Great one-offs – Norwich City, 1985



By its nature, this series – see here for other articles – is more likely to include change kits, but there are instances of teams playing games in home-coloured unique kits.

In the past, cup finals were often a source of such outfits, and today’s entry is one of those examples. Next Saturday will mark the 34th anniversary of Norwich City winning the Football League Cup, known as the Milk Cup back then, as they beat Sunderland 1-0 (incidenally, both clubs would be relegated at the end of that season).

At the time, Norwich wore Hummel kits and in 1984-85 they had a fairly simple design, featuring the company’s chevrons down the arms. Hummel also liked to use their identifying marks down the sides of the body – as with Denmark’s Euro 84 kits – and these were the big additions for Norwich’s trip to Wembley.

As well as the commemorative text above the club crest, Norwich also had the logo of their sponsors, Poll Withey, changed from red to black for the occasion.

The latter alteration would become permanent for the 1985-86 promotion season but other than that, the only other difference would be narrow green stripes above and below the sponsor’s logo.

Incidentally, Norwich’s centre-back partnership of Steve Bruce and Dave Watson wore numbers 4 and 6 respectively in the final, as they did all season – see here for a piece on the reluctance of both players to wearing the Norwich number 5 shirt.


Fantasy Kit Friday, 16-3-18 – Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur 1984 swap


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Friend of the site Lee Hermitage (see here for the large collection of programmes and magazine he has for sale) is celebrating a significant birthday this weekend – let’s just say that Patrick might have been a suitable name – and he made a special request for FKF.

In 1984, Manchester United had adidas and Tottenham Hotspur had Le Coq Sportif, memorable kits on both sides, and Lee wondered if it would still be the case by switching makers.

One factor to take into account was that, while Spurs’ kits had just two colours, United’s had three, so there had to be some little bit of artistic licence. For United, that meant contrast necks, cuffs and stocking tops on the home and away.

For the third though, we stayed more faithful to the original, effectively just darkening the Spurs away and swapping navy markings for white.


For Spurs, Lee chose the away kit colour, sky blue, as the trim colour on the home, with white acting in a similar role on the away.

League of Ireland Kit(s) of The Week, no. 2 – Drogheda United and Finn Harps, 1996-97


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  • See here for last week’s edition, the first in the new series

A two-for-one in today’s instalment looking at notable kits in the #GreatestLeagueInTheWorld.

In 1995, Manchester United launched a new away kit, one which would quickly become infamous as the club never won in it and it went into folklore as it was ditched at half-time in a game away to Southampton with United losing 3-0.

It’s commonly referred to as a grey kit, and while the bottom part of the shirt and the shorts and socks were grey (the white home shorts and alternative home socks were used that day in the Dell), the top of the front and all of the sleeves and back were actually white with a series of black dots to create the grey effect.

We’ve never seen another version of it in English or top-class European football, but in 1996-97, two Irish clubs had variants on the design.

Drogheda United are generally claret and blue, but, as with the United shirt, white remained as the base colour on the shirt, creating a pinkish effect.

The sky-blue socks stood out, 20 years ahead of the Nike Vapor stylings. The red on the Stafford Fuels logo was also quite jarring.


Drogheda finished second in the first division in 96-97, earning promotion to the Premier Division. Oddly though, their kit in 1997-98 was an Umbro teamwear design which was about five years old, worn with O’Neills shorts.

Blue is the colour for Finn Harps, and they didn’t have to incorporate another colour like Drogheda’s sky blue, making for a cleaner overall look.


Harps are based in Donegal, a county very closely associated with Celtic as the Bhoys’ founders hailed from there.

We wonder if any Irish nationalists were offended by the fact that the Harps away kit at the time was effectively the same as the 1995-96 England home shirt.



Midweek Mashup – Southampton, 2018



We’ve looked at Southampton wearing red shorts before and the Saints even swapped their traditional black togs for red last season, when they played Inter Milan in the Europa League.

They did it for last Saturday’s trip to Newcastle too, but that game presented even more of a poser for kitman Mark Forbes.

Southampton’s home kit this season is a tribute to the Patrick strip worn between 1980 and ’85, a kind of reverse-Ajax style.


