- Thanks to Dave Hitchman for his help
The 1980s were a period of flux for Aston Villa from a kits point of view.
While the club’s first Le Coq Sportif kit was slightly out of the ordinary in that there were sky-blue panels on the sides of the torso, the inclusion of blue sleeves and socks as well as white shorts marked it out as close to a traditional Villa kit.
Villa won the European Cup during that strip’s lifetime (though they wore white in the 1982 final win over Bayern Munich) but for their second, and final, offering the French firm really went in a different direction.
For the first time since 1970, the sleeves were claret, while the Villans were also clad in claret first-choice shorts, something that had never happened before (the 1981-83 shirt had been worn with claret shorts when clashes arose). Beginning the 1983-84 season without a sponsor, Villa joined forces with Mita Copiers in the spring of 1984, a partnership that was to last for nine years.
While one of the big changes in isolation might have worked, it was too much in one go. As a result, for 1984-85, the previous season’s away shorts were promoted to become the home set.
Indeed, such was the backlash to claret shorts that a blue set was used when an alternative to white was needed in 1984-85.
One might have thought that the dalliance with the unusual would mean a return to the classic Villa style. However, even though Le Coq Sportif departed, this was only the beginning of their experimentation, which we will look at in a future post.
Incidentally, the 1983-85 shirt provided the inspiration for the 2018-19 strip, produced by Luke 1977.