Elis James’ first Wales shirt is “absolutely lovely”

We caught up with comedian and actor Elis James to talk about his love of Wales football shirts and Mark Hughes volleys as part of Your First Football Shirt.  An illustrated book of interviews with footballers and famous fans about their first football shirt raising money for CALM and Willow.  

  • Order your copy of the book here.

What was your first football shirt?

1990 Wales shirt design

The Umbro Wales Home shirt, 1990-92. I got it for my birthday after we beat Belgium in October 1990, with Rush, Hughes and Saunders scoring. I still have it! It’s quite similar to the one England wore at Italia ’90, and is absolutely lovely.

Your First Football Shirt book


What is your favourite football shirt?

1984 Wales Admiral

Adidas Wales Home, 1984-87. Everything about this shirt is stunning – classic adidas trefoil and three stripes, and the tight mid-80s fit makes it look iconic.

We were a good side in that shirt as well, we beat Spain 3-0 at the Racecourse in Wrexham and came very close to qualifying for Mexico ’86.

A close second is the adidas Swansea Away shirt from 1981, that we got promoted to the first division in at Preston – such a classic design, and I particularly love the Swansea badge from that period.

What is your favourite goal?

Mark Hughes Wales

Illustrator:  Pol-Eduoard Flores

Mark Hughes’ volley against Spain in 1985, or Alan Curtis’ goal against Leeds, when we beat them 5-1 on the first day of the 1981-82 season.

I can’t decide! It was Swansea’s first game in the top flight, and Curtis had had an unhappy time at Elland Road – the look of sheer joy when the ball hits the back of the net is superb. Hughes’ volley needs no explanation – wow.

It needs no explanation.  Wow.”

Elis James

Pick up your copy of Your First Football Shirt here.


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