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February 24, 2022 3 min read

We caught up with Tifo's Alex Stewart to talk about Rory Delap Southampton shirts, wearing Sweden shirts in hockey and Le Tissier’s last goal at The Dell. This interview was all part of our My First Football Shirt series

What was your first football shirt?

I didn’t grow up in a football-loving household – my dad and sister are huge Formula 1 fans and everyone except me rides horses as well – so football shirts were not that prized. I think the first shirt I remember a friend owning was Chelsea’s away kit in 1994, which my school-mate Nick wore with a pride at odds with its horrific design.

The first shirt I owned was Southampton’s 2002/03 kit, which I got with Rory Delap’s name printed on the back. Delap was our record signing then and, remarkably, remained so for 10 years until we signed Jay Rodriguez. He was hard-working and functional, which I admired tremendously. It was the first year I had a season ticket for Saints games too, so it was special.  

What was your favourite football shirt?

I have a long-sleeved, very large Sweden away shirt from 1994 that I used to wear when playing in goal in hockey at school and university. It’s white with flashes of blue and yellow and the country crest just below the V-neck. Thomas Ravelli was my favourite goalkeeper for years, so while I didn’t have a ‘keeper’s kit, it seemed appropriate to wear that while playing in goal.

I also love the 1995/96 Parma shirt. I used to watch games on Sunday – indeed it was my first experience of watching football regularly as I wasn’t allowed to stay up to watch Match of the Day at 13 – and Parma that season had a wonderful side. Buffon made his debut against AC Milan, and the side also had Zola, Stoichov, Sensini, Brolin, and Cannavaro. The shirt itself is a little garish perhaps, but it reminds me of falling in love with football.

What is your favourite goal?

It has to be Matt Le Tissier’s last goal at The Dell. It’s not his finest, though as curling, left-footed half-volleys go, it’s not bad, but as a story it’s almost too good to be true. He’s one of my favourite players of all time, of course, and no one deserved to give The Dell a fitting send-off as much as he did.

Papa Bouba Diop’s goal against France in the 2002 World Cup stands out too: I had drawn Senegal in my college’s World Cup sweepstake and became a rabid Lions fan; the celebration was also wonderful.

Zlatan’s fourth against England in 2012, Bergkamp in 1998 against Argentina, and my sole goal in 11-a-side football, a penalty in 1999 where I trundled from my position in goal without breaking stride and hammered it in, also rank highly.

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