Nowadays, it’s quite common for games between Chelsea and Manchester City to have both teams in their first-choice kits.
While City sometimes opt to change at Stamford Bridge, you have to go back to February 2013 for the last time Chelsea donned an alternative strip at Etihad Stadium. We’re waiting to see what will happen for this evening’s FA Cup semi-final but would expect that, were the sides to meet in the Champions League final, Uefa would insist on a switch.
Thirty-five years ago, on March 23, 1986, both sides wore changed strips when they clashed in the inaugural Full Members’ Cup final at Wembley. This was a competition created the fill the void left by the ban on English teams entering European competitions in the wake of the Heysel disaster and was open to teams in Division 1 and 2 (though the six sides that would have been in Europe played in the one-off ScreenSport Super Cup).
It was split into northern and southern sections with City and Chelsea emerging to meet in the decider. Before a crowd of 67,236, it was played on a Sunday – both teams had played in the league the previous day.
The old FA Cup rule regarding clashes was that both teams should wear different strips and this happened when Chelsea and City met in the cup in 1971 while it was the same in that season’s European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Back then, Chelsea’s change was yellow and navy but this time, the Blues were in white, with their regular Le Coq Sportif change kit having commemorative ‘Wembley 1986’ text added below the crest.
City were in their red and black strip, the shirts and shorts of which they had had to use at home to Tottenham Hotspur earlier that season.
This time, the default black socks were present, but the shirts – a set of replicas, Simon Shakeshaft informs us – featured the Manchester coat of arms rather than the City crest. This was a club tradition dating back to the days before crests on shirts, with the coat of arms used as they were seen to be representing the whole city.
It was a practice last done in an FA Cup final in 1981 and this would be the last time that the coat of arms would replace the crest – the civic symbol was included on the City players’ numbers for the 2011 FA Cup final but not in any deciders since then, as far as we are aware.
On the day, it wasn’t a talisman for City, as Chelsea won 5-4. The Full Members’ Cup, later sponsored by Zenith Data Systems, had two more colour-clash finals but in each case only one team change. Reading wore yellow as they beat Luton Town in 1987-88 while a blue-clad Southampton were beaten by Nottingham Forest in red in what proved to be the last match in 1991-92.