Author Archive


2022-2023 New Shirts

Yes, it is that time of the year again when clubs large and small start launching their shirts for next season. This year is no different from any other and I am pleased to showcase some of early “arrivals.” Over the next few weeks I will feature many of the more interesting shirts from around the world. Enjoy!

Fraser Forster – Spurs
Spurs 2022 -2023
Manchester United

Unsurprisingly, Manchester United were hot off the mark. You have a chance to win a shirt here


Real Madrid and Adidas had a very grand launch. An impressive shirt and pretty much what one would have expected from them both. These and all the other kits are available at the official Real Madrid website.

Everton Shirt Auction

Everton Shirts

I have been a supporter/sponsor to One Love in Southend for a couple of years since a friend volunteered there. I was, therefore delighted to see them getting involved with football shirts. To be more accurate a fellow supporter, Lee Neagen, has managed to get a James Rodriguez shirt and is kindly auctioning it.

I will let Lee explain: “To all my Everton friends (well, I only actually have 2 🤪) and anyone else that might me interested,

We have now received the 3 signed Everton shirts that was very kindly donated by Peter Kenton‘s son who works at Everton football club. The auction for these shirts have already started and here’s what we’ve got for them so far:
Jordon Pickford signed shirt is currently at £105
James Rodriguez signed away shirt is currently at £100
Seamus Coleman shirt is currently at £225!

Seamus was asked to sign the shirt and then asked what it was for. When he found out, he took the shirt to all the squad and got them all to sign, so a pretty special shirt this one. Let me know if you want to make a higher bid for any of the shirts. The auction ends at our charity quiz night on the 20th May, where we are raising as much as we can for Great Ormond Street Hospital and Children’s Charity and for the One Love Soup Kitchen City of Southend

Everton Away

Details of the night:


Ready to show off your general knowledge expertises, have lots of fun and raise money at the same time?If the answer is YES, please purchase your tickets for you and your team mates via the link below 👇🏼 Please select ‘Quiz Night’ so we can put your name down on the ticket list!


Thomas Frank and Robert Rowan

Brentford fans attending Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub on Saturday to have their heart screened received a surprise visit from Thomas Frank and Christian Eriksen. Fans, staff and volunteers received a boost as Thomas and Christian attended to meet those involved and learn about the initiative taking place in west London.

The heart screenings, organised by the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) in association with the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, took place in memory of the Club’s former Technical Director Robert Rowan. Around 200 fans and members of staff from Brentford FC were screened across the weekend, financed by Robert’s memorial fund.

A range of fundraising activity has been taking place in recent years for the fund including the charity challenge A-K-A-DAY which is designed to encourage and support health and wellbeing. It aims to inspire people of all ages and abilities to get out and move for at least 1km each day throughout the month of May.

Club staff have also been involved with Head of Medical, Neil Greig and James Purdue, Head of B Team Athletic Performance, running marathons last year with the Brentford Lifeline Society also contributing. 

Speaking on Saturday, Suzanne Rowan explained her involvement with CRY, “We discovered CRY after Robert passed away in November 2018. We got in touch with them, explained what happened to Robert and did a bit of research to find out more about them. It was perfect support for us. Brentford FC got involved and we’ve been supporting them ever since. 

“They do a lot of good work. They screen young people between 14 and 35. A lot of the money they raise goes towards screenings, research and they also support families as well so they do a lot of important work.”

Thomas Frank, a close friend of Robert’s, hoped that the sessions could help to save lives. “I think it is a very good way of remembering a very good friend of mine. And it’s such an important thing – hopefully these testing days ran by CRY will maybe save one or two lives.”

Christian Eriksen offered his encouragement and stressed the importance of these check-ups and tests. “I think it’s very healthy thing to do. And obviously it’s something that even in my case, something happened like you wouldn’t know was going to happen. So, to get that cleared out the way from a doctor’s perspective is only a positive. To do a test for a few minutes and get everything sorted out and be safe for your family and for everyone else then it is a very positive thing. It’s not only for you, it is for everyone around you.”


