Football is a sport that lends itself perfectly nostalgia. You’ve no doubt had endless discussions with your mates about which players from different eras of your club were better.
Messi v Maradona. Brazil 1970 v Brazil 1986. World in Motion or Three Lions. The debates are endless – and they almost always look back in time in some way or other.
Football fashion has gone the same way, with endless nods to timeless designs like Arsenal’s ‘bruised banana’, Manchester United’s ‘Sharp’ collection, or any number of kits from Liverpool’s glory era.
Whether they’re recreations of retro kits or the vintage items themselves, fans go mad for throwback threads. But why?
Fans are natural collectors
Sticker albums and autograph books for older generations, FUT cards and social media shoutouts for the youngsters – football fans always want to gather as many things as possible to show off their support.
Sure, it says a lot if you have the brand-new kit – but you also copped a vintage kit from before you were even born?! Now that’s dedication.
Value in scarcity
Older football kits were not made in the same numbers as today’s designs that are mass-produced and shipped all over the world, so collecting vintage ones is also a nice challenge for fans.
And scouring the net for rare kits can also pay off in the long run. Sure, it’s unlikely you’re sat on the kind of fortune that was recently spent on Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ shirt but building up a collection that includes quirky items will always attract the interest of other collectors, so it could be a smart investment.
It’s a competition
At the end of the day, football fans want to win. Whether it’s three points on game day, an argument with fans of a rival club or a phony competition over who has the coolest shirt!
You might walk past someone with a two-year-old Manchester United shirt and hold your nose in the air, but look on in anger and envy as they return the next day in a gorgeous France 1998 World Cup classic.
Fashion’s cyclical nature
Maybe the explanation also lies partly in fashion as well as football. Trends and designs have a tendency to come in and out of style all of the time.
It just so happens that 2022 was a year of 90s fashion coming back into vogue – bucket hats, athleisure and football’s boom period in the UK – it’s little wonder that vintage football kits got swept along for the ride!