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Bohemians Prague 2010-2011, Goalkeeper’s Shirt

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On my visit to Praha I saw all three stadiums that the beautiful city had to offer. And I decided on a shirt from the smallest of the city’s three teams—Bohemians Prague. Unfortunately, this shirt is not in the team’s traditional green and white colors (the only vestige of the team’s colors are in the badge—complete with the team’s kangaroo logo!). According to the man who sold it to me at the team’s shop outside the Dolicek stadium it is a goalkeeper’s shirt. I asked for a shirt with a name but was informed that no such shirts existed. Still, this is a good quality Umbro shirt sized extra large, with all the requisite sponsors–which are all professionally screen printed.

 

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Istiklol Dushanbe Home Shirt 2009-10

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I will be posting some of the shirts I acquired before starting this blog, and after posting some pictures of Tajik stadiums I thought I should start the process of catching up with a shirt from the Tajik side Istiklol Dushanbe. It is made by the Chinese manufacturer Li-Ning Sports, a clear example of the economic influence China has in Tajikistan. Tajikistan shares an Eastern border with China, and China is more than willing to go head to head with Russia in a battle for influence over Central Asia, a 21st century Great Game. This influence reaches into many sectors, including energy and infrastructure (Chinese prisoners build tunnels in Tajikistan), transportation (many of the newer city busses in Dushanbe sport Chinese characters), and–apparently–sporting goods.

Although the material feels quality enough–reminiscent of some late 90s Puma shirts–I still cant help but feel it will come apart if I wash it too much. As such, I’ve resorted to hand washing, since I dont want to lose a shirt that was so difficult to obtain. Finding an official shirt in Tajikistan is very difficult. The Li-Ning store on Rudaki avenue in Dushanbe told me that they had no shirts available (other than the one on the mannequin standing in the window which was apparently not for sale), but the Li-Ning branch in Tajikistan’s second city, Khujand, was a different story. At first they too were reluctant to sell their one example of the shirt  (Why is there only shirt per store per city that isn’t even available for purchase?) which was, again, gracing a mannequin in the store-front window. After a little bit of pleading and  repeated assurances that I would pay them, the 3 shopkeepers relented–but not before they had a good laugh at the American guy who would not be deterred in his search for an official shirt from Tajikistan.

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The badge is a quality embroidery, despite being on the wrong side of the chest. Apparently, Li Ning sports has more of a hold on the player’s allegiance than their team:

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A Li-Ning billboard, advertising the shirts that….aren’t really on sale. One interesting linguistic fact here, that my friend Kevin and I noticed. The Tajik below the team’s picture reads “ИНТИXОБИ МО”, which translates as “Our Choice”. This is very similar to the terminology used in many Spanish-speaking countries for their nation sides–“La Selección“. Interesting, since Tajikistan is nowhere near Spain. Or El Salvador.

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FC Skonto 2013 Away Shirt

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After an amusing night of watching Galatasaray of Istanbul hold Juventus of Turin to a draw in the UEFA Champions League at an Irish bar in the old town of Riga I woke up with the taste of Black Balzams in my mouth and a thirst for…my soccer shirt. Indeed I made it out to the Skonto Stadium and promptly picked up an FC Skonto shirt for 20 Latvian Lats. The shirt is made by a German brand, Jako, and it marks my first shirt from that brand–a milestone of sorts. I chose navy blue over the traditional red of FC Skonto because 1) I have many red shirts and 2) the tree on the “Granat” sponsorship stands out better on the navy.

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FC Flora Tallinn 2012 Away Shirt Matchworn

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This shirt came out of a cardboard box at the souvenir stand/ticket stand run by the team before their match with JK Narva Trans at the A. Le Coq Arena. Its a nice extra-large Nike shirt sporting a number two, as well as a sponsor (a good thing, since I think that otherwise jerseys can look dull depending on their design). The only drawback is that this shirt is gold, and not the green and white stripes that FC Flora traditionally sport. Overall, its nice to have a shirt from the team that is arguably the most famous in Estonia.

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Nomme Kalju Tallinn 2013 Away Shirt

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Another shirt purchased at the Sportland beneath the A. Le Coq arena, this might be the best shirt available for purchase in Estonia during the 2013 season. It is a quality Adidas shirt, with a nice badge that includes recognition of their championship last year. Additionally, this shirt has a A. Le Coq Premium Liiga badge on the left arm and it is Formotion, making it player quality. The help.ee sponsor is also very amusing, topping off a well-designed jersey. It was nice to get the shirt before watching them face Levadia Tallinn in a top of the table clash.

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FC Levadia Tallinn 2013 Home Shirt L/S

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A Levadia Tallinn shirt purchased  at the Sportland shop underneath the A. Le Coq Arena before attending their match against Nomme Kalju. Levadia Tallinn are a pretty obscure team, but I remember them as having faced Galatasaray in the Play Off round of the 2009-2010 Europa League where they lost 5-0 in Istanbul before a 1-1 draw in Tallinn. A bonus of this shirt is that it is long sleeved–a feature that is surprisingly hard to find in Estonian shirts, despite the harsh winter weather conditions in the region. It is part of a trend in football shirts more generally, as increasingly it is only short-sleeved shirts that are being made. It must be something about profit margins . . .

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Hammarby IF 2013 Home Shirt

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Hammarby are the third team of Stockholm, located in the south of the city. Currently they are in the second division, and off the pace to gain promotion this year. Interestingly–and in an odd coincidence–they are managed by former US Men’s National Team defender Gregg Berhalter, the first American to manage a European side. Although in the second division, Hammarby boast a passionate fan base  (as I learned first hand when green flares rained down on AIK supporters during their march to the Tele2 Arena through Hammarby territory). This shirt is a classic tight-fitting Kappa design, which is–in my opinion–one of the best styles of football shirts currently on the market. If you are wondering why I got a Hammarby shirt instead of one from either of the teams whose match I attended, the answer is simple. There were no size large shirts for either Djurgardens or AIK since it is the end of the season and the stock had–apparently–run out. Sweden is also a very expensive country and I couldn’t justify spending 100 US Dollars on a shirt that would not properly fit me; luckily Hammarby had a size large shirt in stock which I share with you below.

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