Midweek Mashup – Manchester United v Watford, 1984

  • As ever, any interesting information on Manchester United kits comes from the experts at UnitedKits.com.

A two-for-one today, featuring looks common to both clubs, but a match-up born of a mix-up.

On the opening day of the 1984-85 season, Watford came to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. Unlike the season just gone, when the Hornets preferred to wear their away kit at every available opportunity, back then they preferred to mix and match their home and away kits as necessary.

Manchester United’s home combination of red shirts, white shorts and black socks meant that the usual Watford home kit of yellow shirts with red shorts and socks could be worn at Old Trafford.

However, as Peter Jordan discovered, the Football League handbook for 84-85 listed United’s home kit as having red and white hooped socks. Watford, ever conscientious, brought their black away socks with them, replicating the look they appeared in at Highbury, the City Ground and other red-socked sides.


Watford had done nothing wrong and so referee David Hutchinson insisted United wear the socks detailed by the handbook, but of course they didn’t exist. As a compromise, they agreed to find alternative socks.

With the new adidas kits having only been launched a few days before the start of the season, the white socks from the away strip weren’t available – that kit wouldn’t be worn until October – and so a quick dash to a sports shop was necessary to buy 13 pairs of white socks.


Kick-off was delayed slightly as a result, and a late Nigel Callaghan equaliser earned Watford a 1-1 draw. Incidentally, the return fixture wouldn’t be until the final day of the season, with United wearing their home white shorts with the away shirt and socks in losing 5-1 at Vicarage Road.

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