Manchester United's away and third kits of the Premier League era ranked

  • Kobe Tong

Manchester United are the most iconic team in the history of the Premier League.

As much as that statement might irk the Liverpool fans of the world - as well as some other sizeable support groups - it's pretty hard to deny when the Reds Devils are 13-time champions.

Under Sir Alex Ferguson's guidance, United obliterated the competition in the 1990s and fought off challenges from Arsene Wenger's Arsenal and Jose Mourinho's Chelsea in the new millennia.

So, as we all collectively bemoan the absence of the Premier League, we decided to look back through United's history books and assess key components of their unforgettable moments.

And one thing that is intrinsically linked to the legendary goals, assists, skills and games are the jerseys that the players were wearing at the time. Some, of course, were better than others.

Manchester United's Premier League kits

Bearing that in mind, GIVEMESPORT has decided to sort the good United kits from the not so good ones and we've already ranked the 20 home kits they've donned in the Premier League.

Now, we're turning our attention to the whackier world of away and third jerseys where the classic red colours are ditched for more exotic designs that can hit higher highs as well as lower lows.

Prepare yourself for some gorgeous and terrible jerseys in equal measure then and decide whether you agree with our rankings of the 40 alternate shirts United have worn since 1992:

Manchester United v Liverpool FC - Premier League

40. 1994/95 & 1995/96 third

Lord above, what a mess. This jersey is perhaps most famous for when Ferguson ordered his team to change into this against Southampton in 1996, but he really shouldn't have bothered.

Blue, white, black, yellow and red means the strip has a massive identity crisis, not to mention the differing widths of the stripes, unnecessary badge template and that god awful texturing.

David Beckham of Manchester United in action

39. 2003/04 & 2004/05 third

So, so, so naff. Nike really dropped a clanger with what effectively looks like a pub darts team's jersey with half-arsed horizontal stripes and a rubbish collar that resembles a hastily rented prom shirt.

Aston Villa v Manchester United

38. 1998/99 third

Ok, so there's a major leap up from the bottom two and this jersey actually seemed pretty decent in the promotional snaps, but boy did it look unwieldy and downright uninspiring on the pitch.

Despite being donned in the most iconic season of United's entire history, it speaks volumes that this shoulder-shrugging design wouldn't be recognised by the majority of young supporters.


37. 2017/18 third

Look, including the United trinity in the texturing was a good idea on paper, but the fan-designed addition looks drowned out and messy amidst a grey colour scheme that's completely forgettable.

Bristol City v Manchester United - Carabao Cup Quarter-Final

36. 2018/19 away

If you're releasing a pink jersey, at least commit to it. Adidas clearly ran their finger along the colour wheel, picked the most washed out hue they could find and did little else to the rest of the template.

Burnley FC v Manchester United - Premier League

35. 2000/01 third

We want to like this one, we really do, but it looks more like a training kit than a proper jersey. The only thing worth remembering about it is the fact Thierry Henry scored THAT volley against a United team wearing it.

Mickael Silvestre

34. 2014/15 third

Sigh. We're slowly getting into stronger territory, but the blue and purple hues used by Nike on this jersey are just so pungent and that's before you whack the neon red down the sides and shoulders.

Combine that with an ill-sitting Chevrolet logo and a completely overcooked collar for one of the most disappointing United strips of recent years.

Arsenal v Manchester United - Premier League

33. 2001/02 away

Ah yes, the reversible United jersey for their 100th anniversary. We'll have more on the flip side of this shirt a little later, but the one that was worn the most during matches was actually the worst.

Black and white can really synergise on a United jersey, albeit a little boringly here, but the splashes of gold are what really sticks out like a sore thumb and cheapens the reversibility gimmick. 

Liverpool v ManU

32. 2016/17 away

Even if the material isn't actually rough, coarse and downright tacky, you'd certainly think so from the rubbish texturing and what's the point in needlessly redding out the club badge if Chevrolet are still going to jut out in all gold?

Ajax v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Final

31. 2002/03 third

We need help understanding this one. There's just something about the Vodafone logo on this design - is it silver? Reflective? Has it been coloured in by a toddler? - that looks cheap as anything.

John O'Shea of Manchester United runs with the ball

30. 2019/20 away

If you'd have asked us when this kit was initially released, we probably would have put in near rock bottom, but this bold design from Adidas has benefited from looking far, far better on the pitch.

Assuming you view it from far enough away, the allegedly snake skin shade benefits from looking more like gold, just don't get too close and see the unnecessary texture of reptilian scales.

