Mittwoch, 30. November 2016

Serbia and Montenegro



Ivan Ergic (FC Basel | Switzerland)
vs. Ivory Coast (0:2) | WC2006 in Germany
Today I can finally add something to a category that does not find much love in my blog: ex-FIFA countries. Obviously that pool is extremely limited with only 17 nations that did not simply re-name, but left FIFA (and most of the times re-joined as several split follow up nations).
Some of them, like the Mandatory Palestine national team, disappeared long time before football shirts became a collectible or the term "merchandising" was invented. Others, most prominently the big "collective states" only fell recently, meaning during the last 25 years.
One of those fallen collective states was Yugoslavia, which split up into a bunch of small republics and the "rest", which was initially called Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and later relabeled to Serbia and Montenegro. The latter even qualified for the World Cup in Germany, but fell apart again before the tournament kicked off.
This resulted in a very odd situation: Before the matches the national anthem of Serbia and Montenegro "Hej Sloveni" was played and the players professionally ignored this usually festive moment. The reason is simple: Serbia at that time already had the national anthem Boze pravde and Montenegro Oj, svijetla majska zoro, both different to the old common anthem.

Tunisia 2



vs. England (0:2) | World Cup 1998 in France
African matchworn shirts are somehow especially hard to get hold off, even from the classical grands of the continent, like Tunisia. That said, I did not really have a chance when this absolutely beauty of a Tunisia shirt was offered to me by an English collector.
However, this is one of the shirts I need your help with! It is definitely a player shirt and, knowing the source, I do not have much doubt about it being matchworn, but I cannot find any picture of the shirt in use without a front number and match details. Actually the only match I find pics of is the above World Cup match from 1998 vs. England.
Can you help?

South Sudan 3



Dominic Pretino (Al Khartoum SC | Sudan)
vs. Mauritania (1:1) | WC2018 qualifier | 2016 in South Sudan
 

Here it is, my second Russia2018 matchworn shirt! And what a shirt! It is the one of the youngest nation in the world and the only one that initially tries to qualify for a World Cup in its history.
The qualifier campaign of South Sudan wasn't too long with only a two-leg duel with Mauritania, which they lost abroad in Nouakchott after drawing at home in Juba. The goal that gave South Sudan the equaliser at home was scored by Dominic Pretino, who wore exactly this shirt during the match in Juba.
From Juba the shirt was returned to the company that initially produced it - AMS Clothin in Australia. From Australia it came straight to Germany to my friend Andreas, who again sold it to me.
I am still not too much of a fan of the light fabric and the sublimated logos on that older AMS shirt (the newer ones are of higher quality!), but of course the story and provenance of the shirt make it a true highlight of my collection!
All my thanks go to Andreas and Luke for this one!

Montenegro 2



vs. Japan (0:2) | Kirin Cup 2007 in Japan
Montenegro is surely one of the most amazing countries in Europe. Wedged between the mountains and the sea it features everything a seasoned traveller like me is looking for. I would always return to this amazing country and especially to Kotor!
The shirt looks basically like any other Montenegro shirt ever looked, but it has 3 thrilling features, except for being matchworn:
1. It is the first shirt the young nation ever wore. So, just like my Belarus 12 shirt, this might be a shirt worn in a "first ever" match, but I do not know that for sure here. Still, the fact that this is the first ever design any Montenegro team ever used is very special indeed. Try to get the first ever England shirt! Matchworn!
2. The shirt is not one of your usual Adidas/Puma/Nike templates that rising national teams usually have to wear. Instead Montenegro just stormed to the very next sport shop, in Serbia, and grabbed a few shirts of the Serbian brand Da Capo in their prefered colours. As far as I know this is the only time that this small brand made it to the international stage.
3. This design was used, amongst other matches, in the Kirin Cup, an amazing tournament most people probably never heard of. The Kirin Cup is a Japanese invitational tournament, sponsored by the Japanese brewery Kirin. Even more extraordinary is that the current holder of the tournament was Scotland (yes, seriously) when Montenegro landed in Japan in 2007. It must have been the last tournament ever won and the first Montenegro finished last.

