The dialogue has nearly 3,000 jerseys in the collection: collecting cultural value is more fun than the jerseys themselves

2022-06-11 0 By

What do you do when you have nearly 3,000 jerseys?If your name is Arjan Wijngaard, the answer is to set aside a special room in your home to display the jerseys, with an online catalogue of information for each jersey.These Football Years recently caught up with Dutch jersey collector Arjan Wijngaard, the man behind the website Voetbalshirts and the biggest collector of vintage shirts in the Netherlands and Europe.Arjan Wijngaard has been collecting shirts from all over the world for nearly 25 years, starting in 1997 when he was given an Everton shirt as a gift.He has a huge reputation in the jersey-collecting world and we asked him how he was attracted to the kit in the first place.”This one question is the most difficult.””I loved football from the beginning,” he says. “If you want to collect jerseys, you love football.However, there is no particular reason why I choose to collect jerseys, some people choose to collect team scarves (I have a few too, because if I can’t find one when I visit the stadium or watch a match, I buy one in the cabin).In fact, maybe the scarf or pin path was the right one for me at first, because they’re much cheaper and don’t take up as much space as a jersey.”Walking into Arjan’s kit showroom, it was easy to see what he was thinking.From ceiling to floor, sturdy shelves hang from the walls bearing the enormous weight of many jerseys.The door is an incongruous white rectangle, like in an otherwise ubiquitous colorful party.In the window, two mannequins in green and blue stand guard.It is a veritable sanctuary of jerseys for big and small clubs alike.”In summary, I detail the collection of jerseys you never find too easily from an unpopular club.”Things like the shirts of lower league teams and clubs playing in non-league games (cup matches, friendlies and so on), like England’s 9th and 10th league teams or unknown teams from New Zealand and Tanzania,” explains Arjan.However, it does not mean that anyone has the condition and opportunity to visit his exhibition room.So Arjan makes extensive use of the Internet to showcase his collection, as he runs a website where he sorts jerseys by country, club and league level, as well as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, all under the banner Voetbalshirts.What inspired him to embark on this online adventure in the first place?”There are several reasons.First of all, it shows others the shirt I have.Secondly, if there is a fire or robbery, I can prove to the insurance company that I own the jersey.Plus, having my jersey collection online makes it easier to see and verify what I already own, especially if I’m looking for a new collection online or buying from a foreign store.”These are the two main ways Arjan gets most of his shirts.Before the pandemic began, he was making five trips a year abroad to expand his collection, including two or three trips to the north coast of England.But he is increasingly using the Internet to buy shirts as flying restrictions in the past two years have blocked his access to them directly from the club.”I prefer to buy them myself from the club shop near the stadium, but with a collection of over 2,700 jerseys this is not always possible.”There are also EBAY, kit groups on FACEBOOK and other kit collectors in Holland and abroad on TWITTER,” he admits.Over the years, I’ve made like-minded friends all over the world, and that’s part of the fun of collecting.”In fact, Arjan is deeply rooted in the jersey community, where he plays an important and active role as one of the most dedicated collectors in Europe.He manages a football account with 6,000 followers through his three social media channels, while his website attracts more than 200,000 visitors.He confirms that the jersey itself is not the most valuable aspect for collectors.”Collecting everything that comes with it is probably better than owning the jersey.It’s great to visit stadiums, search online, meet people, meet other collectors and be proud of their club and want to help me add a jersey to the collection or volunteer for their club.Apart from the shirt itself, the shirt collection has brought me a lot of positive things.A lot of people talk about the shirt and football and help each other through our shared passion for the shirt.”Arjan had to have a favorite shirt, so we pressed him for an answer, even though it might be hard to choose just one from 2,800 options.”There is an old Groningen shirt that is my favourite,” he finally admitted, “because it is a rare shirt that has been worn for nearly 40 years.”(:Groningen must be his home, in his shirt collection homepage list first is groningen, groningen have he collected 103 shirts, coincidentally, groningen academy history made the strongest player robben, robben’s name is also called Arjan) such a rare vintage jersey is the pride of his collection, like most of his collection,Ayan refuses to wear it for exercise, though not necessarily for the reasons most people might think.”I tend not to wear jerseys because not all of them fit my size (right now)!””I don’t wear a football shirt very often.I don’t want to break them.But there are some jerseys I actually have two: one for my collection and one to wear.”Even with such an extensive and valuable collection, Arjan hopes to expand further, though his showroom seems to be reaching saturation point.Even on the door hung many hats from nails hammered into the wood.He has a shortlist of kits he’s working on, and he showed us one of his most coveted jerseys.”I really wanted to add a shirt to my collection, a shirt from Groningen’s Dutch Cup final against Zwolle in 2015.Groningen are my local team and they’ve only won one cup in their history, the Dutch Cup.As I said before, I like the club’s non-league shirt that I don’t have yet.So if anyone is reading this and thinks they can help me buy a shirt for a local club’s non-league games, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!”Arjan Wijngaard’s local team in the North-East of the Netherlands, Groningen is his favourite.In recent years it has become known as arjen Robben’s boyhood club.It was a relationship that began almost 30 years ago and became the gateway to his lifelong love of the sport and its associated kit.”Groningen are my local team.I’ve had a season ticket for almost 30 years and the stadium is only ten minutes away by bike.My point is that you always have to support your local club.But Everton was the team I got my first shirt with.I think I like clubs that support local fans.Everton, Groningen and Feyenoord are really local fans’ favourite clubs.Although the craze for jersey collecting is a relatively new phenomenon, and no doubt Arjan has been active on Twitter as the lockdown has enabled people to spend more time online to start or expand their collections.He is old-fashioned for all intents and purposes, but what of the future?”I have no intention of stopping!”As long as I enjoy it and have room to continue, I won’t stop,” he admits.(Ji Mingyuan)