There are certain key questions in football that just beg to be answered. Just how did Johan Cruyff come up with ‘that ‘ turn, was the ball really over the line in 1966 and how did sports brand Umbro get its name?
Well, OK, perhaps the latter isn’t exactly a burning issue, but nonetheless Footy Boots has been investigating the history of the Umbro brand from its humble beginnings to being a founding partner of the new Wembley Stadium.
Umbro History – The early years
Umbro’s rise to becoming a global player in sport began in 1920 in Wilmslow, Cheshire with the opening of Humphrey Brothers Clothing. The company traded for four years until some bright spark (nowadays no doubt called a marketing consultant on a highly inflated daily rate) came up with the name Umbro by taking the UM from Humphreys and BRO from Brothers. Ever since they have been associated with some of the greatest national and international sides.
In their early days however, they were more concerned with manufacturing PT kit for the armed forces and by 1930, business was so good both at home and abroad that Umbro developed 10,000 square feet of new warehouse space at its Wilmslow base and built a brand new factory in Macclesfield.
Umbro – FA Cup Success
In 1934 and 1935, Umbro celebrated national success in association with FA Cup winners Manchester City and Sheffield Wednesday.
Come the outbreak of the Second World War, Umbro simply moved from sportswear production to army clothing whilst also taking a hand in producing internal fittings for Lancaster bombers. As peace was reached across Europe, yet another new factory was commissioned, this time in Stockport.
Umbro History – The Brazil Shirt
But it was in the late 50’s and 60’s when Umbro really started to make its mark on the world market. In 1958 Brazil wore Umbro kit as they won the World Cup, a feat they repeated 4 years later. Then at the ’66 competition, an astonishing 15 out of the 16 competing nations, including hosts and winners England, wore the Umbro brand. The World Cup success story continued as Brazil won again in 1970.
Indeed, Umbro’s association with Brazil was enhanced in 1985 when their football boots were sold there for the first time. Just two years later, and those same boots were actually being manufactured in the South American country. Since then, some of the world’s greatest players have worn Umbro boots including Roberto Carlos, Alan Shearer (an ambassador for the company) and the 2001 European player of the year and then SX Flare football boot wearer Michael Owen.
Umbro History – Sold to Nike
The company, now based in Cheadle, celebrated 80 years of football history in 2004 before in 2007, agreeing to be bought by Nike for £285 million.
5 years later, in 2012, Nike agree to sell the Umbro brand to New York based company Iconix Brand Group.
As part of the deal, Nike took over the shirt deal of the England national team kit.
Umbro History – England Rugby Union
Umbro’s double diamond logo returns to an England shirt in 2020, but this time its for the national rugby union team. This deal now runs until 2028.
Umbro History: Key Dates
1920 – Harold C.Humphrey’s starts a small workshop in Wilmslow, Cheshire
1924 – Humphrey Brothers becomes Umbro
1934 – Manchester City win the FA Cup Final in Umbro
1935 – Sheffield Wednesday follow the success of Manchester City in Umbro
1958 – Brazil wins the World Cup wearing Umbro
1962 – Brazil wins the World Cup wearing Umbro
1966 – 15 out of the 16 participating teams wear Umbro
1966 – England win the World Cup wearing Umbro
1970 – Brazil wins the World Cup in Umbro
1985 – First Umbro boot introduced in Brazil
1987 – First Umbro boot manufactured in Brazil
1994 – Brazil wins the World Cup in Umbro
1999 – Renaissance of UMBRO – new ownership, new vision “Umbro The Football Authority”
1999 – Manchester United wins the treble in Umbro
2000 – Umbro introduces revolutionary new Sportswool material
2000 – Launch of XAI football boot technology
2001 – Michael Owen wins European Footballer of the Year
2002 – Umbro sign a new contract with The English FA extending the relationship until 2010.
2002 – Umbro develops the first reversible jersey for an international team.
2004 – Umbro celebrate 80 years of footballing history
2007 – Wembley Stadium re-opens with Umbro as a founding partner
2007 – Umbro agree a £285 million takeover from Nike.
2012 – Nike sell the Umbro brand to the Iconix Brand Group, 5 years after buying it. Nike takeover England shirt sponsorhip.
2014 – Umbro become shirt partner for Everton, the first club deal since Iconix takeover.
2020 – Umbro announced as the official kit partner to England Rugby Union team until 2028.
This timeline DEMANDS pics.
Hey BishopsvilleRed, good shout.
Any suggestions on style?
Out of interest what made you check out this article as it is over 6 years old now?
I was chatting with some Umbro people about boot releases, and offered suggestions. Your site linked as having a history of Umbro boots.