Great one-offs – Wales, 2017

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  • Thanks to two great Welsh kit aficionados, Jon Jones for the suggestion and Simon Shakeshaft for further information

Most of the examples in this series date from beyond the recent past – emergency kits were more of a feature back then, with every team now seemingly equipped with three strips each season, some – or many – of questionable utility.

Ever so often, though, we come across a modern instance of a one-and-down strip and one such occurrence came in September 2017, when Wales travelled to Chisinau to take on Moldova.

Obviously, the home country wear red so the visitors needed change and their second kit was a dark grey. Perhaps mindful of the Euro 2016 semi-final, when Wales were the away team but Portugal were also forced to change, the FAW suggested to Uefa that there might be the possibility of confusion.

Their proposed solution was that they might be allowed to wear a third kit, even though they hadn’t registered one at the outset of the campaign, and the governing body acquiesced, so Chris Coleman’s team took to the field in a yellow version of the adidas Squadra template.

Wales-2017-adidas-third-yellow-Moldova-01

What hadn’t been mentioned to Uefa was that Wales had played five games in the grey – including the defeats against England and Portugal at the Euros – and not won any of them, so a change away from that wasn’t exactly unwelcome.

The switch to yellow and black – the colours of the flag of St David – had the desired effect as they won 2-0, though unfortunately for them they would miss out on World Cup qualification.

Liverpool’s gradual switch to all-red

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Liverpool lore has it that the switch to an all-red kit came in a European Cup game against Anderlect on November 25, 1964.

According to the recollections of Ian St John, in the lead-up to that game, manager Bill Shankly asked Ron Yeats to model a pair of red shorts with the classic shirt.

He thought the colour scheme would carry psychological impact — red for danger, red for power. He came into the dressing room one day and threw a pair of red shorts to Ronnie Yeats.

‘Get into those shorts and let’s see how you look,’ he said.

‘Christ, Ronnie, you look awesome, terrifying. You look 7ft tall.’

St John then claims that he had an additional idea:

‘Why not go the whole hog, boss?’ I suggested.

‘Why not wear red socks? Let’s go out all in red.’ Shankly approved and an iconic kit was born.

That’s the story that has gained traction over the years, helped by the fact that Liverpool beat the Belgians 3-0 at Anfield. However, the finer details are not exactly as presented in the common consciousness.

Look, for example, at the pictures used by the Daily Mail in an article about the 50th anniversary of the all-red strip, back in November 2014:

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They have helpfully coloured in the top image but that and the one below it clearly show the socks to be white with red tops – the shorts appear lighter due to being made of a different material to the shirt.

Thankfully, David Prentice of the Liverpool Echo is an old-fashioned journalist in that he trusts his own eyes rather than slavishly repeating stories passed down and archive research by him revealed further layers to the story.

Liverpool had begun the 1964-65 season in the kit in which they had won the league, featured white shorts and socks with red trim.

Liverpool-1964-1965-white-shorts-socks-01

A notable change was made against Anderlecht, as noted by Echo journalist Leslie Edwards, but the white socks remained:

Liverpool, with vivid red shorts which even goalkeeper Tommy Lawrence wore, looked strange.

Liverpool-1964-1965-red-shorts-white-socks-Anderlecht-01

As we saw in a recent article about the return of white sleeves to Arsenal’s kit in 1967, the Football League didn’t allow kits to be altered mid-season, so Liverpool were back in white shorts for the visit of Tottenham Hotspur that weekend.

In fact, it wasn’t until the away leg against Anderlecht, a 1-0 win, that the new red shorts were joined by red socks.

Liverpool-1964-1965-red-shorts-socks-Anderlecht-01

That was to remain the European kit and it was also a look that the Reds used in the FA Cup that season, with all-red worn at Anfield for the first time in the sixth-round replay against Leicester City on March 10, 1965.

Liverpool’s European Cup journey – including a quarter-final coin-toss victory over Köln after a pair of scoreless draws a 2-2 replay – ended with defeat to Inter Milan in the semi-finals, but they did make it to the FA Cup final.

Liverpool-1965-FA-Cup-final-01

With the colours of the crest reversed and a ‘Wembley 1965’ inscription added, they beat Leeds United 2-1 after extra time to claim a first trophy in all-red. Quite a few more would follow.

