We caught up with Stevie Green, editor at Caught Offside and co-host of the Aston Villa Review podcast to talk Crystal Palace / Barcelona shirts, the “Blanco Bounce” and Bale scoring wonder goals for Real Madrid.
What was your first football shirt?
Technically, my first shirt was one of those fake kits out of a box that you used to be able to buy from flea markets. I had a fancy dress part to go to as a six-year-old, and was adamant that I wanted to go as a footballer, despite not being able to name a single player yet. It was a Barcelona kit, but one of the parents mistook it for a Crystal Palace shirt and told everyone that’s what it was.
My first official shirt arrived on my ninth birthday when my parents got me that hideous/glorious green-black-red Aston Villa away kit. I loved it. It had my name and number 9 on the back, and was convinced that it was my ticket into the first team. Of course, right?
I had this pair of red Gola trainers to go with it, around the time that John Fashanu started wearing multicoloured boots (and before I knew what kind of a person he was!) and I just thought I looked the part. It was a memorial shirt from the club’s Coca Cola Cup victory over Manchester United, and if I still had it, it’d be in a frame right now.
Though the Villa '94 away shirt ranks highly, there is no question as to what my absolute favourite is: Mexico’s home shirt from the 1998 World Cup. Look at it. LOOK AT IT! We will never see another shirt like that ever again. It was just so weird and flamboyant, with the giant Inca/Aztec face on the front.
I couldn’t take my eyes off it and became obsessed with that team. I look at it now and it reminds me of Cuauhtemoc Blanco’s ‘Blanco Bounce’ against South Korea and Luiz Hernandez’s flowing locks. I’ve looked into the manufacturers, ABA Sport, and can’t find any evidence of their existence anymore. I’d kill to own it in my size, but it’d virtually impossible to find.
What is your favourite goal?
This is a long list, but narrowing it down, my favourite goal is actually two identical strikes, both by Gareth Bale. First with Wales, and then for Real Madrid against Barcelona he displayed a tremendous amount of speed and strength to burn past his pursuers, who tried to run him off the pitch in an attempt to stop him.
He’s a wonderful player, the kind that makes me love football all over again, and seeing him pushing Wales towards a major tournament this year is very special. As a young winger, it was always the kind of goal I dreamed of scoring myself, as opposed to now where I’ll take a scuffed toe poke and be equally as pleased!
Thanks to Stevie 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.