The Arsenal Shirt

By James Elkin and Simon Shakeshaft


I must admit that prior to having a “quick chat” with Simon Shakeshaft (or Shakey as he prefers to be known) earlier this year I had very little interest in Arsenal’s shirts. I had a good idea of what colours we had worn and roughly during what seasons, and that was enough for me. However, since that day I have become almost obsessed with the subject, especially as the book neared completion and I had a good idea of the content.

Amongst a plethora of fine Arsenal books released this year, James & Shakey have produced the most unique of publications. Not only is it unique, it is bloody good.

The Arsenal Shirt tells the story of the colours worn by Arsenal players, illustrated by way of colour photographs of actual match worn shirts. These date back to the 1927 FA Cup final (no previous shirts are known to exist), using their own collections as well as those of prominent collectors such as Darren Epstein, Paul Fineman, Marvin Berglas and Elia Eliopoulou.

Each shirt is shown, mud and all, modelled on a mannequin and there is the story of the design, the occasion and the player who wore it. The roll call is a who’s who of Arsenal legends including: Alex James, Joe Mercer, Frank McLintock, Liam Brady, Tony Adams, Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry.

My favourite - 1984/5

My favourite – 1984/5

On top of this, Shakey and James have also written extensively about football’s first ever full-time kit man who served Arsenal for more than 30 years, the story of the white sleeves, the truth about the choice of short sleeves or long sleeves (you will be shocked when you find out who broke the “tradition”) as well as a number of other shirt-related subjects. You might want to approach these chapters with an open mind as they make some revelations that some fans may struggle to come to terms with.

You will also find out what colour shirts were originally planned to be worn in the 1950 FA Cup final, when Arsenal wore four different shirt designs in the same season and why both teams wore their change strip for the 1980 FA Cup final.

For more pictures, take a look at the twitter feed that they guys have set up specifically to promote the book @TheArsenalShirt

What I particularly like about the way that it has been written is that the shirt pages are just the right length for you to dip into whenever the fancy takes you whilst the longer chapters are there if you want to become engrossed for a while.

This book is definitely one to put on your Christmas list to Santa.

You can buy The Arsenal Shirt from Amazon and is currently available at a bargain £17.


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Or have a look at our other site: The Arsenal Collection  for more Arsenal memorabilia.

Copies of our books Royal Arsenal – Champions of the South and Arsenal: The Complete Record 1886-2018 are still available from the publishers.

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