Retro football shirt enthusiast launches exhibit in Glasgow

A classic football shirt enthusiast is exhibiting his vast collection of more than 150 retro jerseys.

Collector and football shirt lover Neal Heard, 49, showcasing some of the shirts in his vast collection as part of his exhibition Art of The Football Shirt, which opens at the Arches, Glasgow this weekend. Picture: SWNS

Collector and football shirt lover, Neal Heard, 49, is showcasing his massive collection of shirts - which he has been collecting since the 90s - at his exhibition this weekend.

There will be 120 iconic club and national team shirts from across the world, and 35 from Scotland, on display at Neal’s Art of The Football Shirt exhibit in Glasgow.

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So far Neal has exhibited his collection of wears in Copenhagen, London, Liverpool and after Glasgow, he plans on taking it to Paris and New York.

Heard is holding a Scotland 1990 Leisure shirt and France 80-82 team shirt. He is wearing Margate FC's new jersey which is sponsored by The Libertines. Picture: SWNS

Famous shirts from across the decades will include Napoli’s Mars sponsored jersey made famous by Diego Maradona and Germany’s iconic Italia ‘90 World Cup home top.

There will also be a rare Corinthians shirt on show, immortalised by Socrates who wore it to promote democracy in Brazil in the early 80s.

Some of Scotland’s national team jerseys will also be on display, including the infamous Scotland Italia ‘90 ‘leisure shirt’ - memorable for its garish Rosebery pattern.

Neal, who described Scotland as “football mad”, will be exhibiting some memorable shirts from the likes of Aberdeen, Hearts, Partick Thistle and - of course - the Old Firm.

The collector, from Newport, Wales, said: “The first exhibition was last summer in Shoreditch [London], then demand rose - Glasgow was long on my list.

“Scotland’s such a football-mad country I knew how much demand there was as my book sold the second highest in Scotland - so I wanted to pay homage up there.”

Neal, who has been a collector of trainers since he was a teenager, kick-started his love of football shirts by buying them from closing down vintage stores.

He said: “I loved my shirts from when I was a kid, a lot of people remember the shirts they get.

“I’m not saying I was the only person, but I was probably different in going around old sports shops buying vintage trainers when they were closing down, and I also picked up vintage shirts.

“I went to Italia ‘90 and swapped shirts with Brazilian fans.

“I have such fond memories - the memories are part of the appeal.

“The older people prefer the 70s, my generation prefer the 80s and many people are obsessed with the 90s.”

Neal says he has less British teams’ shirts in his collection, as he prefers to collect “the more exotic shirts from foreign teams.”

He said: “Scotland, in terms of the UK, has a unique colour palette with teams like Motherwell, Hearts, Dundee United and Partick Thistle.

“It’s quite idiosyncratic and symbolic of Scottish style.

“Celtic is also one of those teams who’re big for me - you see the hoops and it reminds you of one team.

“I’ve always loved the Rangers badge and the Admiral made shirts were the best - also when Adidas put the three stripes across the shoulders was brilliant.

“At the exhibit there will be two or three Aberdeen, Hearts and Partick shirts, as well as Clydebank FC because they were sponsored by Wet Wet Wet.

“I’ve not tried to shoehorn teams in for the sake of it, it’s on merit and I hope everybody recognises that.”

Neal - a devoted Newport County season ticket holder - said his favourite shirts are from Italy’s Serie A.

He said: “I particularly love Serie A. It’s hard but I’d say Sampdoria, it’s unique of a time.

“It was around the mid to late 80s when Souness and Vialli played for them. The design stays very much the same but it just seems to work so well.”

He added: “The interesting thing about football shirts is that they’ve become fashionable.

“There used to be a big collectors scene but now that’s crossed over into streetwear, with music artists and American soccer fans going mad for them.

“90s shirts are in fashion right now.”

The Art of The Football Shirt exhibition will take place at The Arches in Glasgow on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 October - entry is free.