- We’re indebted to Neil The Eagle from the CPFC BBS message board for providing most of the information herewith
When Crystal Palace reached the 1990 FA Cup final, they won the toss for choice of colours against Manchester United and naturally opted for their red-and-blue striped home shirts.
United chose all-white (spotter’s badge to anyone who can tell us the subtle difference on their kit compared to the rest of that season, excluding commemorative embroidery) and 120 minutes of minutes of football couldn’t separate the teams, with the game finishing 3-3 after extra time.
That necessitated a replay five days later. As was the custom, United would get to wear their traditional red shirts, white shorts and black socks for the second game, meaning Palace had to change.
Their official change kit that season was white with a red-and-blue sash but that fell out of favour after being worn in the 9-0 defeat at Anfield. The yellow third strip was worn as a de facto away strip for much of that season, including a victory at Old Trafford, but Palace wanted something new and different for the replay.
For the first time, the club took to the field wearing yellow and black stripes. However, the story behind the change had quite a few twists.
Neil was working at the club at the time and so had an insight into the chain of events.
With the players unwilling to wear the ‘unlucky’ sash, the suggestion came from captain Geoff Thomas to wear yellow and black:
What was originally provided by Bukta was closer to Wolves’ ‘old gold’ and quickly rejected. The manufacturers quickly came up with what was actually used, but unfortunately for Palace, Lee Martin’s early goal for United proved to be the winner.
The yellow-and-black striped shirts weren’t seen again, but in the 1990 pre-season, a friendly at Colchester United saw the shorts and socks from the cup final strip used with a yellow shirt which had a black grandad collar.
The radio station Capital Gold claimed that it too had been prepared as an option for the replay. However, in actuality, the club’s new all-red third kit for 1990-91 wasn’t ready yet and so they asked Bukta for a set that could be used with the cup final shorts and socks. According to Neil, “Photos of the shirts indicate that they were very hurriedly thrown together, all out of shape and stitching frayed.”
Another shirt which was said to be a cup final sample was an outrageous design, yellow with a black eagle swooping in towards the Fly Virgin logo. Neil says that it was a sample away shirt for the following season:
Again, hideous and not, to my knowledge, given serious consideration. The shirt (along with several other ‘rejects’) hung in the family enclosure for a while before it mysteriously disappeared one day!
This design was eventually released as an American football-style leisure top in white with a red and blue eagle.
Along with that eagle one was another gold and black top presented as a sample change option for the following season and not the cup final. Used once in a pre-season friendly at Uxbridge, it was was later given to the Palace Vice-President’s Club XI and worn by them.
Perhaps lost amid the myths is the fact that the replay was the last time a Bukta kit appeared in the cup final. While past their peak by then and perhaps lumped in with Matchwinner, Scoreline, Spall et al, the company was once one of the biggest names in kit manufacture, producing strips for Arsenal, Ajax and Manchester United, among others.
Palace reached the FA Cup final for the second time in 2016, coincidentally against United again. The Eagles had colour-priority again, United in white shirts once more (but with black shorts this time) and the game went to extra extra too. While a replay wouldn’t have resulted and a penalty shootout would have determined the outcome, Jesse Lingard scored the winner as United won 2-1.