Opinion: Is hyper turq strip Albion's best ever kit?

Where does the 2021/22 away kit rank in your favourite Albion kits?

By Nick Szczepanik • 13 June 2022

By Paul Hazlewood
Hyper turq has proven to be one of Albion's most popular kits ever.

The popularity of the club’s 2021-22 hyper turq away kit raises an important question: where does it rank in the list of the greatest Albion kits? And how much of its success comes by association with some of the team’s finest performances on the road?

There is little doubt that fans remember with great fondness the shirts worn in moments of triumph – Danny Cullip raising aloft the play-off trophy in Cardiff resplendent in stripes, Jimmy Case reeling away after netting in the FA Cup semi-final at Highbury in 1983 in yellow, Guy Butters heading home at West Ham in the (very slimming) navy blue Palookaville outfit.

And by the same token, some memorable kits have seldom been linked with success. I’m thinking in particular of the 1989-91 away kit, that Acid House red and white spangly affair that looked pink from a distance of anything more than a couple of feet, and which was rumoured to be the brainchild of then-manager Barry Lloyd’s wife. Sadly, the team did not perform very well away from home in its debut season and failed to register a victory in it until Robert Codner’s goal brought a 1-0 success against Oxford United in the penultimate away game. 

Its farewell appearance was a triumph, though, as Albion, pretty in pink, beat Millwall 2-1 at the old Den to progress to the 1991 play-off final. Unfortunately, the kit was replaced at Wembley by the monstrosity that has come to be known as ‘the Chewit wrapper’ and resembled the after-effects of suffering a severe nosebleed in a strong wind. And the less said about that match against Notts County and the results the following season the better.

So any discussion of ‘best’ kits, like greatest goals or best players, is certain to be subjective and affected by personal associations and degrees of success, but here goes anyway.

5. 2011-13 (away) Green and black stripes, black shorts and green socks

By Paul Hazlewood
Vicente celebrates his incredible goal at Ipswich in the green and black stripes.

As worn by Vicente, Inigo Calderon, Will Buckley and Craig Mackail-Smith.  

In the club’s first season at the Amex, the team flew out of the blocks, and after that emotional 2-1 opening day victory over Doncaster Rovers, the next two games were road wins against Portsmouth and Cardiff in the eye-catching new second strip, which we can all remember admiring in the freshly opened stadium superstore. 

The results did not always live up to that opening flourish, but there were plenty of magic moments in that first season back in the Championship. One was the sight of a green-and-black-clad Vicente slaloming through the Ipswich Town midfield at Portman Road before unleashing a shot that flew past a certain David Stockdale, giving us an early inkling of what was to come from the former Spain winger.

4. 1972 (home) Blue and white stripes, blue shorts, blue socks

Bert Murray receives his Player of the Season award from chairman Tom Whiting.

As worn by Kit Napier, Ken Beamish, Bert Murray and Willie Irvine.

The club’s traditional stripes disappeared in 1964 for seven seasons, replaced first by a blue and white version of the Arsenal kit and then an unsuccessful attempt to emulate the success of the then-dominant Leeds United with an all-white strip. But they returned for the 1971-72 campaign, and Pat Saward’s swashbuckling side looked good for promotion from the third division behind league leaders Aston Villa until a sudden stumble, with back-to-back defeats in mid-March.

Saward’s answer was to freshen up the team for the televised home game with Villa on Saturday March 25, and the kit was livened up for the occasion too. Out went the traditional white shorts and socks, replaced by what looked like blue running shorts, and blue socks.  As far as anyone can tell, it was the first time the club had paired the stripes with blue shorts, and the effect was immediate. The players seemed to look taller, Villa were beaten 2-1 in front of the Match of the Day cameras, Willie Irvine’s opener came third in the BBC goal of the season competition and the team went unbeaten over the remaining weeks of the campaign in a series of thrilling come-from-behind wins to pip Bournemouth to the second promotion slot.