Greece 2



Christos Patsazoglou (Olympiakos)
vs. Germany (2:4) | WC 2002 qualifer | 2001 in Germany
Another shirt that looks dull to boring on the first view, but is absolutely amazing to me personally. The main reason is that still my personal Holy Grail is a matchworn Klose shirt from his second ever national team match - a 4:2 qualifier win over Greece. As you might have guessed, this shirt comes from exactly the same match! I got this shirt from a football-business-involved ebay seller, who sold multiple matchworn shirts months ago.
The shirt was worn by Christos Patsazoglou, one of those old-fashioned defenders in the Greece squad. Luckily Christos could not help his team to avoid the 4 goals against his team as this crucial win was extremely important for the struggling German team at this time.
Finally, this is of course the first matchworn Greece national team shirt I do have and thus is a perfect addition to my collection!

Denmark 3



Dennis Rommedahl (Ajax | Netherlands)
vs. Japan (1:3) | WC2010 in South Africa,
Denmark is one of those countries in World Football I absolutely have no emotions for for some reasons. I never cheer for or against them, but see them totally neutral. Actually I do not care too much about them.
Still, I had to get this amazing matchworn and signed shirt of Per Kroldrup as it was for sale cheaply for only 50€ by a German ex-collector.
I am not sure from which match exactly the shirt and I got crazy over searching pictures of Kroldrup wearing the number 2, so I simply decided to tuck in some picture of the shirt in use. The picture is from one of those matches were Denmark played an uninspirational, not to say boring, football in the South African World Cup in 2010.

Cape Verde 2



Nelson Vega (Naval | Portugal)
vs. Portugal (1:4) | friendly 2006 in Portugal
"Cape Verde 2" doesn't quite describe the awesomeness of this shirt. "Matchworn Cape Verde" would neither. Instead, "Pele matchworn shirt" does! Yip, this shirt was actually worn by the football player Pele in an international football match!
However, it is not the million dollar shirt I got here. Because it is not "that" Pele, but Pedro Miguel Cardoso Monteiro, commonly known as Pele, who spend most of his career in the UK. He played for all the grands in the UK: Falkirk, MK Dons, WBA, Southampton, Hednesford Town, Northwich Victoria and so on. He is still earning his money with football at an age of 38 years now, playing for AFC Totton, an English 8th Division club. During this outstanding football career he made 11 appearences for the Tubaroes Azul, the Cape Verde national team, as well, after rejecting several call ups earlier in his career. In one of those matches he then wore this amazing shirt and gave it to "Woggy", as it seems. I have no idea who that is, but he had no love for Pele matchworn shirts and passed it on to an English collector, who then sold it on to me.
I am more than happy to give this amazing shirt a durable home and will not pass it on - promised!

Belarus 12



vs. Ukraine (1:1) |  friendly 1992, 1-1 in Belarus
I always wonder if there any regular readers or followers of my blog. But if there is anyone out there following me closely he (let's face it, no women would follow footy shirts) will think "Dafuq? Doesn't he have like 421798570923 Belarus shirts, most of them matchworn, already?"
The answer is "yes, of course, 11 of them!". Furthermore, I do not have any special relation to Belarus and it is usually one of the hardest to get from all the UEFA countries (seriously!). But somehow those shirts get thrown at me regularly for some obscure reason. I promise, it is not like I am chasing Belarus, but Belarus is chasing me and I am not able to escape! You don't believe? Well, let me tell you the story of this stunning piece of polyester:
A German ebay seller was selling off his whole collection and was mainly concerned about finding a buyer who would credit his shirts. I wrote him for totally different shirts (like Romania 4 and Albania 3) and he wrote me that he has "more matchworn national shirts from players that used to play in Cologne or Aachen and you can have them all for 50 bucks each". I found myself googling national team players of Cologne and Aachen for hours and of course had to agree to buy all of his 6 matchworn national team shirts. This is one of them and he got it from Andrey Yusipets, a former Aachen player, who happened to be Belorussian suddenly, when the USSR broke apart. Being a reserve player in Aachen, in the Second Division, he would have never played for the USSR or GUS, but suddenly he got recently called up to play international footy!
This shirt, however, is not worn by himself, as this design was only used in a single match as it seems: A 1:1 friendly of Belarus vs. Ukraine in 1992. If you understand anything about the USSR or global politics you might recognize that 1992 wasn't exactly ages after the USSR collapsed.
Doing further research things turned out to be even better: This shirt was in fact worn in the first ever official (FIFA-recognised) football match of the nation Belarus. WOW! This shirt was worn in the second a football nation was born and I am absolutely delighted to own this historic piece!
The match picture is from a Belorussian football page, who simply scanned an old Belorussian newspaper, thus the poor quality. And yes, it is a Black-White-Russian picture (I know it hurts).
I hope you understand now, why it was impossible to NOT buy this piece for 50€ and I do not regret it at all, but it will be my last Belarus shirt for a while, maybe...

