How to Tell a Fake Football Shirt - Part One

With the surge in demand for classic football shirts from previous seasons, there's been a corresponding rise in counterfeit shirts flooding online platforms like eBay, Etsy, and Depop. Even some independent websites opt to sell fake items instead of authentic ones, underscoring the need to be vigilant when purchasing retro football shirts.

So, how can you distinguish between a genuine and fake football shirt?

For modern football shirts from the early 2000s onwards, one straightforward method is to locate the unique product code for that particular season. Here's how:

1. Identify the Manufacturer's Product Codes: Different manufacturers have varying product codes for each season. Look for these codes on the wash label inside the shirt. Some older football shirts, especially 90's kits and before will not have this option, but with more modern retro shirts this is always a good first thing to check.

2. Verify the Product Code: Once you've located the product code, conduct a quick Google search to ensure that the results align with the shirt you possess.

If you see results such as the above, and it matches the shirt you have, you're almost definitely looking at a legit football shirt. If you start to see different shirts then the item is most likely counterfeit. 

Authenticating vintage football shirts from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s is a bit more challenging, often requiring a case-by-case examination against trusted sources. However, there are several key features to consider:

1. Check Inside Labels: Ensure the presence of inside wash labels, though vintage shirts may sometimes lack them.

2. Inspect Wash Labels for Authenticity: Look for any pen marks or writing on the wash label, which could indicate a fake.

3. Research Manufacturer Specifics: Different manufacturers introduced product codes at different times. Nike, for instance, started using them around the early 2000s.

Here's a breakdown of some major brands:

- Nike: Look for product codes located under the wash label, typically in the middle or bottom.

- Adidas: Product codes can be found inside the collar or near the bottom of the shirt.

- New Balance, Under Armour, Puma, and Warrior Sports: Similar procedures apply, with codes usually located under the wash label.

- Umbro: While Umbro shirts may lack product codes, labels inside the shirt can still serve as points of comparison.

For vintage shirts pre-2000s, identifying authenticity often involves examining labels inside the collar and comparing key features like brand logos, club badges, and shirt quality against trusted sources.

Understanding football shirt terminology is also crucial:

- Original, Authentic Shirts: Refers to genuine merchandise created by official manufacturers for specific seasons.

- Modern Remakes/Reproductions: Are contemporary recreations of classic shirts, not genuine merchandise.

- Fakes: Counterfeit items lacking quality control, often with poor stitching and materials.

- Replica Shirts: Official shirts sold to the public by clubs or manufacturers, but the term can sometimes be misused to refer to fakes.

- Player Issue Shirts: Official shirts with features similar to those worn by players in matches, distinguished by higher-quality details.

- Match Issue Shirts: Highest specification shirts issued to players for competitive matches, incredibly rare and valuable.

Original, authentic football shirts hold their value over time, making them worthwhile investments for collectors.

For further assistance or inquiries, feel free to reach out through email, or our contact page.