3. 2001-2003 (home) Blue and white stripes, white shorts, blue socks

Iconic man. Iconic kit.

As worn by Bobby Zamora, Danny Cullip, Paul Watson and Charlie Oatway.

There were times during the dark days of the 1990s when it looked as if our great club might fail to reach its centenary in 2001. But thanks to the efforts of so many, we survived the loss of the Goldstone and two years of exile in north Kent, returning to Sussex and Withdean Stadium just in time to bring up our hundred. And the centenary shirt that the club designed, supplied by Errea, did full justice to the occasion. The Skint sponsor’s logo remained, but the Seagull roundel was replaced by the elegantly embroidered crests of Brighton and Hove – although there were still shadow seagulls in the blue stripes.

And the team responded with successive promotions, first under Micky Adams and then Peter Taylor. The kit, which debuted, unusually, on New Year’s Day 2001 at home to Southend United, was originally due to be worn only in the centenary calendar year, but nobody wanted to change a winning formula. So skipper Danny Cullip was wearing it as he thundered home the header that beat Cheaterfield to the Third Division title and won the club’s first trophy since 1965, and Bobby Zamora and company continued to wear it as they swept all before them again the next season in the higher division.

2. 2021-22 (away) Hyper turq, black or turquoise shorts and turquoise socks

By Paul Hazlewood
What's your preference, hyper turq shirt with matching shorts, or black shorts?

As worn by Lewis Dunk, Danny Welbeck, Marc Cucurella and Yves Bissouma.

The initial reaction on the fan chat sites to the reveal of the new away kit last summer seemed to be unanimous: “Take our money.” And the reaction from home sides confronted by the exquisitely clad Albion side sporting it seemed to be: “Take our points.” Graham Potter’s record-breakers were unbeaten in Premier League matches while wearing the kit so reminiscent of the colour of the railings on Brighton seafront.

Would the hyper turq have proved as hyper-popular if the results gained in it been slightly less spectacular? We will never know. But we do know that Neal Maupay silenced the home fans in hyper turq at Selhurst and St Mary’s, Danny Welbeck ditto at Stamford Bridge and the King Power Stadium. Leandro Trossard was in turquoise as he struck late to win the games at Brentford and Tottenham, not to mention Alexis Mac Allister bagging a brace in our first-ever win at Goodison Park. It was a season that will live long in the memories of those of us fortunate enough to have witnessed it, and with an away kit to match.

1: 1977-80 (home) Blue and white stripes, blue shorts, white socks

By Paul Hazlewood
Mixing the old with the new - Tariq Lamptey in the club's 1977-80 retro kit.

As worn by Peter Ward, Mark Lawrenson, Brian Horton and Peter O’Sullivan.

The definition of ‘serendipity’ is the coming together of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way, and that fits the arrival of Bukta as the club’s kit suppliers in the silver Jubilee year of 1977. In a certain light - and if you squinted hard - the manufacturer’s logo looked a bit like a seagull. And a line of them down each sleeve and the side of the shorts made it look as if the Seagulls suddenly had a bespoke kit rather than a happy accident. 

But the best thing about the new shirts (which, to tell the truth, were bit scratchy in the original nylon rather than the comfy cotton re-issues you can buy in the club shop today), was the team that wore them. Freshly promoted under Alan Mullery and reinforced by the relatively unknown Mark Lawrenson, the players produced some of the best football ever seen at a packed Goldstone. They were within goal difference of the old first division in 1978, finally gate-crashing the promised land in 1979.

And the kit stayed for the Albion’s debut in the top-flight in 1979-80 as they memorably beat Crystal Palace 3-0 on Boxing Day, put four past Manchester City three days later, and completed a league double over reigning European champions Nottingham Forest as Gary Williams beat England goalkeeper Peter Shilton from 25 yards.  

Albion fans had never seen anything like it. We all enjoy being part of the Premier League, but as they say, you never forget your first time.  

Make sure you check out Albion's retro collection here.