Before Christmas, we looked at how Aston Villa switched from claret shorts to white for the 1984-85 season. However, it wasn’t the last time in that decade that they would alter the look of their kit while keeping the same home shirt.
After Le Coq Sportif, Villa spent two years with Henson, with the second of those campaigns, 1986-87, culminating in relegation to Division 2.
The summer of 1987 saw the club join forces with Hummel, who outfitted them in the same style as Denmark had had at the previous year’s World Cup. White socks, used in the 1970s and resurrected by Henson, remained, while the change strip allowed for seamless interchangeability.
In fact, so popular were the ‘reversed’ versions of each that, having gained promotion at the first attempt, Villa returned to Division 1 with the shorts and socks of each kit switched. It meant that, while the Hummel chevrons on the sleeves and shorts matched up in 1987-88, they didn’t in 1988-89.
Over the course of the two seasons, three mashups were worn in addition to the four ‘default’ looks – the white shorts/blue socks was seen away to West Bromwich Albion, who had navy shorts at the time, while the other two got a few airings.
The only one of the eight possible combinations not used was the away shirt with white shorts and blue socks – incidentally, it would have been seen had Villa been drawn away to Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup rather than at home. In the event, that clash made for a Pool mashup.
With their new grey away shirts considered unsuitable against Villa’s halves, Liverpool called upon their previous white 1985-87 away shirts, paired with the home shorts (which had the newer crest) and socks.
Crown Paints were replaced by Candy as Liverpool sponsors in 1988 and so a specially produced new white shirt would be worn by them at Villa Park in that season and in 1989-90, even though Villa had by that stage moved on from the halved style.
Hummel’s second home kit for them saw the return of contrasting sleeves, with white shorts and blue socks used. The claret was dark enough that they were able to wear it against some teams in red but, on the opening day of 1989-90, away to Nottingham Forest, change shorts had to be worn. Having mixed and matched so well over the previous two seasons, Villa didn’t – or weren’t able to – use the previous claret set and so turned out in the shorts from the new white, black and purple away strip.