In the late 1880s some well-intentioned Polish scientist invented Esperanto. You know, that pan European theoretical language that not a single one of us has ever assimilated – because we’ve never needed to. We have football. That is our common language and has been throughout my adult, working lifetime.
Fess up time: I am unusual within the MFW community in that I have been to so many countries in Europe but never, ever even once ventured out of the continent. And I doubt I ever will now.
At this point turn your heads away from the pictures of examples of my personal shirt collection, dear readers. Questions will follow at the end. This article is in the spirit [but not the style] of MFW’s Chris Sadler so you’ll have to tarry awhile.
I had a terrific suit job for 20 years. It involved getting folks to speak with me about work issues they would probably rather keep to themselves. But a Norwich City club tie or a bullet badge on the jacket lapel was always an icebreaker. Middlesbrough, Manchester, Liverpool and even Hadleigh which is very close to Ip5wich as we all know. Nearly everybody who saw the tie or pin badge started to talk football. Whoever they happened to support. Which was never us, of course.
When I lived on Mallorca on and off my immediate neighbour Carlos was Real Madrid and a good mate down the road, Rafa, was Barca. Carlos spoke no English but Rafa was pretty good. I learned a fair bit of Spanish from both of them and all through football.
I remember being stuck in a bar in Calais at stupid o’clock with the hangover from hell waiting for my EuroTunnel slot. Mine host was a Racing Club de Lens fan who only wanted to talk to me about Man bleedin’ U. In French. I didn’t bite the hand that fed me but it’s really awkward to slip into a barely-functional second language when you’ve got the skull-ache.
Germany speaks for itself. That’s a place where you don’t need the lingo. Every German I have ever met loves to speak English [okay, American] but I used to work there a lot and their obsession with football is very much equal to our own. Great folks.
So of course [cue Chris S] there must be some questions and, hopefully, answers.
Through my travels I have picked up some amazing football tops. I haven’t portrayed the obvious Real Mallorca ones I own, my classic UNICEF Barca shirt or indeed my official Espana tops from the Noughties. Red for usual. Blue for a change strip. I’m no member of the *Dandy Lads Club* but that Spanish blue top is the finest I’ve ever seen. I still play tennis it now and again, imagining I’m Manacor’s finest.
Before I ask the questions [Chris wouldn’t have waited this long] I’d love to know what your unique pieces of memorabilia are. Or were. Even if they’ve got lost in a move or something. I never had Sir Stanley’s boots or Paul Blades’ wig, but maybe you did?
I’d love to know so don’t hesitate if you own/have owned something special. Tell me.
The questions were obvious from the outset BUT what do the shirts on the coat-hangers above actually represent? Only two of the three are actually dedicated to football but there’s a twist in working out the rogue. And as for the small inset picture it’s obvious whose shirt it once was. But how did I become the proud and legal owner of it?
This time around the usual MFW prize of a stale ham sandwich and a cup of stone cold espresso goes to any reader who can get three out of four.
I’m sure somebody somewhere must have a shirt once worn by Percy Varco. Now is the time to tell us!