My Favourite Shirt - Part Twenty Two

Part Twenty Two of 'My Favourite Shirt' has JJ Dunning of Home Shirts on Twitter about his 1995/96 Parma A.C. 3rd Shirt as well as Home Shirts and his first love in football.

Photos of JJ's 1995/96 Parma A.C. Away Shirt

Why is this your favourite shirt? For reasons of nostalgia! I’m 37 years old. I grew up in the 1990's and as every passing year gets weirder, that decade seems even better than it actually was. This shirt evokes that time very clearly; it’s pure Gazetta Italia. Plus it’s yellow and blue, Parma’s original and ‘proper’ colours.

 

Parma had a lot of classy players who wore this. Are there any particular memories that come back when you see this shirt? I immediately think of Zola, Asprilla and Crespo. All so skilful.

To be honest, though, the main memory is of my friends and I. About ten of us went on a trip to Parma last season to watch them play Inter Milan at the Ennio Tardini. Naturally this is the shirt I wore.

We lost 1-0, to a late Lautaro Martínez goal. Another Inter goal was disallowed by VAR – which, as English fans, was still anathema to us. Gervinho managed to hit the bar, which was the closest Parma came to scoring. My mate Ed, a Spurs fan, got a selfie with him after the game and, just as they took the photo, whispered "Come on you Spurs" in his ear. It was a lovely bit of business.

Giorgio from parmafansworldwide.com deserves a massive shout-out. If ever you’re going to Parma, he’ll sort you out. He’s a legend!

 

Any particular players that you really liked from that team? Parma had so many to choose from in the 90's. It’s actually a joke.

 

This shirt represents the ‘Parmalat era’, and dates from just before their second UEFA Cup win in 98/99. Their squad had Thuram, the young Buffon, Dino Baggio, Zola, Chiesa, Crespo, Asprilla, Fiore, Benarrivo, Cannavaro, Stoitchkov, Pippo Inzaghi, Fernando Couto… amazing what Parmalat’s milk money could buy. I’m sure there was nothing dodgy going on there.

 

If pushed, though, I think I’d choose Argentine defender Néstor Sensini, whose hairline I still find compelling. That’s a proper bald player, that is. Too many players these days take the easy route and shave their head at the first sign of baldness. Take a leaf out of Nestor’s book – he owns it. All he needs is a facial scar and he could be a baddie in a Die Hard movie.

 

How do you rate the shirts of today compared to years gone by? I don’t really consider myself a collector; anything I’ve bought is because I was feeling nostalgic. This means I prefer old shirts, hands down. I did enjoy the Nike Nigeria shirt at the last World Cup, though…

 

Tell the readers about your current Twitter account regarding shirts? My friend Ed – of Gervinho-baiting fame – and I started #homeshirts on the night that the full UK lockdown came into effect. We’d been talking about how it might be tough to stop the days from blurring into one, and how you might fall into a pattern of working in just your pants, when we hit on the idea that we could wear a different football shirt every day.

 

It occurred to us that there are people out there with hundreds of shirts that they never get an opportunity to wear. Starting the account was our attempt to spread a bit of positivity and encourage people to give themselves a very small thing to look forward to. And also to be a bit nosy and see who’s got what out there.

 

We do own lots of cherished shirts, but neither of us is a proper collector. We’re just sort of interlopers into the classic football shirts community, really. It has been amazing to see how enthusiastic and supportive everybody is of one another.

 

Likewise, a few other people have had the same idea independently of us – it turned out we weren’t the first to think of it – but it has been really nice to see how everyone has come together. Here are some other hashtags we’re aware of that we’d encourage people to get involved with: #footyshirtstowork #lockdownkits #footyshirtsinisolation #showoffyourshirts

 

Although you love this Parma shirt who do you actually support? I’m a Chelsea fan.

 

Why do you support Chelsea? I had no choice! I’m third generation. My family is from Clapham Junction and my granddad used to go in the 20s and 30s. My dad was there in 1955 when Ted Drake gave a speech after we won the league – he still talks about Roy Bentley with a hint of awe in his voice.

However, his favourite player was Charlie Cooke – a really skilful left-winger who played for Scotland. I was raised on tales of him, Peter Osgood and the rest of the 1970 FA Cup-winning team. I also used to watch a club history VHS on repeat when I was a kid in the early 90s. When my uncle gifted me his programme collection, I read them avidly. I knew more about the sides of the 60s and 70s than I did about the Chelsea team at the time. Always nostalgic!

 

What was the first game you went to and what was the score? My first game was in 1991 and was not a typical first-match experience. It was an away match, for a start, and was in corporate hospitality, as a guest of Mita Copiers, the Aston Villa sponsors. My dad’s friend’s brother was able to get us tickets, which was probably made easier by the fact that the match was an end-of-season dead rubber.

We went 2-0 up in the first 20 minutes but ended up drawing 2-2. I remember that my dad turned to me and said, "Welcome to supporting Chelsea". Neither of us knew that we’d actually be getting better for the next 20 years!

The game was also David Platt’s last match for Villa before he joined Bari. I got a photograph with him, sadly since lost. I didn’t manage to get his autograph, but I did get signatures from Derek Mountfield and reserve goalie Lee Butler. Neither was a consolation – sorry lads!

 

How do you view Chelsea’s season before the current break in proceedings? Although it has felt quite up and down in terms of results, you have to say we’ve smashed it. It’s so satisfying to see the youth players finally getting a chance. Tammy (Abraham), Mason Mount, Reece James have looked great. I don’t think I’ve been as excited about a young Chelsea player as I am about Billy Gilmour, though. He’s the Scottish Xavi! Frank seems like he’s learning as much as they are, which is a lot. I’d have liked Giroud to get more games, and also think we look a better team without Jorginho (maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really see the point of him!). But overall, it’s a good time for us.

 

Your best XI from your time supporting Chelsea?

Petr Čech

Branislav Ivanović

John Terry

Marcel Desailly

Ashley Cole

Ruud Gullit

N'Golo Kanté

Frank Lampard

Gianfranco Zola

Didier Drogba

Eden Hazard

Please click here to see the Parma items on the website.

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