Midweek Mashup – Arsenal, 1977
Arsenal in yellow shirts and white shorts is not uncommon, although it’s a look that hasn’t been seen in nearly two decades as bespoke yellow pairs have come to be worn when a shorts-clash arises.
Generally, the white home shorts have been used when the primary away shorts have been navy, with games at Southampton, Sunderland and Barcelona providing examples of the outfit.
In the 1950 FA Cup final, Arsenal faced Liverpool, with the rule back then being that both teams had to change. At the time, the two clubs had white away shirts and with Liverpool wearing their standard second kit, Arsenal wore old gold shirts with white shorts as they won 2-0.
After a stint with navy away shirts in the late 1960s, Arsenal had to change as the FA outlawed navy jerseys due to their similarity to the black worn by officials. Yellow shirts – though the matchday programme described them as ‘amber’ – with blue shorts was chosen as the default change option.
In 1975, the FA mandated that shorts-clashes be dealt with, though with no top-flight teams wearing red shirts and blue shorts, this didn’t seem to be a problem for the Arsenal away kit. However, in April 1977, for a trip to Anfield, they wore the home white set with the away shirts and socks, the latter plain rather than featuring the blue stripe on the turnover most commonly associated with the Gunners’ alternative strip in that decade.
Wearing such a look, Arsenal fell to a deserved 2-0 defeat.
Our guess for the change was due to the highlights of the game being broadcast on Match of The Day and the blue shorts clashing with Liverpool’s red on black-and-white televisions, and that was confirmed by Simon Shakeshaft, co-author of The Arsenal Shirt.
It seemed like overkill and thankfully it was a one-off, and when the sides’ meeting at Anfield was televised in 1978-79, Arsenal were back in blue shorts. They still didn’t help them, though – Liverpool won that one 3-0.