The History of the Everton Home Kit – ‘The Blues’ or ‘The Reds’?

August 25, 2020

It might surprise you to learn that Everton were originally founded under a different name. In 1878, members of the congregation of the St Domingo Methodist New Connexion Chapel formed a club under the name St Domingo FC. A year later the club changed their name to the area that the church was based in – Everton. 

What Colour Was the First Everton Kit?

The first Everton kit on record was for the 1878/80 season. Somewhat surprisingly, the colour scheme was almost identical to the one used by the club today. Blue and white vertical stripes adorned the shirt, with white shorts and black socks. From this point, for the next two decades, the club veered dramatically between completely contrasting kits. Beginning in 1881, the club debuted an all-black kit with white socks and a red sash. The following season saw the club again change colour scheme completely, to a white and pale-pink shirt with white shorts and black socks. In 1884, Everton wore a blue and white patchwork shirt, with dark-blue shorts and socks, returning to the colours of the first recorded design.

For the next 7 years, they maintained the dark-blue shorts and socks, with the shirt changing regularly. 1886 saw a return to light-pink and white, while the club reverted to a far paler blue and white kit the following year, reminiscent of the current Manchester City colours. For the 1890-1891 season, the change was more dramatic, to a rarely seen light orange/peach shirt, still with the dark-blue bottoms. The final shirt from this chaotic period was a curious Liverpool-red shirt with light-blue detailing, something Everton fans could never imagine having nowadays. 

The late 1800’s ended with a long lived Manchester City-blue shirt, paired with white shorts and dark blue socks. This kit lasted for 9 years and saw the club into the new century. In 1901, the club wore their first all navy-blue shirt, with white socks, just as the club do today. From this point on, the club rarely deviate from their established blue and white colouring, only making changes to their socks every now and then.

The next major change came about in the 1912-1913 season, where a badge was first added to the kit. Unlike modern badges, this one had little detail. It was a simple shield containing the letter ‘E’. Unusually, the badge was removed the following season and did not reappear until the 1920-1921 season. It remained until 1931 but was then removed for a second time, returning for good in 1972.

1929-1930 saw a brief return to pale blue, likely a call-back to their kit from 30 years earlier. From the 1930’s the club standardised their shorts, opting for the previously used white, with blue detailing down the sides. From this point until the 1980’s, the kit barely changed. The only differences year-on-year were seen in the socks and small portions of the shirt, with the addition or subtraction of complementary white detailing. 100 years after their foundation in 1878, Everton had a blue shirt with a white collar and cuffs and blue detailing down the arms, white shorts with blue detailing down the hem, an Umbro logo on the right breast, white socks and a badge on both the shirt and shorts.

The club debuted their first sponsored kit in the 1979-1981 season, sporting Hafnia – a Danish company, specialising in the production of canned meat – across the middle of their shirt. Hafnia remained a sponsor for the following 5 years, being replaced by NEC. 

Entering the Premier League era, the kit remained largely the same. 1997-1999 saw the only real deviation from the standard colour scheme since their baby-blue offering in the late 1920’s. This 1997 kit was slightly lighter in colour, with yellow accents around the One2One sponsor, the sleeves, the collar, the shorts and the socks, dramatically changing the overall look of the kit. Since the turn of the century, we have only really seen minor changes to the kit. Yellow plays a slightly more prominent role in the design, often being added as detailing.

 Looking back on all of Everton’s past kits, it’s remarkable how many different designs the club used in its early years. It is hard to find any other high profile clubs with such an eclectic collection of early kits. In their modern history though, the club have been very committed to their blue and white colour scheme so it looks like Everton will be ‘The Blues’ for many years to come.

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