Back in the 80s, when clashes arose with the home and the two-tone equivalent away strip, Southampton actually had an all-red third shirt on hand, effectively the normal jersey but with the white stripe removed, and they half-followed that philosophy for the trip to St James’ Park.

The usual home shirt couldn’t be used because of the large amounts of white, especially on Newcastle’s backs – one would hope that the Premier League have got tighter since the Tottenham-Stoke game at Wembley – while the Southampton away kit features a lot of black.

For the past two seasons, special white third shirts have been used away to Bournemouth, but obviously this season’s version would clash too, so Southampton came up with a creative solution.

Red change shorts and socks were used (the latter not essential but helping to differentiate)…


…but in addition they altered the back of the shirts, taking out the white stripe for a solid red look.

Unfortunately for Southampton, their sartorial efforts weren’t rewarded on the field, with a 3-0 defeat signalling the end of Mauricio Pellegrino’s time in charge.


What Constitutes a Kit Clash? Revisited

In 2012, MOJ owner Denis Hurley tackled the kit clash debate in an article for True Colours Football Kits, and after several reads of that article and a number of questionable decisions by the Premier League and other footballing bodies since then, I feel that I want to try and articulate my own opinions on the kit clash debate by reiterating some of Denis’ points and also adding a few more of my own.

As always, this debate can often get heated as there are so many different factors as to why a kit is chosen to be worn in a football match, so I only wish to ignite the discussion regarding kit-clashes.

FIFA’s Law 4 states that:

the two teams must wear colours that distinguish them from each other…..

which is a very vague definition so different footballing bodies have different interpretations of this ‘law’. For example, UEFA competitions such as the Champions League and the Europa League take this to mean that the shirt, shorts and socks are each distinguishable from one another, whereas the Premier League and the FA Cup are much more lenient on the issue, permitting short clashes and (rarely) allowing sock clashes.

The Premier League’s reasoning for allowing short clashes has often been because you cannot commit a foul with a part of the body that shorts cover (which is a moot point anyway as sleeve clashes are allowed despite handballs being one of the most contentious decisions in football). Regardless, short clashes can be problematic for officials when the players are grouped together, dead ball situations.

I like shorts-clashes to be avoided unless changing shorts causes a phenomenon named the ‘overall clash’. This is when a clash occurs because each team has a large amount of two shared colours, even if each element of the two kits didn’t clash. For example, Huddersfield wore their navy third kit at Wembley this season against Tottenham who wore white shirts, navy shorts and white socks. It would’ve been counterproductive for Huddersfield to have changed into white shorts, so in this case I would permit a short clash.

There are some instances where I believe a team should modify their kit when at home to avoid an overall clash and West Brom’s kit this season is a perfect example of that: navy shirt with white stripes only on the front, white shorts and white socks.

When Chelsea went there in November, they had a conundrum as their home and third kits both clashed and their away kit would cause an overall clash whatever combination of shorts and socks they wore with it. They decided to wear it in its intended form of silver shirts, silver shorts and blue socks which was a terrible overall clash.

My proposal would have been for West Brom to change into navy shorts and socks and for Chelsea to have worn white socks.

The most controversial aspect of the kit clash debate is partial clashes, and I have identified the five most common of these: White vs sky blue, royal blue vs sky blue, claret vs black/navy/dark, sleeve clashes and stripe clashes. In all cases,

I believe that they should try and be avoided if possible (so I despise seeing Chelsea play in blue at Man City when they have a perfectly good black third kit) but sometimes these partial clashes are the only option to be worn, as shown by the West Brom vs Chelsea example.

Sky blue vs white is acceptable for me if there are dark shorts and/or socks on show for either side. This is the reason I could accept Man City vs Shakhtar Donetsk this season at the Etihad, but I had far more problems with the reverse fixture. Similarly, City vs Stoke this season was an eyesore despite Stoke’s red stripes, whereas the red socks helped enormous amounts last year.

Royal blue vs sky blue only works for me if the royal blue kit has dark shorts and socks and the sky blue kit has light shorts and socks. For example, Man City vs Chelsea at the Etihad in 14-15 was fine, whereas the return leg at Stamford Bridge presented difficulty watching on television.

I dislike claret kits versus teams in other dark kits, even with the aid of lighter coloured sleeves, shorts and socks. I would even prefer clubs to risk a sleeve clash, for example I wanted Arsenal to wear their away kit at West Ham rather than their dark grey third kit. I also believe red is more distinguishable against claret than navy is.