Burnley FC v Manchester United - Premier League

29. 1995/96 away

Infamous. This is the jersey that Ferguson ordered United to ditch because it allegedly blended in with the spectators at The Dell and the top half of the shirt admittedly looks like television static.

Then again, it's by no means the worst strip in the world with the shades of reds, greys and dark blues coming together for a surprisingly inoffensive cocktail. It's not bad, but it's not good either.


28. 2011/12 away

This is another kit that benefits from darker lighting making it look like a different colour, but shine too much light on this thing and the cartoonish purple - unsaved by the black hoops - looks pretty poor.

Arsenal v Manchester United - Premier League

27. 2006/07 away & 2007/08 third

Black, white and gold just never really work together on a football shirt - note our comments on the 2001/02 away jersey - but Nike did the best they could with such an anaemic colour palette. 

Liverpool v Manchester United

26. 2016/17 third

We're firmly moving into middle-of-the-road territory here and we're actually a fan of the white and grey combination on show here, it's just a shame Adidas had to ruin things with the shoulders.

They seriously overcooked the whole polka-dot pattern they were going for and it really cheapened what could have been a much smarter design, but - at the end of the day - it's a very small detail.


25. 2008/09 third

Like the home shirt of the very same year, Nike flushed out the entire template with a single colour, but the blue is just a little too bright for our taste. There's not much to love, nor hate, about it.

Arsenal v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Semi Final

24. 2013/14 away

This walks a fine line between looking like a pyjama top and a half decent away jersey, but we certainly like this more than we dislike it. A far better use of chequers than the previous season's home strip.

Southampton v Manchester United - Premier League

23. 2014/15 away

A mostly smart jersey with a perfect collar and lovely white canvas has sadly been damped by a Nike tick that should also have been black and that god forsaken Chevrolet logo. They're merely knit picks, though.

Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League

22. 2002/03 away

Very, very similar to the strip we've literally just spoken about, but Nike had a better command of their colour coordination in the decade prior. It's everything that the 2014/15 jersey needed to be.

David Beckham of Manchester United

21. 1996/97 third

This is one of the 1990s designs that hasn't necessarily ridden the wave of nostalgia that some of its contemporaries have, but there's still a lot to like about this loud, blue and back Umbro release.

The texturing is lovely and subtle, we love the centralised logo and the Sharp sponsor always looks iconic, it's just the arbitrary black and white underarm stripes that makes the template a little too busy.

Teddy Sheringham

20. 2015/16 away

We're not going to moan and groan about the sponsor for too much longer, but you've got to admit that this jersey would look so much smarter if the logo was turned red and white like the rest of the design.

Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League

19. 1999/00 away

Nice. The superb navy colour scheme fits hand in glove with the grey hoops and we're overjoyed that they altered the logos accordingly; only the collar can't help giving us school rugby shirt vibes.

Roy Keane

18. 2008/09 away & 2009/10 third

There's not too much to write home about with this jersey, even though the white and blue colour scheme owes to a really clean design. That being said, the splash of red on the collar is an inspired touch.

Barcelona v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Final

17. 2015/16 third

We're getting there, slowly but surely. There's a lot to love about the mix of black and bright orange here - yes, that even includes you, Chevrolet - but we're a little put out by the chest texturing.

Just be thankful we're not factoring the shorts into our design verdict, because the strange, white, flowery patten emanating from the bottom always looked dreadful on the pitch.

Arsenal v Manchester United - Premier League

16. 2012/13 away

This jersey is a tad overrated, but that doesn't mean it's bad by any stretch of the imagination. This minimalistic combination of white and red with a brilliantly unique collar is fantastic without being top 15 material.

Southampton v Manchester United - Premier League

15. 1996/97 away

United kits are always on to a winner when they blend white, red and back. It particularly works here with a delicious collar and cream-like shade on the torso, even if the 'View Cam' addition makes the sponsor a bit much.

26 Dec 1996:  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United is brought down during the Premier League ma

14. 2018/19 third

How do you get around the obnoxious Chevrolet logo? Work with the colours it gives you.

Adidas finally coined on to this fact by painting a gorgeous third strip last season, wisely making their own logo and the United badge all gold on a stunning background with oh-so subtle texturing.

Arsenal v Manchester United - FA Cup Fourth Round

13. 2019/20 third

Why hasn't this been worn more? If you think it looks very similar to the 2015/16 third strip, you'd be spot on, but Adidas have refined what they did so well four years ago with black-out shoulders stripes and a much better body pattern.


