A couple of months ago I visited a vintage clothes shop in Sheffield and saw an old Mexico shirt, I didn't buy it, but on the way home I decided that I would start this project. This weekend I took another trip up to Sheffield and made sure that I popped in again. The Mexico shirt had gone, but there were two national team shirts that I didn't yet have in my collection.
I've never gone along with this hating the other home nations thing. Infact I found myself chosing to watch Northern Ireland over England in recent qualifying campaigns because they played like a team playing with passion. Of course the home nations have their fair share of amusing defeats, and Scotland came within seconds of an awful defeat when they drew 2-2 with the Faroe Islands in 2002.
Thanks to Pat from londonroad.net for this shirt. Always had a soft spot for Pat.
Scotland - Home - 03/05
I'm just a bit bitter that George Boyd has chosen Scotland over England. He's quoted as saying that he'd never previously stepped foot in the country, which is odd considering he played in Scotland against Scotland for England C.
This is the shirt that the Russian team wore at Euro 96. They found themselves in a tough group containing both finalists, and Italy (World Cup finalists in 94). It could have been very different if Russia had held on to this fantastic comeback against the Czech Republic.
The World Cup in 2006 is the only time that the Ukraine have qualified for a major tournament despite a FIFA World Ranking of 24th. To be fair they only formed in 1992 following the break up of the Soviet Union.
I had quite a choice of Swedish shirts on eBay so went for a more retro look than the last few shirts I'd bought. There were two shirts from the same era ending just a few minutes apart from each other, and since I was going out that evening I left small bids on both shirts thinking that if I missed out on one, then I might win the other...
I finally got this shirt at the second attempt after previously bidding on a fake. Peru are the lowest ranked CONMEBOL nation, although they have previously qualified for the World Cup in 1970, 1978 and 1982. In the first appearance they managed to reach the Quarter Finals.
Peru - Home - 98-00
This shirt came from an eBay seller in Budapest, so I actually paid more in postage than I did for the shirt itself.
Another shirt from the CONMEBOL region. Venezuela is the newest CONMEBOL member of FIFA, and the only not to have qualified for the World Cup Finals, with each other national qualifying for at least one finals since 1982. Having said that, they finished only 2 points outside the play offs this time round, part of the reason that they are ranked 50th in the world.
Venezuela - Home - 00/02
That isn't a huge stain on the frontof the shirt. Apparently it's supposed to be the outline of Venezuela.
I paid slightly over norm for this shirt, but I would quite like to get one of the FIFA regions completed soon.
When collecting Peterborough United shirts I never had a problem with fakes. Presumably when going to the bother of creating a fake football shirt you would creat one for a team that more than a handful of people support.
I was perhaps a bit naive when I started out with the international shirts, and almost immediately came across my first fake, a Malta away shirt.
Although the shirt looks well made up front, the maker's logo is missing, and there is no maker's label. Also the crest says "Malta Football Team" instead of "Malta Football Association". In this case I was given a full refund and told to keep hold of the shirt. The seller says he did not realise.
A few days later I bid on a Peru shirt, apparently signed by Noberto Solano. However as I was about to pay for it I noticed that the badge had 'Peru' on instead of 'FPF'. I did not pay, and the shirt was relisted with 'Unofficial' in the wording.
After these fakes I decided to come up with some rules for buying shirts:
1 - I must have seen a photo of the players wearing that shirt so I can check the badge, logo etc.
2 - I won't buy any shirts from eastern Asia since they produce far too good quality fakes for me to be able to spot the difference.
3 - When bought abroad they must be from 'proper' sports shops.
With my Peterborough United shirt collection I needed alot of help from fellow Posh fans to be able to get my hands on certain shirts. I was very lucky to meet a number of very generous Posh fans who donated shirts to my collection in exchange for nothing more than a pint.
The advantage of supporting my local football team is that I've become good friends with a large group of like minded fans, mainly through the independent supporters association, but also through londonroad.net. For every hour that I spend on eBay searching for football shirts, I must spend twice that arsing around on the Posh forum. As soon as I posted about my project I got a number of Posh fans offering to help me with my collection, I've even been offered help by a former player! (but that's another story for another day).
Belgium - Away - 08/10
Thanks Chief Brody for this Belgium shirt, remind me that I owe you a pint, I'm sure I already owed you several.
