Midweek Mashup – Watford, 1987

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We have already seen on a few occasions how Watford’s 1980s home kit of yellow shirts and red shorts and socks proved troublesome at times.

Liverpool were forced into a very unusual look, Nottingham Forest took to wearing all-white at Vicarage Road after a mix-up saw them wearing Watford’s change socks, and even the Football League handbook contributed to the confusion, as when the Hornets went to Old Trafford in 1984.

Three years later, Watford’s trip to face Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, August 19, 1987 would be notable.

First of all, Watford were in their away shirts, rather than just changing the clashing red socks, as they would do at Highbury or Anfield – presumably the referee on the evening wasn’t happy with Watford’s red shorts against Forest’s shirts, but one would have thought that yellow shirts and black shorts and socks, as worn away to Liverpool, would have sufficed.

In any event, it was the usual away white shirts and black shorts which were worn, but the mashup element comes from the plain white socks.


The change didn’t have a talismanic effect, as Forest won 1-0, but an explanation came in the programme for Watford’s next home game, at home to Tottenham on August 29 (thanks as always to Lee Hermitage for digging out this info):

Why white socks?

Watford wore white socks in their recent match at Nottingham Forest, as the photograph on page 7 of this programme reveals. Why? Manager Dave Bassett explains:

“We had to change kit to play Forest, and the present away kit has socks that are mostly black. That’s okay during daytime, but I feel that white socks give that extra bit of visibility at nighttime. It doesn’t mean we are changing our away kit, but you can expect to see us play in brighter coloured socks in our home evening games as well.”

The ‘new’ socks are purely for team use, and do not form part of the official club kit, so they are not available through the Hornet Shop.

It’s a fairly sound theory, and white socks under lights was always something Sir Alex Ferguson preferred in this time at Manchester United.

As far as we can see, the Watford home kit remained unchanged during that season, even for evening games – perhaps you might know of examples where white, or perhaps yellow, socks were worn? Get in touch if so.

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