By this stage, you’ll probably have seen West Ham United’s new kits for the 2019-20 season.
Unlike Manchester United, whose 1999 tribute seems to be celebrating the anniversary of an achievement rather than the anniversary of the season in which it came, West Ham are honouring the 40th anniversary of the campaign in which they won the FA Cup.
To that end, the shirts provided by Umbro are impressive reinterpretations of those produced by Admiral four decades ago (incidentally, you can buy ‘under-18’ versions – in adult sizes – without the Betway logo).
Lukasz Fabianski – or the new signings who will challenge him, Roberto and David Martin – will primarily wear the green version of Umbro’s new goalkeeper template.
However, you’ll have noticed above that the new Hammers home kit has claret shorts and socks. While the socks aren’t a completely new departure, it is the first time that the default shorts are claret – it’s an image that calls to mind Marc Rieper in our heads.
The reason for this notable change can be traced back to 1980. In the cup final against Arsenal, and the semi-final win over Everton, West Ham had worn all-white, hence why the new change kit follows suit:
This was a mashup featuring the home shorts and socks, though – these were the ‘normal’ strips for the latter years of the 1970s.
In the semi, Everton wore all-blue and so West Ham switched for greater contrast. Then, having come through that tie, they had choice of kits for the final and again opted for all-white.
As revealed in The Arsenal Shirt by Simon Shakeshaft and James Elkin, Arsenal could have worn their home shirts with red shorts, but having decided that that look didn’t work, they used their yellow change shirts for the third straight cup final.
Obviously, given how much of a change it is, quite a few people would like the shorts switched to give more familiar permutations.
If that were to transpire, this is how they might look:
Edit: In fact, in December West Ham changed shorts and socks at Wolves, but instead of white, they opted for blue sets of each item: