Published On: Fri, Mar 15th, 2024

Arsenal women braced for ‘trouble’ as Chelsea clash delayed for 30 minutes after kit error | Football | Sport

Arsenal have been warned to expect ‘trouble’ after their women’s side were forced to buy Chelsea socks from the Stamford Bridge club shop in a humiliating kit blunder. The north Londoners faced Chelsea in a top-of-the-table clash in the Women’s Super League on Friday night in front of a crowd of more than 30,000.

Less than an hour before kick-off, it became apparent that Arsenal’s white socks would clash with the white socks worn by Chelsea as part of their home kit. The Gunners were ultimately forced to buy a haul of black Chelsea away socks from the club shop, according to Sky Sports News, before taping up the Nike and Chelsea logos ready for use.

The embarrassing blunder saw the match delayed by 30 minutes before proceedings finally got underway at Stamford Bridge much later than originally planned. Former Chelsea and Wales striker Helen Ward suggested that a fine could be issued as a result of the mistake, which she warned was likely to land Arsenal in ‘trouble’.

Speaking as a pundit on BBC Radio 5 Live, Ward said: “There will be a fine on two counts, the kit issue and the late kick-off. Somebody is going to get in a bit of trouble I think.

“I’m sure it has happened in the men’s game as well but when this happens on such a high-profile game in the WSL, a game that’s live on TV, a game that’s got a near sell-out crowd, it doesn’t help those that still want to put it down. It’s such a small thing but it’s made such a big impact.

“A 30-minute delay because of the wrong socks. It’s just an oversight, which surprises me because kit managers are usually the most meticulous at the club.”

England legend Karen Carney was covering the match on Sky Sports and did not hold back in a brutal assessment of Arsenal’s mistake, saying: “We’ve waited so long to talk only about football in the women’s game. Clearly, it’s a human error, a mistake, but it’s embarrassing.

“It’s embarrassing for the players and I’m frustrated. This is a massive crowd, a massive game. It’s a simple thing, a kit and we have got it wrong. People make mistakes but the game does not need this and it’s frustrating. We will move on and we have to but it does not look good for the game.

“Arsenal this season off the pitch have been magnificent, they have led the way in terms of crowds, attendances, marketing. It’s just a mistake from them.”

It did not mark the first time a club had been forced to wear the opposing team’s kit to avoid a clash of colours and it is unlikely to be the last. Barnsley wore Crystal Palace’s away kit during a Championship game at Selhurst Park in 2013, while Chelsea famously had to don Coventry City’s second strip after their kitman bizarrely forgot to pack the correct kit in the 1996/97 season.

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