Monday, 21 February 2011


Not only do I utilise the interweb to enthuse lyrically about the pure excellence of watching live action on TV, I also use it to report on another great sporting passion of mine.

Who here, doesn't enjoy seeing an obscure football shirt eh? Exactly, I can't see one raised hand. Now as this is such a joy to behold I thought I'd set-up a twitter account devoted to such activity. Yes, that's correct, along with the inconsistently updated DTVSr blog and twitter feed, I am also responsible for everyone favourite shirtspotting social networking update, @shirtspotter.

The Bio of the account is as follows: Classic, obscure or unusual football shirts spotted on my travels/TV. Send me yours inc. where/when spotted and I'll RT if deemed good enough

As a service I will now provide you with a three-point-plan to the criteria which constitute “good enough” and how you'll get that most sort after RT.

1) Club/Team

My biggest fear (truly a huge fear this, sleepless nights and all) when I began shirtspotter was that people would contact me to say they'd seen a Barcelona shirt as if that in some way constituted obscure. I figure that I see a Barcelona shirt on my travels around two-and-a-half times a day. Similarly a current shirt of the majority of Premier League clubs, a Rangers or Celtic shirt, Italy, Brazil, Real Madrid, Milan etc. cannot be considered obscure. If you're contemplating whether the team of the shirt could qualify it as such, ask yourself this question:

Is it a shirt you'd expect to see at your local five-a-side complex of an evening?

If the answer is yes then I'm sorry, this isn't a worthy spot. If it is no, then we may be onto something. There are, I should point out, exceptions to this rule though. Let me take Barcelona as an example again:

You see someone wearing the current home shirt with “MESSI 10' on the back. Is this a 'spot'? No. Don't be ridiculous. You're wasting my time and your own by telling me about this.

On the other hand you see someone wearing that gold/yellow mid 80's away number made popular by Terry 'El Tel' Venables at that meet the squad day at Nou Camp when they introduced Gary Lineker/Steve Archibald etc. Grab yourself a beer and pull-up a seat at the shirtspotter table my friend.

2) Location

“Is that lad wearing an Arsenal shirt? No it's not an Arsenal shirt. Is it? No it's definitely not. I'll take a closer look.” You're now within five yards of said lad. “Yes. It's a Braga shirt! Let me tell that shirtspotter feller, he'll be proper giddy” you might think. Let me stop you there one moment.

Where are you at the time of this spot? Are you taking your daily dinnertime stroll to Greggs to fill-up on competitively priced savoury treats? If so, fine, let me know, I'll be delighted to re-tweet it. If on the other hand you happen to be stood outside SC Braga's AXA Estadio prior to their match against bitter local rivals Guimaraes then sorry, this naturally makes the spot null and void.

In the last six months I've been fortunate enough to feast my eyes upon Bury, Lech Poznan and Lancaster City shirts. Unfortunately these teams were playing at the arena's at which they were spotted so consequently weren't reported and you won't have read about these otherwise glorious moments.

3) Original/re-issued shirts

My favourite football shirts, and therefore ones most likely to be mentioned on shirtspotter are generally from the 1980's. “What's the problem with that?” you may wonder. Well you'd have to be pretty disinterested in the world of retro sporting merchandise to not have noticed nearly every (especially British) club have re-produced some of their classic shirts from this era in recent times.

In many cases these are easy to distinguish from their far more illustrious, and in many cases, less comfortable, originals as they don't contain the manufacturers logo. Some however (I'm looking at you Adidas/Umbro) do contain the manufacturers logo and open up a world of confusion for the less skilled eye.

How do you do approach the difficult task of distinguishing then? I'll be honest, there's no foolproof formulae for this but here's a couple of little tips that could help you out.

As with all spots I'd advise getting close-up to your subject. Signs of well-wornness are good. If, for example, someone's got a 1986 Liverpool shirt on and part of the W of CROWN PAINTS is peeling off it's a positive sign the shirt was bought from an allsports in 1986. If it's really bright and shiny and has a number on the back (numbers are quite often a giveaway in this situation) then it's more likely a re-issue. Similarly, a long-sleever, for me, means that the RRP was more likely to have been £49.99 rather than £17.99.

I've not actually stated that a re-issue doesn't count as a 'spot' and won't say unequivocally that it doesn't, however it's less likely to be considered one. Example time again: A 1990 England World Cup shirt with 19 on the back wouldn't be one. A 1987 West Ham shirt may be one. A 1991 Fiorentina shirt would be one. I don't think I can be any clearer than that.

Points to Note

Those of you who already follow me will have noticed that spotting isn't solely confined to that of shirts. Indeed, one of my favourite spots of recent times was a middle-aged woman in Albert Square Manchester wearing a Gremio tracksuit top. Any football-related garment that fits the criteria spelt out above is worthy.

Similarly it doesn't have to be football-based. A spot can be made if someone is wearing a noteworthy item of clothing associated with any sport. You're doing the Inca Trail as part of your holiday of a lifetime and see someone in a Hull KR shirt. Let me know. Bloke in the next office had got an Alberto Contador t-shirt on dress-down Friday. Let me know. Someone gets on the bus in an Edmonton Oilers beanie...etc.

So that's it kids. Keep your eyes peeled when you're out and about and try and follow the guidelines set-out above. May you see a man in a Brondby shirt on your walk to the station.

1 comment:

  1. I think that it is a good hobby and even among online bookmaking community there are lot of people in that kind of hobby.