Fantasy Kit Friday – Admirdas

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Apologies to Andrew Rockall, who first suggested this concept back in June but holidays made us forget it and it took a gentle reminder last week from him.

Basically, he wondered how the classic Admiral tramlines look would have fared if it had been an adidas device instead.

For comparison purposes, we decided to go with one Admiral kit and one adidas, namely Coventry City…

Coventry-Admiral-adidas-Fantasy-Kit-Friday-01

…and Nottingham Forest (in their European Cup-winning all-red, as the reversing stripes on the white shorts wouldn’t have looked as tidy).

Nottingham-Forest-adidas-Admiral-Fantasy-Kit-Friday-01

As always, views – or suggestions based on this or other designs – are welcome @museumofjerseys.

Edit: Added evening bonus of the Belgium away

Belgium-away-Admiral-adidas-Fantasy-Kit-Friday-01

Admirdas

Making the case for nostaglia – literally!

  • Based in Edinburgh, Mark Boyd (pictured below) is the man behind Nostalgia Cases, selling mobile phone covers in a huge range of different retro kit designs. We were delighted to get the change to talk to Mark about the business’s origins, current success and future plans. Read on to find out how to gain a 10 percent discount for MoJ readers!

Cases

When did the idea come to you?

In spring this year I came up with the idea for Nostalgia Cases. I’ve dabbled in the print-on-demand (POD) space for the last couple of years, largely focusing my time on t-shirts.

I had been exploring different products that I could work with and phone cases have always interested me. I’m a massive football fan who loves retro kits, and combining those passions with my POD experience made complete sense – so Nostalgia Cases was born!

From that point, how many hurdles had to be cleared to bring it to fruition?

The main hurdle was the fact that I had no retro shirt designs!

Before we could launch, I wanted to ensure we had at least a couple of cases available for each team in the top three tiers in both England and Scotland. I had designers working for me already from the t-shirt business so I set them to work on getting around 200 designs ready to go.

I deliberated for quite a while on the name of the business, but in the end it was kind of obvious: these cases instil a sense of nostalgia, so why not call the business Nostalgia Cases?! Now, around six months down the line, I’m still very much in love with the name, so I feel I made a good choice, it’s memorable and it does what it says on the tin.

It took four designers working full-time for a few weeks to get the initial batch of case designs in place. Once I had those ready to go, it was full steam ahead and I got the site launched pretty quickly.

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There seems to be a real retro buzz, is that because people are drained by the ever-changing modern kits?

Kits used to stay in place for two or three seasons, sometimes even longer. As such, retro kits are more likely to be tied to memorable moments for any given club, as there was more time to gather those moments!

Fans of teams that are not doing as well now as they were in, say, the 1990s, love to look back on those times fondly. The retro kits therefore can give that warm fuzzy feeling, thinking back to cup wins, promotions or exciting European runs. I also feel that the retro designs are a little bit more ‘cool’ – they also show that you’ve been a fan for life, and not just since your team started winning!

What are your favourite kits of those that you’ve done?

We’ve designed some really bad-ass kits. If I had to whittle down to three favourites, it would be these:

How wide do you hope to extend the range?

We’ve grown from 200 designs to 600 designs in around five months. Our next target is 1000 designs. We’re looking to increase the range of teams that we cover and also bring in cases for new sports.

We want to give our customers the best experience possible when shopping on our site. Part of this is making it easy for them to find their favourite kits. In order to do this, we need to be continually beefing out the ranges for every club! So I expect we’ll never stop expanding the range.

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Tell us more about your ‘request a case‘ service.

We allow customers to request any team/year/kit and we don’t charge them any extra for doing so. We’ve got a full-time designer who works on our requests so they tend to go out just as fast as the cases listed on our site!

This service helps us to expand our range with cases that we know people actually want. Celtic has been our most popular team for requests, with us now listing over 20 cases for the Bhoys!

Are all phone sizes covered?

We have 100 phone models listed, covering most popular models from Apple, Google, Huawei, LG, OnePlus, Samsung and Sony. If a customer finds we don’t have their model listed, please do reach out to us to ask. We’re constantly expanding our range and add a few new models each month.

england-world-cup-1986-tracksuit-phone-case

What’s next for Nostalgia Cases?