  • Robert died suddenly in November 2018 after suffering a fatal cardiomyopathy episode. He is still fondly remembered by all at Brentford FC and the Club has been raising money for CRY at a variety of events over the past three years.
  • Robert had been with Brentford since late 2014 and was appointed as the Club’s Head of Football Operations in the summer of 2015. As well as managing the day-to-day football operations at Brentford’s Jersey Road Training Ground, Robert oversaw the strategic direction of Brentford B – the Club’s elite squad of players aged 17 to 21, before taking on the role of Technical Director.
  • CRY aim to prevent young sudden cardiac deaths through awareness, screening and research, and supporting affected families.
  • Every week in the UK at least 12 young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions. In 80% of cases of young sudden cardiac death there are no prior symptoms of a heart defect.
  • Suzanne will be organising additional screenings in conjunction with CRY north of the border in Kirkcaldy, Fife 9-10July and in Dundee 24-25September.

Brentford Heart Screening


Thomas Frank and Robert Rowan
  • Fans aged 14-35 can register for a heart screening backed by funds raised in memory of Robert Rowan

A weekend of heart screenings has been organised for young Brentford fans in memory of the Club’s former Technical Director Robert Rowan. Brentford fans aged between 14 and 35 years old have the opportunity to book one of 200 places available at the cardiac screening sessions which will take place at Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub on Saturday 30 April and Sunday 1 May.

The sessions will be carried out by the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) in association with the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. CRY aim to prevent young sudden cardiac deaths through awareness, screening and research, and supporting affected families.

Every week in the UK at least 12 young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions. In 80% of cases of young sudden cardiac death there are no prior symptoms of a heart defect.

Robert’s memorial fund was set up following his sudden passing at the age of 28 on Monday, 12 November 2018. The fund has been supported by a host of fundraising activities including the efforts of the Club’s Head of Medical, Neil Greig and James Purdue, Head of B Team Athletic Performance who ran the Manchester and London marathons respectively last year, raising over £30,000 from donations from Brentford fans, staff and players.

The Brentford Lifeline Society have also provided financial support for this initiative. It follows the Society’s recent purchase of two defibrillators and a LUCAS machine which affords uninterrupted automatic chest compressions during CPR. These items are already available for use at both the Brentford Community Stadium on matchdays and the Club’s training ground.  

Eligible fans have been emailed with instructions on how to register ahead of the 12pm deadline on Tuesday 19 April.

Robert’s wife, Suzanne Rowan, has organised the screenings and remains a close friend of the Club. Suzanne said: “The work CRY do is so important in raising awareness of sudden cardiac deaths and supporting those affected. We are so thankful to everyone who has donated to Robert’s fund which has helped to support CRY’s heart screening events.

“Screenings can dramatically reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac deaths. I encourage eligible Brentford fans to book in for one of the sessions available if they can.

“If we can make the difference to just one family, the fundraising efforts will be all worthwhile.”

Jon Varney, Chief Executive of Brentford FC said: “Robert’s memory lives on at Brentford. He made a huge personal and professional contribution to the Club and to our colleagues. Now, his contribution, and the contributions from all those who have donated, will be felt across the Brentford community.”

Note: I know this is not a typical “The Shirt” post but as as somebody who has just come out of hospital after a cardiac arrest, it is a subject close to me. I commend this initiative.

Football Stadium Photography

It was a pleasure to meet David Shields at the Ideal Home Exhibition in London recently. He had an excellent range of his photography on display and was, deservedly, very busy.

David says, “Since 2005 I have been photographing stadiums, I have captured over 102 including all league 92 plus a number of non-league and European.

The first game I went to was back in 1979, I do not remember much about the match itself but I do remember pushing my way through the turnstiles, standing on the concrete terrace and watching the snow fall silhouetted against the floodlights, my love of stadiums began that night. I still get taken back there when i visit a stadium now,  I hope the prints in this collection will help do this for you.New prints, panoramics and special montages will be added to the collection each week, If your club does not feature then please contact me.”

Here is an example, my very own Theatre of Farce AKA Priestfield but to see his complete catalogue go to

Gillingham – Priestfield Stadium

1889 Books

1889 Books

1889 Books is a labour of love. A love of books, a love of football and a love of
the underdog – preferably all rolled into one.

