- This is a guest post by Nathan Patrick
The first instalment of this series will focus on the five best kit mashups in football history, that have come about to avoid a potential shorts- and/or socks clash but at the same time have looked excellent, perhaps even looking better than the original kit did with the standard shorts and socks.
I define a proper kit mashup as different elements of different kits of the same club being worn as an after-thought but, against the odds, the aesthetics are pleasing. This list will therefore not include specific change shorts and/or socks made for that kit or elements from other kits where mixing and matching were clearly an intention beforehand.
Wales (1976-79, nine occasions)
This first entry could technically break one of my rules. Before 1976, Wales had been stuck with a pedestrian red and white kit which was often worn with white shorts.
Admiral, famous for their innovative and daring templates, changed all this upon their arrival when they kitted Wales out in their eccentric ‘tramline’ template, also worn by Coventry, trimmed in bright yellow and green. The away kit was in the same template, with the main colour being yellow.
Before the days of changing at the drop of a hat, Wales needed to change socks when they were away to Scotland who were in their classic navy-white-red, while they also did so against Yugoslavia. In previous years they may have used white change socks, but they decided to use the away kit’s yellow socks, which worked perfectly with the trim on the shirt and shorts. Some may say that these kits are made to mix and match, but due to the unorthodox nature of any yellow on the Wales kit at that time, I have decided to include it.
Barcelona (2001-02, v Liverpool and Bayer Leverkusen)
This mash up works so well that you could be excused for thinking this was the standard kit.
Metallic kits were all the rage in the early 2000s and Barcelona released their own gold number with trim in navy and blaugrana.
What was strange was that the kit was released with cherry red shorts and socks, perhaps due to Barca going through their phase of wearing navy shorts and socks with the home shirt and they wore these odd shorts and socks at Roma in an awful overall clash.
Luckily they also faced Liverpool that season, which gave them the perfect chance to mix and match. The trim on the navy shorts was gold and the navy bar down the shirt flowed nicely into the shorts, which proved that this combination was infinitely better than the default combo.
The season after, the home shorts were worn with this kit once again, but by then the home shorts had changed to royal blue and the magic had been lost.
Arsenal (v Roma, 2002-03)
European football often gives us mash ups that we may not have seen otherwise.
In 2002-03, for example, Arsenal were involved in shorts-clashes and sock-clashes in the Premiership due to the lax rules.
The Champions League’s rules were not as lenient however, and Arsenal needed to change the shorts and socks of their new navy away kit when they went to Roma, who had black shorts and socks for their Champions League strip.
Luckily, and unusually for Arsenal, the home and away kits were in similar colour schemes and templates, with both kits containing large amounts of white and red, which meant that they could just wear the shorts and socks of the home kit and Henry looked particularly elegant in the combo, netting a hat-trick in a dominant performance.
Manchester United (v Sunderland, Cardiff City and Southampton, 2013-14)
You would think this would have been the case in 2013-14 when they had their usual red home shirt accompanied by an all-navy away kit with a black gingham pattern. United’s home shorts however, were plain white with a black Nike tick and their home change socks were white with two black lines.
This meant that they could wear them with the away kit, lifting an otherwise dark kit and keeping the tradition of light shorts and socks that Fergie so often adhered to. Away to Southampton this arguably created a socks-clash.
Juventus (v Sassuolo, 2015-16)
Since Adidas recruited Juventus to their ranks in 2015/16, their designs have been fairly underwhelming for the most part.
However, there is no doubt that, whether you love it or hate it, their pink 2015/16 away kit has become one of the most iconic kits of this decade, receiving mainstream fame after being worn by hip-hop artist Drake.
On the pitch, it was usually worn with black shorts, which didn’t really go with the light nature of the kit, so the perfect opportunity to try something different was grasped at Sassuolo due to a shorts-clash.
Juve turned out in the pink shirts with the white shorts and socks of the home kit, which looked especially good as the Adidas stripes on all three components were black. The mix-and-match novelty certainly didn’t work with the third kit.