The Football Shirt Collective

Taking football shirts out of the cupboard and into the spotlight


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My favourite football shirt - Simon Shakey

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 -

Hereford shirts -

The National Football Shirt Collection -

If you have a shirt to share let us know on

Shirt of the day: Russia, Adidas, 1980’s courtesy of @ckm_broni 

V-neck.  Tick.  3 stripes.  Tick. Adidas logo.  Tick.  This is a classic.

If you have a football shirt to share let us know on twitter: 

Villarreal, Kelme, 2003/4 - Riquelme: a political decision

Rob Hogg takes a look back on happier times for Villarreal with this tribute to the 2003/4 shirt that Riquelme wore to pull the strings for the el sumbarino amarillo.  If you like the shirt have a cheeky bid for it on eBay.

Villarreal used to wear the same white and black combo as their close rivals, Valencia. It was only in 1947 that they changed to the colours they have nowadays, the result of the President’s son failing to get to the shop before they had sold out of everything except yellow. The Villarreal players agreed to keep the colour of their football shirts, and taken on by a revolutionary spirit, dumped their black shorts for blue.

The blue shorts stayed in place right up until 2002-03, at which point it was decided to make the kit all yellow. This shirt comes from that final blue thighed season - from a time that is no doubt intrinsically linked in the minds of all fans of el sumbarino amarillo with an emotional victory over SC Heerenveen in the Intertoto Cup.

Villarreal went all the way to the semi finals in the Uefa Cup, making for one of the chronologically longest cup runs in history. The club’s quest for glory was only halted by Valencia - giving a rather provincial ending to a tour of triumph that had taken them all over Europe.

Villareal, Kelme, 2003/4

Villarreal, Kelme, 2003/4

The boys in yellow had some big names in that time. Playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme was enjoying his best football in Europe, having been rescued from rotting on the wing at the Camp Nou. The Barca coach at the time, van Gaal, had called the catalans’ signing of Riquelme a 'political decision' - unlike van Gaal's subsequent decision to play a number 10 with no pace right out on the flank.

Alongside the reinvigorated Riquelme, there was also space on the team sheet for old championship manager legend Sonny Anderson, back for a brief cameo in La Liga after years in le French wilderness, as well as our old friends Pepe Reina and Fabrizio Coloccini.

Sadly, Villarreal are going to spend this season in the second division after a calamitous campaign last year. But to finish on a metaphor and some emotion, let’s hope that it won’t be too long before the Submarines surface again.

Do you have the Villarreal shirt? Let us know @thefootballsc or if you like the shirt have a cheeky bid for it on eBay

My favourite football shirt - Jonathan Wilson

We spoke to the blizzard’s Jonathan Wilson about classic counter attacks and simple football shirts.

1. What was your first ever football shirt?

It was that hideous Coq Sportif Sunderland shirt. White with two red pin-stripes on each side. Really dreadful shirt, but when you’re a kid and a Sunderland fan you do not really have much option.

2. What is your favourite football shirt?

Uruguay, 1970

Uruguay, 1970 (source:  Christies)

I like very plain shirts - simple, no fuss. So the blue Sunderland away shirt we wore to beat Newcastle in the play-off in 1990 would be up there for the combination of design and the emotions felt while they wore it, or for pure design probably the Uruguay shirt of the 70s - pale blue with a white collar.

3. What is your favourite ever goal?

Darko Pančev for Crvena Zvezda against Bayern in the first leg of the 1991 European Cup semi-final. Brian Laudrup was beaten to an Olaf Thon through-ball by Slobodan Marović.  Although tight by his own corner flag, Marović played a delicate pass to the right-back Duško Radinović, who flicked it inside to Miodrag Belodedici.

The Romanian, still in his own box, helped the ball on to Robert Prosinečki, who glanced up and curved a 60-yard pass down the line for Dragiša Binić to chase. He outpaced Hans Pflügler, and whipped a low cross between Jürgen Köhler and the goalkeeper Raimond Aumann for Pančev, arriving at the far post, to slide home.

