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
  • Get to the point
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

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing