Where practical, we always prefer when a team dons alternative shorts or socks to solve a colour-clash rather than changing their full kit (obligatory plug for examples of same here).
Therefore, it was good to see Wales wear red shorts against the Republic of Ireland in last Friday’s World Cup qualifier at the Aviva Stadium last Friday. Having been forced to wear their black and grey away kit against England at Euro 2016 as adidas didn’t provide them with change shorts, the Welsh ensured that that was not the case for the qualifiers.
The red shorts were also worn at home to Georgia, but closer inspection does show them to jar slightly with the shirts and socks due to the green waistband and adidas logo. Believe it or not, they are the shorts from the previous kit with the green adidas stripes removed and replaced by white ones.
If you don’t believe us, then take the word of *the* authority on Wales and (most other) kits, Simon Shakeshaft:
They certainly deserve marks for creativity.
And now that we’re on the subject of shorts, we’ll impart some more knowledge too, recently picked up in old match programmes, which can often provide real nuggets of information. From the 1985-85 meeting of Manchester City and Manchester United, we seem to find the year in which the Football League prevented sides from taking to the field in the same coloured shorts – however, according to UnitedKits.com, 1975-76 was the first time that United regularly wore black shorts with red shirts in the league, having first done it in the 1957 Charity Shield.
The writer expresses the hope that United’s poor record at Maine Road when wearing black shorts would continue.
Unsurprisingly, given how well United deal with such situations, they remembered to bring the black shorts and ended the jinx with a 3-0 win.
The Football League still has a rule preventing shorts-clashes, as do the two domestic Cups, while UEFA doesn’t allow them either, even though a shorts-and-socks clash was allowed in a European Cup semi-final as recently as 1991.
When the Premier League came into being though, it was decided that opposing teams could have shorts in the same colour, once the clubs’ shirts and/or socks didn’t cause confusion.
A letter published in the Arsenal programme for the Coca-Cola Cup game against Derby County clarified the situation, though the mention that “all teams must wear their first-choice strip whenever there is no colour-clash” is, sadly, quaint.