We caught up with football writer Amy Lawrence to talk Arsenal shirts and fancy dress competitions, vintage Milan kits and falling off the sofa watching George Weah.
This interview was taken for Your First Football Shirt – a book of 30 interviews and illustrations raising money for CALM + Willow.
What was your first ever football shirt?
My first football shirt was a mid-1970s Arsenal home shirt. It had classic simplicity – red, with white sleeves and trim, cannon, that’s it. The full kit came with huge, billowing Alex James style shorts and red socks. I was around 5 years old, and recall wearing it to a fancy dress party.
It was not the most inventive outfit compared to some of the others on show (although you didn’t find many 5 year old girls pretending to be footballers in those days). But I won the fancy dress contest, purely because the judge was an Arsenal fan. Some of those with glitzier costumes were not impressed.
What is your favourite ever football shirt?
Hmmm. I’ll go for AC Milan of the mid-late 80s. During an era when English clubs were banned from Europe in the aftermath of the Heysel disaster, and few foreign matches were televised, Serie A’s glamour was striking.
That Milan vintage, with the likes of Marco van Basten, Franco Baresi et al resplendent in silky red and black stripes, had quite an aura.
What is your favourite goal?
Impossible to pick one. So here are a few. George Weah’s virtuoso goal versus Verona (1996) has stuck in my mind ever since I watched it on Channel 4 and it made me actually fall off the sofa. He picked up the ball in his own penalty area, sashaying the entire length of pitch, past a string of opponents, to score. Such power and elegance.
As for goals I saw in the flesh, all my favourites seem to be as memorable for their intense drama as their skill in execution. Michael Thomas winning the league in stoppage time at Anfield (1989) is a personal choice.
I also loved Fabio Grosso’s goal in the Germany v Italy World Cup semi-final (2006), Dennis Bergkamp’s for Holland against Argentina in the World Cup (1998), and Zinedine Zidane’s strike to take France into the European Championship final late into extra time against Portugal (2000). In crazy circumstances he proved that even a penalty can be awe inspiring.
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