The recent article on this site concerning Tottenham Hotspur’s adidas years is one of many which can be held as an exemplar, not only of excellent football kit writing, but also of how football kits in general could and perhaps should work in an ideal world.
However, if we strip back the greater world application of that time, we can find one reason why, if we stay specific to Spurs, one particular kit was perhaps flawed.
The beauty of the 1999-00 Tottenham Hotspur away kit was that, while the shirt was yellow with navy blue raglan-esque sleeves – think the forever-to-be-associated-with-Covid-19 adidas Condivo 20 template – the shorts and socks were white, so they could be interchanged with those of the home kit – featuring the return of navy socks. To be more specific, the shorts were white with navy panels carrying white stripes, and with the most minimal yellow trim to pay lip service to tying in with the shirt.
Even considering that yellow trim and the white adidas stripes and collar on the shirt, the outfit seemed somewhat nonpareil, especially with the socks lacking any yellow whatsoever. But a similar look had indeed been seen before.
In 1988-89 and 1988-90, Arsenal – Tottenham’s great rivals – carried a shirt and shorts combination of almost freakish similarity to that of their neighbours’ approximately a decade later. Not by design but by apparent necessity, Arsenal wore what would rightly become known as the “Anfield ’89” shirt – though it was also worn in a vital win at Liverpool in 1991 – with the home shorts* in away matches against Sheffield United, Southampton and Sunderland.
So jarring that look was – yellow shirt with navy raglan sleeves, white shorts with blue panels and white adidas stripes – it seems incredible that it could be pieced together for the Gunners’ foes before it was banished from the memory. For whatever reason, that’s exactly what transpired.
*The Arsenal 1988-90 home shorts were actually quite jarring even with the home shirt, leading some to mischievously speculate that they were in fact originally intended to be worn as part of a mystery third kit.