“No Mayfair establishment could be so fashion-conscious at the time of writing as the headquarters of Arsenal FC,” wrote the Daily Herald on April 14, 1950 as Arsenal searched for new colours ahead of the FA Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley.
With both sides playing in red, the Herald reports that the teams tossed a coin to decide who would wear their own colours.
In modern football, with three kits, it seems strange that there would be a problem deciding what colour Arsenal should then wear, and even in 1950 the problems this caused Arsenal seemed to perplex the journalist as you can read in the original report from a journalist who seems friendly with the club.
He reached out to Arsenal’s manager at the time, Tom Whittaker, who said the issue was still ‘being thrashed out’.
Before trying out some new colour combos, Arsenal had to seek the permission of not only the Football League but their opponents as well.
The plan was to test out this new kit against Newcastle, who didn’t object.
But Whittaker said ahead of the game, “Everything depends on the outfitters. If they can produce something acceptable we shall wear it. But if they don’t, we shall play in our usual colours.”
Arsenal submitted ‘at least a dozen varieties’, but wouldn’t clarify which they preferred.
Amongst the colours, reports the Herald, were ‘various shades of blue, old gold, yellow and even black’.
Even after all this, it was still not clear what colours Arsenal would wear for the cup final against Liverpool. The players had to agree after the Newcastle game that the colours were not hard to distinguish nor did they bring bad luck.
In the end, Arsenal won the game against Newcastle 4-2 wearing old gold shirts, white shorts and old gold and black stockings.
Against Liverpool in the final, they won again – 2-0 this time.
And what kit did they wear?
The very same:
Why Liverpool also played in their away kit despite winning the toss is anyone’s guess.