Home / Sport / ‘Arrogant’ Chelsea once forgot their away kit for a Premier League game at Coventry and had to wear Sky Blues’ ‘worst ever’ strip despite Ruud Gullit’s protestations

‘Arrogant’ Chelsea once forgot their away kit for a Premier League game at Coventry and had to wear Sky Blues’ ‘worst ever’ strip despite Ruud Gullit’s protestations

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.

17. Ruud Gullit joins Chelsea, who were mediocre at best
Chelsea boss Gullit was left embarrassed when his staff forgot to pack their away kit for a game at Coventry

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.

Then Coventry boss Gordon Strachan was in no mood to bow to the demands of Gullit despite the weight his name supposedly carried
Getty

But Coventry, then managed by Gordon Strachan, were in no mood to budge and both parties came to a rather comical agreement as Chelsea were forced to play in their opponents’ away kit.

“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.’

Red and black checked shirt just doesn’t go with blue shorts and white socks!
Getty

“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!”

Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola sporting one bizarre make-shift number
Getty

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.

Hopefully Thomas Tuchel doesn’t ever forget to pack Chelsea’s away kit – it’s not like you can miss the 2021/22 edition!
Chelsea FC
Chelsea have always had memorable away kits and it’s impossible to see this kit and not think of Gullit
Getty Images – Getty

“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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