With their stadiums just 12 miles apart, English football clubs Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC have always been fierce rivals. But even their kits were too close for comfort when they clashed over the weekend.
Newcastle and Sunderland faced off in an FA Cup third-round match on Saturday, January 6 — the first Tyne-Wear Derby since March 2016 when both teams were still in the Premier League and the first time the two sides had faced each other in the FA Cup since 1956.
But fans watching the game on television took to social media to complain after both teams took the pitch wearing their home kits. Newcastle wore their traditional black and white stripes, while Sunderland wore their usual red-and-white striped shirts.
“Red and White stripes Vs Black and White stripes is terrible for watching a game, any other game except the derby and Newcastle would be made to wear their second kit?” wrote one fan on Twitter, according to The Sun.
“This is genuinely the worst kit clash I’ve ever seen I have no idea what’s going on,” wrote another Twitter user, according to talkSPORT.
Sunderland, as the home side, wore their first-choice black shorts and red socks, while Newcastle wore contrasting white shorts and white socks.
Even television pundits at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland had a hard time telling the teams apart.
“The kits are far too similar. It’s difficult to tell the two sets of players apart at times,” commentator Lucy Ward was quoted as saying by talkSPORT. “The Newcastle kit also has red numbers on, which doesn’t help — you can’t see them. When you have two kits with white stripes, you just can’t tell who is who.”
According to The Sun, match referees have the final say on whether teams’ kits have enough contrast.
Newcastle and Sunderland have worn their home kits against each other in years past, but in most of those cases, one team or the other has had larger swathes of black or red on their shirts.
But there have been plenty of instances of one team wearing their away kits in the derby.
Newcastle won Saturday’s game 3-0 to advance to the fourth round of the FA Cup.