How did red and white become the colour of Arsenal?

With Arsenal launching their new kit on Thursday 10th July, the first manufactured by Puma, the history into how Arsenal got their red and white shirts is an interesting one.

The exact story of how Arsenal attained their colours is one that provides many different accounts. The first colour introduced to Arsenal was dark red, with the white sleeves coming much later.

In 1886 Dial Square (the club’s first name) wore dark red shirts, white shorts and black socks. The process of getting these shirts is where the different accounts arise. The one factor that is agreed upon is that it was Nottingham Forest who played a massive part in this. One story recalls that Dial Square acquired three players from Nottingham Forest.  When these players joined the club, due to very tight financial constraints, Dial Square decided to use the kits the Nottingham Forest players had brought with them as they saw it as the least expensive option.

Another story recalls of how Dial Square wrote to Nottingham Forest asking them to assist in kiting out the team who at that stage had no kits. Forest apparently donated kits to Dial Square and also Dial Square’s first football.

It wasn’t until 1933 that white was introduced into the shirt. Herbert Champan, manager at the time, was inspired by seeing someone wearing a red sleeveless top. This gave him the idea to use the away shirt (which was white at the time) and then wear thin red sleeveless tops over them. He felt the white sleeves would make it easier for players to identify each other. Herbert Champan can be credited for many revolutionary changes to Arsenal and the introduction of the first red and white shirt is one of many ideas that helped create Arsenal.

Puma will continue the tradition of red shirts with white sleeves and while everyone will have seen leaked images of the kits, the official launch will still interest many on Thursday. 

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