We caught up with Richard Johnson, one half of the magnificent Football Attic to talk kits for Christmas, Maradona cradling the World Cup and bidding for shirts on eBay.
What was your first football shirt?
That would be Coventry City’s 86/87 shirt…the one they went on to win the FA Cup in.
I had only gotten into football that summer, being entranced by the World Cup and the excitement of the knockout stages. Prior to that, the only real football exposure I’d had was the 85/86 Cup final, which I watched because half of my family are from Liverpool…which actually makes me realise I did have a football kit before the Coventry one!
Years before, my brother had received a “Liverpool kit” for Christmas … I added the quotes there as I don’t believe it was an official kit. There was no badge and it certainly wasn’t Umrbo or adidas … in fact, I’m pretty sure it was from a market stall, so I don’t really count it.
… So after falling in love with football courtesy of Mexico 86, I had to support my home team and when my birthday rolled round, my parents took me to Highfield Road one misty morning to get my 11th birthday present. I wrote about it in more detail here.
What is your favourite football shirt?
That’s an easy one … despite my love of wacky designs (Denmark 86, Holland 88 etc), my overall favourite shirt of all time remains the one I first set eyes on back in that summer football got hold of me.
Just after the World Cup had finished, I purchased my first ever Shoot! magazine with a WC review in. On the front cover was Maradona cradling the World Cup trophy, wearing the gorgeous blue and white striped shirt that would beguile me to this day.
Argentina, Le Coq Sportif, 1986
The two things (and this demonstrates how incredibly obsessive I am about this stuff) that hooked me were the fact the central stripe was white and not blue – a rarity for Argentina – and that it was made from an airtex material. Yes. I really do love a shirt due to the inclusion of holes.
In addition to the holes, it just looked gorgeous in the Mexico sun, especially in the final against a West Germany team in their vibrant green shirts.
It is one of my life’s aims to own one of these shirts and I recently had the chance as one came up on eBay. Alas it went for somewhere around £5K, which was approximately £4900 above my budget.
Interestingly enough, I subsequently found out who purchased it…a bloke who owns a Racing Club museum in Argentina and has loads of match worn shirts.
I wrote about my life long quest to find this shirt here though since then I have since purchased a replica that’s nearly identical (even down to the neck tag!)
What is your favourite ever goal?
Another easy one. While a lot of Coventry fans would choose Keith Houchen’s diving header, for me it’s the goal that was crowned Goal of the Century.
Maradona’s second against England in the 86 World Cup ¼ final. It may seem as though I haven’t watched anything beyond 1987, but Diego’s weaving run and sublime finish has yet to be beaten in my eyes.
While the occasion and the opposition make this goal extra special, the sheer skill and artistry elevate it above anything else.
The deft touches, the speed and the hint of a touch to flick the ball into the net just sum up everything about why football truly is the beautiful game.