Interesting Story Behind EPL Teams’ Jersey Colors

English football is the early civilization of the modern football game that we know today. This makes English clubs become pioneers of the teams which then mushroomed in other countries and parts of the world. One of the essential parts of a team is the color of their jersey. Interestingly, it turns out that there is a story behind the choice of colors for some of the English teams that we know today.

Everyone must be familiar with the red shirt with white sleeves worn by Arsenal. But apparently, Arsenal did not immediately use these colors. The story begins with the use of the dark red color in the early days of the club. The crimson jersey at their start was taken from the Nottingham Forest uniform. Arsenal, who at that time was still an amateur club with limited financial resources, used the jerseys of former Nottingham Forest players as a measure to save the team’s expenses. This is recognized by Arsenal on its official website. “In 1895, some Forest players joined the club [Arsenal] and also brought their old jerseys,” reads Arsenal’s official website.

To remind, there were not many football uniforms at that time, and even rarely used writing or logos attached to team uniforms. Arsenal then changed the appearance of the uniform when coached by Herbert Chapman around the 1930s. Chapman was inspired by one of the spectators who came to the stadium by wearing a sweater vest worn on a white shirt. Chapman who felt the idea was a good idea for his team then applied it to the team’s jersey and changed the red color to be lighter as we know it today.

The rival, Tottenham Hotspur, also turned out to experience a similar story. The club, nicknamed The Lilywhites, initially used navy blue as a uniform. Having changed the color of the jersey to half white-light blue, red, to black and brown striped motifs, the club which was originally named Hotspur (without the Tottenham frills in front of it) finally decided to choose white as its great color after being inspired by the Preston North End club.

Preston’s success at that time inspired Spurs to be able to carve achievements in English football. This is not the first time for the Spurs to adopt the colors of other teams. From 1895 to 1890, the Spurs adopted the colors of the Blackburn Rovers uniform, which was then booming.

Sunderland also took their uniform colors from neighboring club, South Bank FC. Sunderland, who was experiencing financial difficulties at that time, received assistance in the form of a set of jersey with red and white stripes and black pants. Previously, they wore half red and half white uniforms. Since then, The Black Cats, officially use the motif.

Club from south London, Crystal Palace is also a club that is inspired by other clubs in giving colors and patterns to their uniforms. At first, Palace used the colors of the jersey worn by Aston Villa. At that time, Aston Villa donated his jersey to wear. Then, the colors of the Palace jersey lasted until 1970. Their manager at that time, Malcolm Allison decided to change the color of the uniform to Red Blue as used by FC Barcelona.

Manchester City’s initiative to change the color of the jersey because it was inspired by AC Milan led to 2 trophies when wearing it in the final match. Not only that, Malcolm Allison’s role in changing the color of the team’s jersey also occurred at Manchester City. Allison, who was previously an assistant manager at Manchester City, suggested The Citizens to wear red and black colors like AC Milan’s. Whether it’s coincidence or real, it turns out that Allison’s innovations are bearing fruit. Manchester City at that time won the 1969 FA Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup.

The phenomenon of the jersey changing color on the basis of idolizing the winning team was also experienced by Leeds United and West Ham United. Leeds who initially used the majority color of yellow and a combination of blue changed the color to a white and white suit because their manager at the time, Don Revie, was inspired by the success of Real Madrid. At that time Revie said, “Leeds will be the best team in the world like Real Madrid.” Not only the color of the jersey was changed, even the Leeds logo at that time, the owl was also changed by the coach. According to him, birds are bad luck and are not suitable to be applied to the logo of a football team.

Sure enough, Revie in the 1960s to 1970s managed to bring Leeds to the pinnacle of glory during his reign. Meanwhile, West Ham United experienced the same thing, which was inspired by the success of other teams. The success of Aston Villa at that time made West Ham (at that time still called Thames Ironworks) who used the navy blue color change their jersey’s color since 1900 when officially changed its name to West Ham United.

The Dutch national team uniform inspired English club, Blackpool, to use its great color, orange. Blackpool, who initially changed colors a lot, then decided to wear orange after Albert Hargreaves, the club’s director who is also a referee, will take charge of the Netherlands versus Belgium match. Hargreaves who was impressed by the orange color of the Dutch national team then persuaded the club directors to allow Blackpool to wear the same color. Until now Blackpool use orange or more specifically, deep tangerine.
Liverpool changed their jersey to all red when handled by Bill Shankly

If these clubs take the decision to change the color of their jersey on the basis of being inspired by other teams, unlike Liverpool. Historically, Liverpool wore red shirts three years after they were officially founded in 1892. At that time, Liverpool wore half blue-and-white jersey like those worn by Blackburn Rovers now. Since then, Liverpool have continued to use the equivalent of a red shirt, white pants, white socks and red stripe.

Changes occurred when Bill Shankly became a coach. Shankly who entered the dressing room then gave some red pants to the players and spoke to Ronnie Yeats, one of the players who were there. Shankly then spoke, “Try on those red pants and see how you will look,” Shankly said at the time.

“God, Ronnie, you look amazing,” he said. Another player, Ian St. John, then suggested wearing red socks, and Shankly agreed. Since then, Liverpool and Shankly have become the most respected team in England. According to Ian St John in his biography, Shankly thinks that the color of the team’s jersey greatly affects the psychology of players.

The story above is part of the interesting stories behind the choice of jersey colors for British teams. The choice of jersey colors is generally chosen because of the desire with the hope of changing the fate of the team for the better, regardless of being directly inspired by other teams or from their understanding of the influence of these colors on the team. In addition, there are also similar stories from other teams who have unique stories behind their choice of jersey colors.


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