Thursday night’s 1-0 Europa League loss to Feyenoord was just the seventh game of this still-nascent season for Manchester United, yet incredibly it saw them wear a third distinct style of white shorts.
Obviously, the home kit’s regular shorts are white with red adidas stripes:
The white third kit is supposed to be paired with dark-grey shorts, but, to give United credit, they do tend to be among the best at avoiding any sort of a clash (as well as wearing red unless it is avoidable), so they wore all-white away to Bournemouth.
As there is no red on the third kit – unlike last season, when the home and away could be mixed and matched – white shorts to match the shirt were employed:
The new away kit is a darkish blue, and the Feyenoord game was its first outing. Whether it was a UEFA directive or just United erring on the side of caution, the blue shorts and socks weren’t used, to be replaced by white. While the socks were what we imagine to be the home alternative set, the shorts were devoid of stripes (when one might argue that the red stripes on the home shorts would have matched up nicely with the shirt). The crest was monochrome, which is probably the reason why.
United do have quite a bit of form when it comes to have more than one set of shorts or socks in the same colour. Nearly seven years ago, we wrote this piece for John Devlin’s True Colours site, while in the 1993-94 season, United’s home, away and third socks were all black.
On returning to adidas in 2015, it occurred again. While the shorts were mixed and matched across the home and away kits, the home alternative socks were different to the away pair, while the third kit had orange as a trim colour and so they differed again:
It’s not a new problem, by any means, though – as far back as 1980, they had different pairs of black shorts in the one season;