Kits For The Day – Arsenal and Aston Villa, 1991
This evening’s clash of Arsenal and Aston Villa will see the visitors wear their black change kit for the first time in the Premier League this season.
Back in April 1991, the sides’ meeting at Highbury was, on the face of it, fairly unremarkable from a kits point of view, though Villa did wear white socks rather than the default black away set.
The interesting bit happened during the game, after Villa keeper Nigel Spink had to be stretchered off injured.
This was still the era of two substitutes with no back-up goalkeeper on the bench and so Villa’s England midfielder David Platt had to go in goal.
However, with Spink still wearing his shirt, a stop-gap solution needed to be found so that the game could resume. As covered in the excellent The Arsenal Shirt (second edition coming soon!), Arsenal physio Gary Lewin came to the rescue as he had a spare Gunners goalkeeper shirt i his medical bag and gave it to Platt.
Almost immediately, the chant went up from Highbury’s North Bank, “You’ll never play for Arsenal!” – they were wrong, but they hardly minded.
Before long, another Villa goalkeeper top, with number 13 on the back and no Football League patches, was provided for the stand-in keeper but he could do nothing to prevent a 5-0 win for Arsenal as they cruised towards a second league title in three years.
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Same thing happened with Gareth Ainsworth who went in goal for Preston at Port Vale in 1993, four years before joining the Valiants. The PNE keeper Simon Farnworth got taken off with concussion and they couldn’t get his shirt off him.
He wore the black and green shirt that stopped being used midway through the season. Paul Musselwhite was forced to wear a blue jersey against Plymouth and carried on wearing it when he could for the rest of the season.