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  • As with all of our Chelsea content, the input of Nik Yeomans has been invaluable

In 1992, Chelsea reverted to white socks with their home kit, with the club’s matchday programme for the game against Oldham Athletic on August 15, 1992 – the first of the new Premier League – acknowledging that this was based on the wishes of a majority of the club’s supporters.

SOCK IT TO ‘EM, YOU BLUES

In a summer when the first-choice kit was not due to change, a change has come due to public demand. Tradition has been restored.

The white socks worn so proudly through the 1960’s, ’70s and early 80s, but which were dropped in favour of blue socks in 1985, have returned.

About time too, and don’t they look wonderful!

Chelsea have retained them since then, but obviously there are game away to teams who also have white socks where a change is needed. Generally, these alternative socks have been blue but, on occasion, red and yellow pairs have been used too.

Having changed socks themselves, you might think that Chelsea would be cognisant of others doing so but, on the second weekend of 2001-02, they were caught out by just such an occurrence.

Hosting Newcastle United in their opening game, Chelsea wore their new Umbro kit and then travelled to face Southampton the following week, with yellow-topped blue socks worn instead of the white.

Chelsea-2001-2003-Umbro-home-kit-blue-shorts-Southampton

They looked like they could have been an alternative set for the 2000-01 away kit, which was retained as a third for 01-02, but that wouldn’t have made much sense given that the new away strip was designed to be perfectly interchangeable with the home.

A closer look at the socks – primarily the ‘Saints’ wordmark on the front – reveals their true provenance. Southampton had worn black socks as first choice from 1999-2001 but had reverted to white for 2001-02 and Chelsea hadn’t realised, meaning they travelled with just their white sets – and had to wear the Saints’ 2000-01 away socks instead.

As Southampton produced their own kits at the time – meaning retro versions are more accurate than most clubs’, with makers’ logos often missing – there was at least the consolation of no rival of Umbro being promoted.

The switch didn’t negatively affect Chelsea, though, with goals from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Mario Stanic earning Claudio Ranieri’s side a 2-0 win. Later in the season, they would wear the away socks with the home shirts and shorts as and when required.