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.
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.