Les lives in Hull and has over 75 match worn and player issue Hull City football shirts, as well as 25 match worn and player issue Sampdoria shirts.
Why collect Hull City and Sampdoria Shirts?
Hull City aren’t a club that attract many fans from outside it’s catchment area, East Yorkshire in the case of the Tigers, and I’m someone who believes in supporting your local team. I’m from Hull so Hull City it’s always been. As for Sampdoria, I was an impressionable teenage kit geek when Channel 4 brought Serie A to our screens, and seeing Attilio Lombardo and Roberto Mancini in those gorgeous blue shirts with the chest bands made quite an impression.
What was the first shirt in your collection?
My first taste of owning a matchworn shirt came in the summer of 1991, when a lad came to my school with a rucksack full of Hull City player shirts. I bought one immediately with no thought given to the ethics of how he got hold of them. I remember walking home wearing a long sleeved Andy Payton number nine shirt with the Football League sleeve badges thinking I was the coolest 15 year old in existence, but when I got home my dad was reading the local paper and to my horror read out an article about the club having all their player shirts stolen! ‘Mine’ was confiscated by the Police, and I didn’t own another match worn Hull City shirt until 2010 when I picked up the unwashed shirt Jozy Altidore wore against Wolves in a 2-2 draw in 2009/10. This purchase was all above board and kicked off an obsession for acquiring player shirts.
Which is your favourite shirt?
Early 1980’s Adidas Hull City home shirts are extremely rare. I bid for one at an auction that was compèred by legendary Tigers’ striker Billy Whitehurst about 15 years ago, but missed out. I finally got my hands on one a few months ago and part of me still can’t believe I own one. It’s a long sleeved number 3 shirt, so would have been worn by Dennis Booth and it’s phenomenally beautiful. I’m also grateful to Classic Football Shirts for bringing me and a player worn 1991/92 shirt (with the Serie A title winners Scudetto patch) together.
Which is the rarest shirt in your collection?
Probably the oldest player shirt I own, a 1976/77 Hull City home shirt, with the thick black and amber stripes and white collar and cuffs. Umbro referenced that design with their 2016/17 shirts. The Seventies shirt will be part of a modest exhibition that I’m curating as part of the Hull 2017 City of Culture year.
Is there a shirt you’d like to add to your collection?
As much as I’d love one of the Wembley worn shirts from either the 2014 FA Cup Final or the 2008 and 2016 Play-off Finals, the lack of a 1990-92 Hull City home shirt in my collection makes my soul itch! Having briefly owned one 26 years ago, I’m desperate to get one to keep! As for Doria, now that I’ve got a Scudetto shirt, I’m looking out for one of the Phonola sponsored Ennere shirts, as rocked by Graeme Souness in the 1980s.
Les displays his collection and pens articles on his site at http://hullcitykits.co.uk/