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Straight Outta 1905: Chelsea drop 2023-24 ‘Eton Blue’ third kit


As far as third kits go, Chelsea’s for this season is impossibly boring. Revealed this morning, our 2023-24 third kit doesn’t sport any outrageous patterns, blinding color combinations, or elaborate design experiments.

It’s just a blue shirt, with a black trim, and black badging.

But the trick is in the shade of blue that’s being used. It’s “Eton Blue” (or “mint foam” in Nike proprietary color-naming), which was Chelsea’s original color, for the first two years of our existence, before switching to the familiar royal blue for some reason in 1907.

Eton Blue came from the racing colors of the Earls Cadogan, a wealthy family who own about 100 acres of the 3000-acre Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Henry Arthur Cadogan, Viscount Chelsea and son of the 5th Earl of Cadogan (the 6th was his brother), was the first club president at our founding. The lion rampant in the Chelsea badge (and soon above the entrance gates at the Bridge as well) also come from the Earl Cadogan coat of arms.

In any case, Eton Blue has been used only once since we switched away from in 1907, serving as our away colors (in a slightly darker “jade” hue) in the late 80s, form about 1986 to 1989, including that one season where we manufactured our own shirts (“Chelsea Collection”) before signing a deal with Umbro.

You can see some people in the crowd wearing them here, in this faded picture:

Chelsea v Middlesbrough Photo by Allan Olley/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

If you want to be like those people at the 1988 Second Division Promotion/Relegation Playoff Final (which we’d go on to lose on aggregate and thus drop back down to the second division), you can go ahead and drop a few (too many) precious dollars on one at the MegaStore (online or in person) — stadium or vapo(u)r version, both available.

Still sponsorless, which is cool.

Though as usual, the accompanying training gear and “fashion” items are much more appealing to me.

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