We caught up with football writer, Tom Victor, to talk about his love for West Ham legend John Moncur, the power of a sash and how it feels to win a playoff final. This interview was part of our My First football Shirt series.
I went to my first West Ham game in the 1995/96 season, and got my first kit that same year. (Un?)fortunately, that year we'd opted to release a limited edition kit for the club's centenary. It was the usual claret and blue, only with a print intended to resemble bubbles. I'm not saying the combination of the sparkly soapy look and the Dagenham Motors sponsor made it look like a car wash, but I'm not *not* saying that. At least it distracted from the 'Moncur 10' on the back, I suppose.
Incidentally one of the last seasons before John Moncur gave his squad number to Paulo Futre in exchange for a couple of weeks in Futre's villa in the Algarve, because West Ham always have been and always will be a punchline.
What is your favourite shirt?
Teenage Pablo Aimar and Javier Saviola for River Plate during the 1999/2000 season:
It's River Plate's traditional white-with-a-red-sash number. Kits with sashes are better than kits without sashes - that's just science. I've got the 2000/01 version with a sponsor's logo, and it's great in terms of conjuring up images of Andres d'Alessandro and Ariel Ortega, but the untainted sponsor-less version still has plenty of charm. Would I feel the same about a kit with a sash that *wasn't* associated with a such an exciting and flair-filled team? I'm going to lie and say yes, while conveniently ignoring any follow-up questions about Tony Pulis' Crystal Palace.
There aren't many things better than seeing your team win a Championship play-off final, and I had the chance to do just that at Wembley in 2012. Lose and you're condemned to another gruelling 46-game season; win and you're back in the big leagues. It's even better when you win with a goal that most would describe as horrible at best, so watching Ricardo Vaz Te squeeze a rebound just under the bar from four yards out to win the game in the 87th minute might just be the pinnacle of football.
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