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February 05, 2022 2 min read

As any long-term football shirt fan will likely know, the first shirt you ever pick-up will come as part of a full kit. While it might be a faux-pas now, we'll allow a pass for under-12s. Jack Lang, our latest chat for the My First Football Shirt series, was one of the recipients of a full kit, as he received a Manchester United kit from 1996.

We caught up with Jack, a writer for The Athletic, to talk about ageing Manchester United shirts, France World Cup shirts and Ronaldinho scoring optical illusions for Barcelona.  


What was your first football shirt?


I was given the fullManchester United 1996/97 home strip for my birthday as a kid. The shirt hasn’t aged very well… the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ text right in the middle at the bottom seems especially odd.  Plus, there was a button on the collar that used to dig into your skin when you controlled the ball with your chest.  Not ideal.

What is your favourite football shirt?

I’ve got a huge soft spot for France's kit at the 1998 World Cup, but I think they actually perfected the formula a year or two later with this number. The bold red line is still there but there’s a lot less clutter on the front with those white lines removed. The collar is done well, too, which I think is where loads of football shirts fall down.


What is your favourite goal?

Ronaldinho for Barcelona against Chelsea. Not because it’s especially beautiful, but because it actually took a replay or two to work out what he’d done. It was almost an optical illusion of a goal… and it’s no wonder Carlo Cudicini couldn’t save it if TV audiences could barely understand it.


Thanks to Jack for speaking with us! 

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