Winning is all black and blue in the beautiful game

* 5 min read
Football teams wearing blue as their home kit win more often than any other side, a new study reveals. And playing away from home, wearing shirts with a dominance of black has seen these clubs taking points more often than the opponents wearing other colours.

Our analysis of football kit worn by the 20 Premier League Clubs over 380 games last season revealed a team’s strip may provide a bigger clue to the outcome of a match than studying form.

Chelsea, who stormed the Premier League last year, had two of the top combinations when playing at home and away, their traditional royal blue home kit and their black away kit. This season they have switched from black to white for the away strip, which is the second top winning away shade, giving supporters an added reason to hope for another triumphant year.

On the other hand Manchester City, the early bookies favourite for the title, have changed their away strip from black to purple indicating all may not go as forecast. Purple, along with orange, pink and turquoise were the colours that fared least well last season and could lead to pundits reconsidering their predictions.

Despite its winning ways at home, blue was among the least successful hues when used for away games.

We carried out this study to look at how different colour kits are perceived and how they can be associated with a team’s changing fortunes, including failure and success.

Red, the instantly recognisable home colour of Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal, has faded into the third most winning colour. However, over the years it had been the shade most often associated with champions. England famously won the World Cup in red.

Yellow or gold, as favoured by Arsenal when playing away from their London Emirates home ground, was a winning combination more times than red, when worn by teams for away games.

Psychologists regard red as the colour which can stimulate aggression and raise the pulse-rate, while blue is the colour of efficiency and logic, which could be an indication of changes in the way football at the top level is played. Black is regarded as mysterious and secretive, perhaps producing a surprise when worn, and white a reflection of purity.

Spurs, who finished runners up last season, wore their time honoured white shirts in more games than any other team, which may account for their growing success. Sunderland, who were relegated used more different kits when playing than any other side, including the ill-fated pink.

Of the newly promoted clubs, Brighton with their blue and white strips and gold away strip, despite their poor start, could fare better than current high fliers Huddersfield, who also have blue and white at home but navy away.

Newcastle, famous for their black and white stripes, may do well at home but struggle when wearing their green away shirts.

However, combining different colours, such as Newcastle, Hull, West Brom, or Crystal Palace, doesn’t mean teams are always successful, as single plain colours come out on top more often.

Simon Gore, group creative managing director of Sun Branding Solutions’ strategic design team Parker Williams had this to say:

Colour is incredibly important to a brand’s success, so it’s no surprise that this is true of football teams too. The brain is hardwired to respond to colour before anything else. It’s inextricably linked with our emotions, in terms of recognition and communication, and is an indelible part of any brand.

Simon Gore, group creative managing director of Parker Williams

He continues: "There’s a reason the shade of red worn when England won the World Cup on home turf on 30 July 1966 lives on positively in peoples’ minds. Talking football strips, Portsmouth supporters, whose team plays in blue and yellow, can’t help but respond negatively to the red and white strip worn by Southampton, their local arch-rivals. This response is so ingrained that Pompie fans find it difficult not to react in a similarly negative way to any other team that plays in red and white strips, including Stoke, Brentford, Sheffield United, Stevenage, Exeter and most probably Red Star Belgrade too."


We looked at the kit worn by the 20 teams in the Premier League over a total of 380 league matches during the 2016/17 season.

Home side (dominant colour)

Blue: Chelsea, Everton, Leicester, Manchester City

White: Spurs, Swansea

Red:  Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Middleborough

Claret – Burnley, West ham

Blue/Red – Crystal Palace

Red/White: Southampton, Stoke, Sunderland

Red/Black: Bournemouth

Yellow: Watford

Black/White: West Brom

Orange/Black: Hull

Strips used when playing away

Black: Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester City, Southampton

Black/White: West Brom

Blue: Bournemouth, Burnley, Chelsea, Everton, Leicester, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middleborough, Spurs, Swansea, Stoke, Watford, West Ham

Blue/Red: Crystal Palace

Claret: Burnley/West Ham

Green: Liverpool, Bournemouth, Sunderland

Orange: Manchester City

Orange/Black: Hull

Pink: Sunderland

Purple: Hull

Red: Arsenal, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester United, Middleborough.

Red/Black: Bournemouth

Red/White: Southampton, Stoke, Sunderland

Turquoise: Swansea

White: Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United, Southampton, Spurs, Swansea, Sunderland, Watford, West Ham

Yellow/Gold: Arsenal, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Everton, Middleborough, Spurs, Watford. 

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