Romania 5



Paul Codrea (AS Siena | Italy)
vs. Belarus (3:1) | EC2008 qualifier | 2007 in Belarus, player Paul Codrea (AS Siena)
And just another Romania shirt! Again matchworn and again worn by the legendary Dorinel Munteanu. This time, additionally, he signed the shirt as well. And this, at least for me, is the ultimate shirt condition: matchworn, with patches and signed by the player who wore it (not the whole squad, please).
Again the shirt came from a German ebay seller selling off his whole collection for not more than 50€ and again he got it straight from Dorinel, who lived and played for Cologne forever.
This shirt is very special in another way: It was worn in the very last competitve match Dorinel ever played for Romania at an age of 39. The only match following was a friendly in Germany.
Surely, this one is another highlight of my whole collection and I still cannot believe how lucky I was meeting that incredible ebay seller!

Romania 4



Viorel Moldova (Grashoppers | Switzerland)
vs. Lithuania (1:0) | WC 1998 qualifier | 1997 in Lithuania
Finally a matchworn Romania shirt! Well, I had one alread, but this one beats the old one by far, of course.
Again it came from a German ebay seller, who got rid off his collection and again it only cost me 50€. He got the shirt from Dorinel Munteanu, or the "everlasting Dorinel" as they call him in Cologne.
You can find the shirt everyone on the internet and especially on ebay (not matchworn, though), but it was ridicolously hard to find a picture of it in use. After hours of watching every bloody WC 1998 qualifier match of Romania on youtube I have to come to the conclusion that the shirt was only ever worn in a single match: In a qualifier match in Lithuania, which Romania closely won thanks to Moldovas (not the whole country) goal.
Unfortunately, this shirt also proofs that there is something wrong with my "Romania 3" shirt - I will look deeper into this the following days to find out if it is a simple fake or a legit fan shop version.

Dienstag, 29. November 2016

Albania 3



Rudi Vata (Apollon Limassol)
vs. Germany (3:4) | WC 1998 qualifier | 1997 in Germany
 This shirt is again matchworn, like my second Albanian shirt, and comes from a player who used to play next to my own home: Clirim Bashi! Mr Bashi did not exactly have a perfect career and mainly played in lower (and lowest) League clubs in Germany, but he made it to Allemania Aachen at least, the all time top performer of the Second Division.
During his spell with Alemannia he got part of the national team and played 3 international matches, including the remarkable 3:4 loss vs. reigning European Champion Germany.
However, that did not impress Clirim too much as it seems, as he later paid fees regularly to avoid playing with Albania and staying with Allemannia instead.
All my thanks for that beauty go to "Bischoffinger", an ebay seller who collected shirts on his own for 20 years and now sold them off on ebay. I chatted a lot with him and he must be the nicest seller on ebay I ever came across. He was more concerned of a buyer who could value the beauty of his shirts than the cash and thus we agreed on a good price for a larger bundle, making this amazing Albania shirt not more expensive than 50€, including the shipping!

Albania 2



Rudi Vata (Energie Cottbus, Germany)
vs. Azerbaijan (1:0) | Rothmans International Football Tournament 2000 in Malta
I am perfectly happy with this absolute cracker of a shirt. I have to admit that it is a dull design, but to be fair, which Albania design before 2016 wasn't totally dull?
Much more important to me is that this is actually a matchworn shirt of Albania, something extremely special to me. I have been to Albania in 2013 and the Albanian People seriously left their mark in my mind as one of the most welcoming, warm and friendly people I ever met. Nothing is perfect in Tirana, but the city is still my favorite in Europe, as it is has this overwhelming charme that will make you never forget it. A crazy town you just have to see and experience once in your life!
So, being mentally connected to Albania in some way, I always wanted to add a proper, say a matchworn, shirt to my collection and here it is!
But, wait for it, there will be more ;)