Arsenal will wear a special one-off white strip against Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday, drawing attention to the problem of knife-crime.
It’s unusual, but not unknown for the Gunners to wear white. Their 2020-21 change shirt was an off-white, while their 2007-08 change kit saw the colour used for the first time in more than three decades.
Because every kit nowadays has to have meaning behind it, that shirt was framed as a tribute to Herbert Chapman and his decision to introduce white sleeves and hooped socks to the Gunners’ home kit.
It was the first time since the mid-1960s that the Arsenal second kit was white, though the colour had been used at Blackpool in the FA Cup in 1970 and at Luton Town in 1975. The shorts were the same redcurrant that had erroneously been used on the 2005-06 ‘Farewell to Highbury’ kit. Early in the season, for the trip to West Ham, Arsenal used redcurrant change socks which would also be seen at Villa Park.
At the end of October, Arsenal went to Sheffield United in the League Cup and donned another variation. With the Blades having red and white striped shirts with black shorts, the redcurrant and navy Arsenal third kit wouldn’t have been useful and so the white shirts were used.
However, it was felt that there might be a clashing issue with the default change kit and so white shorts – a special set trimmed in redcurrant and gold rather than simply using the home shorts – were used.
The Real Madrid effect rubbed off on Arsenal as they won 3-0, Eduardo scoring twice with Denilson getting the other goal.
In the next round, the third kit got its first domestic outing as Eduardo again scored twice in a 3-2 extra-time victory, but Arsenal would exit the competition with defeat to eventual winners Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-finals.
On the final day of the league season, Arsenal were away to Sunderland, who wore the same kit combination as Sheffield United, but in that game the white shirts and redcurrant shorts were allowed to be worn.