I believe in fair shares for fair effort. Publishers who only give authors the standard 10% return on their effort are the equivalent of sweat shop owners – the big publishers are battling to preserve an outdated, bloated model where wealth is preserved in a few hands. Independent publishing does not have to go hand in hand with reduced quality, as they’d have you believe.

Football themed books are just a part of what I do. I reckon to know a thing or two about football novelshaving read and reviewed over 60 of them here at SteveK1889

I was once told by a literary agent that a novel based around football isn’t marketable
because football fans won’t read fiction; they lap up biographies and autobiographies (almost entirely ghost-written, and works of fiction in themselves?) but not novels. There is a myth that football novels can only be like Roy of the Rovers – i.e. not worth reading unless you’re a nut. But the best football fiction only uses football as a backdrop to life. After all, no one says I don’t live in the countryside so I won’t read Tess of the D’urbervilles because it is a “farming novel,” or I don’t like the Police so I am not reading Ian Rankin!

Here are some of my titles:

The Lives Of Stanley B

Mat is an established writer on the game and this is his first novel (there is another in the pipeline).

TheLives of Stanley B is as good a football novel as you’ll read anywhere. It proves the point, I believe, that you don’t have to be a football fan to appreciate fiction like this. The story threads of four main characters are deftly woven together, and it is a boat – the Stanley B – itself a survivor, at the centre. All the characters share a love of the game and its power as a diversion from the harsher realities of life. Forget Fever Pitch, The Lives of Stanley B gets to the heart of why football matters – written by an author who actually understands the game.

Mat’s other books are:  Barcelona to Buckie Thistle, Minnows United: Adventures at the Fringes of the Beautiful Game, and Another Bloody Saturday. 

I have also been proud to work with another established football writer, Gary Thacker, on his two football novels, The Games People Play and A Whole New Ball Game. These novels follow an English coach in the lower leagues of Spanish football and his relationships, his successes and defeats both on and off the pitch. It is great escapist fiction, perhaps for your summer holidays by the pool.

Gary’s other books are: I Don’t Even Smoke! – A brief history of life, love and football through blue-tinted glasses. Oh yes, and a cigar.

Cheers, Tears & Jeers – A History of England and the World Cup, and

Beautiful Bridesmaids Dressed in Oranje: The Unfulfilled glory of Dutch Football

I published But He Got the Ball Ref because I was looking for a book on the Laws of the Game for my son and couldn’t find one. There didn’t seem to be a book to explain the laws in an easy way for people to understand. It was also born out of a frustration with fellow fans (and pundits) not understanding things like what constitutes a red card “That wasn’t a red card for me, Jeff. He clearly goes for the ball.” So many people think they know what the laws say, but as soon as they open their mouths to shout abuse their ignorance is apparent. With lots of illustrations to make it simple for even the thickest of ex-footballers parading similar ignorance on prime-time TV, it is full of my little prejudices – and I hope it amuses.

Historical Football Stories is a collection of the oldest football fiction in the world, plus a couple of new stories inspired by the originals. The original stories were published in 1905 – some are great little stories, others are fascinating for the insights they provide into the early game. They include an early PG Wodehouse story.   

The Evergreen in red and white is where it started for me. It tells the fictionalised story of a Sheffield United legend who was part of the team who were the best in the country in 1897/98. The first professional Romani footballer, who went on to play for Liverpool and Preston. I spent the best part of 2000 hours researching and writing it, and when I struggled to find a publisher to have faith in me, I decided to go it alone. It was long-listed for the Historical Novel Society Indie award in 2015. It is only a football novel in so a far as the main character is a footballer, but it is about so much more. 

Sharpe as a Blade is a book like no other. It is an honest, first-hand warts-and-all memoir of a working class journey from the backstreet terraces of the 50s to the football terraces of the 60s and 70s. It’s all here: the swinging sixties, the birth of the British beat boom that conquered the world, the heady days of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, through to the 70s where rock stars sparkled, new wave garage bands preached anarchy, and football violence escalated out of control. There is no sugar-coating in the story of this ex-terrace legend. Most publishers would not dare.

Sharpe As A Blade

All books are avaialble at

Des Hinks


I am always delighted to follow those looking to do all 92 (or 93!) grounds. All the more so when they are raising money for charity too. Whilst my “claim to fame” was cycling to all the grounds, Des is looking to visit all the grounds, see a first team game AND beat a record.

