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  • by Mike Maxwell December 21, 2023 4 min read

    In our 12 years of trading there is one question we are asked time and time again. What is the most popular football shirt with a player's name on the back?

    Shirts with name sets on the back are popular on the Football Shirt Collective. Partly due to the 90s designs, the classic flock printing and how rare they are but it is also the memories they evoke.

    If you see a vintage adidas Arsenal shirt with Ian Wright on the back you immediate think of the cup final wins in ’92 or an ’96 United shirt with Beckham on the back – that goal from the halfway line.

    We have crunched the data from 10 years of trading sales of retro and vintage shirts and we have a top 10 for you.

    10. Gianfranco Zola (Parma, Chelsea, Italy)

    Gianfranco Zola nameset

    Gianfranco Zola arrived in West London with a tidy collection of honours, and he left with even more having helped Chelsea to 7 trophies in 7 years. He can chalk up another honour to his list as the most popular choice for a Chelsea nameset, with 28 sales.

    Browse retro Gianfranco Zola football shirts here.

    9. Zinedine Zidane (Juventus, Real Madrid, France)

    Zinedine Zidane nameset

    In at number 9 is the iconic French midfielder Zinedine Zidane with 38 orders. Zidane wore some amazing vintage football shirts in his career. France 1998 World Cup winning shirt, the vintage Juventus and Real Madrid galatico kits to name a few.

    Browse Zinedine Zidane authentic name set shirts here.

    8. Robbie Fowler (Liverpool, England)

    Robbie Fowler nameset

    It’s no wonder Robbie Fowler namesets have proved to be so popular (we’ve had 38 orders of Fowler shirts) when the namesets look as good as the vintage 1995/96 Liverpool home kit made by adidas. The three stripe detailing and “adidas” wordmark on the bottom of the numbers is what dreams are made of.

    Fowler spent the majority of Liverpool career wearing adidas, and as such his retro shirts continue to be highly sought-after from collectors as well as fans.

    Browse our collection of Robbie Fowler football shirts here.

    7. Ian Wright (Crystal Palace, Arsenal, England)

    Ian Wright name set

    Making his way to number 7 is Ian Wright with 40 sales. One thing the Englishman has over his fellow legends is the fact that he was at Arsenal during the adidas years. The floor of 80s/90s Arsenal x adidas shirts was high, let alone the ceiling, and the 1992/94 Arsenal home shirt is a personal favourite of mine. adidas namesets were as good as the shirts themselves too, with three stripe detailing in the numbers. We could only dream of such a look today.

    Browse our collection of authentic Ian Wright football shirts here.

    6. Dennis Bergkamp (Inter Milan, Arsenal, Netherlands)

    Dennis Bergkamp name set

    The Dutchman clocks in at 42 sales. Having arrived in London in the mid-90s, Bergkamp was fortunate enough to enjoy a particularly exciting period of Arsenal kits. Few designs sum up this era more than the 1995/96 Arsenal away by Nike with the standout lightning bolt.

    Browse our collection of vintage and retro Dennis Bergkamp shirts here.

    5. Ronaldo (Barcelona, Inter, Real Madrid, Brazil)

    Ronaldo Inter Milan name set

    Without doubt my favourite player on this list and what a career in kits he had too. The adidas PSV shirts, kappa Barcelona and even the vintage Inter Nike shirts (like the image above). Shirts with Ronaldo (R9) on the back are hugely popular, in fact he is the only non Premier League player to make the full list.

    Browse our collection of authentic Ronaldo R9 shirts here.

    4. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Real Madrid, Portugal)

    Cristiano Ronaldo name set

    Shirts like the vintage 2004 United home kit will bring back memories of a fresh faced Portuguese winger still finding his feet somewhat, but boy did he find them. This particular design was something of an evolution of the earlier Nike shirts, at a time when the Swoosh were kings of kits thanks to the Total 90 range. No wonder there have been 59 Ronaldo orders in total.

    3. Thierry Henry (Arsenal, Barcelona, France)

    Thierry Henry football shirts

    To no one’s surprise the aforementioned Henry tops our list of the most popular Arsenal namesets with 134 sales. There are a tonne of shirts which we could highlight as emblematic of Titi’s legendary career, but we have to start with the Dreamcast/Sega era. Kits like the 2000/02 Arsenal home shirt are relatively unassuming by today’s standards, but the Dreamcast sponsor completely changed things.

    Browse our collection of authentic vintage Thierry Henry shirts here

    2. Eric Cantona (Manchester United, France)

    Eric Cantona Manchester United

    It says a lot about Eric Cantona’s impact that he continues to be the reference point whenever a player pops their collar. “King Eric’s” reign was breathless and many of the shirts he wore continue to be highly sought after given his legacy. 156 fans chose his nameset, putting him just behind Beckham in the pecking order. If you think of an Umbro 90s retro Manchester United shirt, I’m sure you are thinking of Cantona on the back.

    Browse our collection of Eric Cantona United shirts here.

    1. David Beckham (Manchester United)

    David Beckham football shirtIf you’re anything like me you thoroughly enjoyed the recent Beckham documentary on Netflix. One of the key themes of the doc was Beckham’s deep love for his boyhood team, and that love has clearly been reciprocated as more fans (181) choose Beckham as a nameset for United shirts than any other player.

    Before Becks wore #7, he was in double digits. The superb 1996 Manchester United home shirt was a true gem from 90s kings Umbro, and the chunky typeface used for Beckham and co. couldn’t have been more fitting for the decade.

    Browse our collection of David Beckham football shirts here

    Football shirt index (December 2023)

    Legend

    Number of orders

    Core Club

    David Beckham

    181

    Manchester United

    Eric Cantona

    156

    Manchester United

    Thierry Henry

    134

    Arsenal

    Ronaldo (United)

    59

    Manchester United

    R9 (total)

    45

    Inter Milan

    Dennis Berkgamp

    42

    Arsenal

    Ian Wright

    40

    Arsenal

    Robbie Fowler

    38

    Liverpool

    Zinedine Zidane

    38

    Real Madrid

    Gianfranco Zola

    28

    Chelsea

     

    10 most popular football shirts


     

     

    Mike Maxwell
    Mike Maxwell

    Mike is the founder FSC in 2012, and grew it from a blog, to the marketplace it is today. Alongside the day to day running of the business, Mike is always on the look out for new vintage shirts and modern classics to add to our store!