We hope you enjoyed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and are looking forward to some Boxing Day football.
For Arsenal, it’s a trip to the American Express Community Stadium to take on Brighton & Hove Albion. Presumably due to large amounts of white on the Seagulls’ kit, their visitors will wear their navy change shirts for only the second time in the league, having also used them at Fulham.
However, as Brighton have royal blue socks, Arsenal must change below the knee and will switch to a red set (seemingly different to the alternative red set used with the home strip). While it looks like a bad mishmash, the shirt and shorts do feature the same shade of red but in such minute segments that the mix with navy creates a maroon effect.
As far as we know, it’s the first time that Arsenal will play a game with navy shirts and red socks, with navy, white, yellow and light blue having previously featured on the socks of the club’s navy kits.
In the late 1960s, the club had a navy second kit, with white shorts and navy socks:
In 1968, Arsenal had to change to a yellow alternative as Football League rules outlawed navy kits due to the potential for confusion with the black of match officials.
As a result, it wouldn’t be until 1994 – by which time Premier League referees had switched to green – that navy shirts returned, paired with a turquoise shade. In 1994-95, the socks were hooped:
The following year, a new kit in the same colours had navy socks again and then, in 1998-99 – by which time yellow had returned as the second-choice colour – Arsenal faced Lens in the Champions League.
At the time, home teams changed in Europe when colour-clashes arose and, as both of Arsenal’s kits clashed with Lens’ red and yellow stripes, a special one-off set of navy shirts were used, with the white home shorts and alternative home socks.
Two years on from that, another navy kit featured in the Champions League. While the navy away socks were intended to be worn with it, they were only used in one of the three games where the shirt saw action. In the other two, against Sparta Prague and Mallorca, a yellow alternative set was called upon, with yellow shorts in the latter game.
In the Sparta game, at Highbury, Arsenal actually changed to yellow shirts at half-time due to confusion between the navy and the Czech club’s dark red.
In 2002-03 and 2009-10, navy change kits were worn with white change shorts and socks used with both. However, for 2011-12 a Monaco-style two-tone blue kit was launched. The shorts and socks were navy, but the alternative sets were in the lighter shade.
The back-up socks were worn in the 8-2 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.
It’s perhaps surprising that it has taken this long for red socks to feature with a navy shirt, but there is only one other occasion that we can recall where red socks were used with an Arsenal change shirt.
That was the following season at Old Trafford, where the socks of the purple and black kit had to be changed and the home change set were used. It made for quite a visual.