Ill-equipped when setting sail.

Not sure it’s possible to recover from a SOCKS CLASH. Add it to a SHORTS CLASH (albeit different shades of blue) and it’s Clooney on the Andrea Gail wanting to catch more fish even though the wind is getting up a bit.

My stormy mood is far from perfect. Burnley and Reading, there’s no saving you from the wave of irritation heading your way.

An awful day

Manchester United v Liverpool, one of the greatest rivalries in British football. Make that the world. It’s full of passion and no little amount of hate as two famous clubs do battle in two famous arenas.

Not any more. The decision by Liverpool to wear white shorts for the first time in living memory at Old Trafford is up there with thinking Mario Balotelli would work out just fine. In a year where Cilla Black sadly passed away, a surprise (surprise) like this is surely almost as upsetting for the Scouse nation.

“I’ll choose number 3 please, Cilla”

*screen rolls back… they’re in white shorts and off to take a corner at the Stretford End*

Today a little bit of football tradition was lost; it’s not a simple SHORTS CLASH. It’s much more important than that.

Decision making

– Everton were so desperate for the world to see their olive green third shirt that the black SHORTS CLASH at Southampton was of little concern. Bit like the Captain of the Titanic saying “ignore that iceberg, have you heard the band?”

– Exeter’s white shorts on the away kit that caused issues midweek disappeared in favour of some orange ones, so well done to them.

– Orange v red doesn’t work though. Oxford’s away shirt might have black stripes along with red but you can’t wear it at orange-clad Luton. It offended me deeply.

– Chelsea have worn all royal blue at Man City before, this time they went with the usual white socks. Now a blue v blue match is already wrong, but removing the clarity of an entire block of one colour actually ensured the minimal OVERALL CLASH OF SHADES OF BLUE was worse. Yes, they should have worn royal against City’s sky. Contradictory.

The short way to an error.

The Capital One Cup. Do away goals count double if the visiting team create a SHORTS CLASH?

– Exeter in white shorts clash at Swindon.
– Blackpool creating another white v white at Northampton – where are the alternative Tangerine shorts they always have?
– Brighton black shorts v navy at Southend, and by doing so wearing the home side’s away kit as Nike’s day-glo effort extends it’s acidic reach around England.
– Oxford in navy at Brentford. Do dark blue/black clashes not matter anymore? It seems that way.

In fact it appears that clubs are doing what they want when it comes to shorts. Mystifying and deeply disrespectful.

And so it begins

Start of the season, start of the ridiculousness.

Purple caused problems.
– Derby in their dark version created a SHORTS & SOCKS clash at Bolton. Purple v navy? I’m furious.

– Reading in ‘African violet’ at Birmingham. It’s still purple, even if it’s a bit lighter. In the shaded areas of the stadium there might have well been a sign proclaiming “Zero Visibility”. Impossible to tell. OVERALL CLASH. Furious x 2.

Keepers can still clash.
– Sheff Utd have a fluorescent green away kit. That doesn’t mean it won’t clash with a yellow GK’s shirt. Fluorescent. The whole word creates issues.

Ignore the stunning early goal

Dennis The Menace? Ladybird Appreciation Society? Who had a word with Liverpool and told them to ditch the perfectly acceptable yellow away strip in favour of a black & red trimmed kit at Southampton? Immediate SHORTS CLASH and red & black fans of the world descending on St Mary’s.

Clash rating: *** one word: Why?

Explain. Now.

West Ham thought that having a purple third shirt was clever. West Ham thought having purple as an alternative to claret and blue was clever. West Ham thought wearing their purple third shirt at home against Everton in the FA Cup was clever.

Clash rating: Impossible to rate, because there wasn’t one. But it wasn’t clever.

Not bothered

Playing a non-league team in the FA Cup might make a Premier League club think nobody will notice stupid kit choices, but that’s not the case. West Brom’s goalkeeping shirt had to be sky blue did it? Even though Gateshead were wearing sky blue? Wow, those in the top division really don’t take the cup seriously.

Clash rating: ***** kick them out of the competition on this important technicality.

A new one?

