The Nation's True Football Colours

The Nation’s True Football Colours

What are the true colours of football in each area of England? Now that Banana Moon is offering shirts for budding teams up and down the nation, we wanted to help players and managers figure out the colour combination that’s best for their squad.

We’ve taken ten of the biggest football communities across the country and studied the shirt of every single team between the Premier League and National Leagues North and South to show you what’s popular, which styles symbolise each region, and what we personally think the perfect design for each one is.

Starting at the top of the country, working our way to the south coast before finishing in the capital, we think we’ve got the right answers – though we’re sure we will have ruffled some feathers along the way…


Teams: Five (Newcastle United, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool United, Gateshead)
Most popular colours: Red (52%) and white (28%)
Most popular style: Stripes
Outcome: Red and white stripes

Sunderland supporters rejoice – and our apologies, Newcastle fans – as the most popular combination for the north-east is red and white stripes. White’s popularity is a no-brainer, as it features in some way or another on all five jerseys (and the entirety of Gateshead’s kit). However, Middlesbrough’s love of the colour red, combined with Sunderland’s half-use of the hue, put that at number two. Hartlepool United’s traditional dedication to stripes meant that the Monkey Hangers tipped the scales on the design.

West Yorkshire
Teams: Six (Leeds United, Huddersfield Town, Bradford City, FC Halifax Town, Guiseley, Bradford (Park Avenue))
Most popular colours: White (47%) and blue (25%)
Most popular style: Block colour
Outcome: White body, blue sleeves

Bradford City’s unique claret and amber shirts may be an iconic colour combination, but not enough to win either hue more than 8% of the vote in West Yorkshire. All five local rivals have adopted white to a certain degree, not least their fiercest competitors Leeds United, who are perhaps the nation’s most famous adopters of the shade. Still, it was Guiseley’s similar use of the colour that truly catapulted white into the number one spot, with nearly half of all shirts using it. Our choice of blue sleeves is thanks to Huddersfield Town and Halifax Town.

South Yorkshire
Teams: Five (Rotherham United, Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley, Doncaster Rovers, Sheffield United)
Most popular colours: Red (54%) and white (36%)
Most popular styles: Stripes and block colour
Outcome: Striped body, red sleeves

South Yorkshire was probably the easiest choice of all for us, though Sheffield Wednesday fans are certain to disagree with us there. Only red, white and blue exist between five shirts, and the latter is only found on half of the Owls’ tops. It’s not their rivals Sheffield United that can be blamed for this one, though – Barnsley and Rotherham United are responsible for the block red we’ve put on the sleeves of the South Yorkshire shirt.

Teams: Seven (Blackburn, Burnley, Preston North End, Blackpool, Accrington Stanley, Fleetwood Town, Morecambe, Chorley)
Most popular colours: White (31%) and red (29%)
Most popular style: Block colour
Outcome: White body, red trim and sleeves

Accrington, Fleetwood and Morecambe’s predominant use of red pushed it into the Lancashire number one spot, while the likes of Burnley, Blackpool and Chorley split the remaining vote with one-off choices of claret, orange and black, which barely registered in the final percentage breakdown. We added the red trim to reflect not only the colour’s popularity, but the use of a secondary colour as a trim on four of the seven shirts in the region.

Greater Manchester
Teams: 12 (Manchester United, Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers, Bury, Oldham Athletic, Rochdale, Wigan Athletic, Altrincham, Curzon Ashton, FC United of Manchester, Stalybridge Celtic, Stockport County)
Most popular colours: Blue (47%) and white (31%)
Most popular style: Block colour
Outcome: Blue body, white trim and sleeves

Greater Manchester has 12 teams… and only four colours between them. The fourth one, black, is solely worn as a trim by Rochdale. Yet if you remove Manchester United and its phoenix club, FC United of Manchester, only 5% of shirts are red in Greater Manchester – meaning the city is truly blue. United fans have got Oldham, Rochdale, Wigan, Curzon Ashton, Stalybridge and Stockport to thank for that – not just Manchester City.

