My first football shirt

This post is inspired by the new product range at the excellent Casa Rebelde, a shop located in Templebar that sells ‘clothing for the discerning football fan and revolutionary’. It’s my favourite clothing retail outlet, their t-shirts are just deadly – plus they stock a whole range of St. Pauli gear, which is a massive plus!

When I was 9, the world cup in the United States caught my attention. The beautiful game hadn’t interested me before, I was more intent on playing soldiers and watching war films, or playing computer games on the PC – Police Quest, B17: Flying Fortress, Das Boot, Duke Nukem, all sorts. So seeing Ireland beat Italy in New York, the incredible solo run & finish from Saeed Owairan for Saudi Arabia against Belgium, Bulgaria romping to the semi-finals and the dramatic final penalty shootout…well, I was hooked. I began playing footie with my big brother every day, pretending to be the commentator as I played, switching between all the great players I’d seen during the tournament; “It’s Raducioiu here, he knocks it to his left and Philippe Albert passes across to Letchkov, Letchkov dinks it through to Amokachi, who hits it and SCORES!!! DANIEL AMOKACHI WITH A BREATHTAKING STRIKE!”

Ahem.

Anyway, during USA ’94 my mum and I went into our local newsagents in Lucan, and there I spotted a magazine celebrating Arsenal’s capture of the now-defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup the season before. I read it through the rest of the world cup, and when we were on holiday in Portugal at the very end of the tournament I remember pretending to be Merson and Adams and, of course, Wright during my kickabouts with the bruv. So that was that, really; my team was Arsenal. For better or worse, there was no way back from it.

A few months passed… All my sponge-like memory was now devoted to absorbing everything I could about football and Arsenal FC. One thing was missing though; I hadn’t my own replica jersey. The other lads in school, most of whom supported Man United, Liverpool, Leeds or Chelsea – there was one lad I remember who had a Nottingham Forest shirt, a guy who, when I was smaller and had longer hair,  had threatened to ‘squeeze all the blood’ outta my arms if I didn’t admit I was a girl. I’d be lying if Forest’s subsequent decline hasn’t provided some grim satisfaction.

Anyway. Suddenly Halloween was coming up, and I was gonna go trick-or-treating with my flame-haired Liverpool-supporting friend Greg, so my mum took me out shopping for a costume. You probably know what’s coming; I dragged her into a shop, probably Champion Sports or somewhere, and insisted that she buy me the full Arsenal kit. Even though back then it was £35 or thereabouts for the lot – approximately HALF what you’d be having to pay these days – me ma laid it out for me; either I get the kit, or a proper costume I could go trick-or-treating in. Didn’t even have to think about it.

So, on Halloween night there was Greg, done up to the nines in what I still recall to be absolutely perfect regalia in the style of The Mask, a good few of his friends and mine in various kinds of vampire, ghost and witch outfits that I don’t remember at all, to be honest…and me. Pleased as punch, in my full kit – boots an’ everythin’ – in all my Gunners glory.

I still get kinda embarrassed whenever I think of that – why the fuck didn’t I wear something else? Was I just too dumb to realise that you’re supposed to dress up as something scary or at least something thematically consistent with All Hallow’s Eve? Did I just not give a fuck? Did I wanna show off to my friends, just how big an Arsenal fan I was? I suppose that last one is possible, since I’d only just become a football fan, I guess. Doesn’t really fit with who I was though. More likely I just thought it was much easier than trying to think of a proper costume – which is, admittedly, something that still vexes me every Halloween.

Still, though. That was my first football shirt. JVC the sponsors – Just Very Clever, as my bruv used to say – with Arsenal written across the bottom of the back in navy letters in the classic script font. The sleeves were only white on the top half, but I was too young to realise the shittiness of this and how it flew in the face of our traditions…unfortunately I would become intensely familiar with Nike’s penchant for absolutely crapping all over Arsenal’s history. I loved that shirt though, even when the J and the C peeled off – I simply pretended the remaining V was for Victory!

Hard to believe that this used to fit me…

That’s the story, anyway. All that remains to be said is this; wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re enjoying your club’s marvellous mediocrity, Forest fucker. And, to all my fellow Gooners; Keep the Faith. We are THE Arsenal.

Victoria Concordia Crescit, Fratris et Sororis…

Advertisements

About Seba Roux

Gooner, Socialist, Historian, Slacker. That's pretty much all you need to know.
This entry was posted in Gaming, Politics, Sport and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to My first football shirt

  1. Thanks for another fantastic article. The place else could anyone get that type of information in such an ideal means of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the search for such information.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s