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February 05, 2022 3 min read

Imagine designing a World Cup winning shirt and then adding in the colours of your favourite team, just because you can. That's exactly what Aston Villa fan and former football shirt designer Rob Warner did.

And that's probably one of the reasons why Italy's 2006 set of kits are his favourite form a long list of excellent designs over his illustrious design career. Now giving back through his Spark Design Academy, Rob took the time to speak with us about his other favourite footballing memories, which of course includes plenty of claret and blue!


What was your first football shirt?

My first shirt was the 1987-88 Aston Villa home shirt made by Hummel. It was an absolute belter. I had it for Christmas. Full kit. I was allowed to be a full-kit wanker because I was eight. I drew an “8” on the back (for David Platt) with a marker pen.

Q: What is your favourite football shirt?

I would have to say Peru because that sash is so identifiable from the Seventies and Eighties. The best was the Adidas one with a honking great big crest on it from 1978.

Italy 2006 away was probably the favourite shirt I’ve designed. The technical brief was to get the players to run faster.

We collaborated with designer Neil Barrett and he came up with the aesthetics of superheroes. We added navy lines to the appearance of the home kit to make it look like the players were moving, even when still. The white away shirt was meant to be an alter ego to the home shirt. It was like a superhero costume with a V-neck t-shirt overshirt.

 

I put the coaches and goalie in claret and blue because I’m a Villa fan. And I could. So Italy won the World Cup in Villa colours.

What is your favourite football moment?

My old man is quite a bit older than me. Villa got to Wembley in 1996 and he’d never been. I was a season-ticket holder and I managed to get him a ticket. I met him outside the stadium and he was crying.


Thanks to Rob for sharing his stories with us, not least the fact that Villa basically won the 2006 World Cup by proxy!

Rob spoke to us more in a recent interview, bringing us up to date with what he's been up to in 2021. We talked about Spark Design Academy, an initiative set up by Rob Warner and his long-term partner Craig Buglass which aims to educate and inspire budding kit designers, as well as more behind-the-scenes stories from Rob's time at Puma and Umbro.

A selection of vintage Aston Villa shirts make-up part of our Premier league collection. You can browse Rob's favourite shirts and more here