Queens Park Rangers handed a surprise debut to a brand new ’70s inspired third kit for the visit of Cardiff City to West London on Saturday.
The late-notice departure from the famous blue and white hoops saw Rangers switch to a red and white halved shirt, launched as an homage to their best ever league campaign.
QPR’s new alternative kit by Erreà pays tribute to the away strip from their landmark 1975-76 season, when the R’s came within a point of the First Division title.
Worn by Loft legends Gerry Francis, Frank McLintock, Dave Thomas and Stan Bowles; Rangers went on to wear the attractive kit in the following season’s run to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup.
The halves were replaced by an all-red kit for the start of 1978-79 season, yet would return for two brief cameos against rivals Chelsea in 1979-80 and again in 1980-81.
The design has proved to be club shop favourite down the years, but this the closest QPR have come to recreating that look on the pitch in the last 40 years.
The release of the ’70s inspired kit with black shorts and socks, arrived late in the build up to Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 win at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, with cynics crying out that the club were merely trying to shift more shirts.
The Superhoops have made a habit of wearing one-off retro shirts at Loftus Road down the years and cited the 45th anniversary of their greatest season as the reason for the late change.
The Bluebirds would usually be obliged to change from their home shirts at Loftus Road, but with a very pale green away strip in their travel bag, it may have been the case that the home side were forced into bringing their 3rd kit’s release forward?
We can only speculate, but perhaps QPR were sparing their visitors’ blushes in agreeing to switch from blue and white to red and white?
On the pitch, Rangers raced to an early 2-0 lead, but let Cardiff back into the game with two second-half penalties before a blockbusting strike from Dom Ball gave the R’s all three points and a 3-2 home win in the halves.
A welcome and long-overdue update to a club classic, we should point out that Queens Park Rangers’ vintage halves are actually the other way round to the famous colours of Feyenoord and Slavia Prague to which they are often compared.
We’ve got a little thing for Erreà and they’ve once again shown us precisely how to make a great set of bespoke football shirts, linked to stories from the past, without the need to draw tribal patterns all over them.
Sometimes less is more.