In 2018, Sunderland found themselves relegated to League 1 – apart from the sole season in the old Division 3 in 1987-88, it was the club’s first time in the third tier of English football.
The club were still clad in adidas kit – like so many other red-and-white-striped English teams over the past decade or so – and for 2018-19, it initially seemed that an unusual approach would be taken in terms of what would be worn. When the new strips for the season were launched, promotional pictures saw the black change kit joined by two home-shirt combinations, one with red shorts and socks and the other with black sets.
The idea was that various permutations would be on show, but in the end they opted for the tried and trusted mix of black shorts and red socks as the first-choice kit at home.
However, in pre-season, the Bayern Munich 2010-11-style red shorts and black socks appeared in a friendly against Grimsby Town, who favour red socks with their black and white shirts and black shorts.
Red shorts and socks were often used when a shorts-clash arose away from home, while black shorts and socks were called upon for the trips to Portsmouth in the regular campaign and the play-off semi-final. While the red shorts and/or socks would have looked okay with the black change kit, it was only used in its default format.