Chelsea have revealed their home kit for the 2023-24 season, and they have 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.
The 2023-24 version also bears a few modern flourishes, such as shimmering iridescent gold used for the crest and manufacturer's marque. The cut of the shirt is a little more streamlined (unlike the baggier style favoured in the mid-90s) and the fabric has also been infused with a grid-like ripple weave that lends it a suitably modern look.
Midfield duo Di Matteo and Wise, who also helped Chelsea win the FA Cup twice, the Charity Shield and the UEFA Super Cup between 1997 and 2000, joined some of the club's star players of today to launch the new kit.
Di Matteo also scored in both of those FA Cup finals and the League Cup triumph, before leading the club to Champions League glory as their caretaker manager in 2012. He was given the job full-time, but only made it to November of that year before being fired. Still, it's good that a decade on he can still return to the club and be hailed as a legend.
Observant fans may also notice that Chelsea have presented their new home kit without a sponsor's logo on the front. This is because the club are yet to strike a deal with any new primary sponsor for the 2023-24 season after their previous deal with mobile phone network Three came to an end last month.
The Blues had reportedly agreed a contract with streaming service Paramount+, who already sponsor last season's Champions League finalists Inter Milan, to take over as their new shirt sponsor. However, the deal was vetoed by the Premier League, as it felt it might upset other overseas Premier League broadcast rights holders.
The new home kit is due to go on sale via the official Chelsea store on Aug. 16 and will be available without a sponsor's logo if a deal has not been signed by then.
The club said on their website: "Fans should be aware that the 2023/24 home kit that features on pitch may subsequently feature a front-of-shirt partner. The club will communicate any changes to the kit in due course."
Whether that means supporters will be able to exchange their sponsorless shirt for one with a logo on, or they will distribute aftermarket heat transfer patches to be added at a later point, is unclear.
But given the fresh, clean look of the jersey in its current state, it will be interesting to see how many fans decide to stick with it once an alternative is available.