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176 and counting: A Feyenoord fanatic’s glorious pursuit for the rarest of rare jerseys


“I once traded a Feyenoord player’s jersey against my iPhone. A former youth teammate of the footballer was willing to sell the beautiful shirt provided by the player himself, in exchange for a nice phone. I handed it over without blinking an eye.”

For many, owning an iPhone presents the ultimate pleasure as evident from the immense loyalty that the brand commands. Jeroen de Waard, a 44-year-old Feyenoord fan, is certainly not one of them.

Material possessions like a fancy phone hold limited importance, in comparison to the thrill of acquiring a club jersey with 176 in his collection so far.

Journey as a Feyenoord supporter

“I was born in 1976 and started supporting Feyenoord at an early age. However, regular trips for home games only started in the 1984/85 season when I obtained my own season ticket, going for clashes along with my dad. My father loved the club and was extremely affectionate. This resulted in a fresh jersey being gifted to me every season during my childhood. I still have most of them to this day,” says Jeroen with shining eyes.

“As I grew older, I started purchasing shirts myself. The choice lay between purchasing a home shirt or an away kit. My brother was further a season ticket holder, which encouraged us to start travelling for home clashes as well as abroad for European away fixtures.”


“I had a pretty decent collection of shirts which were purchased from the fan store. This was further followed by the decision to acquire jerseys of other popular clubs,” adds the 44-year-old.

However, Jeroen’s thirst for collecting football jerseys assumed even greater intensity with renewed purpose and vigour, following an experience nearly 15 years ago.

“It all changed that day”

“One day, I had the opportunity to swap a couple of shirts from overseas sides against two Feyenoord jerseys. They had been sent by the club and further worn by the players. These shirts were stitched using a different raw material with differences in the country of production, from the ones in my collection so far. It all changed that day,” enthuses the 44-year-old.

“My focus shifted towards attempting to acquire more shirts issued by the players. As I succeeded, it spurred me on to targeting the purchase of all types of shirts Feyenoord had played in: home, away, goalkeeping jerseys. My growing collection of 176 shirts so far, has either been worn or at least issued by the players.”

“My favourite shirts are the ones from the 80s”

There can easily be up to nine different types of kits in a season, as Jeroen explains while expanding upon his glorious journey so far.

“There are different kits for European matches (due to sponsor-regulations) and for special games (like cup finals and testimonial matches). This makes it nearly nine different varieties in a season. My objective is to only collect jerseys from 1982 and the years which follow. A key factor behind this decision has been the financial requirements for purchasing older shirts. They are extremely hard to procure and pretty expensive,” explains the 44-year-old.

“My favourite shirts are the ones from the 80s, as those were the kits Feyenoord used to wear when I was young. It’s fun to possess some that have been worn by players, whom I used to request autographs from after matches and during training sessions.”

While it is certainly fascinating, one wonders about the manner in which Jeroen goes about adding to his beautiful collection. Acquiring some of the rarest jerseys in world football is not child’s play.


“I have purchased shirts from auctions that the club organized to obtain money for noble causes. However, most of the jerseys I procured from the internet. Sites like eBay and Marktplaats (Dutch version of eBay) have proved quite helpful. I have further been able to get in touch with other shirt collectors. This enables me to trade/swap shirts and providing assistance if necessary,” reveals Jeroen.

“Sometimes it can be quite stressful”

The journey has been an extremely enjoyable one for the 44-year-old with happiness and a lot of elation. However, there is also a bit of stress and nervousness involved.

“Sometimes it can be quite stressful, especially when you are battling it out with several collectors to acquire a rare jersey. I don’t have the biggest wallet, so looking harder and being swifter in comparison assumes great importance. It’s important to think on your feet.”

“A seller decided not to part with a shirt over which we had already reached an agreement. This incident happened just last week. You can’t let things like that get in your way. One needs to stay calm and begin searching for that type of shirt again.”


It can be quite difficult for even the most passionate fans to devote their time and effort towards such pursuits, if not supported by the family members and society. Jeroen is quite lucky in this regard, as he admits.

“My family loves the collection”

“My family loves the collection, being Feyenoord fans. Some of the older shirts which I used to wear during my childhood days, have been worn by my son and nephews. It’s great to see a lot of older fans turning their heads, when they see an eight-year-old in an original Feyenoord away-shirt from the 1983/84 season,” he says with a laugh.


“Recently, my brother and I re-created an old picture with the shirts worn in that image. It felt quite nostalgic,” adds the 44-year-old.


While some believe that Jeroen is a bit crazy, he hardly has time to devote towards critics. The Feyenoord fan only has eyes for the next jersey capable of adding glimmer to his collection.

“There are still dozens of shirts that haven’t been added. With new shirts coming out every season, there are a lot of jerseys out there. Collecting shirts helps maintain a beautiful connection with Feyenoord on a daily basis,” he concludes with a beaming smile.


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