A bang-up-to-date example in the latest addition to this series, the rest of which you can peruse here.
At the beginning of this season, Leeds United launched a lovely blue away kit with yellow trim, with the yellow 2015-16 kit being demoted to third choice – essentially, their selections mirror those of the 1992-93 season, excellently outlined here.
It just so happened that the fixture-list came up with Queens Park Rangers away as Leeds’ first opponents, however, and so the yellow was worn in a 3-0 loss. The next outing for the third kit came in December – Sheffield Wednesday’s all-blue kit meant Leeds could wear white at Hillsborough in August – and again it was in a losing cause, 2-0 at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Now, despite the fact that Leeds had lost six other games between the QPR and Brighton games, it appears that manager Garry Monk (or perhaps owner Massimo Cellino, but purple seems to be his fear) decided that the all-yellow look had Jonah-like qualities. Last week, we mentioned Bayern Munich’s ‘Brazil’ kit from 1983 and how its sky-blue shorts were occasionally worn as a lucky charm after that, and similarly Leeds have zoned in on the yellow shorts as being shamanistic.
At the beginning of February, consecutive away games at Blackburn Rovers and Huddersfield Town saw Leeds pair the yellow shirts and socks with the blue shorts. It’s a great look and it harked back to some nice outfits from the past.
The mixing and matching is also something of a Leeds tradition. While it might have created oddish looks in the 1970s, Leeds’ 1993-95 kits were brilliantly cohesive, allowing for plenty of pleasing combinations – six of a possible eight were worn.
Which brings us to last Saturday, and Leeds’ visit to Portman Road to take on Ipswich Town. The Tractor Boys have white sleeves and the Football League (don’t make us call it the EFL) don’t tend to allow sleeve-clashes, so the home shirt couldn’t be used.
The blue away was obviously out and, in normal circumstances, all-yellow would have been ideal. The yellow shirts/blue shorts look would have sufficed in other years, but Ipswich have blue shorts this year and so that too was removed as an option, as shorts-clashes are not permitted. And so, the decision was taken to wear the home shorts and socks. To be fair, it does almost tie up, but the shorts trim is gold rather than yellow.
We haven’t been able to check fully, but we presume it’s the first time that they have appeared in such an arrangement – after all, any previous similar mix-and-match efforts would have been due to an opponent wearing white shirts and yellow shorts, and few teams do that.
Edit: Prior to switching to all-white, Leeds’ home colours were various combinations of blue and yellow and there were occasions when yellow shirts and white shorts were used. Thanks to Sean McAuley for pointing this out.
The reaction on Saturday wasn’t the most positive:
Leeds did at least avoid the defeat that the yellow shorts would surely have brought, with the game finishing 1-1. Looking at their remaining fixtures, the trips to Reading in April and Wigan Athletic in May could lead to further outings for this unconventional look, especially as Wigan have white socks. We shall be following with interest.