It’s inspired by the colour of the London club’s first jersey worn more than 118 years ago which, rather oddly, means that all three of Chelsea’s official kits for this campaign come in various shades of blue.
With a royal blue home jersey inspired by their 1997-98 kit, and a dark navy away shirt inspired by 1990s technology, the accompanying third kit is a pale shade of “Eton Blue.” That was worn by the inaugural Chelsea side of 1905 in the year of the club’s foundation.
As well as their 1905 vintage, Chelsea have also plundered yet another of their classic retro kits in order to complete their new third kit, with the “Eton Blue” of yore being subtly mixed with the “jade” away kit from 1986-87 to create the fresh, minty colour you see before you.
The 1905-06 season was Chelsea’s first competitive campaign after being elected into the Football League and sanctioned to play in the Second Division. Unfortunately, a late-season slump saw them miss out on promotion. They had to wait one more year to earn ascension to the top flight for the first time.
Chelsea originally wore “Eton Blue” after adopting the racing colours of the club’s inaugural president, Earl Cadogan, whose horses ran in similar pale blue livery. The shirt was paired with white shorts and dark socks and worn for two years until the club switched to a more familiar deeper shade.
Two iconic Chelsea kits, worn over eight decades apart.
The home kit for 2023-24 has abandoned the elaborate patterns and prints of recent years in favour of a simpler reworking of one of their most popular jerseys from the 1990s.
The slightly paler blue hue of the nostalgic new kit is directly inspired by the shirt that Chelsea wore during the 1997-98 season. That year a team including Gianfranco Zola, Gianluca Vialli, Roberto Di Matteo and Dennis Wise won both the League Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.
A quarter-century on, the Blues have reprised the white underarm panels and yellow gold detailing on the sleeve cuffs that appeared on that classic jersey.