How did you feel when you got your first Liverpool jersey? Where were you? How old were you and how did you feel pulling that shirt over your head? When you pulled that red jersey on (and yes the first was most definitely red) did you picture yourself running out at Anfield? With the liver bird crest sitting close to your heart, did it make you feel invincible? So many questions. Here are some of my answers.
I was 13 on Christmas Day in 1991. The spirit of Santa was kept alive for my younger sibling. That year saw Santa deliver what I refer to as the Adidas Batman jersey. It had three giant white arrows coming from the top right of the shirt and a V-neck collar. Liverpool won the FA Cup in that shirt and for me, it was the first of many in my collection. Putting on that shirt for the first time made me feel like I could best anyone on the pitch. I could run faster, jump higher, tackle harder, and score all the worldies I wanted. In my eyes, I was unbeatable. I was the epitome of my Irish Liverpool hero, Ronnie Whelan.
First Shirt But Not The Last Shirt
My next jersey was the white shirt with green sleeves and black Batman arrows coming from both sides of the bottom of the shirt. It was special in that I bought it during my first trip to Anfield in 1995. The kit was on sale and I bought the matching shorts as well. By the time I was playing soccer back in school, I had the number 25 and the name Ruddock on the back. Was I similar to the fearless hardman as a central defender? Most definitely not, but it was truly a great jersey. It survived many, many years.
As I got older, I started getting part-time jobs and was able to save a little bit of money. Buying a home shirt the day it came out would turn into a tradition every couple of years. I had every home shirt from 1996-1997 through 2014-2015. Back in 1996, the home kit would get a run of two seasons. I would pick up an away kit periodically as Christmas and birthday presents or if the design really appealed to me. Regardless of age, the first time you pull that new shirt on, the feeling never changes. I am older now and the dream of playing for the mighty Reds has faded. But still that feeling of putting the shirt on can make the hairs stand on the back of your neck.
The 1996-1997 Reebok strip was a gorgeous shirt. I can still see Robbie Fowler scoring the winner in the 4-3 win over Newcastle in it. The treble-winning shirt of 2001 was a simple but really great shirt that arguably inspired another favourite, the 2019 New Balance jersey we wore against Barcelona on that glorious night.
The Adidas shirt of 2006-2007 had a strange collar, but as a jersey, it fit just like a glove. Sadly this was what we wore when we tasted defeat in the 2007 Champions League final. Speaking of heartache, the 2013-14 jersey had everything right about it except for the memories. The color, the style, and the fit were fantastic. It had red, white, and yellow and was a true Reds kit. Unfortunately, that kit saw the slip when all seemed to be ours.
The 125-year anniversary jersey was another gorgeous top, but sadly it too does not have the perfect memory to attach to it. It was a beacon of our relaunch as Champions League marvels, but ultimately was met once again with defeat.
As of now, the apex of the jersey mountain is that aforementioned kit from that special night against Barcelona.
Times Have Changed
Unfortunately, jerseys have become expensive over the years. Seeing different styles attached to player fit and fan edition shirts is really disappointing. I love the idea of buying directly from the club, and I used to, but now it is not always feasible. As I have grown older, I have ventured into training tops, polo shirts, and other offerings. But what do you do with all these built-up over the years? Living in Florida, I have shared many with friends and even used some for pajamas or swim shirts at the pool.
One of my biggest regrets, and this will illustrate how drastically prices have changed, was not buying the orange jersey from 1994-1995. It was on sale for five pounds in the club shop. The shirt was a horrible orange and gold color mashup but for a fiver, I should have always picked it up!
What was your favourite top? Alternatively, what one would you did you not even give a second look at in terms of purchase? For reference to any of the jerseys I talked about and more, you can click this link right here: https://www.footballkitarchive.com/liverpool-fc-kits/