It was the Manchester United home shirt, with the black collar and the ‘watermark’ of Old Trafford filling the shirt. By the time I got it, for Christmas, it felt like everyone else at school had already had a football shirt for at least two years. It was probably more like two months really – I was 9 – but it was quite a moment unwrapping it.
What is your favourite football shirt?
(In Argentina, 1940s, River Plate’s La Maquina (“The Machine”) had similar ideas and is considered to be the South American predecessor of the Dutch total football. Considered the world’s best team at the time, + pic.twitter.com/GNNRfK4xJI
One of the reasons I always had a vague sense of liking River Plate (long before I ever even thought of coming to Argentina) was that red sash on white. When I first came down here, a decade ago, I was introduced to Argentine football by a River fan, and they have thus become my adopted club. There’s so much choice with all of River’s old kits because it’s a classic design, but my favourite – just edging out the 1985 home shirt – is the home shirt from the 1940s, which you can see here modelled by the members of River’s legendary La Máquina (‘The Machine’) front line, along with some rather, erm, interestingly-cut shorts. It’s an actual shirt, which I love – a proper button-up job – and what’s more, replicas of it are still sold today. It is simple but unmistakable.
Sticking with the Argentine theme, I’m going to go with Esteban Cambiasso’s goal against Serbia & Montenegro in 2006. It is often forgotten now that, that Serbia & Montenegro side had qualified for the World Cup by conceding just once in ten qualifying matches, and they had only lost narrowly to the Netherlands in their opening game. I have heard people dismiss this goal as being ‘only against a poor side,’ but if there’s a reason people think Serbia & Montenegro were a poor side, it is that Argentina – and this goal in particular, only the second of the game and scored when the game was far from being over – made them look it.
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.