Season in Kits: Chelsea, 1963-64
- Nik Yeomans is the oracle on Chelsea kits and has already proven to be an invaluable source of research on a number of articles. He has now written a series charting Chelsea’s many variations during the 1960s and this is the first part
The 1963-64 season saw Chelsea back in the first division after one season in the second. Tommy Docherty was by now in his third season as manager and starting to mould his young team to his style of play.
Home kit-wise, the team wore the same strip as the previous season, but the crest introduced in 1960-61 was now removed. Both short- and long-sleeved version were worn.
However, a badged shirt was worn in at least one pre-season game against Charlton Athletic, when Chelsea also wore blue shorts. The team photo for this game was later used as a Typhoo Tea promotional card.
The game at Burnley on August 22 saw Chelsea sporting a plain all-white kit without any badges or trim. Two and a half weeks later, the same shirts were worn at Aston Villa, this time with plain blue shorts and white socks.
For Blackburn Rovers on 16 September something different was needed and so Chelsea announced their Swedish-style away kit. This smart shirt with a wing collar and blue insert and cuffs was nearly ten years ahead of its time in the fashion stakes, matched with blue shorts and yellow socks. It also became the first official Chelsea away kit that was not maroon, red or white (ignoring shirts borrowed for FA Cup ties).
Strangely the kit was only worn in one other competitive game, against Swindon Town in the League Cup, when no change of kit was required. It made one last appearance (along with the plain white kit) in Frank Blunstone’s Testimonial game in November.
From October, the away kit was the previous season’s red shirts (with very home-made looking CFC badge), worn with white shorts and red socks. In February against Sheffield Wednesday, white socks were worn. This shirt also appeared in both long and short sleeved versions.
March 4, 1964 was significant when Chelsea wore their now famous blue, blue and white combination for the first time, against Stoke City.
March also brought more surprises when a new ‘Swedish’ kit appeared against Birmingham City. This shirt had a crew neck with blue and yellow rings and multi-ringed cuffs.
Even after the season ending, there were still more surprises on the West Indies tour.
Against Barbados, Chelsea wore an all-white kit, the shirt having two thin bands of red and blue on the chest, cuffs and crew neck.
In their five matches against Wolves on the tour, Chelsea normally wore all-blue, but on at least one occasion the plain white kit from August made an appearance, probably due to poor lighting during evening games.
This gave a total of eight kit variations for the season proper, plus three more in friendlies. You would think that would take some beating, but beat it they did….