I came across his challenge on Facebook and was intrigued to learn more. He says,

So this is a very geeky challenge I know (but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and it’ll raise lots of money for a great charity) but during the 2021-22 season, I’m aiming to set a new Guinness World Record for watching a football match at all 92 Premier League and Football League grounds across the country in the fastest time. (It’s actually 93 as I have to watch a game at Berwick Rangers as well, as their ground is in England.)

Starting at Molineux for Wolves’ 2-1 victory over Everton on Monday 1st November, I’ve ticked 13 grounds off so far, with 82 still to go. I’ll be finishing at a League Two ground on Saturday 7th May, which would be 188 days in total, beating the previous record of 189 days.

I’m also raising money for the mental health charity Mind during the challenge. Times have been difficult for everyone over the last couple of years, but even if you have a pound or two to spare, it’ll soon add up. If you’re donating, I’d like to say a huge thank-you in advance.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity. Here’s my page

Here’s to a world record in May!


Monday 1 November: Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Everton (Premier League)

Tuesday 2 November: Crewe Alexandra 1-1 Doncaster Rovers (League One)

Wednesday 3 November: West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Hull City (Championship)

Friday 12 November: Bolton Wanderers 2-0 Crewe Alexandra (League One)

Saturday 13 November: Rochdale 2-2 Leyton Orient (League Two)

Saturday 20 November: Oldham Athletic 3-2 Port Vale (League Two)

Tuesday 23 November: Port Vale 0-1 Walsall (League Two)

Wednesday 24 November: Blackburn Rovers 4-0 Peterborough United (Championship)

Monday 29 November: Derby County 1-2 Queens Park Rangers (Championship)

Tuesday 30 November: Leeds United 1-0 Crystal Palace (Premier League)

Wednesday 1 December: Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester City (Premier League)

Saturday 4 December: Accrington Stanley 5-1 Fleetwood Town (League One)

Tuesday 7 December: Walsall 1-1 Crawley Town (League Two)

Share this story

If you want an idea of his style, here’s a graphic description of his travels.

A December Night in Walsall

Walsall 1-1 Crawley TownTuesday 7th December – League Two

World Record Attempt, Game 13

I’ve been stood at Bescot Stadium train station in the rain, for the last hour, freezing, desperately needing a shit to the point I’ve had to cross my legs to keep it in, with no trains running due to an obstruction on the track. (There’s gonna be another obstruction on the track in a moment, judging by the size of this turd I’m just about holding up me sphincter.) There was always going to be a night like tonight along the way, and here it bloody well is. Can’t even get home to Chester now, so got to find myself a hotel somewhere.

Game was absolutely abysmal. No offence to Walsall fans (or the 50 who came up from Crawley) but the atmosphere was like a reserve team game (there was genuinely absolute silence at one point at a break in play which was the eeriest thing I’ve ever heard in a football ground) and something other than a raindrop landed in my hot chocolate which wrote that off. I’m going to tug on heartstrings tonight, now’s the time to cheer me up and donate a few quid to Mind, who I’m raising money for, as I am actually about to shit myself.

I’m on £1,625 so far for a great mental health charity, come on chaps, help me get up to £2,000 tonight.

Here’s my page

Des is off to my beloved Priestfield Stadium soon. I’m in hospital and unlikely to make the match but will introduce him to Justin and Gillingham Legends. Always nice to shake hands with old faces!

Justin Foote

Charlton v Gillingham

My friend Jim at Gillingham Legends kindly sent me details of the amazing efforts of fellow Gills fan, Justin Foote.
Justin has been a huge supporter of Prostate Cancer UK, a cause close to my heart. I am delighted to share his upcoming fundraisers.

After a successful marathon walk with Sky Sports Presenter Jeff Stelling back in September 2019, I have now signed up to complete the following marathon walks in 2021 supporting Prostate Cancer UK..

