Let’s be clear from the outset – it is possible for a team wearing striped shirts to have an alternative strip in one of the stripe colours.
On the occasions that this happens, there is often outcry, but a team never has to play itself – the only clashes they have to worry about are with their opponents.
To that end, a black Newcastle United away kit makes perfect sense to us – with no team in the Premier League having a black home kit, it’s an ideal way to avoid a clash while retaining your club’s colours. Take their 2011-12 third kit, for instance – no hint of confusion but still proudly black and white.
However, when the Toon have white change kits, it’s a different matter as they provide less functionality.
In the week leading up to the 1999 FA Cup final, Newcastle revealed their new strips for the coming season, with the home set to be worn against Manchester United at Wembley.
The new away was in a similar style to the home, white trimmed in green and black (for what it’s worth, we’d have used blue rather than green as this would have allowed interchangeability rather than two similar pairs of white shorts and socks).
The blue and yellow change kit from 1998-99 wasn’t retained as a third kit – that practice hadn’t really come in yet – and the shortcomings of their options were illustrated away to Tottenham Hotspur in the second game of the season.
The white away would be used at the sky-blue-clad Coventry City in October but it was to be its only outing, perhaps not helped by a 4-1 loss. The game at Wimbledon would have seemed like a perfect chance to use the white but instead, as at Spurs, they wore change shorts and the white socks (these had stated the season as first choice thanks to Ruud Gullit’s influence but black was restored as default at some stage).
An FA Cup game at Tranmere Rovers that season also provde troublesome and for 2000-01 Newcastle introduced a black away, which saw more game-time.
The 2007-08 campaign saw another white strip, this time the third option behind a sky-blue away trimmed in black.
With no clashes against Inter Milan, Club Brugge or Athlone Town to worry about, the white wasn’t needed but a league cup game at Arsenal in September was chosen to premiere the shirt.
However, as the Gunners have white shorts and socks, the away sets had to be deployed.
Newcastle lost 2-0 and the shirt wasn’t seen again.
In 2010-11, now having moved to Puma, they would again have a white third – a reversal of the blue away – and it looked like the game at Wolves would prove to be its only outing but it avoided the one-hit wonder status as it was also used away to Liverpool on May 1.