players will wear on to the pitch feature a number of intricate links to the historical detail of the kits City players have worn at Wembley. Discreetly featured within the numbers on the players' backs is the historic Manchester coat of arms, which City players used to wear when they had no crest of their own. Technically a privilege bestowed upon the club by Manchester's city council, it has generally been a tradition over the past 60 years that City carry the coat of arms in some way when they play at Wembley.

The shirt numbers have also been individually made with small holes enabling the numbers to "breathe" – in a nod to the tailoring tradition of football jersey numbers being handsewn from fabric. "The shirts are inspired by the past, rather than mimicking it," said Mr Blanch, who unearthed the telegram in a book archived in the Umbro vault decades ago. "We wanted to celebrate City's achievement and to respect the past but also to celebrate where the club is heading. Manchester has deep roots in City and the club is continuing to build on that history."

Umbro, which presented its ideas for the final shirt in Abu Dhabi, has also developed the shade of "vista" blue that City have used since 2009. Before the introduction of the club badge, only 10 years ago, City had to rely purely on the colour of their shirts for recognition. The Manchester coat of arms is also embroidered on to the breast of the jackets City will walk out in, inspired by the overcoat of the late Joe Mercer, and of which only 16 have been made. Mercer took a City side wearing the Manchester coat of arms to their last FA Cup final victory in 1969. The goalkeeping heroics of a young Frank Swift, replete in "jersey, slip and anklets", inspired the 2-1 win over Portsmouth 35 years earlier.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most