Jurassic Coast Challenge (42km) – Starting at Poole Harbour then along the spectacular Jurassic Coast through Lulworth Cove past Durdle Door and all the way to Weymouth – Saturday 22nd May 2021 ✅ 

Kent County Cricket Club- A walk from Rainham Cricket Club (Kent) to the St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury when Kent host the Sussex Sharks in the 20 / 20 Vitality Blast (Sunday18th July 2021). ✅

London Stadium Walk (42km) – London Stadium walk from Millwall, to Chelsea to QPR finishing at Tottenham Hotspur with Sky Sports Presenter Jeff Stelling (Saturday 4th September 2021). ✅

Gillingham FC to Charlton Athletic FC (45km) – Starting from the Priestfields Stadium, I will be walking to The Valley home of Charlton Athletic in time for kick off at 7.45pm (29th December 2021).

Easter 50 Challenge- A walk that was planned for Saturday 10th April but unfortunately had to be postponed due to the Government Guidelines. (To be Re-Arranged for Easter 2022)

Thames Path Challenge (50km) – Taking on England’s greatest river, we head upstream from Putney Bridge past Hampton Court to Runnymede of Magna Carta (September 2022).

Why I’m doing these walks??

In June 2020, it was thought that I had possible low level Prostate Cancer after a routine Blood & Urine Test at the London Bridge Hospital.

In addition, a very close friend who’s like a dad to me has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Prostate Cancer and want to further awareness / essential funds to help beat a disease that cure kills 1 man every 45 minutes in the UK and would really appreciate your support in a bid to fund research to change the game and stop Prostate Cancer being a killer.

Please check my website for more details

Kind Regards


Mat Guy

The book is available through Waterstones, Amazon, Book Depository and all good bookshops.

Brentford 2022/23


Club to roll over Umbro home kit to next season

Obviously, I am very interested in shirts and the shirt culture but I do think that some clubs are abusing their fans by issuing five, six or more shirts every season. I was, therefore, delighted to get a newsletter from Brentford expalining that they are going to retain the 2021/2022 shirt for next season. That gets my total respect. They say,

“Brentford’s first ever Premier League Home kit is to get an extended life as we can confirm we will continue to wear our current red and white striped home kit again next season. The iconic shirt was worn as we kicked off the Premier League season with a memorable win over Arsenal and Sergi Canós was bedecked in red and white stripes as he scored the first top flight goal in front of a full stadium in England for almost 18 months in that same game. The shirt from that never-to-be-forgotten first night will now also be our first choice kit for the 2022/23 season.

Jon Varney, Brentford FC Chief Executive, said: “Respectful, Progressive and Togetherness are our three core values at Brentford FC, as many of our fans know. We also believe in football being affordable for our fans and are aware of the need for the game to become more focussed on sustainability. As such, when we discussed the idea, everyone at the Club was fully behind it.

“Whilst it is not normal practice for Premier League clubs to roll a kit over for two seasons, fans have told us that they would be in favour of the savings that a two-season shirt would provide. This season, our membership of The Premier League means that the income we receive from broadcast and commercial partnerships far outweighs the income we can generate from retail, therefore now is the perfect time for us to try something different without it having a material impact on our revenue.

“All of our kits have been in high demand this season, but our home shirt has been particularly popular. We placed additional orders upon our promotion to the Premier League and have stocked up ahead of Christmas. This decision allows us to maintain higher levels of stock and helps improve both availability and delivery times for those that wish to buy a shirt which will now be relevant beyond the end of this season.

“We also think this is a step in the right direction to help the environment a little. It can only be a good to reduce kit cycles where circumstances allow, and we will continue to work with Umbro to make sure the production of our kit is as sustainable as possible. It is only a little thing, but we believe it will help.

“We know some of our fans enjoy having three new kits every season and may be concerned that they have less choice. The kit reveal is always an eagerly anticipated event and each season we wait nervously to see the reaction of our supporters. For those fans keen to purchase a new shirt each season we can confirm we will have a new away and a new third kit for the 2022/23 season. We hope the new away shirt design will excite our fans who remember the 80’s and early 90’s, whilst the new third shirt is designed very much for the future!

“I would like to thank Umbro for their support of this idea and also Hollywoodbets and SafetyCulture whose commitment to multiple-year relationships have made this opportunity possible.

The red and white shirt, as well as our yellow away shirt and our white third shirt, is available now. Priced at £49 for adults and £38 for juniors, you can also personalise your shirts with Premier League letters and numbers as well as the Premier League sleeve badge for an extra £17.”

Buy your shirt here