Sunday, April 08, 2007

Obscure Kits From British Football History #4

Let your imagination drift now as we take you back to the 1982-83 season in England.

Liverpool began the season as champions, Ipswich Town were playing in Europe (well we did tell you to let your imagination drift) and so, too, were Arsenal. A fourth place finish the season before ensured them entry to the UEFA Cup, so what better way to celebrate than to ditch the boring old kit they'd been wearing since Charlie George was a lad?

Their new kit was silky and shiny and the shirt even had [gasp!] a v-neck wingless collar. It also had a stripy pair of red and navy blue socks to complete the ensemble, but what of that yellow and blue away kit? Surely it was just as iconic and seemingly untouchable as the red and white home kit, n'est-ce pas?

Well, no - at least not in the eyes of the Umbro kit designers who felt the time was right to ring the changes in dramatic style, and so they did.

So behold, then - the 1982/83 GREEN and blue change strip...

Yes, you read correctly: Arsenal once wore green shirts away from home. Not for long, mind you. The move to green and navy blue turned out to be about as popular as an anthrax-eating contest.

Oh sure, it was worn a few times, and it pains me to say it that one of those occasions was a defeat of West Ham, but it never quite caught on the way Umbro wanted. They tried bringing in green change strips for other teams such as Bolton Wanderers in the same season, but time after time it was met with dismay by the fans.

Lack of sales caused the Arsenal green and blue away kit to be replaced with a far more traditional yellow and blue one the following season and that was that - the Gunners' were never to wear that particular colour combination again.

And so the trend continues even to this day. You'd still be hard pushed to find a green shirt outside of Plymouth Argyle, perhaps because the grass makes it hard for players to see each other, but you'd think someone somewhere in England would want to adopt it as their own colour, wouldn't you?

Bring back green, I say! Oh and while you're at it, bring back orange and purple too - we could do with more colour in the modern game...

(Our thanks go to John Devlin at True Colours Football Kits for giving us kind permission to use the above kit design image.)


Patrick said...

A friend of a friend worked for Umbro at the time, and I remember there being a huge surplus of green material to get rid of

Chris said...

Lol... excellent!! Always the sign of a good kit, when there's plenty of left-over material...

I dunno why but this kit has always stuck in my mind since I first saw it in a local sportswear shop 25 years ago. Because it was only worn on a handful of occasions, it disappeared from view pretty quickly, leading people to tell me I must have imagined the whole thing.

That's why I love the Internet. It means we can prove that some things really did exist when no-one else believed us!


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