We’re looking to expand our range of clubs and our range of sports.

We’re also looking at some other products we can add to the range – think shower-curtains, duvet sets, passport cases and mugs! We’ve got a few other exciting developments in the works, but we cant talk about them just yet I’m afraid! Watch this space…

  • Now for the best bit – enter the code ‘MUSEUMOFJERSEYS’ at checkout on www.nostalgiacases.co.uk to avail of a 10 percent discount! To keep up to date with new releases and offers, you can follow on Twitter @nostalgiacases

Midweek Mashup – Republic of Ireland, 2004

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We have seen in previous articles how games against France in Paris led to interesting all-green kits for the Republic of Ireland, with a complete adidas kit borrowed in 1973 while a set of adidas shorts was procured in 1976.

As well as all-green, all-white was used as a change outfit in the 1970s, while the game away to Estonia in 2001 saw white-white-green used. For the World Cup qualifier at the Stade de France on October 9, 2004, a new combination was seen.

Generally speaking, Ireland tended to wear a change kit when shorts clashes occurred, but this time they stayed in their new home shirts and used the shorts from the 2003 away kit, featuring the newly updated crest.

However, in addition, they opted to wear the away socks too, creating a new visual.

Republic-of-Ireland-2004-Umbro-home-kit-green-shorts-white-socks-France-01

A 0-0 draw was the result. The following year, Ireland would take to wearing white socks as first choice, but France – wearing all-blue – won 1-0 at Lansdowne Road in September 2005 to end The Boys in Green’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup.

Great one-offs – Ajax, 1982

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  • Thanks once again to Dirk Maas for his assistance

A real oddity this one – a change shirt worn when the team had two other alternatives, as well as an absent sponsor.

In 1982-83, Ajax had a sky blue kit as well as a white shirt with horizontal red pinstripes. Obviously, the latter couldn’t be used when they went to Celtic in the first round of the European Cup on September 15, but one would have thought that the blue would suffice.

They did wear blue, but in a royal shade, in the same design as the white shirt, with the pairs of horizontal stripes.

Ajax-1982-1983-Le-Coq-Sportif-blue-kit-Celtic-01

Perhaps it was an attempt to spook the Bhoys by wearing Rangers’ colours – like Southampton against Everton a few years later – but the absence of TDK’s logo is an added inexplicable layer to the whole situation. While sponsors’ logos weren’t allowed in European finals at the time, there was no such prohibition for ‘normal’ games.

The sides drew 2-2 and two weeks later in Amsterdam, Celtic – wearing green shirts with white pinstripes, proving that an away kit in the same colours as a home can be functional – won 2-1 to advance, and Ajax didn’t wear the blue shirts again.

Incidentally, Celtic defender David Moyes has an Ajax number 14 shirt from the second leg – but it’s not from the source you might expect.

Roberto Mancini – striker and kit-designer

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The first time I saw a Sampdoria third kit was in 1993, a picture of the newly signed Ruud Gullit in Match magazine – possibly from the same game as this one.

Red seemed an eminently logical choice – after all, my own imaginary club had a blue home, white away and red third – but the excessive striping left me a bit unnerved.

Essentially, the red kit had the same as that which appeared on the white away kit, blue stripes flanking the white-red-black-white of the home, but there were two extra narrow white stripes too.

To my mind, swapping the blue and red from the home kit would have been sensible, though I wasn’t aware of the symbolism of the red and black together in terms of the club’s origins.

Even if that wasn’t possible, surely the blue didn’t need the white outline against the red? Well, it did, for reasons which will make sense as we go back four seasons previously, to 1989-1990.

Despite having lost the 1988-89 European Cup Winners’ Cup final to Barcelona, Samp had retained the Coppa Italia and so were back in the continental competition. Wins over Brann and Borussia Dortmund brought them to the quarter-finals in March 1990, with Grasshopper Club Zurich of Switzerland the opponents.

Of course, Grasshopper play in blue and white halves – believed to be a Blackburn Rovers tribute –  so both Samp’s blue home and white away shirts (which had the striping veritcally – it wouldn’t reflect the home style until 1990-91) would have clashed. A third kit had only been worn once in the club’s history, at Brescia in 1981-82, but one would be needed again.

