No to Tradition: When Teams Change Their Colours

With New York Red bulls possibly ditching their regular white and red home kit for something different in the upcoming MLS season, here are some other instances of clubs switching up their traditional home colours.

When Clubs Change Their Home Colours

A team's colours are central to their identity and usually held dear by fans. Throughout history, some clubs have made permanent changes to their home colours, like when Bournemouth adopted black and red stripes in 1971 in honour of AC Milan. Today Leeds United are known for their white kits, thanks to the change made by legendary manager Don Revie in 1961, who wanted to emulate the all-conquering Real Madrid. These changes are now historical and the respective clubs have long since made the looks their own, but such major aesthetic overhauls are rarer to come by these days.

Leeds and Bournemouth before adopting the colours we know them by today.

We've seen fan outrage amplified by social media in recent years when manufacturers and clubs decide to experiment with home shirts, even when they maintain the key colours. While it's true that you can't please everyone, you can be sure that most will be unhappy with too radical of a change made without good reason. Here are a few short lived alternatives to traditional home colours, which were greeted with varying degrees of acceptance.

Parma 98-04

Lotto replaced Puma as Parma's kit maker in 1998 and would remain in the role for only one season, but it was certainly one to remember. White had been their traditional home colour for most of their history, while yellow and blue had appeared on plenty of away strips as well as some home detailing. Lotto installed a blue and yellow hooped design as their home shirt, which went on to gain iconic status thanks to the team's array of stars and UEFA Cup victory that season.

Their successors, Champion, decided that it certainly hadn't done the team any harm, so they kept the look until 2004, before reverting to the more traditional black cross on a white base. The blue and yellow hoops will always hold a special place in fans' hearts and have been revived for several away kits in recent years.

Arsenal 05-06

This one had some historical significance and proved extremely popular with fans and neutrals alike. Arsenal wore a redcurrant home shirt in their first season at Highbury all the way back in 1913, and so they decided a return to this colour would be a nice way to bookend their time at their famous home ground.

Gold accents and special embroidery around the crest added a touch of elegance, a very fitting way to mark the end of a long and significant period of the club's history. They returned to their classic red and white shirts the following season as they moved to the Emirates Stadium.

Inter 14-15

Inter's black and blue striped shirts have been a constant throughout their entire history. Their recent zig zag number and last season's snakeskin print provided modern takes on the theme and had their detractors, but in 14-15 Nike gave them a home shirt which provoked much more consternation from supporters. Yes it was black and blue, and yes, it had stripes, but to put it simply, it didn't look like an Inter shirt.

A black base was overlaid with very fine blue pinstripes, resulting in a much darker overall look when paired with their customary plain black shorts. An 8th place in Serie A means there aren't too many happy memories associated with the jersey either.

Cardiff City 12-15

Easily the most controversial entry on this list. Cardiff had always worn blue until new Malaysian owner Vincent Tan decided that a rebrand to red as their primary colour was in order to boost the club's appeal abroad. There was uproar when fans initially got wind of the plan, but it made little difference. Tan went ahead with the switch, also adding a red dragon to the club crest. Fans continually campaigned to get their colours back, but Tan's stance was “No way I will change it back to blue under my ownership.”

The fans didn't let up, and midway through the 14-15 season Tan finally gave in and the blue home kit was reinstated. Order was also restored to the crest and the bluebird took centre stage once more, although the red dragon remained on a much smaller scale.

Mexico 2015, 2019, 2020

International team colours reflect national identity and very often - but not always - reference the country's flag. Mexico's full kit of green shirt, white shorts and red socks recreates their full tricolour and was introduced in the 1950s. Before that, a maroon shirt was paired with black shorts for their home kit. In 2015, Adidas introduced a black home shirt for the first time in their history.

It was seemingly a marketing move, made on the back of strong sales of their previous black away kits. Their next two home shirts returned to green before two more successive black kits in 2018 and 2019, the latter of which had a bright pink pattern. Not bad looking shirts by any means, but a national team's home colours should not be changed on the basis of aesthetic appeal alone.

Can you think of any other teams who have dropped their classic home shirt in favour of a new look? Let us know in the comments.