If, like me, you’re always looking around the Internet for those hard to find football shirts from your past, frustrated as someone gazumps on you on e-bay for the classic 1987 Tottenham away kit with 3 seconds to go, then there has to be only one website for you to visit: www.classicfootballshirts.co.uk
To say it’s extensive doesn’t do it justice, this is a site that has kits from the 1970’s up to the 2004-2005 season, all originals, no fakes and no re-issues. It’s a football fans dream, a real goldmine of memories for people like me who were placed as the football boom really returned in the late 1980’s in the UK. The 1980’s were when the kits got trendier, sponsors names started appearing all over the place and away and third kits began to appear for the first time.
It also saw the boom period for when people actually wanted to buy replica kits, a strange concept to us these days that football merchandise at the beginning of the decade seemed to consist of bland scarfs, hats, rosettes and gloves in your teams colours.Between 1987 and 1990, the football shirt fashion came from out of nowhere, now its seen as normal.
I just love browsing the site, clicking here and there on link after link after link, each one reminding me of certain moments of my footballing life, like a polyester time capsule, bursting with memories about the girls I kissed at the time, the music I was listening to, the great players and the world around me. So, I thought I’d ask the Doug, one the guys behind this wonderful website a few questions:
Paul : First of all, thanks for taking the time to talk about the website with me, I really appreciate it. So, to anyone out there who doesn’t know about you, what can you tell us about www.classicfootballshirts.co.uk?
Doug : We are essentially an online shop which sells original and official replica shirts for a wide selection of clubs and national teams from all around the world, from the late 1970’s through to the 2000’s. For the big teams, we stock quite large quantities of home, away and third shirts from many different seasons in a range of sizes. But we try to offer something for everyone from Manchester United to Accrington Stanley, AC Milan to Bari, Boca Juniors to Chicago Fire, England to the USA.
Paul : I’m amazed at some of the kits you’ve got on the site, what gave you the idea to start?
Doug : The two directors of the site were both students when the idea came about and to make ends meet, realised there was money to be made in original, vintage football shirts. The company has grown from this very small base to a relatively large online store stocking close to 10,000 shirts!
Paul : I’m a bit of a football shirt collector, with probably about 80 to 100 myself, but what are the site’s top sellers?
Doug : The most popular shirts are the Holland home shirt from their famous triumph at Euro 88, the Manchester United Newton Heath design away kit from 1992-1994, Liverpool shirts from the time of their last league title, the Arsenal kit worn on that glorious night at Anfield in 1989, the England home shirt from Spain 82 and generally anything that has a great design, sparks memories of great victories or shirts that are very obscure.
Paul : How do price the kits that you sell on the site?
Doug : The shirts are priced first and foremost on the rarity. If it will take us a year to source another one then we have to charge a price for it that takes that into consideration. After that, it goes down to size and condition. Shirts have to be suitable for an adult to fit into really and the most popular sizes are M, L and XL. We try to stock shirts in excellent condition, this means that they may have been worn in the time between when they were first purchased in the shop in whatever year and when they arrive with us, but don’t really show any real signs of this and are great examples for their age.
Paul : Do you just sell replica kits?
Doug : We also sell shirts that have been worn by players. These bear a number of different features that set them apart from the replica kits that you could buy in the shop. We have people who have had the shirt thrown to them in the crowd, handed to them at the training ground or passed on from a family friend etc, selling these type of shirts to us. In the past we’ve had some great items worn by quite a few legendary players.
Paul : So what are your personal favourites and what are the fashion disasters?
Doug : A favourite of mine are the tiger skin pattern design shirts worn by Hull City between 1992 and 1995, but they are only for the brave to wear them really! All of the Italian club and national kits from the late 80’s and early 90’s have a great style and class to them. As for a design that’s pretty shocking, look no further than the infamous grey Manchester United away shirt from the 1995-96 season. Ferguson blamed the shirt for United trailing 3-0 at half time against Southampton at the Dell and they were never seen again!!
Well Doug, thank you very much for spending some time talking about your fantastic website with me and the readers of epltalk.com. All the best for the future and if I can recommend one website out there for fans, collectors or just curious fans who want to get a feel about how kits have moved on in the last 30 years, www.classicfootballshirts.co.uk certainly ticks all the boxes.