Over a Thursday night meal at Edilio restaurant in Genoa, Samporia strikers Roberto Mancini and Gianluca Viallia decided to consider their sartorial options. According to the wonderful Samp kit history book la maglia più bella del mondo, Mancini actually sketched out three suggestions – red, yellow and his own preference of black, all featuring the blue, white, red and black banding.

When he showed it to the decision-makers, they felt the black would cause problems with match officials and so the red was pressed into production (note the absence of the Baciccia sailor crest on the left sleeve – more on that in the near future, from Les Motherby).

Sampdoria-1989-1990-Kappa-maglia-terzera-rosso-Grasshoppers-Mancini-01

And the white gap between the red and blue? Well, Samp’s rivals Genoa wear red and navy halves, so it was felt that any comparison had to be avoided and the red and blue couldn’t touch.

Having won 2-0 in Genoa, Sampdoria triumphed 2-1 in the away leg and Monaco and then Anderlecht were seen off as the club went a step further than the previous year and lifted the trophy.

The history of Matchwinner, part 1

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  • By day, Ray Hyland is a top film-maker; by night he’s a sound judge of football kits and when he suggested a look at the impact of Matchwinner, we were more than happy. The piece has been ready to go with a while – the delay was due to our tardiness drawing the kits. Part 2 will be a bit quicker, we promise…

What do Birmingham City, Motherwell, Greenock Morton, Swansea City, Sligo Rovers, Shamrock Rovers, Hull City, Torquay United and Carlisle United, among others, have in common?

Questionable European pedigree? Absolutely. But aside from that, what these teams did was to provide a canvas for one of the most creative and colourful sportswear brands of the late 1980s and early 1990s. We are talking about Matchwinner!

Matchwinner are a company steeped in the tradition of Lancashire, another proud member of the textile industry that can count the likes of Umbro and Bukta in its number. Today, they exist mainly as a figure of fun and fodder for worst-kit lists. But they have left a remarkable legacy, infamous as it was.

Part 1: Early days (1986-88)

I will spare you all a long-winded history lesson but, to cover it all very briefly, the emergence of polyester as the choice fabric for football kit manufacturing in the mid-to-late 70s was arguably the turning point for everything.

As a synthetic material, it had made the process of making garments a more affordable one since after World War II. It took a long time for football to catch up to its potential but when it did, a new industry was born from a virtually non-existent market. And in that new industry, many young upstarts attempted to challenge the market leaders.

There is no true measure of discerning when the exact point of kit culture began with fans. Replica kits have been available since the late 1950s but generally were seen as something a lucky young boy (or frustrated man-child) might get at Christmas, to supplement his school PE kit. If you look back at old games on YouTube and see the fans in the stadium, most of them were quite satisfied with a peaked cap or scarf for most of the time, certainly in the cold British winters. This gradually began to change in the late 1970s but a replica jersey was still an expensive item. The advent of this new material no doubt would have made mass production of jerseys much easier.

Along with clubs now almost fully on board with having a club sponsor on the chests of their jersey, the breakthrough of more cheaply sourced material made producing large amounts of replica kits not only possible but financially beneficial to teams.

Not all teams are created equal, however, and what might have been offered to some of the more illustrious names of British football certainly was not on the table for those on the fringes.

Umbro, Adidas and (in Europe more so) Puma all had generous pieces of the cake up until the mid-80s, with Le Coq Sportif a distant fourth and perhaps Bukta still retaining domestic contracts in the UK. Other brands, too many to name here, came and went, with only the likes of Spall managing to maintain any kind of foothold. It was an industry that required not only ingenuity in its fabrics and fashion but also a keen grasp of finance and the market. Step forward, Matchwinner!

Contrary to the above clip, MW’s first professional contract with a club came in 1986, with Birmingham City the first team to agree a deal with the company.

The result was moderate and solid but others would follow quickly. With the advances in technology and more materials being available, jerseys were moving along quickly and in a more shiny fashion.

The new weave technology first introduced by the likes of Umbro and Adidas in around 1984 was a real breakthrough for kit design. This took jerseys into a new two-dimensional sphere. Now we could see that fabrics could have shadow patterns, with columns, lines and even checkerboards throughout the shirt and shorts, all while maintaining the primary colours. Matchwinner were one of the first to copy this new technique.

