A big, successful club from the north-west of England wearing red shirts, red shorts and red socks – it must be Liverpool?

The Reds have been all-red since 1965 (not 1964, as is often erroneously stated, as they kept white socks until the end of the 64-65 season) but it was a look that Manchester United first used seven years previously.

Having won the league in 1956, United wore a modified kit in Europe, with a slightly more reflective shirt worn to allow better visibility under floodlights, while the normal black socks with red tops were replaced by solid red versions.

For the European Cup semi-final against an all-white-clad Real Madrid in April 1957, manager Matt Busby decided to go one step further and switch the shorts too. The new items featured a silver stripe down the side.


To get an idea of what it would look like, United wore the all-red kit against Bolton Wanderers under lights at Old Trafford on March 25, 1957 and Busby was even able to convince Bolton to switch to white shorts to resemble Real.

United actually lost that game 2-0 and would go down 3-1 in Madrid. For the home leg against Real, the red shorts remained and a thrilling 2-2 draw was played out, they went out on aggregate.

The retained their league title  (defeat to Aston Villa in the FA Cup final denied them the double) but for European games the following, ill-fated, 57-58 season the only change to the normal kit was that the white shorts featured a red stripe down the sides.

According to the ever-excellent UnitedKits.com, black shorts were used for the first time in the Charity Shield against Villa in October 1957 and they have long been the alternative when white cannot be used.

While red socks would be used as the first choice with the home kit in the 1960s and early 70s, they are almost never seen on any United kit now. The last instances we are aware of is on the rarely-worn 2000-01 third kit.

Thanks to Paul Nagel of UnitedKits.com for information provided.