City in red and black? Bet on it

Most people think of 3rd kits as a fairly recent innovation, a Premier League era concept intended to generate cash from sales of replica shirts, but The Tigers made use of a 3rd kit way back in 1971.

For much of early 1970s, City wore a traditional all white away kit when the amber shirts, black shorts and amber socks of the first choice strip were deemed too similar to the hues of a home side on our travels. In 1971/72, all white was used at Liverpool (League Cup), Swindon (League) and Norwich (FA Cup).

The Tigers also made use of a positively AC Milan-esque ensemble as an alternate away kit. It comprised of red and black striped shirts, black shorts and black socks with red bands. We wore this combination against Cardiff in a 1-1 draw in August 1971, then in another one-all at Blackpool in December and in a 2-2 draw at Oxford United in March 1972 (shown below as Ken Wagstaff takes a tumble).

It is curious that we didn’t use the white away kit at Oxford, even against Cardiff City we may have gotten away with all white despite The Bluebirds wearing white shorts with blue shirts, as referees were a lot less picky about teams wearing the same colour shorts in that era.

Still, this largely overlooked outfit adds to the richness of our kit history, it is rare for a team who often play in shirts with black stripes worn with black shorts and socks to get to wear another such kit featuring a colour not on their regular palette, and this is a kit that could only really be used in years when our home kit is of the plain amber shirted variety.

Illustration kindly supplied by John Devlin of the ace True Colours Football Kits

3 replies
  1. Andy Beill
    Andy Beill says:

    We had three kits in 95/96, 03/04 and 08/09 too, white on each occasion. Any others?

    I’ve long been in favour of City having three kits: Black and amber stripes for the first kit, solid amber shirt for the second kit, and white (or whatever other colour) for the third kit. Benefits of this being:
    * We’d be able to wear amber colours for almost any game. We’re lucky to have a unique identity (or “brand”) as The Tigers in black and amber, we should embrace it and display it whenever possible;
    * The debates about whether we should have stripes, amber, or alternate as we do would be over – we’d have both, and fans could always buy their preference;
    * The third kit would prevent clashes with other amberish teams and offer a bit of variety for fans who like City shirts in different colours.

    We did something like this in 03/04 with the amber home shirt and black away kit with amber trim (and a white kit for when both clashed), which I remember being very popular. How about making it a permanent policy?

  2. SombreEthyl
    SombreEthyl says:

    I’d be quite happy to always have a third shirt. The line of thought that having a few kits is somwhow a rip off is drivel, it assumes there is some compulsion to by, there isn’t. I’d want one of the two change kits to be all white though.


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  1. […] classic kits section examines a selection of kits from the 60s to late 80s including the positively AC Milan-esque 1972 third kit that was featured on HCK last […]

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