This shirt took me a couple of goes to get hold of. I had originally bid for a similar shirt, but on closer inspection there appeared to be 6 stars above the badge. At the time Egypt had only won the African Cup of Nations on 4 occasions so I knew this to be a fake.
Egypt - Away - 98/99
It doesn't help matters that the shirt is of a poor printed quality anyway, but is the same as the shirt on sale on ClassicFootballShirts.com.
Recently eBay has brought in a "Best offer" option, you can offer the seller less than they're asking for, and if they accept you get to buy the item at a reduced price. I found a Hungary home shirt for sale at £20, and offered £10, they countered with £14 which I accepted.
The following confused me slightly: "We do NOT Post to the following Locations; Eygpt, Ghana, Indonesia, Lebanon, Macedonia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Somalia, Ukraine, Vietnam, India, Russia etc". Not entirely sure what 'etc' means he given that it appears to be a list of random countries. I'm also not one to point out the spelling of Egypt.
Hungary - Home - 07/08
This shirt came unopened in it's original packaging, labels still attached.
Always had a soft spot for Denmark, I went there to visit Legoland when I was a kid. Although as a national attraction, that statue of the little mermaid in Copenhagen has to be one of the biggest let downs.
As a collector I'm often asked what my favourite shirt is, with so many shirts I usually end up giving a top 10, and then changing my mind several times. I am a big fan of shirt from the mid 80s to early 90s, they tend to be fairly simple and 'classic' designs, a look which I gather is coming back into fashion.
Norway - 3rd shirt - 91/92
This is a match worn shirt from either a friendly or a youth team game since sponsors are not allowed in senior competitive games. This came from Poland, and due to the clash in home and away colours, may well have been from a game against them.
There are some countries and territories which don't have national teams affiliated with FIFA. These teams are either generally unrecognized, or autonomous regions of other nations. They take part in a number of small international tournaments, the biggest of which is the FIFI World Cup which was entered by teams from Tibet, Northern Cyprus, Zanzibar, Greenland, and Gibraltar.
Tibet - Home - 07/08
This Tibet shirt is one of my favourite replica shirts. It looks smart, and is very unique. It cost me £37.83 in total, but since it isn't part of the 208 FIFA nations, then I shalln't add it to my total.
I remember playing Tunisia in France 1998. I was in year 7, and Kick Off was at 2pm. We were able to watch the game depending on which teacher you had. Unfortunately I had some butch RE teacher whose name escapes me, and an overly camp French teacher. I did try to record it so that it could watch it "as live", but the cheers from other classrooms made it fairly obvious we won 2-0.
On the whole the European nations should be quite easy to get hold of. I know people who take breaks to various countries across Europe, and with so many Europeans in the UK I should think that I may find them on sale in this country. I may struggle with the Faroe Islands, San Marino, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan, but the others I'm hoping to pick up for a few quid, starting with Latvia:
Latvia - Home - 06/08
Latvia qualified for Portugal 2004, their only international tournament. They narrowly missed out on qualification for the 2010 World Cup, finishing 3rd in the group with 17 points.
Mauritius is a tiny island a long way off the east coast of Africa, and I do as it happens have an old school friend whose ex-pat parents live there. Fortunately I didn't have to have that slightly awkward conversation since one popped up on eBay from the same seller as the Kenya shirt.
Mauritius - Home - ?
I was worried from the eBay listing that this may not be an official national football shirt, and photos from the Mauritius national team are quite hard to come by, but when the shirt came it was clear that it was the real deal.
The only Kenya shirt that I've seen on eBay so far. This one is from a few years ago since the current shirt is an off the shelf Adidas top.
Kenya - Home - ?
Kenya have never qualified for the World Cup, and aren't making things easy for themselves by getting suspended for government interference. They do however have Inter Milan midfielder McDonald Mariga in their team.
The Caribbean nations are amongst those that I expect to really struggle with, so I was willing to pay a little extra to get hold of this Barbados shirt. I shouldn't think it will be quite so easy to get hold of a Montserrat or British Virgin Islands shirt.
Barbados - Away - 07/08
This one took a while to arrive since it came from Portugal, although bizarrely I was asked to pay in US$.