Logically, and as you can see from the previous entries in this series, most instances of teams wearing unusual combinations occur in away games, but this week’s edition is a rare example of a home team being forced into a switch.
As we looked at last month, Tottenham Hotspur introduced an all-white home kit in 1985. With the away kit being all sky-blue, there were no navy shorts available at all, and so where shorts-clashes occurred, they matched the home shirts with the away shorts, like this:
On August 31 of that season, Spurs travelled to Maine Road to face Manchester City. The hosts had had an all-blue kit until 1985 before reverting back to their traditional look and so Spurs lined out in the opposite. The game began with City in sky-white-sky and Spurs in white-sky-white, but after just a few minutes play was stopped.
Referee George Courtney (I once met him when he was the referee’s assessor at a Cork City-Cwmbran Town European Cup game in 1993, incidentally, but my nine-year-old self wasn’t aware of this and so couldn’t quiz him) felt that, in the sunny conditions, the kits weren’t distinct enoug and asked for a change.
Obviously, Spurs’ away – if they had brought it – would have clashed with City’s home, so the only option was for Billy McNeill’s team to don their away shirts and shorts, but with the home socks.
The alteration didn’t affect them too badly, as they won 2-1, and the programme for the next home game, against Manchester United on September 14, outlined previous examples of City wearing an away kit at home (though without explaining how it used to be a rule that both teams used to change when a kit-clash occurred in the FA Cup).
Incidentally, that wasn’t the most recent occasion that City were forced to change at home to Tottenham – but that’s a story for another time.