Skip to content Skip to footer

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.

Earlier this year, they launched '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...

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.

The reception for the book has been incredible away and we've had coverage in The Independent, Match of the Day magazine and Mundial. A massive thanks to everyone who backed it on Kickstarter, shared it with a mate or has bought their own copy.

The book retails for £19.99 with all the profits going to charity and is available for purchase at the Football Shirt Collective store, The Design Museum and Magma books.

BUT, we've got a 20% discount code just for you! Grab your copy of the book here and enter the code: CALM