This new fabric pattern alongside the crossover crew neck (see Arsenal 1984, Scotland 1986, Rangers 1984-86 and Celtic 1985-87)  were staples for the mid-80s. And if you look at Matchwinner examples from that time, you can see that they were taking their inspiration from the likes of these.

Looking back at some of the earliest MW kits, one might wonder if the they had any kind of originality. There were tidily placed bands and large panels(or bibs) on the chest or indeed panels on the shoulder but aside from that nothing too distinctive. All in all, they were playing it safe and being respectful of each club’s tradition.

Of course there are exceptions to that ‘respectability’. In 1987, MW decided to bring a candystripe design, which was used by Huddersfield and St Mirren – these were very unpopular with fans – that Huddersfield’s was worn in the 10-1 defeat at Manchester City meant that the yellow and black checked away failed to gain a cult following.

History has kind of forgotten the Terriers one because the team weren’t up to much around that time. But St Mirren had just won the Scottish FA Cup (note the adidas goalkeeper shirts!). They would be bringing the bib into Europe! To the Saints’ credit, they remained loyal to the brand for many years afterwards, retaining MW until 1994.

Which brings me to a notable statistic about the brand in those early days. If you have a look at the lists of MW contracts below, you will see how much of a reach the company had around both England and Scotland.

However, in those early days, it was Scottish clubs rather than English ones where MW found most success and a foothold in the manufacturing market. From 1985-88, they made kits for about a dozen teams and two-thirds of them were from north of the border.

England (All)

Birmingham City (1986-91)

Bolton Wanderers (1988-93)

Bournemouth (1992-95)

Bristol Rovers (1993-95)

Bury (1992-95)

Carlisle United (1992-95)

Chesterfield (1990-96)

Crewe Alexandra (1990-94)

Doncaster Rovers (1992-96)

Exeter City (1992-95)

Hereford United (1991-94)

Huddersfield Town (1987-89)

Hull City (1988-93)

Lincoln City (1990-94)

Notts County (1989-94)

Oxford United (1991-94)

Preston North End (1992-94)

Reading (1989-92)

Rotherham United (1991-95)

Stoke City (1990-93)

Swansea City (1992-95)

Torquay United (1991-95)

Wigan Athletic (1991-95)

 

Scotland( All )

Airdrieonians (1993-95)

Alloa Athletic (1988-92)

Brechin City (1988-94)

Caledonian Thistle (1994-95)

Clyde (1991-94)

Clydebank (1989-95)

Cowdenbeath (1986-88)

Dundee (1987-92, 1994-96)

Dunfermline Athletic (1994-96)

Falkirk (1994-96)

Forfar Athletic (1988-92)

Greenock Morton (1989-95)

Hamilton Academicals (1986-95)

Kilmarnock (1986-95)

Montrose (1990-95)

Motherwell (1987-90)

Partick Thistle (1994-95)

Peterhead (1989-90)

Queen OT South (89/96)

St Johnstone (1986-89)

St Mirren (1987-94)

Stirling Albion (1993-95)

 

Ireland ( selected)

Derry City (approx. 1993-95)

Sligo Rovers (approx. 1993-95)

Shamrock Rovers (approx. 1993-96)

In my opinion, the replica shirt craze really kicked off post Mexico ’86. Yes, there was definitely a lot of love for the England Admiral shirt at Espana ’82 but the company was going through something of a nervous breakdown at the time and while a fair amount of schoolboys and older fans had managed to secure a replica of the iconic design, availability was not what it could have been.

Post 1986, however, Umbro knew they had something big. Many fans had worn replicas in the stadiums, taking advantage of the arid weather over there. The relative success of the team had made wearing an England jersey outside of game time more acceptable. In the next couple of seasons, fans of league teams would gradually start wearing their club replicas to games too. It was maybe a final salute to the summer sunshine, grown men happily bedecked in polyester, as a new season kicked off in mid-August.

While Umbro still dominated Division 1 and much of Division 2 as well as holding the contracts of the Old Firm in Scotland, adidas now had the big red three of Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal. They weren’t going to be losing much sleep over the Readings and Bolton Wanderers of this world. But in typical footballing parlance, someone could do a job there.

