In 1997, Southampton launched their third Pony home strip, with the company providing white default socks for the first time.
The last time the Saints had white socks was their 1991-93 stint with Admiral and back then, Chelsea were still in all-blue as their main look – white socks were to return in 1992.
Not since the mid-1980s had Southampton had to modify their kit for a trip to Stamford Bridge and perhaps that’s a factor in them showing up in south-west London in August 1997 with only white socks.
The solution was for the visitors to borrow Chelsea’s yellow away set, making for a rather unusual look.
By the time Southampton hosted West Ham United at the beginning of October, a pair of red change socks had made their way into the kit room and these appeared again when they were drawn away to Chelsea in the Coca-Cola Cup in November.
With Chelsea’s new kit having yellow trim, they opted for the away socks as their alternative option rather than blue – making for a 1970s throwback – and that’s what they wore at the Dell.
For 1998-99, Southampton promoted the red set to first-choice pair, though black socks would return when they revealed their next new kit in 1999.