My First Football Shirt: Jason McAteer

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The Your First Football Shirt collection is a book by the Football Shirt Collective of 30 interviews and illustrations with footballers such as Alan Shearer and Bob Wilson and fans like BBC’s Dan walker and comedian Josh Widdicombe. Here Ireland star Jason McAteer talks about his first ever shirt, along with his most famous goal in the green jersey.

What was your first shirt?
My first shirt was a Liverpool jersey, obviously! But it was no ordinary shirt. When I was growing up my family didn’t have the sort of money needed to buy me a kit – so my mum made me one! I remember her sitting there with her material and sewing machine and while it wasn’t perfect I was thrilled with it.

It was the full Liverpool kit – though the badge on it wasn’t the proper one. She sewed on a European Cup badge – it must have been all she could find – and while I didn’t love that, the kit was amazing.

What is your favourite shirt?
There can only be one. Brazil. Yellow shirts, blue shorts. I loved watching the great Brazil teams and their players. The likes of Carlos Alberto, Zico etc.

They really lit up all the major football tournaments. I love the 1970 shirt, but that was from before I was born so I’ll go with 1982. The shirts seemed like part of the way they played football – bright, bold and brilliant.

What is your favourite goal?
I’m going to cheat and have one of my own goals and the one I watched that also stick in my mind.

My favourite that I scored was the one for Ireland against Holland in the World Cup qualifier in 2001. It was the only goal of the game and one of the crucial results in the campaign to qualify for the World Cup in Japan.

The way I see it there are two types of footballers. The ones that carry the bricks to the building site and the ones that lay the bricks. The layers get the credit for the end product. I was a carrier – but that was my moment to be a layer and remains my favourite goal because of what it meant.

This interview is taken from Your First Football Shirt, an illustrated book of interviews with footballers and famous fans about their first and favourite football shirt, produced by the Football Shirt Collective.
Order your copy here for £24.99 (all profits will go to CALM and Willow).

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