Update 16-9-23: More new black socks for United; scroll down to see
We have previously covered the fact that Manchester United often have two or more sets of shorts and/or socks in the same colour in the same season – it was the first part of a series that will have more instalments added.
However, in the recent past, a stranger phenomenon has been occurring at Old Trafford and, in just the third Premier League game of the season, the current campaign followed the pattern of two of the three preceding it.
Having begun 2023-24 in their nomal home socks, featuring the same Lancashire Rose pattern as on the shirts, United turned out against Nottingham Forest last Saturday in a plain black set. Wearing two sets of black socks with their home shirts and shorts is almost becoming the norm, though:
The home shirt had a dappled yellow and black pattern and it was repeated on the black socks in red and yellow.
These appeared in the opening game of the season, a 3-1 home defeat against Crystal Palace in September 2020, but were not seen again.
Instead, the black alternative socks for the third kit – lacking, as pointed out by Jay from Design Football, any Manchester United identification – became the de facto home set.
One suggested reason for the change was that the Premier League had not approved the patterned socks.
After normality in 2021-22, last season saw further sock irregularities.
While the red-topped proper home socks and their equivalent white alternatives were seen in pre-season, the opening to the campaign saw United using the dual-coloured stripes versions intended as the back-up socks to the away strip.
The reason was a supply issue with the default socks and they were finally seen in the league on December 27 against Nottingham Forest, when action resumed after the World Cup.
Against Wolves and Tottenham Hotspur, the correct socks were used, with black change shorts in the latter instance.
However, against Forest they wore the same design as the emergency socks as 2020-21, featuring the old adidas logo – we don’t know if it was the exact same set, as socks can be subject to a lot of wear and tear.
Lack of Premier League approval has again been cited, but the official PL Handbook has the Lancashire Rose socks in it. In any case, it would be very odd not to have learned the lessons of three years previously.
Against Brighton & Hove Albion on September 16, United made it three sets of black socks in as many home games as another new set appeared.
Essentially, these were the same as those worn against Forest but with the updated adidas logo, devoid of the wordmark.