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SHIRTY NOSTALGIA

Why your first football kit will always have a special place in your heart

Everyone has their own unique and special story behind the first football kit they owned

It’s a moment you never forget.

Either you badgered your parents to buy one for you, or you had a hand-me-down from a family member, or you nabbed it from the school lost property – we can all remember our first football shirt.

And with the release of the new ‘Your First Football Shirt’ book, it got us thinking about our memories of our first kit.


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So we asked around the office and wistfully remembered our first football shirts, why it was so special, and what became of it…

Jimmy Lloyd

It is 1994 and Jurgen Klinsmann is smashing 30 goals a season for Spurs.

A young Jimmy Lloyd, on the other hand, cannot even get into the Henley Boys U10 side.

Relegated to the bench, I thought it would be funny to get my first Spurs kit with my name… and the number 14 on the back.

The biggest mistake Henley Boys U10s ever made

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The biggest mistake Henley Boys U10s ever made

Alan Sugar said he “wouldn’t wash his car” with this shirt when Klinsmann left for Bayern Munich.

My manager Nigel Blodwell didn’t seem so troubled when I made my own low-money exit!

Nigel Blodwell > Pep

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Nigel Blodwell > Pep

Nick Elliott

I’m not entirely sure what my first shirt was as my dad bought me plenty before I’d even started school.

I had a Lazio shirt with Gazza’s number. I’ve seen pictures of me in a Luis Figo Barcelona shirt, and I definitely had a Leeds kit with No10 on the back for Gary McAllister.

All white, the original Galaticos

News Group Newspapers Ltd
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All white, the original Galaticos

I was the first ever football toddler hipster. The Leeds one perished as I wore it so often; it succumbed to a death by a thousand rips.

As far as I know, the others from my childhood, including the Lazio and Barca classics, are in a box in my Dad’s attic.

I must remember to dig them out at some point…

Iconic

PA:Empics Sport
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Iconic

Andrew Butler

My brother had the old classic yellow and black Arsenal JVC kit, which I always thought we shared.

My first actual kit would be Real Madrid shirt with ‘Raul 7’ on the back.

Unsuprisingly, wearing his shirt didn’t give you his talent

Reuters
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Unsuprisingly, wearing his shirt didn’t give you his talent

Fake, of course, and I bought it from a local market in Italy, I seem to remember.

I didn’t have any affinity with Madrid or Raul, but it was the Siemens Mobile kit that was synonymous with the likes of Beckham and Ronaldo.

On the collar it said ‘Non-official replica’ and I thought it was a bit embarrassing, so I got a gluegun and stuck the collar down.

I was a peculiar child.

Samuel Gilbert

My first shirt was none other than the Arsenal goalkeeper kit from the 2001/02 season, with ‘Wright 24’ on the back.

I donned the rather hideous blue kit on every other visit to Highbury, as I had to share it with my brother so we would take turns to wear it.

The shirt was so good that the wind even tried to steal it

News Group Newspapers Ltd
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The shirt was so good that the wind even tried to steal it

The kit almost immediately lost its value after it became clear that Wright wasn’t quite the replacement to David Seaman I thought he would be.

I’m not too sure what became of the kit. Presumably my Dad flogged it off at a car-boot sale, perhaps to save his son from the embarrassment of being seen wearing it in public.

A young Samuel forcing a smile as his brother wears the kit behind him

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A young Samuel forcing a smile as his brother wears the kit behind him

Adam Jones

My first football shirt was a knock off Portuguese kit around the Euro 2000 era with ‘Figo 7’ on the back.

My dad bought it from a market whilst on holiday in Portugal.

These flew off the racks in Portuguese tourist markets

AP:Associated Press
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These flew off the racks in Portuguese tourist markets

I can confirm I didn’t take it off for the entire trip – including in the pool – but it didn’t make it back to England with me because the strip was effectively ruined by the chlorine.

A heartbreaking, shortlived holiday romance.

The kit could withstand a two-footer from Paul Ince, but not swimming pools

AP:Associated Press
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The kit could withstand a two-footer from Paul Ince, but not swimming pools

Liam Spencer

I donned ‘Harewood 10’ on the back of my first ever West Ham shirt, which was fittingly given to me on my 10th Birthday.

It was worn on outings to Upton Park, kickabouts with mates in the park, and pretty much any time I wasn’t forced to wear a school uniform.

Pleasingly I was able to pass it on to my younger cousin a few years ago when he started playing football.

A kit to pass down the generations

News Group Newspapers Ltd
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A kit to pass down the generations

Michael Golson

Rather boringly, I believe it was England’s red 2002 away shirt.

I was just getting into football at the time, and with the excitement of that summer’s World Cup, my parents bought me one.

I definitely got way more use out of it than Sven’s boys did, as I recall wearing it a lot on holiday the summer after.

There’s a good chance it ended up going to Oxfam.

Model behaviour

PA:Press Association
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Model behaviour

Sean Cook

My first shirt ever was the 1997-1999 Spurs home kit, made by Pony and sponsored by Hewlett Packard.

Worn by heroes like Jurgen Klinsmann and David Ginola, the shirt often appears in a lot of memorable Spurs moments, which is why it’ll always be one of my favourites.

When Spurs used to be half decent

PA:Press Association
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When Spurs used to be half decent

Bought for me by my Dad, he was, like most footballing Dads, very keen to make me a Tottenham fan as early as humanly possible.

The fact it came from him makes it as special to me as it did to him back then.

Dive

Reuters
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Dive
‘Your First Football Shirt’ is available to purchase here, and features the likes of Dream Team’s own Alan Shearer, Dwight Yorke and loads of football legends talking about their kits. 

Also, proceeds go to the excellent CALM and The Willow Foundation, so you’ll be doing the world a favour by buying it too.