Sleeve clashes make handball decisions so much more complicated than they need to be so I would advise to steer clear of these unless there is no better alternative. One of my biggest pet peeves was when Arsenal would wear their home kit at clubs who play in white (Swansea, Fulham, Leeds etc.) when we had a perfectly good yellow/blue change kit to turn to.

One of the only situations where I always permit a sleeve clash is the North London derby, as this is one of the most traditional derbies in Europe and it is a shame when one of the clubs is forced/decides to wear a change kit.

Stripe clashes don’t bother me as much as sleeve clashes as they do not massively complicate any decision the officials may have to make. However, I think that stripe clashes start to become an issue for viewers when coupled with clashing shorts.

In recent years, clubs have increasingly worn change kits when there is no clash with the home kit, and this has fairly often created a clash that was not present if the home kit had been worn. I do not mind if clubs change unnecessarily providing there is no clash created, but when a clash is created it is simply unacceptable in my view.

In conclusion, I believe a kit should be chosen to be worn based on how much contrast it has to the opposition’s kit to make the game more aesthetically pleasing for the players, officials and spectators. I do not think that kit choices should be based on whether the colours are traditional to the club or whether the club needs to sell a few more of those shirts, as this would eliminate most of the partial clashes.  For those borderline clashes, my thoughts as mentioned earlier would make those matches far easier to watch.

Please respond to this article whether you agree or disagree as I would happily argue about kit clashes all day!


Fantasy Kit Friday, 9-3-18 – Arsenal in adidas, 1998


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Last July, we did an Arsenal Fantasy Kit Friday which imagined how things might have been if they had stayed with adidas in 1994.

On foot of that, Anton Karlsson took it a step further and wondered how the Gunners might have looked in the style of kit used by Spain at the 1998 World Cup.

It’s a design which works fairly well with Arsenal – some white-sleeve purists may have misgivings, but it’s an evolution of the 1992-94 shirt – and the real Nike kit of 1998 had white side panels too. The Spain shirt had a stylised federation logo below the neck, so we substituted that with the classic Arsenal art deco crest.


The away shirt follows the same pattern, but we opted against full navy sleeves – Nike had done this in 1996-97 but the 1997-99 away had a navy hoop instead.

For Spain and France in 1998, adidas coloured the side panels on the shorts and doing this for Arsenal pays homage to the classic 1988-91 style.



GLITW Kit of The Week – Shelbourne, 1992-94



Yes, it’s another new series – the more pressure to provide content, the greater chance of it being generated.

Despite its many flaws, not least those related to kits, we do love the League of Ireland, self-mockingly referred to by fans as the #greatestleagueintheworld. There has been a rich array of strips, good and bad, and we will try to celebrate some of them every Thursday (we had planned to start this last week, but the bad weather meant that all of the fixtures were postponed).

We’ll start with the kit worn by reigning champions Shelbourne in the 1992-93 season. Having won the league in a fairly bland but inoffensive kit, they were turned out in something completely different as they sought to defend their title.


The basic pattern was similar to that on Cagliari’s 1990-91 Umbro shirt, but the Italians had had it tonally whereas O’Neills made it stand out in white on Shels’ kit. As a result, the logo on sponsors Dulux had to be rendered primarily in blue.

The neck was a new style, similar to that introduced by adidas in 1991 – the Shels away shirt took the adidas similarities a step further – and the overall look was so eye-catching and distinctive that Shels used an appropriation of the design for their programme cover.

Shels couldn’t retain the title, losing out to Cork City after the two clubs and Bohemians finished level on points and had to take part in a play-off. They did win the FAI Cup though and beat Karpaty Lviv in the following season’s European Cup Winners’ Cup before being eliminated by Panathinaikos.

For 1994-95, it was back to an all-red shirt, and red shorts too. We’re still waiting on a modern-day tribute to the 1992-94 shirt, but it can’t be far away, surely?


Midweek Mashup – England, 1959



In just over two weeks’ time, England will play their first game of 2018, a friendly against the Netherlands.

One would expect that England will wear their new Nike kit, signalling a return to the traditional look of white shorts, navy shorts and white socks and an end to the Nike Vapor white-white-red offering which has persisted since 2016 (click here to listen to John Devlin talk to Jay from Design Football about that strip).

