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For much of Arsenal's history, their home colours have been bright red shirts with white sleeves and white shorts, though this has not always been the case. The choice of red is in recognition of a charitable donation from Nottingham Forest, soon after Arsenal's foundation in 1886. Two of Dial Square's founding members, Fred Beardsley and Morris Bates, were former Forest players who had moved to Woolwich for work. As they put together the first team in the area, no kit could be found, so Beardsley and Bates wrote home for help and received a set of kit and a ball. The shirt was redcurrant, a dark shade of red, and was worn with white shorts and socks with blue and white hoops.
In 1933, Herbert Chapman, wanting his players to be more distinctly dressed, updated the kit, adding white sleeves and changing the shade to a brighter pillar box red. Two possibilities have been suggested for the origin of the white sleeves. One story reports that Chapman noticed a supporter in the stands wearing a red sleeveless sweater over a white shirt; another was that he was inspired by a similar outfit worn by the cartoonist Tom Webster, with whom Chapman played golf.[36] Regardless of which story is true, the red and white shirts have come to define Arsenal and the team have worn the combination ever since, aside from two seasons. The first was 1966–67, when Arsenal wore all-red shirts;[35] this proved unpopular and the white sleeves returned the following season. The second was 2005–06, the last season that Arsenal played at Highbury, when the team wore commemorative redcurrant shirts similar to those worn in 1913, their first season in the stadium; the club reverted to their normal colours at the start of the next season.[36] In the 2008–09 season, Arsenal replaced the traditional all-white sleeves with red sleeves with a broad white stripe.
Arsenal's home colours have been the inspiration for at least three other clubs. In 1909, Sparta Prague adopted a dark red kit like the one Arsenal wore at the time;[36] in 1938, Hibernian adopted the design of the Arsenal shirt sleeves in their own green and white strip.[37] In 1920, Sporting Clube de Braga's manager returned from a game at Highbury and changed his team's green kit to a duplicate of Arsenal's red with white sleeves and shorts, giving rise to the team's nickname of Os Arsenalistas.[38] These teams still wear these designs to this day.
For many years Arsenal's away colours were white shirts and either black or white shorts. In the 1969–70 season, Arsenal introduced an away kit of yellow shirts with blue shorts. This kit was worn in the 1971 FA Cup Final as Arsenal beat Liverpool to secure the double for the first time in its history. Arsenal reached the FA Cup final again the following year and wearing the red and white home strip and were beaten by Leeds United. Arsenal then competed in three consecutive FA Cup finals between 1978 and 1980 wearing their "lucky" yellow and blue strip,[39] which remained the club's away strip until the release of a green and navy away kit in 1982–83. The following season, Arsenal returned to the yellow and blue scheme, albeit with a darker shade of blue than before.
When Nike took over from Adidas as Arsenal's kit provider in 1994, Arsenal's away colours were again changed to two-tone blue shirts and shorts. Since the advent of the lucrative replica kit market, the away kits have been changed regularly, with Arsenal usually releasing both away and third choice kits. During this period the designs have been either all blue designs, or variations on the traditional yellow and blue, such as the metallic gold and navy strip used in the 2001–02 season, the yellow and dark grey used from 2005 to 2007, and the yellow and maroon of 2010 to 2013.[40] As of 2009, the away kit is changed every season, and the outgoing away kit becomes the third-choice kit if a new home kit is being introduced in the same year.

 

 


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