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 The History of Arsenal Football Kit   
Arsenal FC Kit   

Arsenal Football Club was formed as Dial Square in 1886; since then many changes have happened to the club, both on and off the pitch. The history of Arsenal's football kit is just as important as the history of the club itself, as the first thing any football fan thinks of is the current iconic red and white strip when the Gunners are mentioned. To start off with however, Arsenal did not play in red and white at all. A short while after Arsenal's foundation in 1886, the club was without a kit just before they had to play an important match. Former Nottingham Forest players Fred Beasley and Morris Bates asked their previous club for equipment, and thus Arsenal started out their time as a football club sporting a redcurrant shirt with white shorts. This kit was then copied by a few other clubs; Sparta Prague of the Czech Republic still sport a redcurrant strip in their matches today. Arsenal decided to commemorate their centenarian year at Highbury in 2005/06 with a redcurrant kit similar to the one they had first used; their last year at the stadium saw them reach the Champions League final.

The arrival of Herbert Chapman in 1925 saw the club change to the popular red and white kit you see today. There are two theories of how Chapman decided upon the using a red shirt with white sleeves; the first has him noticing a supporter who wore a red sleeveless sweater over a white shirt, the second theory is that cartoonist Tom Webster (who played golf with Chapman) wore something similar. However this idea came about, it led to Arsenal changing to their now common kit of a bright red shirt with white sleeves matched with white shorts. As for the red and white kit, it too has been the inspiration for other clubs' kits. Sporting Clube de Braga in Portuguese league has an identical strip to the Gunners, giving them the nickname Os Arsenalistas (the Arsenalists). At the beginning, Arsenal's crest consisted of an emblem, now the picture of a cannon is used. The cannon was first used in 1970; Arsenal won their first double just a year later and are now known as the 'Gunners' due to this.

As for the away and third kits, Arsenal has typically used both blue and yellow strips, although this season saw an extreme change. The club decided to use a white shirt as their away kit this year, prompting fears that it was too similar to rivals Tottenham's one. The performances on the pitch have put an end to that however, and whilst doubts in the beginning remained about the club's radical third kit, those too have died for. For their third kit this season, Arsenal used a redcurrant shirt with horizontal stripes, similar to the colours used by Barcelona.

Arsenal's kits have been sponsored and manufactured by only a few companies over the years; the club has not changed their sponsors too often. In the last thirty five years, the club has only have three different manufactures and four different sponsors. Umbro were the manufacturers of the kit between the years 1975-1986, after which adidas took over till 1994. After that, Nike took over the job of making the kit and continues to do so till this day. As for sponsors, the club have been sponsored by JVC, Dreamcast and O2 over the years; they agreed a 100million deal with Emirates for both stadium and shirt sponsorship after the move to Ashburton Grove at the beginning of last season. Despite the record fee, this move was well worth it for the both the club and the company; the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie see thousands of shirts bought with their names on the back while in the past club legend Thierry Henry sold one of the highest amounts of shirts in the Premier League year after year to adoring fans.

Football kits are easily one of the most purchased items of clothing in the sporting world, and those worn by the players of Arsenal Football Club are no different. The story of how the kit that is worn today came about is definitely an interesting one and adds weight to those who claim Herbert Chapman is the most innovative manager in football.


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