Thanks to their explosively attacking football, recent years have seen Gian-Piero Gasperini's Atalanta side become cult favourites, and with that their shirts have also been at the forefront of more and more collector's minds.
We caught up with football writer Kristan Heneage to talk Atalanta kits from Bergamo, fake England shirts and Philippe Albert chips for Newcastle United.
What was your first ever football shirt?
My first ever football shirt was in fact an England shirt in the early 1990’s. I don’t think it was 100% authentic (see photo for why) but I treasured it. Looking back I really wish I still had it, to perhaps give to my own son/daughter but unfortunately it’s not to be. I do remember getting the shirt around the time I was first allowed out to play in front of the house, and while my skills were nothing special, I remember kicking a ball back to my Dad in our front garden for what seemed like hours.
What is your favourite ever football shirt?
I must confess of late I’ve become something of a kit fiend. While my collection only contains 4-5 actual purchases, I’ll often have a browse around the internet at shirts. However I think kits are often about memories you attach to them. With that in mind I was given an old Atalanta shirt by a very good friend of mine last year. He was departing the UK to live with his new wife in Seattle and caught me off guard with the generosity. I knew it meant a lot to him, so to be willing to part with it meant a great deal, and it’s actually a wonderful shirt. A very soft material and what I imagine a young Ricardo Montolivo wore as he tore up the streets of Bergamo.
I think I will have to pick Philippe Albert's goal for Newcastle United against Manchester United. The game itself was incredibly surprising, but I’ve always admired a defender who can also play football. In that sense he was very much a pioneer in modern English football I believe. Even now, when I re-watch, everything in my head expects him to power a shot at goal because it’s what everyone is demanding, to have such composure and confidence is amazing. A truly special goal.
Thanks to Kristan for speaking with us!
If you want to read more about the football memories of players, writers, and more you can buy the full Your First Football Shirt book. Discover Alan Shearer's first ever football shirt, Carl Anka's most cherished shirt and more. All proceeds go to the charities CALM and Willow.
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