Last year, we featured Leeds wearing red shorts as part of this series, but it wasn’t such a strange situation back then as the club used the colour for its change kit.
In the early 70s, red disappeared from the club’s palette and yellow and blue were established as the go-to alternative colours. So it was for the 1986-87 season, as Umbro used the same striking design for both strips.
However, due to the high levels of blue on the change kit, Leeds ran into trouble on occasion and so, during the season, a plain yellow third shirt – without the centred crest and with the Umbro logos on the right breast rather than the sleeves – was pressed into usage.
That kit was used against Telford United and Wigan Athletic as Leeds reached the FA Cup semi-finals, though, perhaps oddly, the home strip was worn in the last-four defeat to Coventry City (it should be noted that, in the final, Tottenham also wore all-white against Coventry’s home kit).
While Leeds often wore a change kit when a shorts clash arose in the late 80s and early 90s (though not in the period 1993-95), in 1986-87 they mixed and matched.
Having finished fourth in the Division 2 table, they played Oldham Athletic in the play-offs and, after winning that, then clashed with Charlton Athletic of Division 1 (who had beaten fifth-placed Ipswich Town) to see who would play in the top flight for 1987-88.
Oldham would switch to all-blue in the summer of 1987 but in 86-87 they had white shorts and socks, as did Charlton. In each away game, Leeds wore their away shorts and socks with the home shirts (Charlton wore red shirts, black shorts and black socks at Elland Road but, after two 1-0 home wins, the Addicks wore all-blue as they won 2-1 in a replay at St Andrews).
However, it is the game just before the play-offs that is the focus of this piece. Leeds were already assured of fourth place before the trip to face Brighton & Hove Albion on May 9, and the intention was to wear the white-blue-yellow combination, even though there was no socks-clash.
The blue shorts were forgotten, though:
— LEEDS UTD MEMORIES🏆 (@LUFCHistory) October 15, 2018
So it was that, with the Brighton away shorts, Leeds looked like this:
It was the last time that the club have worn red garments and, as far as we know, the only time that the adidas logo and three stripes have appeared on a Leeds kit.