We caught up with Ben Croucher (journalist, producer & commentator for BBC Sport) to talk about getting a Manchester United shirt for his 8th birthday, watching Transworld Sport and the drama of the 99 Champions League final.
What was your first football shirt?
My first football shirt was the Manchester United, shirt from 1996-98. I started playing football when I was 6 and had a kit from a local sports shop. So a couple of years later when I could get my first Manchester United shirt (probably for my 8th birthday) I was over the moon.
I had the full kit to go with it too and was the envy of many of the kids at football training. I think I have since given it away to a charity shop as I’ve long out grown it but definitely brings back lots of happy memories.
What is your favourite shirt?
The favourite football shirt that I’ve ever owned is the 2003 Barcelona Nike away shirt. On holiday in Spain, we went to the Nou Camp with the family, did the tour and we got the away kit and I think it is one of the smartest looking shirts in football.
2003-04 Barcelona home football shirt
Still fits too and I still get regular wear out of it. Having the shirt bought from the Nou Camp itself made it all the more special.
My favourite shirt of all time has to be any River Plate home shirt. When I was growing up, I used to watch Transworld Sport religiously on Saturday mornings before football training and they’d always show highlights from leagues around the world.
River Plate v Boca Juniors was always the biggest of spectacles and I loved the River Plate kit and their success, with Pablo Aimar my favourite player (he was good on FIFA at the time too!) Particularly liked the 2003 kit when it was sponsored by Budweiser.
What is your favourite goal?
My favourite ever goal is a simple one. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer in the 1999 Champions League final for Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich. Not the best goal ever scored. But for sheer drama, emotion and the joy of seeing a German footballer crying on the pitch, it’s unmatched.
I was playing cricket in the evening and missed the first half so kept getting score updates whilst I was in the field but got back in time to see the drama unfold and you couldn’t take the smile off my face for months!