Season in Kits – Leeds United, 2016-17
At the beginning of 2016-2017, Leeds United launched a lovely blue away kit with yellow trim, with the yellow 2015-16 kit being demoted to third choice.
Essentially, their selections mirrored those of the 1992-93 season, excellently outlined here.
It just so happened that the fixture-list came up with Queens Park Rangers away as Leeds’ first opponents, however, and so the yellow was worn in a 3-0 loss. The next outing for the third kit came in December – Sheffield Wednesday’s all-blue kit meant Leeds could wear white at Hillsborough in August – and again it was in a losing cause, 2-0 at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Despite the fact that Leeds had lost six other games between the QPR and Brighton games, it appears that manager Garry Monk (or perhaps owner Massimo Cellino, but purple seems to be his fear) decided that the all-yellow look had Jonah-like qualities. Essentially, it was kind of a reverse of when Bayern Munich’s wore a ‘Brazil’ kit in 1983 and its sky-blue shorts became a lucky charm, as Leeds zoned in on the yellow shorts as being shamanistic.
At the beginning of February, consecutive away games at Blackburn Rovers and Huddersfield Town saw Leeds pair the yellow shirts and socks with the blue shorts. It’s a great look and it harked back to some nice outfits from the past.
The mixing and matching is also something of a Leeds tradition. While it might have created oddish looks in the 1970s, Leeds’ 1993-95 kits were brilliantly cohesive, allowing for plenty of pleasing combinations – six of a possible eight were worn.
Back to 2016-17 and December also saw a mashup for the game at Preston North End, with the home shorts used with the blue shirts and socks. This look would also be seen away to Fulham in March.
However, the all-white home kit wasn’t tampered with – away to opponents with white shorts, one of the other kits was used.
In February, Leeds visited Portman Road to take on Ipswich Town. The Tractor Boys generally have white sleeves (though not in 2019-20) and the Football League don’t tend to allow sleeve-clashes, so the home shirt couldn’t be used.
The blue away was obviously out and, in normal circumstances, all-yellow would have been ideal. The yellow shirts/blue shorts look would have sufficed in other years, but Ipswich also had blue shorts that season and so that too was removed as an option, as shorts-clashes are not permitted. And so, the decision was taken to wear the home shorts and socks. To be fair, it does almost tie up, but the shorts trim is gold rather than yellow.
Prior to switching to all-white, Leeds’ home colours were various combinations of blue and yellow and there were occasions when yellow shirts and white shorts were used. Thanks to Sean McAuley for pointing this out.
The reaction wasn’t the most positive, though:
Leeds did at least avoid the defeat that the yellow shorts would surely have brought, with the game finishing 1-1.
The trip to Reading presented another need to mix the first and third kits, but this time the amount of white on the Royals’ socks meant that Leeds went yellow-white-yellow as they lost 1-0.
One might have then expected the same combination on the final day of the season, when Leeds were away to Wigan Athletic but, seemingly, it was felt that, as bad as the yellow shorts were, they were better than a mix of yellow and white as all-yellow was worn in what was that shirt’s swansong. And the hoodoo had lifted, as they drew 1-1. They finished in seventh place, five points off sixth and five ahead of eighth.
After a season of such traditional colours, 2017-18 then brought about big change as the white home was trimmed in silver while the black away had gold accents. The blue was retained as a third kit and one its outings would be against Preston – the navy v blue shorts clashed allowed, having been avoided in 2016-17.