There’s always that one kid who forgets their kit for PE at school.
But you don’t expect those sort of things to happen when you’re playing elite level sport.
Chelsea were greeted with that nightmare situation in April 1997 when they travelled to Highfield Road to play Coventry City.
They weren’t completely kitless, it’s just the home strip was packed instead of their away colours.
It was deemed too much of a clash between the two sides with Coventry playing in their classic sky blue. A compromise was going to have to be reached.
Former Coventry defender Richard Shaw, who played in that fateful match, recalled to the Coventry Telegraph that then-Chelsea boss Ruud Gullit demanded the home side change what they were wearing.
“At Highfield Road, we used to leave our door open to the dressing room so we could watch the away team arrive. That would always give us an idea about their mindset,” Shaw explained.
“Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson would always wear a shirt and tie and you’d think: ‘They mean business.’
“When Chelsea came in it was Pierluigi Casiraghi wearing big sunglasses and you’d think: ‘We’re going to get into you now.’
“But they brought the wrong kit and Ruud came through the door and said: ‘We’re not changing!’, even though we were at home, the home team!
“I think Ruud thought that his name was enough so we would change.
“It was a bit of a standoff. In the end, they got given what was probably our worst away kit ever. It was red and black chequered and they wore their blue shorts, it just didn’t go.
“They brought the wrong kit and we got blamed for it!”
The red and black appeared to be a lucky charm for the ‘Blues’ as Paul Hughes gave the disorganised visitors a 1-0 lead at half time.
But three goals in the space of nine second-half minutes – scored by Dion Dublin, Paul Williams and Noel Whelan ensured Coventry earned the three points.
Shaw added that some Chelsea players threw the shirts they were sporting on the floor in disgust at the end of the game. Although they had the last laugh a couple of years later.
“I always felt like Chelsea had got a touch of arrogance about them, and I get that,” Shaw added. “They are party animals, shall we say, so I do understand that.
“A couple of years after this they beat us 6-1, we had a keeper sent off, and [Chelsea chairman] Ken Bates came into the changing room with a crate of champagne and said: ‘Unlucky lads, you kept it down to six. Well done!’. Carlton [Palmer] picked it up threw it at him, ask him! So Chelsea have always had that arrogance.”
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