Southampton began the 2017-18 season with two kits – a home strip in the ‘reverse Ajax’ style of the Patrick outfit of the early 1980s and a black and teal alternative.
In December, the trip to Bournemouth necessitated a third kit – as it had in 2017-18 and, as on that occasion, white shirts were used with red change shorts.
However, in approving that kit, it seems the Premier League didn’t consider what the Saints might wear when they travelled to face Newcastle United in March.
For the U23 game between the clubs in February 2018, Southampton wore their home shirts with red shorts and white socks but, prior to the senior match, they were told that none of their kits would suffice.
At least, not in their default format.
Also in February, Southampton had been away to West Bromwich Albion and were able to wear the home shirts and shorts with red change socks as the Baggies’ jerseys had plain navy backs – perhaps that’s what gave the Saints some inspiration.
Rather than coming up with a fourth kit, the elegant solution was to create another version of the first-choice shirt would be created, but with a solid red back.
This served to increase the distinction between the two kits, with the alternative red shorts and socks helping further.
Unfortunately for Southampton, their kit ingenuity was not rewarded as they fell to a 3-0 defeat and it proved to be the last match in charge for manager Mauricio Pellegrino.