When that kit was launched, much was made of how similar it was to the combination worn against Brazil in 1984, as if that should be the basis for a kit (we don’t know what they came up with to justify all of the other countries who had mismatching socks with their new kits), but that wasn’t even the first time it had been used against the South Americans.

As part of its ever-excellent service, England Football Online has a listing of the colours worn in internationals since 1949, and according to that, the first time England wore white-white-red was in 1959, a 2-0 loss in the Maracanã.


Unlike 1984, which was a shorts and socks change, this was only a shorts-switch, as at the time red was the first-choice colour for the socks. Bukta replaced Umbro soon afterwards and the socks rotated for a while before white reassumed its superiority.

At the time, match details for each game were incorporated below the crest, a practice which was revived on the 2009 shirt.

Another enforced change was that of goalkeeper Edward Hopkinson’s shirt. As his normal yellow clashed with the Brazil kit, he was in blue, with the shorts and socks giving the air of a France strip.




World Cup Classics no. 2 – Belgium, 1982



At the end of last week’s first feature in this series, the Sweden 1994 away kit, we mentioned how the Swedes were prevented from having a white change strip for the 2002 competition, and this week’s entry wouldn’t be allowed nowadays either.

Apart from England, Admiral also supplied Belgium for the 1982 World Cup and they made sure everybody knew about it.

As well as the ‘normal’ applications of their logo on the right breast of the shirt and the left leg of the shorts, it was also repeated along thick yellow stripes which travelled from the arms down the sides of the shirt and on to the shorts (the same route as the Coventry and Wales ‘tramlines’). Such brand exposure far exceeds modern limits.

There is a possibility that, if you were to ask the casual fan what the Belgian kit was for the World Cup in Spain, they might say red shirts, white shorts and red socks. That’s what was worn in their opening game, a 1-0 win against Argentina at the Nou Camp, a game which provided an iconic – and somewhat misleading – image of Diego Maradona and six Belgian players (click here for the real story behind it).


The white shorts were from the away kit, which followed the same design as the red strip, and the change must have been one of those illogical FIFA decisions due to a perceived shorts-clash.

For their other two Group 3 games, another 1-0 win over El Salvador and a 1-1 draw with Hungary, Belgium were in the all-red which had superseded the red-black-red look. Note how the red shorts had a different number font to the white.


That progressed them to the 12-team second round, where countries were drawn in groups of three.  In their first Group A game, Belgium played Poland, who were in their usual white-red-white but, while this was obviously more of a shorts-clash than the Argentina tie, no change was mandated.

A Ziggy Boniek hat-trick gave Poland a 3-0 win to put Belgium on the back foot and they were out after a 1-0 loss to the USSR – though, as they won the toss for colours, it meant they exited the competition having played all five games in their traditional red shirts.

With Admiral in financial trouble, Belgium soon returned to adidas, who gave them an interesting design featuring an argyle pattern – something of which we shall see more this summer.



Great one-offs – Germany, 1991



Germany came to Wembley on September 11, 1991 for its first game against England as a unified country since 1938, and they did so in a unique kit.

When England had played West Germany in the 1990 World Cup semi-final, the eventual champions had worn the green change kit which had been present in varying forms since 1988, the design the same as the Netherlands’ Euro 88 kit.

For this friendly clash, the shirts remained green but now incorporated the black, red and gold ‘ribbon’ which had been on the home shirt since 1988.


Karlheinz Riedle’s goal gave Germany a 1-0 win but that would be the only outing for the kit. The next time they needed to change, against Turkey in May 1992, they would have a green version of their new strip.

When The Football Attic, Design Football and True Colours combined to choose their top 50 shirts of all-time in 2015, this shirt came 48th (the home was, rightly, first) and Jay laid out why it was so praiseworthy.

As to why it was created rather than one last outing for the previous style, Andrew Hoare on Twitter has an interesting view:

Just been reading an article questioning why this was only introduced in 1991. My theory is that the previous away kit was the same template as the E.German home kit thus bad memories with the communist era kit, so fresh start

Given that the shirt wasn’t available commercially, the DFB couldn’t be accused of cashing in, so does Andrew’s theory hold water?