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Meet the man using football shirts to get people talking

With the World Cup around the corner, what better time is there to revel in football culture and recall our favourite football shirts?

Football Shirt Collective is the place to do this – a destination for those who can’t get enough of football nostalgia, celebrating and selling vintage football shirts, t-shirts, art and apparel inspired by classic football moments.

This summer they’re launching ‘Your First Football Shirt‘, an illustrated book collating interviews with footballers and famous fans about their first and favourite football shirts, with the profits going to two charities: CALM and The Willow Foundation. Here’s Mike Maxwell to tell us a bit more about the book…

Mike the founder of the FSC rocking his favourite Arsenal 1992 shirt

Growing up I loved football shirts. My pals and I collected them but as we got older we played less football, couldn’t wear them to work and didn’t wear them out on a Saturday night. So I started up the Football Shirt Collective as a place for people to show off the shirts in their collections.

Over the years we’ve interviewed footballers and famous fans about their first shirts and we’ve found everyone remembers theirs and has a story about it. Remembering what it felt like to wear it, who gave them it and the player it reminds them of.

Your First Football Shirt is an illustrated book of 30 interviews with footballers and a bunch of legends. I’ve been working on the project for the past few months collating and building interviews, then working with the team at SEASON ANNUAL and illustrators to bring them to life.

I want the profits to go to a good cause so I’ve partnered with two charities: CALM and The Willow Foundation. We chose CALM as, not only are they talking to men under 45 (our audience), our book is also about getting people to talk and share their memories – something we know is a core part of CALM.

We got a great blend of footballers and famous fans involved in Your First Football Shirt: Alan Shearer (Newcastle United), Bob Wilson (Arsenal), Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford), Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze (Lionesses).

As for my first shirt, it was the 1991 Arsenal shirt made by Adidas. It had a red mottled feel, JVC sponsor and AFC sewn in the trim. It was the year I really got into football, following the Italia 90 World Cup. I remember wearing it trying to be like Ander Limpar.

Back the campaign here.

Find out more at footballshirtcollective.com and follow Mike on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

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