Everything was controlled, precise, and yet, because of the pace of the move, it was virtually undefendable.

You can share your classic football shirts by; tagging them to our facebook page, sending us a link to them on twitter, or pinning them on our Pinterest board - and we will publish the best on our blog.

France, Adidas, 1984 - the magic square

Euro 84 was France’s first major title and it’s not surprising they won since they were wearing this really rather lovely Adidas kit.

France, Adidas, 1984

France, Adidas, 1984 (source:

The France kit had always been based on the drapeau tricolore. It made sense then when they moved away from having just a straight blue shirt, and decided to remind everyone how terrific red and white were as well. The result is some good horizontal lines.

In the tournament itself, France set up with a fluid 4-4-2 based on what they called a ‘magic square’ in midfield. The points of the square were Luis Fernandez, Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana and Michel Platini. Acting as a sort of square-based focal point, Platini scored in every game, finishing on 9 goals, well ahead of the tournament’s second top scorer, Frank Arnesen.

The team was led by Coach Michel Hidalgo, who had not held a full-time managerial post before becoming France manager in 1976. At some point between 1976 and 1984, therefore, he came up with the magic squares idea - much to everyone’s delight.

England were certainly enjoying themselves during the tournament, getting to watch the stylish French shirts on television at home. England had been knocked out in the qualification stages by Denmark and their talisman Allan Simonsen.

It’s a shame that more wasn’t known about Simonsen, as he had spent the previous season playing at second division Charlton Athletic, having joined them straight from Barcelona. Against England, Simonsen scored a decisive penalty against Peter Shilton. Readers might remember Shilton going on to have a successful international career failing to save increasingly important

In 1998, France returned to home soil. For the second time in their history, they won a major tournament, this time lifting the World Cup whilst wearing what was in essence a carbon copy of the 1984 shirt.

Allez les bleus!

Rob Hogg

Shirt of the day: Israel, Adidas, 1970’s
In honour of Yossi Benayoun

Shirt of the day: Nara Club, (Gavic), 2012/13 (Japan)

Euro 2012 countdown: Greece 2004 - solid if not spectacular

It was a balmy summers night in Southgate and the unthinkable had just happened. Footballing underdogs Greece had won the European Championship playing some of the most dour football the world had ever seen.

Much like their captain, former Leicester defensive midfielder Theo Zagorakis, Greece’s football shirt for the tournament was solid if not spectacular. Blue body, blue / white sleeves, 3 stripes. Job done. Nothing fancy. The football shirt equivalent of “if in doubt kick it out.”

Greece, Adidas, 2004

Greece, Adidas, 2004 (source:

Inspired by the dour kit choice Otto Rehhagel, set Greece out to bore the opposition in to submission with a formation that made Chelsea look expansive.

Greece made their way out of the group of death, eliminating Spain, then beating France and the Czech Republic 1-0, before making their way to the final against host nation Portugal.

Portugal attacked and attacked, and dominated possession, whilst Greece did what they did best. Defended. In the 58th minute, and against the run of play, Angelos Charisteas scored the winner from a corner to earn yet another 1-0.

Greece lift the European Championship, 2004

At the final whistle Southgate and its largely Greek population erupted, many wearing the blue and white Adidas shirt. As an honorary Greek (I grew up in N14) I went to join with the celebrations.

An impromptu carnival broke out on the highstreet with; fireworks, chanting and people hanging off lamp posts. Southgate hadn’t seen that much action since Maureen Lipman opened the Asda. Yamas.

If you’ve got a kit you would like to share with the Football Shirt Collective you can tag us on facebook or send us a link on twitter.

My favourite football shirt - Darren Byfield

Arsenal, Nike, 2003/4

Arsenal, Nike, 2003/4, Kanu

Arsenal vs Rotherham in 2003 was a big day in Arsenal’s history.

Kanu, Arsenal vs Rotherham At age 16 years and 177 days, Cesc made his his debut. It also gave Darren Byfield the chance to play against the club he supported, Arsenal, at Highbury.