Teams: Four (Liverpool, Everton, Tranmere Rovers, Southport)
Most popular colours: Blue (27.5%), red (25%) and white (22.5%)
Most popular style: Block colour
Outcome: Half blue, half red, white stripe

This Merseyside football argument is one we’d never wade into, even if Everton’s traditional single colour was edged over the line by Tranmere’s regular use of the hue as a trim on its otherwise white shirt. And even if Tranmere fans on (the) Wirral claim to be nothing to do with Merseyside, we’re calling on them to keep the peace by allowing us to use their colour to split the rivals down the middle on our Merseyside shirt. Sadly for Southport, the amber and black they wear didn’t make the top three by quite a margin.

East Midlands
Teams: Nine (Leicester City, Derby County, Nottingham Forest, Chesterfield, Notts County, Mansfield Town, Northampton Town, Lincoln City, Alfreton Town)
Most popular colours: White (30%), red (23%) and blue (23%)
Most popular style: Block colour
Outcome: White body, one red sleeve, one blue sleeve

The teams in the East Midlands don’t get along too well, and given the relatively even split between the colours on the nine different shirts in the region, we thought it best to get all of them on there, but keep them separate. All but Mansfield Town and Northampton Town are truly represented on the shirt; the lower-league clubs’ amber and claret, respectively, accounted for less than 10% of the overall share.

West Midlands
Teams: Six (Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Coventry City, Walsall)
Most popular colours: Blue (37%) and white (20%)
Most popular style: Patterned
Outcome: Blue and white unique shirt, with a gold trim

No place was the battle of true colours fought as closely as it was in the West Midlands, where eclectic tastes in colours and designs meant we were obliged to go for a bespoke design. Without Walsall, red wouldn’t be used at all in the county; the claret of Aston Villa was similarly unique. Blue emerged victorious due to Birmingham, Coventry and West Brom – but before Villa fans complain, they use it too. In keeping with the unique design, we’re also giving it a gold trim – while only Wolves use it as their main colour, it still came in third place (15% overall).

South Coast
Teams: 11 (Southampton, Bournemouth, Brighton & Hove Albion, Portsmouth, Exeter City, Plymouth Argyle, Dover Athletic, Torquay United, Havant & Waterlooville, Gosport Borough, Eastbourne Borough
Most popular colours: White (25%), yellow (25%) and red (23%)
Most popular style: Stripes
Outcome: Red, yellow and white stripes

As the only place in England where yellow made it into the top two colours – despite there being 11 teams along the water – the south coast was a real surprise package. If it wasn’t for Eastbourne’s dedication to red (90%), it may have been a yellow and white striped kit (reminiscent of Newcastle United’s disastrous 2009-10 away shirt). Only Portsmouth and Brighton truly dabble in blue, meaning it came a sorry fourth. If you’re looking to take inspiration from a true pioneer, though, go with green (6% overall) – Plymouth are one of only two teams in our entire study to use the colour.

Greater London
Teams: 19 (Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Brentford, Charlton Athletic, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, Millwall, AFC Wimbledon, Barnet, Dagenham & Redbridge, Leyton Orient, Bromley, Welling United, Hayes & Yeading, Sutton United, Wealdstone)
Most popular colours: Red (30%), blue (27%) and white (25%)
Most popular style: Block colour
Outcome: Red shirt, blue and white dual diagonal stripe

Our final destination, the whopping 19 squads of London have given us nothing other than the quintessential British colours. While the lower end of the spectrum gave single-figure percentages for claret, black, yellow, amber and even brown (thanks to Sutton United), the much-loved red, white and blue all made it onto the London shirt. We decided to opt for a sash for the sake of making it a little different – it was originally going to be a dual stripe, but having seen its similarity to Paris St Germain’s top, we didn’t want to insult the English capital with rival Gallic flair.

Method notes

  • Every club is counted equally (not in terms of fan base)
  • Only home kits have been taken into account
  • Selected clubs have been drawn from the Premier League (20 teams), FootballLeague (72), National League (24) and National League North and South (44)
  • Shirt colours are defined by traditional combinations, not recent adjustments
  • Shirt colours aren’t scientifically calculated; 10% increments, and done by eye – no measurements. It’s a fun piece
  • Different shades of colours are combined; light blue counted as just “blue”
  • Niche (but traditional) colours are included (e.g. claret and amber). These are rare enough to not make an impact on the overall piece
  • Shirt colour choices broadly draw on information from Historical Football Kits
  • Sponsorship has no effect on colour choices and have been drawn from regional brands

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