The English soccer clubs Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC have always been fierce rivals, with their stadiums being only 12 miles apart. But when they faced each other over the weekend, their teams were even closer together.
Newcastle and Sunderland faced off on Saturday, January 6th, in a third round FA Cup match—the first Tyne-Wear Derby since March 2016 when both teams were still in the Premier League, and the first time the two teams had faced each other in the FA Cup since 1956.
However, fans watching the game on television took to social media to complain after both teams took to the field wearing their home kits. Newcastle wore their traditional black and white striped shirts, while Sunderland donned their usual red and white striped tops.
„Red & white stripes vs. black & white stripes is horrific when watching a game. Any other game apart from the derby and Newcastle would have to wear their alternate kit??” wrote one fan on Twitter The Sun.
„This is genuinely the worst kit clash I’ve ever seen. I’ve no idea what’s going on,” wrote another Twitter user talkSPORT.
As the home team, Sunderland wore their preferred black shorts and red socks, while Newcastle sported contrasting white shorts and socks.
Even television pundits at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland had difficulty distinguishing between the teams.
“The kits are way too similar. It’s just sometimes hard to tell those two sets of players apart,” commentator Lucy Ward was quoted as saying talkSPORT. “The Newcastle kit has got red numbers, which doesn’t help, you can’t see them. When you’ve got two shirts with white stripes, you just can’t tell who’s who.”
According to The Sun, referees have the final say on whether teams’ kits offer enough contrast.
In recent years, Newcastle and Sunderland have worn their home kits against each other, but in most cases, one team or the other had larger black or red stripes on their shirts.
However, there have been many instances where one team wore their away kits in the Derby.
Newcastle won the match on Saturday by 3-0, advancing to the fourth round of the FA Cup.