The story of how Classic Football Shirts started:
“It all started back in 2006, when in our final year at Manchester University studying Management we had a brainwave. We should really have been revising at the time, but with the World Cup fast approaching, Doug had been really keen to get hold of an original Germany 1990’ shirt but with no success.
It was a huge co-incidence that we happened to just be chatting away at the time, as I had been selling a few things, including vintage shirts on Ebay in order to survive the last few months of uni. I guess it was luck that we both hadn’t figured out what to do after graduating, so from there we decided we would try and build a small collection of shirts in that hope that we could fill a gap in the market and launch a professional website in the summer.
By August we had picked up around 200 shirts, filling every room of a dingy student house and maxing out a few credit cards in the process. Fortunately my dad did the accounts for a web developer who helped us build and manage a website. But the momentum was slow. The World Cup had ended, and we were setting up just prior to the social media boom, so had little opportunity or money to promote the business.
It was a long 6 months, but crucially we managed to scrape enough cash together to buy some ad space in the back of a couple of popular football magazines, and from there started to build up a loyal customer base. If it wasn’t for the loyalty of our customers in those early days we probably would not be here today.
Our sole focus was to keep buying more and more shirts, with the logic that we should try and have available every shirt from every season for all the major clubs and at least one item for nearly every recognised professional team, offering something for anyone who visited the site however obscure. With a solid foundation we finally moved out of the student house in 2008 to an office in the city centre.
In 2010 the philosophy snowballed to include brand new clearance items from manufacturers such as Lotto and Joma. It changed our vision of what the business could be, and tapped in to the market of football fans who wanted something different, brand new, and affordable. The mantra was ‘Who wouldn’t want a Palermo shirt for £12.99!’ Despite the relative success nothing could prepare us for the deal that would define our efforts for the next couple of years.
There were rumours that AC Milan had kept all their player stock from the last 15 years in a warehouse outside of Milan, and when the rumour became a reality we were overloaded with over 100,000 items ranging from Beckham’s underpants to Shevchenko’s player worn jersey. After some long nights pondering our next move, we re-located out of town to a warehouse in order to accommodate the crazy volume of stock due to arrive in February. The vast empty space we moved into in January 2011 was a scary but exciting scene.
There was talk early on of putting in a 5 a side pitch, but this would soon subside as we utilised our ability to scale up and work with brands and clubs of any size. By the end of 2013, we had, quite unbelievably to family and friends, filled the entire space, and with the focus on expanding the product range still in overdrive, built a mezzanine floor to double the capacity.
Today we have over 30,000 individual items and over 500,000 units available in stock working with nearly every major brand and team over the course of the last 10 years. If I think back to those early days that initial objective to have something for everyone when they visit the site has driven us to this point. If you are a new customer reading this, I hope this philosophy still rings true, if you have been with us on this incredible journey, both myself and Doug would like to thank you for all your continued support!”
To show your support, you can visit Classic Football Shirts Now.