The Arsenal Shirt Since 1886

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Arsenal, or The Arsenal are a football club in England playing in the "Top Flight" Premier League. Fondly known by their nickname, The Gunners", their home ground is the Emirates Stadium in North London. Currently managed by Arsene Wenger, The Gunners are one of the most successful teams in England.

Arsenal were originally named Dial Square and had their home ground in Woolwich, South East London. In 1891 the team turned professional and changed their name to Woolwich Arsenal. In 1913 they moved north to Highbury before moving to the brand-new Emirates Stadium in 2006. Valued at well over 600 million pounds, Arsenal are not only one of the biggest, but also one of the richest clubs in England.

The selection of the colour red as the principal colour of the Arsenal shirt has an interesting history. Once Dial Square had been formed, they needed a kit to play in however one could not be found or afforded. Among the founding players were two men recently relocated south for work who were formally Nottingham Forest players. These players sent a letter home to Forest requesting assistance with respect to sourcing a new kit, in answer of which their old club donated a full kit and a ball. Naturally, coming from Nottingham Forest, the kit was dark red. The kit was completed with white shorts and blue socks. The fire-engine red colour scheme with white sleeves in use today was introduced in 1933. The precise reason for the white sleeves is not known. However one story claims that a fan spotted in the stands wearing a red sleeveless sweater over a white shirt was the inspiration. Apart from two season, this kit has remained the same. The first in 1966-67 was when Arsenal wore all red shirts. The second instance of deviation was in 2006 when, in commemoration of the last season to be played at the old Highbury Stadium, the team used the blackcurrant colours as worn by the first team to play there in 1913.

Yellow and Blue are the colours most often used for the away Arsenal shirt. However there have been deviations from this. A green and navy blue shirt was used in the 1982-1984 seasons. The lucrative replica shirt market that sprang up in the early 1990s has led to Arsenal changing the away shirt on a regular basis. Blue designs have been used in addition to the substitution of the traditional yellow, with gold. Currently the away shirt in use at the end of each season is rotated to the Third Shirt.

The crest sewn onto the Arsenal shirt has been modified over the years as well. The first crest dating to 1888 was made up of three cannon viewed from above, pointing north. This design resembled the Borough Of Woolwich's coat of arms. Each cannon was decorated with the head of a lion and a cascabel. This design was changed following the move north to Highbury. The crest featuring a single cannon was debuted in 1925. The crest was modified again in 1949. The cannon was unchanged but the name "Arsenal" was added above the gun. The Islington coat of arms was placed beneath the gun and a scroll with the club's new motto beneath that. In 2002, in order to create a simpler crest that was copy-writable, a new crest was introduced with the cannon once again facing east with the green colour being replaced by dark blue.

This article has hopefully provided an interesting insight into the history of the Arsenal Shirt from the Dial Square amateur days to the professional, huge money team now plying their trade at the Emirates Stadium.
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