Weekend Mashup – Tottenham Hotspur adidas special

Recently, we looked at how Scotland’s new change kit, and its predecessor, had shorts and socks which acted as back-up sets for the home strip.

Interchangeability is nothing new, of course, and we’ve charted some great examples on this site – for example, Denmark 1986, France 1998-2000, Everton 2004-05 and Aston Villa 2011-12.

What is notable about Scotland’s approach is that the shirts don’t form a ‘set’, in each case they are totally different designs and/or palettes. It reminds us somewhat of Tottenham Hotspur’s tenure with adidas, from 1999-2002.

Spurs had actually premiered their new adidas home strip in the penultimate game of 1998-99, at home to Chelsea, but had to revert to Pony for the final match of that campaign, away to treble-chasing Manchester United. This was because the rules back then only permitted a preview of a new strip in a team’s final home game.

Navy socks were back for the first time since 1993 and, when the change strip was launched that summer, it was kind of traditional in that yellow featured, but the shorts and socks were white, to allow for mixing. Technically, the two kits had the same palette as the home shorts had yellow trim but the rest of the first kit was white and navy.

The only combination not to feature in 1999-2000 was the away shirt with navy shorts and white socks and neither of the following two change shirts would utilise that configuration, either

As was the norm back then, the home shirt was on a two-year cycle and a new change kit was launched for 2000-01 – it was aired in the last match of 1999-2000, at home to Sunderland, who wore their change kit.

While the navy and white outfit was a better counterpart for the home kit, there were differences in styling as 2000 saw adidas experiment with their stripes, the outer two forming hems on the sleeves and shorts.

With white shorts and socks on the away kit again, they became the new alternative sets for the home strip and, again, seven of eight combinations were worn. While Spurs had had to change at Newcastle in 1999-2000, in this campaign they wore white-white-navy, as Newcastle had white socks. It made for a poor clash and one wonders why the yellow shirt wasn’t called upon.

As was becoming tradition, the 2001-02 home was worn at the end of 2000-01, a win over champions Manchester United. It was accompanied by a change kit in a similar style, though with a nice variation on the adidas stripes.

However, adidas used a blue/grey colour for the neck and sleeve trim on the home, whereas if it had been sky blue the strips would have tied together better. This mismatch was best seen when the white socks were used with the white shirt and shorts.

The change kit was worn ten times, but only twice in its default format, at Sunderland and Newcastle United, while the sky-white-navy was the most common, used five times. One variation absent this season was all-white, as Wimbledon had been relegated.

This season also saw the only appearance of an adidas third kit. While Spurs had been allowed to wear sky-navy-navy at Blackburn in the league, when the sides met in the Worthington Cup final Rovers were the home team and Spurs were asked to come up with an alternative.

Adidas produced a yellow shirt similar to the 1999-2000 away, but it never went on sale.

In the summer of 2002, Spurs and adidas parted ways and the club joined forces with Kappa. Their 2004-05 set of kits is another fine example of interchangeability.

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