United shirts have, through the decades, come in various shades of amber or yellow and black. There have been occasional forays into white territory, and 'away' strips have sometimes been of a blue hue, either light or dark. Recent times have seen the U's turn out in a predominantly black strip. But our team has never been seen in anything like the garment pictured right. Yet it was a Cambridge United shirt … sort of.
Former chairman Gary Harwood, who has donated this remarkable object to the Coconuts collection, explains that it was part of a one-off strip (shirts and shorts only) that the club had made by manufacturer Patrick as a free-of-charge sales aid in the late 1990s or early 2000s. It was to be used for a campaign and presentation to the Co-op when the retailer was
considering rebranding a number of its food stores in and around Cambridge under the name Pioneer.
'We were trying to secure a shirt sponsorship deal from them and we would have given the kit to them had we secured their business,' says Gary. 'Unfortunately, they decided against sponsorship and I ended up with the kit.'
The shirt is quartered in yellow, blue, red and green because those were the colours the Co-op intended to use for Pioneer, Gary adds. The shorts were white with a narrow red and green vertical panel on the right-hand side and a similar blue and yellow panel on the left. The shorts also featured the club's and Patrick’s badges – and we're delighted to note that the U's badge selected was the 'United in Endeavour' classic.
What would have been your feelings if United had run out in this rather splendid creation?