- Thanks to Doncaster Rovers historian John Coyle and media assistant Hayley Ford for their help
While it’s well-known that Liverpool wore black shorts and yellow socks at Watford in three consecutive seasons in the 1980s, we had assumed that the club hadn’t worn red shirts and white shorts since switching to all-red in the 1964-65.
However, there was an isolated incident of them donning such a look in January 1974 and that month also saw a socks-change, both instances occurring in the FA Cup.
Liverpool would go on to win the competition for the second time that season, but they actually started off with a 2-2 draw at home to fourth-division Doncaster Rovers on January 5. Doncaster’s first-choice kit at the time was a white shirt with two red hoops, red shorts and white socks, so they wore their African violet change shirts – featuring front numbers, which seemingly weren’t on the home – at Anfield.
It meant a replay at Belle Vue three days later. While Liverpool had worn yellow shirts at Ajax and Arsenal in the 1960s, by 1974 their only alternative to red tops were white ones and obviously they couldn’t be worn.
The proposed solution was to wear the white alternative shorts from the away kit:
However, it seems the match referee Roy Capey felt that such a mix of red and white would be too confusing and Doncaster had to again don their change shirts and shorts – seemingly at short notice, so, just like Manchester City against Tottenham Hotspur in 1985, they mixed them with the home socks.
Liverpool won 2-0 to progress to the fourth round, where they were drawn at home to Carlisle United. Again, they couldn’t complete the job at the first time of asking, with a scoreless draw at Anfield.
In the replay at Brunton Park, Liverpool won 2-0, having had to switch to white socks. Their shirts and shorts had gained Umbro logos by now, too – oddly, the inside diamond on the shirts was blue.
Further wins over Ipswich Town and Bristol City brought Liverpool to the semi-finals, where another replay was needed to get over Leicester City. Thankfully for them, the final was straightforward as Newcastle United were seen off on a 3-0 scoreline.