First off let me start by saying hello and thank you for stopping by to have a read of my ramblings of what has become not only an obsession, but almost a way of life for me now. Secondly, I have to say it is an absolute honour to be asked to scribble together some of my thoughts, memories and feelings for you to, hopefully, enjoy. As you may, or may not know, ‘Talking Kit’ is all about speaking to those within this wonderful community of ours and hearing about those stories and memories that surround football shirts that we are all so familiar with. Being allowed to be a little bit self indulgent once a month and be on the other side of the coin is something I am relishing. 

Now to tell you about what this shirt show will be all about. There are so many shirts that mean a lot to me, whether that’s because of a goal, a player or something that doesn’t have anything to do with football. With this in mind I thought I would choose one football shirt each month and tell you a little story on why I love it. 

        The first shirt had to be one that was a first for me in a couple of ways. The first club shirt I ever owned that wasn’t Man Utd and was also from a European team. So we start by going back to 1996 and a young Double A on a trip to Manchester City Centre with his Granny for her to take an exam for her nursing job. Now I should tell you that as a kid my Granny spoilt me. Any interest I had, she backed it. Ice Hockey? I had all the gear. You want a pager at 14? I got one. So after my Gran had finished her test we went walking around the shops in a busy Manchester. Now during this time there was only one shop I wanted to visit and it was a sports store called ‘Hurleys’. I’d never seen anything like it before. Upstairs it looked like your typical high street fashion store stocking brands like Lacoste & Fred Perry. Once you headed to the basement it was like walking into the Classic Football Shirts store you can find on Deansgate today. Gracing the hangers were Juventus, PSG & Barca shirts. It was a dream come true for any young football fanatic. Now all I had to do was get one!

Like I said earlier, my Granny spoilt me. I used to get most, if not all the United shirts when they came out but I would never outright ask for something. You had to hint at it. Looking through the shirts I didn’t even know which I wanted….and then I saw it. Looking back at me was the 95/96 Ajax away shit. Now before then my main experiece of Ajax was watching them winning the European Cup the previous year and also lying to my new class mates that I had played in the Ajax academy when I started secondary school. All I knew now was that this was the shirt that I needed in my life. 

The details of how I convivnced my Gran to buy it for me escape me now but whatever I did worked. Everything else about that day is as clear as day. I remember the song that was playing on the radio as we left the city centre (‘How Bizarre’ by OMC) and where we went from there. For any ‘Talking Kit’ fans, it was to GK Sean’s house. I wore this shirt all the time and loved the attention I got because it wasn’t United or City. The dark green and classic Umbro collar really drew me to this shirt and the giant Ajax crest printed within it was enough to make me change my name to Cryuff, if I was old enough to do such a thing. 

I can’t say I’m a huge Ajax fan but I have such a soft spot for the club since that grey day in Manchester when I ventured into football shirt heaven and started something that 27 years later I would be telling you about right now. The Ajax 95/96 will always be a shirt that makes a top 10 list of mine and it’s one that is currently top of my grail list to own again. To most their just colours and garments that football teams wear for 90 minutes once or twice a week, but to us collectors, they mean everything. How bizarre.  

(By DoubleAFutebol on Twitter)