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February 05, 2022 3 min read

For the latest in our My First Football Shirt series, we spoke with journalist Paul Wilson, who told us about the realities of getting (or not getting) football shirts in the 1960s in St. Helens. 

We caught up with Paul, a football writer for the Guardian and the Observer, to talk royal blue Everton shirts, broken noses and diving headers.

What was your first football shirt?

My first ever football shirt would have been an Everton one, bought from Jack Stanley’s in Liverpool. I lived in St Helens, but football shirts were not as freely available in the mid-sixties as they are now. You had to go to the town or city where the club played. That said, the Everton shirt in question was just a royal blue number with a white collar and cuffs. No club crest, no sponsor’s logo, no embellishment of any kind because a plain blue shirt is exactly what Everton wore at the time.

What is your favourite football shirt?

I am tempted to say the above, both on me and on Everton, but for the sake of variation I will say the Wolves old gold shirt from the sixties. I won a writing competition in the Daily Express in 1969 – or at least I was among the winners – and the prize was a pair of Matchmaker football boots, complete with spanner for the removable studs, and a football strip of your choice.  

I already had Everton and Celtic, so I asked for Wolves. I was wearing that shirt when I broke my nose in a Scouts (ie Boy Scouts) football game about six months later. I thought the blood looked very good on it, but I’m sorry I don’t have a picture.

What is your favourite goal?

Until recently my favourite ever goal was the one Terry McDermott scored against Spurs, the final nail in the coffin of a seven-goal thrashing at Anfield in 1978. I still enjoy that footage, even though as an Evertonian I probably shouldn’t admit it.  

I was not actually present at that game though, whereas I was at Salvador at this year’s World Cup to witness Robin van Persie’s amazing effort to put Holland back on terms against Spain. That was really quite something. Another header, and perhaps an even better one than McDermott’s. But it is close.

 

Thanks to Paul 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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