It’s a night to ignore.
I’ll ignore Man City doing the whole sky blue thing at Leicester. I’ll ignore Southampton’s clever use of yellow socks at Burnley in the winter gloom. I’ll even ignore the infuriating dominant-red stripes clash caused by Stoke wearing their home shirt at Palace.

So why the ignorance? Because something different happened, that’s why.

West Brom v Aston Villa and we have a HOOPED SOCKS CLASH of absolute confusion. It wasn’t so much the colours, but the narrow width of the hoops as the home side’s navy & white managed to clash in a dame-in-a-pantomime-way with Villa’s claret & sky blue. It was strange but very much disconcerting

Clash rating: *** the hoops at least provided a distraction from Robbie Savage’s Widow Twankey-esque performance of stupidity in the Match of the Day studio. Well done those socks.

Rochdale’s unique FA Cup kits

When Dale stepped out to face Aldershot this afternoon a potential problem had already been solved before the game had kicked off. Yes, we’d battled against illness to get a team together capable of eventually securing a replay, but there was the issue of a kit clash to deal with…

To some the thought of navy and royal blue being a pain in the neck for any picky ref might never occur, but in reality clubs should always try and avoid such a scenario and today we achieved this magnificently. Aldershot wear royal blue shorts meaning our home versions of the same colour were never an option, so we’d change into our away kit, right? Well, that would involve the previously mentioned two shades of blue SHORTS CLASH, plus it’s worth remembering how well we’ve done wearing the home kit on our travels this season. So was there was another option? There was indeed as Keith Hill’s men were attired in new white shorts, thus creating a unique and aesthetically pleasing outfit when combined with the blue & black shirts and socks.

And this wasn’t the first time we’ve worn kits that have been a bit different to the norm in the FA Cup…

Back in 1989 before the likes of Ian Rush, Stan Collymore and Graham Shaw spoilt trips to Anfield, Rochdale were visiting the home of Liverpool for an FA Cup tie which would see a much more positive end result. Drawn against non-league Marine, the tie was switched to Anfield and took place on a Friday night ahead of the rest of the first round fixtures. Now, it’s not every day you see your side play at the home of former European Champions, and nor was it commonplace to see Dale play in anything but their regulation strips. But on that November evening in front of an empty Kop, Terry Dolan’s side began their record-breaking run to the fifth round wearing a set of gleaming white socks with the usual blue shirts & shorts. There was no real need as Marine didn’t wear blue themselves, but still they were used and Kevin Stonehouse’s winner was the only goal scored wearing a kit combination that wouldn’t be seen again that season.

Games against Burnley a couple of decades ago were always tempestuous affairs and the FA Cup tie at Turf Moor in the ’93/94 season was no different. Manager Dave Sutton oversaw a 4-1 defeat, although the scoreline only told half the story with a multitude of penalties and sendings off (three of each) creating a backdrop to another kit story of interest. Over the years Dale have more often than not worn blue socks, but for a period of three seasons up until 1996 they surprisingly only appeared in a single game – the one in question.
Choosing that day to wear the white third shirt and the blue shorts of the home kit required a set of socks to match, with the white ones worn at Spotland being out. Refs hate a SOCKS CLASH. From nowhere, or maybe Butterworth Sports, pairs of plain blue socks were suddenly available for the likes of Jon Bowden and Andy Thackeray to don as they went into battle with John Francis and co. They then disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.

Last season’s fantastic Cup run ended at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday at Spotland in a game which witnessed both the Yorkshire club progress and the ultimate kit horror. As soon as the draw was made, the issues of both Wednesday’s strips not being suitable against Dale’s blue & black stripes was apparent, but it was presumed they’d come up with a solution. Their black away kit was out and the blue & white home shirts would have created a STRIPES CLASH of monumental proportions, so a quick call to sort a third shirt with their suppliers was a reasonable expectation. Except that didn’t happen.
Instead Dale wore their white away strip ensuring the Owls could use all black, resulting in the rule of never changing your home kit when you’re actually at home being broken. Not good. What made it so much worse was not so much the defeat and elimination from the competition, but that Wednesday played against the navy of Millwall three days later in a hastily produced white shirt of their own!

There was also the time we came from three down at Luton to earn a replay whilst wearing purple, but there wasn’t much unique about using that kit that season…