FOOTBALL kits will always be associated with and belong to certain players, for better or worse.

Manchester United’s Nike home kit of 2007 to 2009 could only belong to an early-20s Cristiano Ronaldo, as his dead ball free-kick rocketed into the top-right corner of the net at home against Portsmouth in 2008.

Or the white France away kit with thin red and blue lines worn by Zinedine Zidane, as he infamously headbutted Italy’s Marco Materazzi in his final ever match at the World Cup Final of 2006.

The National:

These images and moments will forever be encapsulated through football jerseys.

The resurgence in the popularity of 90s and early 2000s kits in particular has become impossible to ignore. The colourful, out-there designs and patterns have sparked the imagination of fans and collectors alike.

The National:

But, there has been some concern that the cost of living crisis could have a negative effect on the popularity of kit-collecting, and over what it could mean for those trying to sell them. James Oliver-House, 25, is a sports jersey collector and reseller from Wales on his way to Scotland.

He said: “As a collector, it’s actually a really good time to buy because people are trying to get rid of a lot of their shirts. Many are listing shirts for lower than what they paid, and that’s largely due to people struggling at the moment financially.”

The release of Scotland’s 150th anniversary kit from retailer JD sports sparked backlash over its £90 price tag – but it also only took a few hours for the kit to sell out.

“For retailers and resellers, they will really struggle. Unless it's a crazy shirt that a lot of people want to buy, or shirts such as the Scotland one, people won’t be willing to splash £90 to £100 on a kit,” Oliver-House said.

He has amassed an eye-watering collection of nearly 650 football and sports jerseys – and spoke about how the phenomenon of kit collecting began to kick off.

“I think it started to become really popular especially during Covid, when people had a lot more time on their hands – and there’s now a real community that has come together, " he said.

The National:

“Companies have seen this begin to happen and have now capitalised on it to sell more shirts.

“Before lockdown, I would only ever buy shirts from teams I support. Now I’m seeing 1995 Barcelona away shirts, and I saw one I’d never seen the other day – a 1991 Colo-Colo shirt, a team who play in Chile. Until I started collecting, I would have never been aware that the team even existed.”

Fake kit websites have become a real issue within the world of vintage kit collecting. In November last year, Newcastle City Council seized 1300 fake football shirts, with kits being sold for £25 on social media.

“It’s something I really dislike,” Oliver-House said.

“I run a scambait account on the side to out fake sellers for what they do, because ultimately what they do is a crime and they’re robbing people.

“I’d gone to a lady who was local to me who was selling a collection of her husband's shirts who had passed away. Half of them were real, but half were fake. I had to let her know, and she was really upset as her husband had clearly been told they were authentic.

“What she thought was a 15 to 20 grand nest egg was now pretty much worthless, so you can see the negative impact it’s having.”

Although this presents challenges to true kit collectors, it does not overshadow the reason why people have fallen in love with football jerseys in the first place.

The collector added: “I think nostalgia has played a huge part in its popularity. In Cardiff, just down the road from me, my friend runs a football shirt shop. If people aren’t buying, they’re going, ‘Oh, I had this one as a kid!’, or ‘I remember Shearer playing in this shirt’.

“I think if you put football kits anywhere, there will always be that feeling of nostalgia and memories connected to them.”

Authentic retro kit sites like Classic Football Shirts have been at the forefront of influencing the popularity of collecting, offering thousands of kits for fans to buy.

The company has even set up a pop-up shop located in Glasgow’s St Enoch Centre – which will be open until April 16, giving football fans the chance to boost their personal collections.