We caught up with designer Dave Will to talk about John Barnes gliding across the pitch for Liverpool, being obsessed with Juninho and that Steve McManaman goal in the UEFA cup against Celtic.
What was your first football shirt?
My first Liverpool shirt was the 89-91 home shirt, Candy was the sponsor. It’s one of those shirts that you can’t help but picture John Barnes wearing as he glided across the pitch.
2 years later, the Reds switched sponsors to Carlsberg and I wasn’t allowed a kit then for a long time as my parents weren’t too happy about a 9 year old being a walking beer advert. At the time I was distraught, but they were actually ahead of their time as it seems a common thing now for clubs to offer sponsor-less kids kits if their club sponsor is a little ‘iffy.
I also remember being bought an Everton kit as a very young (and confused) child. Unfortunately for me I decided to switch teams in the run up to Christmas. I have no idea why, but my mum bought me a fake kit from the market and stitched the badge on herself. The phase didn’t last long as I soon saw sense and turned back to the Reds!
What is your favourite football shirt?
I’ve always loved football shirts, even from a young age. Maybe it was the designer in me trying to express himself, but I’d often look in big stores like Sports Direct when I was growing up, hoping to find a random foreign kit or national team shirt that was on sale. When I was 12, I was obsessed with Juninho at Boro and I was desperate to get a shirt with his name on the back. Because I still wasn’t allowed Liverpool shirts, I got myself a classic Brasil kit from 1995.
I still remember the bloke in the shop telling me that Juninho didn’t get a game for the national team, so he didn’t know what number to print on the back. I think we went for 10 in the end as that was his Boro number. I absolutely loved that shirt!! In terms of football shirt designs from history, Im a big fan of the classics. You can’t beat the classic Ajax, Juventus and Milan shirts from the days before sponsors. I also love national side kits for that reason. Big ugly sponsors often get in the way of a nice kit, so it’s great seeing a really well executed national team kit in all of it’s glory.
What is your favourite goal?
It’s like asking what your favourite biscuit is! Totally depends on your mood. One of the first goals I remember being blown away by was Steve McManaman’s for Liverpool against Celtic in the 97 UEFA Cup. It was an 89th minute equaliser to give the Reds a vital 2nd away goal. He received the ball halfway inside his own half and his first touch was perfect as he passed the ball, first time, around the opposition defender before running around the Celtic player to collect his own ball. He then dribbled the length of the pitch, cutting in from the right wing as the Celtic defence backed off. He glided past another defender, made his way to the edge of the box and bent a shot via his weaker foot that went in off the post.
Check out Dave Will’s shop here.