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Memories and Memorabilia Celebrated in ‘Your First Football Shirt’

Alessandro Del Piero scoring for Italy v Germany at the 2006 World Cup
Alessandro Del Piero scoring for Italy v Germany at the 2006 World Cup | © Dale Crosby Close
Some of football’s greatest players, goals and moments are honoured in an exquisite new publication that raises money for charity.

Your First Football Shirt is a book by Football Shirt Collective and Season Annual, funded by a Kickstarter campaign, that celebrates the first and favourite football shirts of famous fans, journalists and, of course, the players themselves.

It features ex-footballers such as Alan Shearer, Andrei Kanchelskis and Graeme Le Saux as well as journalists including Michael Cox (Zonal Marking), Jonathan Wilson (The Blizzard) and Sam Diss (Mundial) picking out the shirts that matter to them. Each account is gorgeously illustrated by Season Annual‘s excellent stable of artists and designers.

Philippe Albert scoring for Newcastle United v Manchester United. © Raj Dhunna

Reflecting on his childhood memories, Watford and England midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah says: “My first shirt was a Chelsea shirt with ‘Chalobah 62’ on the back. We couldn’t afford to buy football kits as a kid, so I had to wait until I made my debut in pre-season against Crystal Palace in a friendly for my first proper one!” While The Set Pieces’ Ian Macintosh opts for one particular Frenchman’s goal against Sunderland: “He existed on a higher plane, he transcended actual achievements just by being… Cantona.”

Journalist Amy Lawrence's moment – George Weah's "coast to coast" goal. © Your First Football Shirt

Your First Football Shirt brings together the work of two champions of football culture. Football Shirt Collective is the go-to for footballing nostalgia, buying and selling apparel, art and kits inspired by classic moments in the game, including Ronaldinho ‘rabona’ T-shirts and socks in homage to the 1990 World Cup-winning West Germany team. While Season Annual is a full-colour publication that harks back to the Match annuals its creators collected in their childhood. It combines illustration and design with reportage and celebrates the Premier League season just gone in stunning detail. The 2017-18 annual is the publication’s third release.

All the profit from sales go towards two charities, Willow and CALM. Willow, co-founded by ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson, provides special days out for seriously ill adults aged between 16 and 40. CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) focusses on tackling male suicide, the biggest single killer of men under 45 in the UK. Both charities were chosen, in part, because like Your First Football Shirt they place an emphasis on sharing memories and encouraging people to talk.

Find out more about CALM, Willow and Your First Football Shirt.

Manchester United winning the Champions League in 1999. © Guss Scott
When Pele dummied the goalie at the 1970 World Cup... and missed. © Marcus Marritt
‘Your First Football Shirt’ © Your First Football Shirt