This article is kind of a counterpoint to the Change is Bad series, where we look at instances of teams wearing away or third kits where their home would provide a better contrast.
In the summer of 1999, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur both launched new home shirts, each of which would have a two-year lifespan. To most observers, the first-choice strips of these clubs would be considered a clash yet change kits were only worn for half of their meetings over these two seasons.
Often, a lack of suitable alternatives comes down to the fact that teams mightn’t necessarily know which division they’ll be in for the following season, but each of these sides were sure of being in the Premiership for 1999-2000. The fact that both had adidas meant that there should have been even more clarity, but Newcastle’s change kit for that season was white, despite the fact that the white part of their home strip caused far more clashes than the black. In the event, the white would only be worn once, away to Coventry City.
They didn’t have a third strip, so that meant that, when they went to Tottenham for the second game of the season, change white shorts were the only concession to the clash. At least they were special home alternative shorts rather than the nearly identical green-trimmed away set.
Thankfully, Tottenham had a yellow and navy away shirt – similar to Arsenal’s from a decade earlier – with shorts and socks intended to be interchanged with the home sets. When they went to St James’ Park in November, they used the home socks with the away shirts and shorts.
The clubs were paired together in the FA Cup third round in December (rather than the usual January siting) with the same kit situations pertaining in the draw at White Hart Lane and Newcastle’s replay win just before Christmas. Later in the competition, Newcastle would have to travel to face Tranmere Rovers and again there was a very unsatisfactory kit matchup.
So, in only two of four games in 1999-2000 was a change shirt employed. For 2000-01, with the home shirts unchanged – bar Newcastle’s change of sponsor – the same 50 percent strike-rate would hold – but in reverse.
This time, Tottenham were the offenders, even if their new navy change kit was visually appealing. The yellow shirt was retired rather than being retained as a third and their lack of options were shown in August for the game at Newcastle.
Newcastle had gone to the other end of the spectrum that season with an all-black away – still not enough to solve all clashes but certainly a better option than white. Even so, for the game at White Hart Lane in January 2001, there was a hint of an overall clash.
For 2001-02, there were thankfully no issues as Spurs had a sky blue away shirt and Newcastle had a darker blue one, meaning each changed when visiting the other.