Theo Walcott has been an Arsenal player for over ten years but against Hull he broke one of the club’s longstanding traditions.
Every member of the Gunners squad wears the same length sleeves that’s decided on by the captain and kitman before each match.
But for some reason, the English winger decided the 2-0 win over the Tigers was the game he would defy the sacred custom by wearing short sleeves instead of long ones.
Former Arsenal player and commentator Alan Smith was quick to pick up on Walcott’s rebellion.
“Interesting that Theo Walcott’s got short sleeves on,” said Smith on SkySports.
“History tells us that everybody wears the same whether it’s short or long but Theo’s gone his own way.
“It’s a long and well-respected rule in the football club. When the kitman says it’s time for long, everybody wears long.”
Theo Walcott is the only Arsenal player wearing short sleeves vs. Hull today.
Breaking the Arsenal tradition. pic.twitter.com/Ol4348p9o4
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) February 11, 2017
In 2013, former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini was criticised by Arsene Wenger for cutting off his long-sleeves before a clash against Manchester United. In a 2003 FA Cup game, the team changed from short sleeves to long at halftime, but not the substitutes, so Thierry Henry looked out of place when he came on.
But former skipper Frank McLintock said in The Arsenal Shirt Book: “As the captain I never, ever made the decision on what sleeve length we would wear. It was discussed between the players in the dressing room and there were plenty of rows about it, but it was never just down to me.”
Tony Adams also reportedly took a vote among the players.
Walcott has been wearing short sleeves in recent weeks but the change went relatively unnoticed until now because he had a base layer under his shirt.
Walcott’s move caused debate amongst fans on Twitter, with opinion divided.
Blatant disrespect of 'the Arsenal way' by Walcott today. How dare he wear short sleeves. #WalcottOut
— William Taylor (@WilliamACTaylor) February 11, 2017
Tony Adams would have kicked Theo Walcott's head in back in the day for wearing different sleeves. #Arsenal
— Sam Brown (@SamBrown2011) February 11, 2017
Pleased to discover that Alan Smith called out Walcott's disgraceful short sleeves. Finally some mainstream attention for this scandal.
— Patrick (@PatchJS) February 11, 2017
But apparently, Theo is not such a rebel after all.
Just to clarify the ridiculous over-mentioning of Walcott wearing short sleeves, he isn't. They're just rolled up. Thanks
— Gareth Bainbridge (@GazBainbridge) February 11, 2017
@9smudge Walcott has long sleeves on… but he's rolled them up!
— andy mclagan (@macca3012) February 11, 2017
But that wasn’t the end of the 27-year-old’s transgressions against Hull.
Walcott earned his first Arsenal yellow card in over three years after a confrontation with opposition defender Harry McGuire.
The two players clashed in the 53rd minute when McGuire held off the Arsenal player to see the ball roll out for a goal kick.
Walcott threw the ball away in frustration before both players faced off. Then Tom Huddlestone got involved as well.
It resulted with Walcott being shown a yellow card as McGuire seemed amused.
What's gone wrong with Theo Walcott? Used to be such a nice boy. Now he's grown his hair out, is wearing short sleeves and getting in fights
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) February 11, 2017