Soon, many clubs were seeing the value in going into contracts with these up and coming brands. Spall, Scoreline and Ribero were no doubt able to offer cheaper alternatives to the behemoths of adidas et al. Presumably the percentage of profit was a better option for this clubs too.

Matchwinner had gotten their start, they were still feeding off the scraps that the big boys didn’t want or need. But at least they were at the table. And the real fun was soon to begin.

Fantasy Kit Friday – Celtic in adidas, 2002-03

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Like Barcelona, Inter Milan and Paris St-Germain, Celtic are firmly non-adidas club, having had Nike for more than a decade and Umbro for a very long period before that, so it’s not surprising that mixing the two would be an FKF request:

As we had already done a mid-90s version of The Three Hoops™…

…Malky decided to go a bit further on, to the 2002-03 season, when Celtic reached the Uefa Cup final, losing to Porto in Seville.

We have followed the cycles Celtic had with Umbro at the time, so the home and third were from 2001, with the away new for 2002-03.

With a Celtic home, keeping it simple is best, so we have used the Real Madrid 2001-02 home (European version – the domestic shirt didn’t have stripes as it was their centenary season) as the base, with its smart collar.

Celtic-2001-2002-adidas-Fantasy-Kit-Friday-home-01

In summer, Celtic revisited the popular colourway of the away from two years previously and there’s not too much wriggle-room in terms of design:

Celtic-2002-2003-adidas-away-Fantasy-Kit-Friday-01

The 2002-03 third had been the 2001-02 away, causing some problems away to Hibernian.

We have used the Tottenham Hotspur away, with its unusual shoulder striping, as the source for this..

Celtic-2001-2001-adidas-white-Fantasy-Kit-Friday-01

 

Great one-offs – two white Newcastle United change shirts

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Let’s be clear from the outset – it is possible for a team wearing striped shirts to have an alternative strip in one of the stripe colours.

On the occasions that this happens, there is often outcry, but a team never has to play itself – the only clashes they have to worry about are with their opponents.

To that end, a black Newcastle United away kit makes perfect sense to us – with no team in the Premier League having a black home kit, it’s an ideal way to avoid a clash while retaining your club’s colours. Take their 2011-12 third kit, for instance – no hint of confusion but still proudly black and white.

However, when the Toon have white change kits, it’s a different matter as they provide less functionality.

In the week leading up to the 1999 FA Cup final, Newcastle revealed their new strips for the coming season, with the home set to be worn against Manchester United at Wembley.

The new away was in a similar style to the home, white trimmed in green and black (for what it’s worth, we’d have used blue rather than green as this would have allowed interchangeability rather than two similar pairs of white shorts and socks).

Newcastle-United-1999-2000-adidas-away-white-Coventry-01

The blue and yellow change kit from 1998-99 wasn’t retained as a third kit – that practice hadn’t really come in yet – and the shortcomings of their options were illustrated away to Tottenham Hotspur in the second game of the season.

The white away would be used at the sky-blue-clad Coventry City in October but it was to be its only outing, perhaps not helped by a 4-1 loss. The game at Wimbledon would have seemed like a perfect chance to use the white but instead, as at Spurs, they wore change shorts and the white socks (these had stated the season as first choice thanks to Ruud Gullit’s influence but black was restored as default at some stage).

An FA Cup game at Tranmere Rovers that season also provde troublesome and for 2000-01 Newcastle introduced a black away, which saw more game-time.

The 2007-08 campaign saw another white strip, this time the third option behind a sky-blue away trimmed in black.

With no clashes against Inter Milan, Club Brugge or Athlone Town to worry about, the white wasn’t needed but a league cup game at Arsenal in September was chosen to premiere the shirt.

However, as the Gunners have white shorts and socks, the away sets had to be deployed.

Newcastle-United-2007-2008-adidas-white-third-Arsenal-01

Newcastle lost 2-0 and the shirt wasn’t seen again.

In 2010-11, now having moved to Puma, they would again have a white third – a reversal of the blue away – and it looked like the game at Wolves would prove to be its only outing but it avoided the one-hit wonder status as it was also used away to Liverpool on May 1.