Celtic superfan spent £30,000 collecting players’ shirts over decade

Paul Lamb, from East Dunbartonshire, had to build a special wardrobe to keep his collection in.

Celtic superfan spent £30,000 collecting players’ shirts over decade Matthew Newby via SWNS

A Celtic superfan has spent around £30,000 collecting players’ shirts over a decade – and had to build a special wardrobe to keep them in.

Paul Lamb, 46, started his collection of player-worn shirts in 2011 and has now collected about 140 tops.

Around half of the collection were actually worn by players while the other half were their spares for matches.

He keeps his collection individually wrapped in special garment covers to keep them in pristine condition.

They hang in a custom-made wardrobe in his bedroom which he built himself for around £60 for the cost of materials, in his home in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire.

Collecting all ten of the Celtic testimonial tops – special tops worn for a celebratory match held for an outgoing player – is Paul’s proudest achievement.

Collection: Paul Lamb has spent around £30,000 on players' shirts over a decade. Matthew Newby via SWNS

The oldest was worn by Bobby Lennox and dates from 1970 – which makes it the exact style worn by Celtic’s legendary European Cup-winning team from 1967.

Paul, who works as a painter and decorator, said: “I got started in 2011, I’ve always been into football shirts and I used to buy the replicas.

“It was in 2011 that I got into the match-worn and player-issued ones.

“The first one I got was a Scott McDonald shirt and from that I got to know more about player shirts.

“I thought it was like the big ones up for auction – Maradonna – and it was only millionaires buying things like that. There is a huge market for it – almost every team in the world has a collector following them and buying their shirts.

“I’m too frightened to add it up but it’s probably somewhere in the region of £30,000. But that’s drips and drabs over a ten year period.

“Some of them are quite rare – cup final shirts and that.

“Not all of them are match-worn, it’s probably a 50/50 split. Some of them have been worn and some of them are player-issued.

“At every game that gets played, every player has two shirts, in case one gets damaged. So sometimes it’s the spare shirt the player gives away – not actually the one they wore.

“For cup finals and that players probably keep those and giving away the other.

“I’ve got quite a lot of rare shirts, it’s tough to pick a favourite.

“It would change every day but I do have a favourite set and that is the testimonial shirts.

“Danny McGrain’s was the first time they had the match detail around the badge, denoting that specific game.

“Since then, there have been ten players who have had a testimonial – the last one being Scott Brown in 2018.

“I’ve now got one shirt from each of those ten games.

“It’s as complete a set as you can get because before that players just wore generic shirts.

Superfan: Paul has around 140 Celtic tops. Matthew Newby via SWNS

“The oldest shirt is a home shirt from 1970, so its the same era of shirt as the players would have worn in the 1967 European Cup final because that style of shirt was worn for seven years.

“That was worn by Bobby Lennox, I believe. You have to go on the word of the person you got it from unless the actual player gives you the shirt.

“I’ve been lucky enough a couple of players gifted me shirts.

“The oldest one came from Paul McGoogan, which was his shirt from Roy Aitken’s testimonial.

“Tom Boyd gave me one two years ago.

“I was very lucky there.

“The most expensive one I bought was a green away shirt from 1982 – it’s quite a rare shirt and was only worn on a handful of games – it cost £1000.

“There are some crazy prices being paid nowadays – the pandemic has drove memorabilia prices of any genre through the roof.

“I have seen some crazy prices and this is just a hobby for me, so I’ve never bought anything I couldn’t afford at the time.

“I’ve walked away from quite a lot of shirts because of the prices involved.”

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