- While Arsenal have no qualms about wearing alternative shorts with their away kits, they are reluctant to deviate from the traditional white with their home strip.
On a snowy Boxing Day 1970, red shorts were worn at home to Southampton, while in the latter part of that decade the Football League clamped down on ‘shorts clashes’ and so Arsenal would change at places like Goodison Park and Loftus Road.
In 1982-83, the shorts and socks from the green and navy kit were used to create a frankly awful look at Everton in the league cup on November 13…
…but just ten days later in the league, the presence of the home socks almost created an integrated look:
From then on, however, kitman Tony Donnelly’s preference was to wear the full away kit rather than ‘diluting’ the look of the home kit. To paraphrase this The Day Today sketch – in 1983, Arsenal didn’t wear home change shorts; in 1984, Arsenal didn’t wear home change shorts; in 1985, Arsenal didn’t wear home change shorts; in 1986, Arsenal didn’t wear home change shorts…[etc, etc]…in 2011, Arsenal didn’t wear home change shorts; in 2012, Arsenal didn’t wear home change shorts; but in 2013, Arsenal did once wear home change shorts.
How, and why? Basically, the Champions League qualifier with Fenerbahce provided the perfect storm, as the Turkish club wear yellow and blue striped home shirts, with white shorts and socks.
Arsenal had a yellow and blue away kit that season, which obviously couldn’t be used. The horrific 2012-13 away was the nominal third for 13-14 but the dark back on the Fener kit prevented that from being called into action (it wouldn’t be used all season).
The preview on the club’s official site mentioned that blue shorts would be worn with the home shirt and red alternative home socks. While some (well us, anyway) feared that it would be the royal blue away shorts, instead navy training shorts had numbers in Arsenal’s cup font applied. Incidentally, the shirt is the last Premier League home to have been worn for more than one season.
Arsenal won 3-0 and would triumph 2-0 at home, maintaining their record of reaching the group stages every year since 1998-99.
Plenty people watching couldn’t discern the correct shorts colour however, and compared Arsenal to Manchester United, despite the fact that United so rarely wear red socks.