Friday, 19 Jul 2024

The Fascination of Red and White Stripes in Football

red and white teams

As a football enthusiast, I have always been captivated by the various team colors and designs in the football world. One particular strip that has caught my attention is the red and white vertical stripes. It is a classic design that exudes a sense of tradition and uniqueness. This led me to wonder how many other teams worldwide wear this iconic combination and if there are any connections between them.

The first part of my investigation takes me to England, where I explore the Football League and discover eight teams that currently don the red and white vertical striped shirts.


Flag of England

In the top five tiers of English football, the following teams proudly wear the red and white stripes:

  • Sunderland
  • Stoke City
  • Sheffield United
  • Southampton
  • Exeter City
  • Brentford
  • Lincoln City
  • Cheltenham Town

Let’s take a closer look at some of these clubs and their history with the iconic red and white stripes.


The most successful team in England sporting the red and white stripes is Sunderland. They have embraced this design since the 1887-88 season. The decision to adopt these stripes was influenced by a local team, South Bank FC, who lent Sunderland a set of strips when they were facing financial difficulties. These stripes have brought Sunderland six league titles, including their last tier one title in the 1935-36 season. They also famously lifted the FA Cup trophy in 1973, beating Leeds United in a memorable final.

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Stoke City

Stoke City FC

Stoke City, founding members of the Football League, were the first team to play in red and white vertical stripes. They donned this design from 1883 to 1891. However, the Football League later decided that each season could only have one team using a particular strip style. As Sunderland formally adopted the red and white stripes, Stoke City had to change theirs. After various color and design changes, Stoke City returned to their historical stripes in 1908 and have been wearing them ever since.

Sheffield United

Sheffield United

Sheffield United, one of the newly-promoted teams in the Premier League, also plays in the red and white stripes. Originally starting with white shirts, they briefly embraced the red and white pinstripes known as “butchers’ shirts” between 1891 and 1894. However, since 1894, Sheffield United has fully embraced the red stripes on their white shirts. They have achieved success with four FA Cup triumphs and a First Division title in the 1897-98 season.


Southampton FC

Southampton’s history with red and white is quite unique. They started with white shirts and a red sash before progressing to quartered and halved shirts with red and white. Finally, in 1896, they fully embraced the red and white stripes. The Saints won their first major trophy, the FA Cup, as a Second Division side in 1976, shocking Manchester United in the final.

Exeter City

Exeter City

Exeter City made an interesting switch from green and white to red and white in 1910. After a poor start to their season, they believed that the change in kit brought them luck, leading to a five-match winning streak in December. This unique kit was also worn during their historic tour of South America, where they played against a Brazilian national eleven.

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Brentford, Lincoln City, and Cheltenham Town

Championship club Brentford, League One team Lincoln City, and League Two side Cheltenham Town are also part of the red and white stripes club. Brentford adopted this design in 1925, while Lincoln City has worn it for most of its history. Cheltenham Town’s kit has gone through changes over the years, but the stripes have remained a constant presence since 1996.

These are just a few examples of the teams in England that sport the iconic red and white stripes. It is fascinating to see how this design has woven itself into the fabric of football. In upcoming articles, I will explore other countries, including Spain and the Netherlands, to discover more clubs that have embraced this unique kit design.

Feel free to share your suggestions or any teams that wear red and white vertical striped shirts. You can comment below or tweet me @The94thMin. I would love to hear from you.