Manchester United Chinese New Year Shirt History
In 2018 Manchester United announced they would be selling shirts under a range of Chinese New Year designs. The first offering in 2018 was probably the plainest of them all so far. They now mix bold Chinese designs as part of the training wear and pre-match shirts. These are becoming a collectable item for some Manchester United fans as they are not available in huge amounts and usually sell out in a week or 2 from launch.
My personal favourite is the 2020/2021 shirt. It's a funky design with a bold pattern all over. Let's take a look at all the products from each season of the CNY Adidas range. (It's often referred to as "CNY" on both the Adidas and Manchester United websites).
2019 CNY Adidas Range (18/19 Season)
In the first year of this range was Manchester United offer a shirt, tracksuit and hoodie in the CNY range. The designs were kept very simple with a plain look and some Chinese style touches to the products.
18/19 CNY Shirt
Here's the first shirt from this new range -
This was a plain red design with a Chinese style pattern on the back. It was worn by the players as a pre-match warm-up top. It generated lukewarm interest but showed there was an appetite for this range in selected markets. This is quite a hard shirt to find for sale currently due to it being a small launch.
All the products in the 2018/2019 range had the same pattern on the back. The tracksuit and hoodie were dark grey and had a nice trim to make them stand out a little more. Overall this was a nice design without really hitting the market well. These are not tops that will be remembered and will mainly be of interest to collectors who want every shirt and training shirt that Manchester United wore.
2020 CNY Shirt (19/20 Season)
Here is the 2020 Chinese New Year Manchester United training shirt from the 2019/2020 season -
This is where Adidas and United stepped it up a level! You could not miss this shirt. It was again worn as a pre-match shirt by the United team and modelled by Daniel James at the launch.
The design is bold! There is a Chinese dragon on the front and over the shoulders. The badge is centralised with a gold Adidas logo on the black collar. This was produced as a limited edition short for both adults and children.
It is an Adidas Aeroready shirt and has the full dragon on the back in the middle. The badge is heat printed on as is the Adidas logo, which is common with training wear.
The shirt came with a wider range of products although these were not as bold as this shirt.
T-shirt - A black T-Shirt with the United badge replaced by a mythical creature that apparently symbolises "the spirit of the club". These are very plain and were not a major success, you can still buy them new in some sizes from outlets in 2022.
Jacket - This is a red jacket that has a gold Adidas label and gold touched United badge. The mythical creature appears again on both sleeves. Again this is a little plain and lacks the punch of the shirt's dragon design.
2021 CNY Shirt (20/21 Season)
After the success of the dragon design in the 19/20 season, another bold patterned shirt was released. This is my favourite of all the CNY shirts and I'm trying to find one for myself in a size large! Here is how the short looks -
This has a strong replicated pattern across the shirt. The Adidas 3 stripes are close to gold and there is a light mesh over the bottom end of them near the sleeve cuff. The badge is heat pressed as is the Adidas logo. As far as I am aware the players wore the same version and there were no specific player issue shirts made.
2021 Chinese New Year jacket
The 2021 range finally had a bold jacket rather than a plain one. The design of the shirt was all changed to red and set against a black background as shown below -
This is a padded jacket. Again the 3 Adidas stripes are covered in a mesh, this time red, on the bottom section. I do not recall seeing this one being worn by the players at any point but it could have been used as a bench jacket by Donny Van De Beek.
Other items in the 2021 range -
T-shirt - Another black Adidas t-shirt with a mythical Ox (it was the year of the Ox) in place of the United badge. These are a massive fail for me.
Crew neck jumper - A red jumper with the same Ox design as all the other items in the range where the United badge should be. Adidas stripes down the sleeves with mesh in the boots section.
Black jacket - A pop button jacket with the United badge and Adidas logo embroidered in gold. The bottom section of the 3 stripes is covered in a ball mesh.
Overall I would say this is the best year of the range. The continuity of the Ox design and the mesh over the 3 stripes is good. The t-shirt and crew neck jumper is a waste of time, in my opinion, no one would ever know they were Manchester United related.
2022 Lunar New Year Range
I'm not sure of the exact reason but in 2022 it became the lunar new year range which I think appeals to a wider range of people in Asia rather than the Chinese. If the 2021 range was the peak the 2022 range was a massive fall from grace for these designs. Here is the shirt used in 2022 -
I don't think I've seen the players wearing this one pre-match. It is sold as a t-shirt rather than a training top or shirt. There is a nice Asian style design under the Manchester United badge but I'm a bit lost for anything positive to say about this one. It did not sell out quickly, even in the sale! It is still made by Adidas but lacks the trademark 3 stripes.
Also available in the 2022 range
Crew neck sweatshirt - Another red sweatshirt that is more like an Adidas advert! The design under the badge on the t-shirt is replicated on a large Adidas logo on the back. The front just has the United badge on.
Tracksuit - There is a full black tracksuit with some colourful touches but again this is generally uninspiring.
Bomber jacket - This is probably the best product in the 2022 LNY range. On the front, it has the Adidas logo and MU for Manchester United. On the back, it has a large patterned design that does all point to Adidas, but it's pretty bold and looks good. This would have been a good addition to the t-shirt or a training top -
In 2023 we do not yet know if Adidas will do a full training Lunar/ Chinese New Year range. If they do we hope they do it as a pre match shirt again and go bold and bright with the designs.