“My favourite football shirt is my Kanu, Arsenal shirt. I got it after Rotherham played Arsenal at Highbury in the league cup.” Byfield told the Football Shirt Collective.

Arsenal took the lead but then in the 90th minute, Gooner, Byfield scored to equalise. The match went to penalties with Arsenal winning 9-8.

“I started celebrating [when I scored] and then thought, I’ve just scored against the team I love.”

Darren Byfield, for scoring against the team you support and for nabbing Kanu’s shirt we at the Football Shirt Collective salute you.

Shirt of the day: DC United, (Adidas), 2004/5, Freddy Adu

One for Football Manger and DC United fans

Courtesy of Jimmy Dunitz

Shirt of the day: West Ham, (Bukta), 1991/2 Courtesy of @benjilanyado

Washington Diplomats - the Cruyff turn

Thierry Henry isn’t the only legendary footballer to try his luck with a stint across the pond in his later years, we all know that. But did you know, he wasn’t even the only one to do it in a red and white number fourteen shirt? No, in fact Dutch maestro Johan Cruyff set that particular trend way back in 1980 with the Washington Diplomats, wearing this rather fetching little number.

Washing Diplomats (Adidas) 1980

Washington Diplomats, (Adidas), 1980/1, Johan Cruyff

Yes, after winning the NASL’s (North America Soccer Leagues) ‘MVP’ in 1979 with the LA Aztecs (who unfortunately had a far more boring kit), Cruyff, ahem, turned his attention to the east coast with the Diplomats, playing alongside such fellow stars as Bob Iarusci, Jozsef Horvath, Bobby Stokes, and even the great Ken Mokgojoa. 

Astonishingly, this expensively-assembled team of galacticos only managed to take the ‘Dips’ to Round 1 of the Playoffs, and Johan promptly buggered off back to Europe to play with Levante for a bit (they’re the other blue-and-red striped Catalan-speaking Spanish team).

But, short lived though your career in the States may have been, we here at The Football Shirt Collective salute you, Johan, for inspiring Monsieur Va-Va-Voom himself over thirty years later. And not just with your on-pitch skills, but with your oh-so-chic wardrobe as well. What a trendsetter.

Jake Hoskyns

The Football Shirt Collective want to bring football shirts out of the cupboard and back into the spotlight.

You can share your football shirts by; uploading them to our facebook page, sending us a link to them on twitter, or through our blog.

Bayern Munich (1999) - the curse of the away shirt

Bayern Munich lost the 1999 Champions League against Manchester United due to their choice of kit.

My abiding memory of the final is not Teddy Sheringham’s last minute equaliser or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s injury time winner for Manchester United.  Oh no.

At the final whistle, after seeing Manchester United steal the Champions League from his grasp, Sami Kuffour, Bayern Munich’s Ghanaian centre back, struck the Nou Camp pitch with such force that it registered on the richter scale.  

Some say fate was always on Alex Ferguson’s side from the moment the football kits were for the final decided.  Manchester United, winning the coin toss, wore their lucky red and white home kit whilst Bayern donned their grey and burgundy, Adidas, away kit.  

Bayern Munch - (Adidas) 1999, away

Bayern Munich, (Adidas), 1999, (away)

The German champions only Champions League defeat before the final had come wearing the Adidas away shirt against Brondby, in the first match of their campaign. Like the final it was a last minute winner, this time scored by Danish superstar Allan Ravn.  

Was this last minute defeat playing on the Bayern Munich players mind as Beckham swung in the last minute corner?  Did the grey and burgundy flash back memories of Allan Ravn?   

We at the Football Shirt Collective say yes.  

The Football Shirt Collective want to bring football shirts out of the cupboard and back into the spotlight.

You can share your football shirts by; uploading them to our facebook page, sending us a link to them on twitter, or through our blog.

Shirt of the day: Bayern Munich (Adidas), 1999, (away) 

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