First off, apologies for the lack of a Midweek Mashup last Wednesday – life got in the way – but we’re back again, admittedly with a fairly famous example of the phenomenon.
Liverpool are renowned for wearing all-red kits (even if Manchester United actually did it before them) and we’d be fairly confident in saying that they have not worn white shorts with their red shirts since 1964, when Bill Shankly engineered the change.
While the Football League brought in rules regarding sock-clashes in 1969 and shorts-clashes in 1975, Liverpool weren’t really affected by this – anyone with red shorts and/or socks also tended to have enough red in their shirts that a change kit was required – though there were incidents where mashup away strips arguably caused more problems than the home would have.
Watford’s promotion in 1982 raised an issue, however. While the Hornets wore gold or yellow shirts with black shorts for much of their existence, in 1979 they had switched to red shorts and socks. It just so happened that Liverpool switched to a yellow away kit in 1982 and Crown Paints coming on board as new sponsors meant that the previous white away shirt couldn’t be used at Watford as it carried the name of Liverpool’s previous partners, Hitachi. Instead of coming up with a third shirt, Liverpool decided to mix and match.
It must have been felt that wearing red shirts, yellow shorts and yellow socks would have been troublesome with Watford in the opposite look, and so the black away shorts from the white kit were called into use with the away socks on the final day of the season, May 14, 1983.
This wasn’t a one-off look, either – they would repeat it away to Watford in both 1983-84 and 1984-85, albeit with the Crown logo modified. The 83-84 campaign also saw the yellow socks used at Birmingham City.