Five awesome special edition FA Cup kits

After Arsenal reprised their “No More Red” special edition shirts for their third-round tie with Oxford United, we are looking back on more unique FA Cup kits from the competition’s history.

As it is such a historic competition, the FA Cup has a long list of truly iconic kits. Because of this, teams can produce stunning “anniversary” editions of previous triumphs, too. Alternatively, some teams release jerseys that they will wear specifically in the Cup – a testament to its importance in English football.

In recent years, teams and kit makers have produced some absolute belters to show off in the FA Cup. Here are five of the best.

Arsenal – “No More Red”, 2022/23

Introduced to raise awareness of knife crime and violence, the Gunners’ “No More Red” kit has featured in back-to-back campaigns now. Arsenal are giving people who volunteer for their charity partners a replica of this jersey as a thank-you for their efforts.

The campaign hopes to reduce violent youth crime in London, whilst working to provide safe spaces for youngsters in the community.

In terms of the kit itself, Adidas have produced a stunning “white on white” colourway. All of the badges, numbers, and sponsors are in white, leaving just an outline. We can’t imagine this makes it easy for the referee to identify players, though.

Arsenal debuted this kit in last season’s third-round tie at Nottingham Forest. Unfortunately, they lost that match 1-0. This year, the strip did not prove a jinx; the Gunners beat Oxford United 3-0.

Maybe they will continue to wear it in the FA Cup – who knows?

Chelsea – 50th Anniversary shirt, 2019/20

This beautiful work from Nike in 2020 commemorated Chelsea’s 1970 FA Cup victory. As a result, the strip has a number of features that referenced the Blues’ cup-winning kit from 50 years prior.

Keeping the traditional home colour, Nike camouflaged their logo and other sponsors on the kit by also putting them in blue. The trim of the shirt took inspiration from the 1970 kit, featuring gold accents on the neck and shorts. Additionally, the shirt numbers were in gold, and there were no names on the reverse, either.

Finally, one last nod to the 1970 strip was the club crest. Nike reverted back to the gold lion, doing away with Chelsea’s current badge for this wonderful one-off. Unsurprisingly, this kit received resoundingly positive feedback.

It also helps that the London side won the sole match in which they wore the shirt. Chelsea beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the third round. Sadly, though, they could not replicate the victorious 1970 side; Chelsea lost the 2020 final to Arsenal.

Bolton -1923 FA Cup centenary, 2022/23

Bolton produced one of the classic FA Cup kits to celebrate 100 years since their first success.

Kit makers Macron went all-out on the retro front for this one. They did a total remake – except with modern materials – to celebrate 100 years since Bolton’s first FA Cup win. Macron switched Bolton’s badge on the strip to their one from the 1920s. Then, an old-fashioned lace-up collar really adds to the traditional feel.

Bolton even went as far as removing their sponsor and player names from the jersey. The sole print on the shirt was a simple kit number, just like in 1923.

Only a limited number of replicas went on sale to devoted fans, who received it in a commemorative box. Macron also gave each shirt a unique serial number which could prove authenticity.

This brilliant kit only made one appearance, sadly. In November, the Wanderers lost 2-1 at home to Barnsley to bring their FA Cup campaign to an end in the first round. At least they did it in style.

Coventry City – 25th Anniversary, 2011/12 & 2012/13

Fourth in our list of FA Cup special kits is a strip that may have flown under the radar. In 2012, Coventry celebrated 25 years since their 1987 Cup triumph with a special shirt.

Firstly, makers Puma emulated the famous stripes from the 1987 design. So, a set of sky blue and white stripes ran vertically along the top. A navy V-neck collar with white detailing then further mimicked the old jersey.

(Photo credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Finally, red numbers on a white square on the back of the shirt completed the vintage look.

Coventry planned to wear this – kit clash permitting – for every round of the 2011/12 Cup. However, this strip saw just one third-round game. The championship side lost 2-1 to Southampton – a disappointing result when celebrating 25 years since winning the competition.

To make matters worse, Coventry wore it again in the 2012/13 third round, where they lost again. This time, they fell at the hands of Tottenham, losing 3-0. So, despite having a kit inspired by their 1987 success over Spurs, the Sky Blues could not repeat history.

Crystal Palace – FA Cup Final replay, 1990

Finally, rounding out this showcase of unique FA Cup kits is a remarkable jersey from Crystal Palace.

This shirt actually made just one appearance – the 1990 Cup Final replay against Manchester United. After drawing the first Final 3-3, the two sides met at Wembley for a replay just five days later.

Interestingly, though, Palace turned up in a totally unique kit. Instead of blue and red stripes, the London side ran out onto the Wembley turf in black and yellow. The “bumblebee” shirt, made by Bukta, looked like a recolouring of their existing home strip.

But there were a few different details. This Cup Final replay special featured an updated club crest, as well as new Bukta logos. Completing the kit were black shorts and yellow socks – a totally weird look for the Eagles.

And, like many kits on this list, it did not provide much luck, either. Crystal Palace lost this replay 1-0.

In contrast, for the victorious Man United, this game proved pivotal. The 1990 Cup win was Sir Alex Ferguson’s first trophy with the Red Devils. Following this, Fergie stayed and brought years of unprecedented success to Old Trafford.

Whilst Palace fans may not appreciate this kit, it may bring back fond memories for United faithful.

Featured image credit: Getty