- This is the second part of Nik Yeomans’ comprehensive series on Chelsea in the 1960s. This is the first entry, looking at 1963-64
Chelsea finished the 1963-64 season in a very creditable fifth place. They emerged for the 1964-65 season in what is now considered the classic Chelsea combination of royal blue shirts and shorts teamed with plain white socks, which had premiered in the previous campaign. The likelihood is that this initiative was the brainchild of manager Tommy Docherty, who wanted to modernise the whole club.
The shirt now had a crew neck with two thicker white bands white bands and a smart CFC scrolled logo.
Initially, the shorts were plain blue but, against Sunderland on August 29, small white numbers appeared on the left leg, Chelsea being the first English team to introduce this feature. From September 30, a home defeat against Manchester United, thin white stripes also appeared down the seams, every other game or so at first then continuously from November 11 against Swansea Town in the league cup.
The first away kit to appear was the plain all-white long-sleeved affair against Aston Villa in the league on August 31. It also appeared against Villa in the league cup in January, this time with blue numbers adorning the shorts.
The red change kit emerged for the first of three appearances on September 5 at Leicester City, with white shorts and red socks. This shirt now had the CFC scrolled embroidery replacing the sorry-looking affair of the previous two seasons. Long sleeves were worn against West Bromwich Albion.
September 16 (Sheffield Wednesday away) saw the yellow away kit appear for the first time with yellow numbers on the shorts, but no seam stripes or CFC embroidery on the shirt. The yellow seams appeared from January 30 against West Ham in the FA Cup and, more famously, on April 5 for the triumphant second leg of the league cup final against Leicester City.
That game was a 0-0 draw, following the home leg when Chelsea won 3-2 wearing the long-sleeved home kit, although with blue socks. Chelsea also wore the blue socks away to Leeds United in January.
The friendly game against Benfica on October 7 saw the reappearance of the white kit with blue and red bands worn on the previous end-of-season tour. This time, the shorts had numbers, but no seam stripes.
All in all, this made ten different combinations, albeit with slight differences to the shorts, and does not include long and short sleeved shirt variations. They couldn’t beat that, surely…