A History of the World Cup in 24 Objects: David Goldblatt on an 1872 England shirt

| 08 July 2014

A History of the World Cup in 24 Objects: Writer David Goldblatt on a 142-year-old England shirt

A photo of an extremely old white football shirt with a red and yellow cap next to it
Kirke-Smith England Shirt (November 30 1872)© National Football Museum
“So I think the thing I like about this old football shirt the most is that if you look closely in the centre of the chest you’ll see there’s a whole series of little crotchet air holes.

“It gives the sense of how long football’s been around for: this is so far removed – its materials, its stitching, its design – from a contemporary football shirt made from synthetic material.

“You know, this is knitted cotton with a virtually hand-stitched England badge on it.

“But that’s what I love about it: football’s been around now for over 150 years and while this is completely different from the shirts you see today it’s still fundamentally recognisable as the same thing.”


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