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Football shirts with a story

Every football shirt collector remembers exactly which shirt he got or bought first. Gerdo van de Peppel is one of them. As a six-year-old boy, on holiday in Vlissingen, his father bought him an Ajax shirt. Le Coq Sportif was the brand and TDK showed off on the chest of the characteristic white shirt with the red vertical bar in the middle. The now fifty-year-old Van de Peppel is an avid collector of (matchworn) match shirts. Last week his book Football shirts with a story was published. Eighty collectors from all over the globe tell about their favourite shirt, including Dutch comedian and TV presenter Sander de Kramer, Richard Carmiggelt and the author himself.

Football Shirts With A Story

“My favourite shirt is the Dutch national team shirt from the 1988 European Championship. This shirt is very special for several reasons. The Netherlands became European champions, the first and still only price ever in the history of the Dutch lions”, says Dutch football shirt collector Richard Carmiggelt. “The shirt was much discussed at the time. It was even loathed for its bold scale pattern. Ruud Gullit even called it the ugliest shirt he ever wore. As the years passed, it became an iconic and rare shirt. This version was only worn during the European Championships. Only 420 of these shirts were made, just for the tournament. This one was worn by Berry van Aerle, who played in the final against USSR. Adidas shirts from the 80’s certainly have a great appeal to me. I especially love the simplicity of these shirts. The stitched back number and the KNVB logo in flock provide that beautiful, vintage look. That’s why I love it so much.”

Johan Cruijff

Comedian and television personality Sander de Kramer is the proud owner of a Feyenoord shirt, matchworn by Johan Cruijff in the 1983-1984 season. ‘Gouden Gids’ was the shirt sponsor. “In his last year as a player, Cruijff gave us the double that year: we became champions and we won the Dutch Cup”, emphasises De Kramer, who is also a loyal supporter of the Rotterdam club. “The story behind the shirt is very dear to me. I was allowed to interview Johan, exceptionally, for my television program ‘De Wandeling’ on NPO2. His manager gave me twenty minutes. ‘Well’, I reacted, ‘that’s going to be difficult. The broadcast lasts 25 minutes.’ Fortunately, I got 40 minutes, but not a second more. And if I were to bring up Johan’s failure with the pigs – he lost all his money by investing in a pig farm – then the manager would immediately stop the conversation. I kept that in mind. I was nervous when I began the interview in a beautiful park in Barcelona, but Cruijff was relaxed. Johan felt comfortable and scattered with anecdotes and beautiful stories. 40 minutes turned into 60. 60 minutes turned into 80. And 80 minutes turned into 120. Eventually, we walked until the sun went down. It was a conversation full of humour and emotion”, De Kramer remembers.

Sander de Kramer Football Shirts
Wageningen Football Shirt

“I will never forget that the greatest Dutch sportsman of all time told me somewhat philosophically that in life, it’s about learning from your mistakes as a human being. I innocently asked him if he had made many mistakes himself. Johan burst into laughter and exclaimed: “Mate, I once got into pigs…” Quickly, I glanced at the manager who was walking beside us. It wasn’t me. He brought it up himself. A hilarious moment. The next day I boarded the plane with the iconic Feyenoord shirt Johan wore in his last year as a footballer. With the fitting text: ‘For Sander. Last but not least’.”

FC Wageningen

Gerdo van de Peppel, author of Football shirts with a story has more than 500 shirts in his own collection, which he often shows on his Instagram account Oudevoetbalshirts. 38 out of those 500 are of extinct football club FC Wageningen (which folded in 1992). “I was born in Wageningen in 1974, on the opposite side of the stadium of FC Wageningen. As a young boy, we always went with our bikes to the home matches of fc Wageningen at De Wageningse Berg”, he tells. “My first shirt was the Le Coq Sportif jersey of Ajax Amsterdam when I was six years old, and I still remember where I bought it: a sports shop in Vlissingen. My oldest shirt is my Mont-halt shirt of FC Barcelona with number 17 on the back, season 1973/1974 and worn by Francisco Fernández Rodríguez, nickname Gallego. He played 248 matches and scored 17 goals. I bought this shirt on Marktplaats and a lot of people were keen to get hold of this shirt. The seller of this shirt came from the same neighbourhood as I come from and our joint-connection was FC Wageningen.”

Van de Peppel adds: “The Barcelona shirt is a great asset to my collection, but the most special shirt I have is the FC Wageningen shirt from 1980. That year, the club managed to promote to the Eredivisie. I got the shirt from Dick Martens, my former coach at amateur football club RVW, who was a player at Wageningen in the 1979-1980 season. The shirt was left in the dressing room after the promotion match, and he took it with him. He always kept it and gave it to me as a gift for my collection a few years ago. This is still my favourite shirt.”

The book ‘Football shirts with a story’ (€ 27,99) can be bought via

Football Shirts with a Story Book