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Three times football teams wore the wrong kit

The Question of Sport Podcast is a one-stop shop for some of the sillier stories from the history of sport, and what could be more daft than forgetting your kit? On the latest episode on BBC Sounds, Question of Sport executive producer Gareth Edwards revealed some of the times professional football teams did just that.

1. France wear Atlético Kimberley's kit in the 1978 World Cup

Before France played Hungary in the 1978 World Cup group stage in Argentina, FIFA wrote to both the French and Hungarian FAs with a request about their kits. At the time much of the world was still watching telly in black and white, so similar kits had to be avoided at all costs. FIFA asked Hungary to play in their traditional red shirts while France were to play in their change strip of white.

However a few months later FIFA changed their mind and again wrote to both FAs. This time France were asked to play in blue with Hungary to play in white - but the French FA never received the second letter.

Michel Platini wears the kit of Kimberley Atlético Club in a 1978 World Cup against Hungary (image: AFP)

On match day both teams travelled to the ground in Mar del Plata - with each only packing their white strips. The clash wasn't noticed until both teams were on on the field warming up.

With their alternative shirts back at base in Buenos Aires - some 350 miles away - local officials were sent out on a mission to find some football shirts. They called upon a local team by the name of Kimberley Atlético Club. Their colours – green and white stripes – were lent to the French national team and worn by players, including Michel Platini, for the match.

The Kimberley shirts had no numbers so they were hastily ironed on to the shirts. They used the traditional 1 to 11 - but that didn't match the French squad numbers for the tournament. So Platini and his French teammates took to the field in French shorts showing their own squad numbers, but with shirts with different numbers on the back.

France still won the game 3-1, but neither team ended up qualifying from a strong group which also featured Italy and Argentina.

2. Chelsea wear Coventry's away kit in 1997

When Chelsea travelled to Coventry City for their Premier League tie on 9 April 1997, they somehow managed to forget to pack their away kit. As the home shirts of 'The Blues' clashed that of that of 'The Sky Blues' an alternative had to be sought.

Chelsea's Gianfranco Zola is tackled by Coventry's Richard Shaw in 1997 (image: Getty)

After a bit of delay Chelsea came to the field wearing Coventry’s away kit, which then was red and black check. So, in a sense, it was was a case of Coventry versus Coventry in the Premier League. Like France however, Chelsea did wear their own shorts.

This was a Chelsea team that featured the likes of their future manager Roberto Di Matteo, 1998 World Cup winner Franck Leboeuf, late substitute Mark Hughes, and Gianfranco Zola, who went on to be voted Chelsea's best ever player by the team's fans in 2003.

All those Chelsea legends could did not come out victorious though, with the real Coventry winning the game 3-1.

3. Manchester United change their grey away shirts in 1996

When Sir Alex Ferguson's all-conquering Manchester United team found themselves 3-0 down away to Southampton at The Dell on 13 April 1996 they couldn't believe it. This was the table-topping United of Roy Keane, Gary Neville, David Beckham and Eric Cantona.

Ferguson would not accept that they had been outplayed by a Southampton team that would end the season avoiding relegation on goal difference, and instead blamed the score on something else entirely: their grey away shirts. Apparently the players were having trouble picking each other out.

At half time they duly changed completely into their other away kit, this one being blue and white. It did improve matters slightly, as they stopped the rot in the second half. But they still lost the game: 3-1.

Find out about the kit that got banned because it broke too many world records on The Question of Sport Podcast

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