Crap or Classic? The Graphite & Tangerine Chelsea Away Kit

Like the Stone Roses’ Second Coming, time has been kinder to this Chelsea away kit than the original reviews.

Although this graphite and tangerine kit was roundly derided in its day, nostalgia does funny things to the eyes and now, Umbro’s kit is celebrated by some fans as a classic of the era.

Concrete, chicken wire and marmalade combined to form this Chelsea away shirt

Worn by Chelsea heroes like Glenn Hoddle and Dennis Wise for two seasons between 1994 and 1996, the shirt is perhaps most closely associated with Dutch master Ruud Gullit who made his Blues debut wearing this shirt in a pre-season friendly at Gillingham.

Ruud Gullit in the 1994-96 Chelsea away shirt

Umbro brought about a brutalist barrage of concrete grey into mid-1990s football kit culture and it’s fair to say that the trend was not completely accepted by the Stamford Bridge faithful.

The shirt’s unorthodox orange and grey colours battled for attention whilst Chelsea’s old crest poked its way through a chicken-wire mesh.

Diagonal stripes were woven into the pattern of the shirts, with the logo of sponsors Coors dropped into place in white.

A navy blue trim finished off the shirt’s collar and cuff details as the kit was completed with orange shorts and socks.

Chelsea’s shirt shared the same DNA as Umbro’s Celtic and Nottingham Forest kits of the time, but they were far more sober and more in keeping with established club colours.

Nottingham Forest and Celtic shirts shared Umbro’s template

Over the years, football shirts moved away from individual designs like this mid-90s effort, towards the cookie cutter uniformity which led to some eyes revising their view on this design.

This summer, Nike released a new 3rd shirt for the Blues which we feel might just have been a little ode to this design and a hint at what they would have done for Chelsea back in the 90s.

Chelsea, Nike, 3rd, Kit, 2019-20
Tammy Abraham models the new Chelsea 3rd shirt on a set straight out of an REM video

Unable to settle the debate as to whether this is a crap or classic design ourselves, we turned to self-proclaimed “kit nerd” and Chelsea fan Jack Henderson (follow him on Twitter here) for the final word:

“Well it’s a Chelsea icon – and a horrific football shirt!

Designed to be worn with jeans or something like that, it really didn’t work as a football kit. And still doesn’t, no matter the memories.

I do remember asking my father if it was “pyjamas” when I first laid my eyes upon it as a kid – he didn’t like it a bit, trust me!

Neither did I and I still don’t . . .”

So there you have it.

Crap or Classic? You decide!

Let’s settle the debate – Crap or Classic?

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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