For the past 10 years, the Gunners have been popularly known for their bright red shirts with white sleeves and white shorts. But, have you ever asked yourself what the story was behind Arsenal’s vibrant and traditional home colors?
It all began in 1886 when Joseph Morris Bates & Fred Beardsley moved to London from Nottingham Forest as amateur players to take up work at Arsenal – at that time the club was named Dial Square Football Club (later renamed to Royal Arsenal and then shortened to simply Arsenal). Bates and Beardsley were able to successfully build a first team but there was one problem – they had no jersey to wear to play their matches. What did they do?
They asked for helped from their former team Nottingham Forest, getting in return not only a kit but also a football.
Their first strip was redcurrant, a dark shade of red, and accompanied with white shorts and white & blue socks.
But there was a change in the year 1933 when Herbert Chapman took over as the manager. He wanted the club’s colors to be unique, and so he brightened the red base colour and added the white sleeves which we have come to know so well.
But what moved Chapman to change the color?
Rumor has it that the reason Herbert Chapman changed the colors was because he saw a supporter wearing a red sleeveless jumper over a white t-shirt in the stands. There is also alternate reasoning that Chapman was inspired by an outfit worn by Tom Webster, the cartoonist, during a game of golf they played together. Which one was it, well we’re not quite sure.
And what about sponsors. From 1886-1930, Arsenal had no official manufacturer of their strips. From 1930-1970 the brand Bukta took control until the 1970’s when Umbro took over (from 1971 until 1986).
Adidas then were in charge until 1994 when the famous swoosh symbol Nike started producing for them from 1994 until 2014. In their final chapter, Puma too over as from 2014-2018. As of 2019, their new manufacturer will revert back to Adidas.