My first football shirt: Michael Cox

We caught up with Michael Cox, journalist at The Athletic and author of Zonal Marking, for our illustrated book Your First Football Shirt.

Our conversation spanned the globe, from Michael’s first England shirt, to his love for a classic Croatia shirt and a memorable Del Piero goal from the 2006 World Cup. No doubt you can already picture the goal in your mind.

Q: What was your first shirt? Is there a story behind it?

My first one was England Euro 96, the white one thankfully, not the horrible grey one. I don’t think it has been beaten in the subsequent years.

Q: What is your favourite shirt? Why is it your favourite?

I always like the Croatia away shirt from France 1998 in particular. It just incorporates the flag (and the home kit) very nicely into a different design.

Q: What is your favourite football moment?

Alessandro Del Piero’s goal in Italy 2-0 Germany in WC 2006. Cannavaro winning the ball brilliantly, Totti shoving him off it to play the ball ahead, the movement on the ball of Gilardino and then the overlapping run of Del Piero, the way Gilardino waits for him, moves the defender in the wrong direction before passing, then Del Piero’s perfect clipped finish into the corner.

And then the final whistle went, as Italy were celebrating – and this was only two minutes after the opener, at the end of a superb 0-0 until then. Great stuff.

On the subject of that Del Piero goal in 2006, we recently chatted with the designer of the shirt, Rob Warner. Rob revealed the source of inspiration behind the design, which comes from none other than Superman. Read our piece to find out more.

Thanks to Michael Cox for taking the time to chat with us.


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