12. 2003/04 & 2004/05 away

All-black is a cheat code in the world of football jerseys and we're not even vaguely ashamed to hop on board with that trend. The coordinated white trimmings make this very smart, albeit unoriginal.

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo (R

11. 2009/10 away & 2010/11 third

We've always thought the chest chevron from the 2009/10 United kits was better suited to the away jersey having strayed a little too far from tradition for our liking on the home release.

It's absolutely spot on here and benefits far from the blue and black combination as opposed to red and black. We just wish a smattering of blue had been added to the collar, but we're knit-picking at that point.

West Ham United v Manchester United - Premier League

10. 2017/18 away

Our soft spot for black kits has been exposed, hasn't it?

This Adidas release beautifully rode the wave of more retro designs, containing a potentially ugly pattern within neat, all-back sleeves and collar with superbly coordinated white logos and badge. 


9. 2005/06 away & 2006/07 third

Such bright shades of blue and red shouldn't work together and they really don't in the promotional pictures, but have you seen this thing on the pitch? Oh mama, it's top 10-worthy without a doubt.

Liverpool v Manchester United

8. 2007/08 away

We deemed the home kit from this particular season as United's greatest ever in the Premier League era and their away strip borrowed from some its finest design choices.

We adore the ruby bars above and below the squad numbers on the back of the shirts and the AC Milan-like marriage of black and red will forever look beautiful on, well, the Red Devils themselves.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League

7. 2010/11 away

A round of applause to Nike for drawing up this very original shoulder pattern and by splashing it in red and black on a white canvas, they wound up with a simple but undeniably gorgeous kit.

Manchester United's Bulgarian striker Di

6. 1992/93 away

We're probably in a minority here, but we're an absolute sucker for the massive United badge texturing that avoids looking like a complete eyesore by way of the superb black and blue colour scheme.

If you look too close then, yes, it's fashion value declines rather abruptly, but this miraculously worked when it never should have on the pitch - and the black collar rounds it off perfectly.

Darren Ferguson and Roy Keane

5. 1997/98 & 1998/99 away

Ladies and gentlemen, we'd like to welcome you to the God tier of United away and third jerseys.

This is THE best use of black, red and white on a United strip with the triumvirate of hues blending majestically on the shoulders, collar, sleeves and even to contain the sponsor with an inspired central stripe pattern. 

David Beckham of Manchester United

4. 1999/00 third & 2000/01 away

The shoulder pads, those damned shoulder pads. Call us crazy, but we're downright besotted with the armour-like shoulder design here and love that the badge and logo are aligned with its exact colour cue.

Whack that on a clean, white template with the inimitable 'Sharp' logo as well as an unabashedly bold collar and you can have our money right now.

Ryan Giggs and Gareth Southgate

3. 2001/02 third

You know that kit we slagged off in 33rd place? Well, if you reverse it into the lesser-spotted gold version, then you end up with a jersey that's approximately one million times better.

There's something so, so satisfying about seeing players like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes in the all-gold of their standard of football and all rounded off with stitch-perfect, black Umbro trimmings.

Man Utd v Olympiakos X

2. 1992/93 & 1993/94 third

It's a crying shame that there hasn't been another green and yellow United strip after this brilliant effort from their first two Premier League seasons worked so perfectly.

The collar is bang on the money, the badge is gorgeously surrounded in black with a gold border, the lacing from the neck is iconic and the 50:50 colouring shines brightly in our nostalgia goggles.


1. 1993/94 & 1994/95 away

Come to daddy. By this point, you know we adore black United away strips, never mind when you add a heavenly yellow that unshackled the badge, logo and sponsor to shimmer on its background.

Then there's the inspired smatterings of blue that gives the collar a stunning colour scheme and perfectly caps off the sleeves which, like the main body, are littered with brilliantly placed Umbro patterns. Perfecto.

Eric Cantona Manchester United 1993

Wide range of United jerseys

So, there you have it, two jerseys from the early 1990s take the gold and silver medals.

It goes to show that sports companies putting a greater impetus on away and third jerseys in the modern era doesn't necessarily result in the best designs of all.

Either that or we're riding the wave of nostalgia, but we're pretty sure the iconic all-black jersey as well as the yellow and green collision would still hold up if they were worn today. 

Roy Keane

But regardless of which strip you think is the number one, let it serve as proof that the Red Devils can be just as iconic in the Premier League era even when they're not sporting their red livery.

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