Three-season wonders

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  • We were delighted when Philip Marriott got in touch with an idea for an article, looking at kits which have had a three-year lifespan since the Premier League began. Over to you, Philip

As we know, the commercially driven Premier League sees teams dish out up to three, or occasionally even four, kits every season.

It’s a rarity nowadays for a strip to last into a second season so it’s even more unusual when its life extends further. This article is looking for those golden three-season wonders, that is to say Premier League club kits which, including European and cup games if needed, lasted 3 years or more. There are not many, but perhaps more than one would think.

For the sake of clarity, kits which appeared in two seasons before the Premier Leagues and then the 1992-93 season, like Aston Villa’s 1990-93 change kit for example, don’t count (however, there is one exception, which will be explained below).

Also, two-year kits which had a preview at the end of the preceding season don’t count either, so the Newcastle 2001-03 home kit doesn’t count just for being used in the last game of 2000-01. So, let’s begin:

1. Southampton, 1995-98

This striped kit was the away kit for two seasons and was also used at Newcastle in November 1997.

Oddly, though, the Saints wore the normal home kit at Sheffield Wednesday the following April. Perhaps the referee was not happy with the white away being used at Newcastle?

2. Leeds United, 1996-99

The 1970s-inspired yellow kit was used as the main change option in 1996-97, after the move to Puma.

The following season, a blue and yellow halved shirt was launched but that wasn’t suitable at Blackburn or Chelsea, so this was called upon again (Leeds wore white with blue shorts at Leicester but were less keen to change socks at Stamford Bridge).

In 1997-98, the Premier League adopted a new standardised number font but Leeds used the previous numbering with this kit, however the PL numbers were on the kit in 1998-99.

3. Liverpool 2001-03

This smart kit was the away kit in 2001-02 and the third the following season, but its first outing (with white shorts and socks) was in the 2000-01 Uefa Cup at Barcelona.

Many would have expected the amber kit to be used at Barça, with amber shorts (they existed but were never used) and the amber socks which appeared at Roma.

However, Liverpool for some reason were dressed in white and they would make it four kits for the 2000-01 season when they donned the previous green away at Bradford City.

4. Arsenal, 2010-13

Okay, so the badge was different in 2011-12 as Arsenal celebrated their 125th anniversary, but otherwise this was the same kit for three years.

The away kit in 2010-11 and third in 2011-12 (only used in the Champions League at AC Milan), it was retained as the third for 2012-13, with the original badge, as the navy and blue 2011-12 away didn’t provide enough differentiation from the new purple/black change strip.

That’s why Arsenal should always wear yellow (but trimmed with blue, not redcurrant)!

5. Leicester City, 1994-97

There is a theme here – another yellow kit!

This was an away kit for two seasons, 1994-95 in the Premier League and 1995-96 in the Division 1 promotion season.

While a new white change kit was launched in 1996, this was required at Blackburn, with the new Walkers Crisps logo featuring. It served Leicester well as they won 4-2.

6. Manchester United, 1994-96

This blue and white striped affair was not the most traditional kit as United have generally tended to have all-blue as a third.

Having been launched during the 1994-95 season, it was effectively promoted to away kit in 1995-96 when the grey strip was retired, United lifting the title at Middlesbrough in it that May.

Due to its mid-season launch, it was carried into 1996-97 but was only used once, another defeat at The Dell, 6-3 this time. A new blue strip was launched for the second half of the season. Confused?!

7. Manchester United, 1997-2000

Everyone knew this kit would be mentioned. A kit classic, used many times over three seasons, including the famous treble.

This was the kit which initiated United ‘white socks at home in Europe’ tradition, one which is on hiatus this year.

8. Manchester United, 2003-06

A strange one, this. It was the third kit to the black away in 2003-04 and 2004-05, then in 2005-06 it was kept as back-up to the new blue 2005-07 kit and used in the Champions League at Lille.

Lille had red with black shorts and socks, so blue could have been worn and if the need to white socks under floodlights argument was the reason, then why did they wear the blue kit without any white socks in the evening game at Sheffield Utd in 2006-07?

Very unusual, but a bonus for anyone who bought the white kit.

9. Tottenham Hotspur, 1991-95

Yes, this is the exception I am allowing. The first year it was worn was 1991-92, so why allow it? Because it still had three Premier League seasons! A four-season kit, no less.

For 1991-92, 1992-93 and 1993-94, this was the away kit, but while it was finally replaced in 1994-95, the new navy strip couldn’t be worn in the domestic cups, where the black officials’ kits still took precedence.

As a result, this is the kit associated with Ronny Rosenthal’s incredible hat-trick at Southampton in the FA Cup, while it was also used at The Dell in the league that season – presumably due to the dark shorts and socks clash between the Saints’ home kit and Spurs’ navy.

One small variation to this kit came in the summer of 1992, as the Umbro logo on the shirt was upgraded, with the wordmark changed to capitals. However, the shorts logo remained the old version.

Spurs really should be wearing yellow and navy instead of having a navy change kit and purple third like they did in 2017-18, leaving them in white at West Brom. This kit was practical, popular, traditional and, let’s say it again, lasted four whole seasons!

Do you have any three- (or even four-) season kits to share? Have any been missed? Comment @museumofjerseys.

5 comments on “Three-season wonders

  1. Jordi

    Our first Barça kappa shirt lasted for 3 seasons. From 1992-93 till 94-95. One our best shirts in the last 30 years

  2. Mark Etches

    The first Southampton Patrick kit lasted 5 seasons 1980-1985 but football didn’t exist before the Premier League😜

  3. Simon

    Fulham’s red change strip is in its third season, but for the first two it was of course used in the Championship rather than in the Premier League.

    It’s had different sponsors and during the its season it was used with white shorts and black socks.

    1. denishurley Post author

      Good point Dave! I used to like how Chelsea’s GK kits would go through the cycle of being first-choice, then second-choice the next season and third choice in year 3


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