With England through to the last-16 of Euro 2020, many football fans are recalling the time the Three Lions thrilled us with performances in the 1996 contest at Wembley, when they came close to glory on home soil.
And iconic moments, including Gazza’s dentist’s chair celebration against Scotland, have inspired a boom in vintage soccer shirts among a whole new generation of supporters.
Sales are booming with some of them changing hands online for hundreds and even thousands of pounds.
And younger fans who were not even around at Euro 96 have joined veteran collectors to spark the surge.
One, Ellis Platten, 23, says: “Retro shirts are much more interesting than modern shirts and they take you back to a time when the players and football was more interesting than today.
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“Although I wasn’t alive for Italia 90 and Euro 96 I grew up watching the videos, Gary Lineker and Gazza. Because England hasn’t won anything in recent years it takes you back to a time when English football was in its prime and really exciting. People are nostalgic about that era and they are buying into that.”
Youtuber Ellis has made a career out of his love of football with his channel Away Days where he posts his trips to a different match every week.
The Leeds fan, who lives in Ely, Cambs, says he treats his 200-strong shirt collection as an investment as they rise in value over the years.
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Ellis adds: “Every time a goal goes in people jump up to celebrate and their beer goes over the shirt. Every time a shirt gets ruined like that, the value goes up for the ones that remain.
“There is one shirt I would love to own and it is a Porto shirt from the 80s. That one really is the Holy Grail for collectors. I’ve only ever seen one for sale and it was going for about £2,000.”
William Dwen, 35, from London, has been collecting retro shirts since he was a teenager and now has more than 600 and a special room in his house to display and store them all.
He says: “I think the popularity of the Euro 96 shirts is down to nostalgia. That tournament was amazing, you had Gazza doing the dentist’s chair celebration, the Three Lions song.
“And it isn’t just about the adults who remember that tournament, there are a lot of youngsters who can’t remember it who are now being bombarded by the stories and they want a part of it.
“It is almost like standing out from the crowd if you buy one of the retro shirts.
“That England 96 one is unique, it has those turquoise element which are rare in an England shirt. But it isn’t that expensive. You could get one for around £100, or if you got the Gascoigne name on it, that could fetch £150.”
Dog trainer William – who runs Instagram account @_three_four_three_ dedicated to his shirt collection, says he wears some, but most of them are too precious to be put on.
He adds: “I’ve been collecting them all my adult life. There are teams you get obsessed with, players you get obsessed with and then when you travel you might buy a shirt from wherever you are.
“My favourite is one of the most sought after, the Holland 88 shirt.
“Some shirts can cost a lot of money, it depends on so many different things like how old it is, the condition, whether it is match-worn or not. They are bit like antiques. If you have a rare antique chair you probably wouldn’t sit on it for fear of it breaking.
“Instead I’ll get them out, hang them on my wall and make videos to share on Instagram. During lockdown a whole online community of collectors sprung up.”
Painter and decorator Adam Savage from Cornwall fell in love with football shirts when his parents bought him his first Arsenal one aged 10 – from the 1995-1996 home kit. He has around 700. The 36-year-old says: 36, says: “I kept all my shirts from growing up then in the last two years I began buying all the shirts that brought back memories.
“I think the 90s were cool as the shirts were baggy and had ridiculous patterns and colours.
“Football shirt culture seems to go hand in hand with the music scene from the 90s with bands such as Oasis wearing their Manchester City shirt. I’m an Arsenal fan but my brother supports Manchester United so I have around 30 United shirts and I get him to model them on my Instagram page as I won’t wear them.
If I could own one shirt it would definitely be a match-worn Diego Maradona Napoli shirt from around 1988 but that would probably cost between £2,000 to £3,000.”
Adam, who lives with wife Lucy and son Seth, four, converted his loft to store the shirts.
He says: “My wife Lucy thinks it’s ridiculous but she has actually been surprisingly supportive even though some days she will return from work and there will be a giant box of shirts delivered on the doorstep from places as far a field as Algeria.”
Original shirts from England’s 1982 World Cup can sell for up to £500 while ones from 1990, where Gazza famously cried, fetch more than £100.
Replica re-issued shirts are a little more affordable at £30-£50 while a current Three Lions one is £69.95.
Last week, searches for retro England kit were almost 10 times higher than the same week a year ago and searches on Ebay are up 136% in a month.