We caught up with Simon Shakey, curator of the National Football Shirt collection and collector of match worn Wales shirts to find the best shirts in his collection.
What is your first ever football shirt?
My first ever football shirt is still my favourite ever football shirt. I got my first full Admiral Wales home kit for my 12th birthday and I apparently never took it off, well the shirt anyway. I also managed to get the full tracksuit and it actually had the cloth great badge on mine, so I felt a bit special wearing that.
Wales, Admiral, 1976-79
When I was unable to find the Wales yellow away shirt, the local sports shop, the owner got me a cloth yellow number that my mum stitched on the back. The only problem was my favourite Welsh player at the time was Brian Flynn and I was constantly reminded by my mother that was the worse possible number to sew onto the back of my shirt.
What is your favourite ever football shirt?
Over the years I have always been a big fan of football shirts and a number stick out for me as favourites at a certain time.
The Wales first home Adidas kit, was a must have. I even had the 3 stripe Adidas number 8 printed on the back of mine!
The dare I say it, the England Admiral home and away 1980-83 shirts were classics and then the Holland and Soviet Union shirts from Euro’88 were superb, iconic shirts.
West Germany’s away kit from Semi-Final v England in Italia’90, plus the simplicity of the England home Umbro shirt and therefore the identical style Wales, Umbro shirt of 1990-92 were quite striking in my opinion.
There were many stylish shirts at that 1990 World Cup but surely the stand out kit was the Cameroon home green Adidas shirt?
Cameroon, Adidas, 1990 (players shirt swapped with England player)
Their efforts in the World Cup put African football on the map but if nothing else they must have won the biggest crest award with that huge lions head on the left breast.
As for club shirts, a couple of Manchester United’s stand out, the Umbro lace up collar home 1992-94 and the Nike home 2006/07 are classics. I am also a big fan of the Arsenal 2004/05 shirts, especially the blue away, definitely the best Nike have produced in recent years.
But it always comes back to the Wales Admiral shirts worn between 1976 and 1979 for me.
As an avid (or sad) match worn shirt collector now, I have managed to go one better that my nipple rubbing nylon plastic crested replica and obtain not only the home cotton players shirts.
My first one 8 years ago was just a joy to hold, with subsequent shirts that have graced the backs of Mickey Thomas, Alan Curtis and John Toshack.
Although it is worth noting I have never attempted to pull one of these shirts over my head, that is just a step to far.
Wales, Admiral, 1976-79
Wales only ever wore the yellow away shirt twice, so they are not only special to me but quite a rare shirt also.
There was a third style that Admiral produced for the players, the aertex or tea bag perforated style shirt, supposed to have been worn in warmer climates to keep the players cool. Strangely Wales wore this in Dortmund in December one year!!
Wales, Admiral, 1976-79
What is your favourite ever goal?
Another tough one but this time I will select a few.
First Wales. Ian Rush v Germany in June 1991 and his volley against Scotland at Hampden in 1985, Brian Flynn v Scotland in 1975, Gareth Bale v Scotland last year and Mark Hughes spectacular scissor kick volley against Spain in 1985.
Norman Whiteside scored 3 great goals for me. The opening goal of the 1983 Milk League Cup Final against Liverpool, his FA Cup Semi-Final winning volley against Arsenal at Villa Park also in 1983 and his superb curling left foot winner against Everton in the 1985 FA Cup Final.
As a Welshman and Ryan Giggs fan, I have to include his wonder goal in the Semi Final, running through the Arsenal back 4 after Vieira had passed him the ball in 1999. It truly was “a wonderful run from Giggs” to score the second best FA Cup goal of all time.
The greatest FA Cup goal of all time … Ronnie Radford’s 30 yard screamer for Hereford against Newcastle in 1972. I was there and yes I did actually have a Parker snorkel jacket on to. I sadly have very little memory of the game never mind that goal. I never fail to get goosebumps even now after watching the 500th rerun and the ability to recite, like many other Hereford fans, John Motson’s commentary word for word, “and Tudor’s gone down for Newcastle … “
You can view Simon’s collection here:
Wales match shirts - www.walesmatchshirts.com
Hereford shirts - www.herefordunitedshirts.com
The National Football Shirt Collection - www.thenationalfootballshirtcollection.com
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