Best football gifts: What presents football lovers REALLY want
The ultimate guide to the best football gifts ideas, from retro shirts to Lego stadiums
Finding the right kind of football gifts can be hard work. Yes, you know someone who spends all weekend watching whatever game is live on TV (plus the highlights) and yes, they do the same on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (sometimes Thursdays, too). Perhaps they've got a wardrobe bursting with an array of colourful football shirts, and they read everything there is to read about the beautiful game.
But, really, what is it they want?
FourFourTwo is here to help. We've put our heads together to come up with the ultimate list of football gifts we'd love to unwrap.
We'll be keeping this page updated, so if you like to plan ahead (or you just want ideas for yourself), make sure to bookmark this and check back later.
Current football shirts
If you're buying a football gift for the lover of the Beautiful Game™ in your life and you haven't thought of just buying them a shirt... then you really need this guide.
Without wanting to be too obvious, starting with what team they support is always a good idea (and if you don't know that, we can't help you), but major European teams are always a decent bet.
Luckily, most of the big teams' kits are made by either Nike or Adidas, making online browsing a bit easier.
Nike supply PSG, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Roma, while Adidas supply Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Ajax. Any of those are usually a good shout if you're really struggling for ideas.
Football gifts – current shirt: Ajax 2021/22 home
Ajax Amsterdam 2021/22 home shirt – £70
The Bob Marley-inspired Ajax third kit may be making waves this season – at the time of writing it's sold out on the Adidas online shop – but the home shirts are among every football fan's favourites year-in, year-out.
Retro football shirts
Retro football shirts have become top-tier football gifts over the last decade. Websites have sprung up across the internet flogging re-releases of your favourite shirts from yesteryear, no matter how obscure.
While some may not be perfect recreations, plenty make excellent additions to your wardrobe – and you don't have to worry about finding the right size or spending all of your savings on the only one available.
With so many retailers in the retro football shirt game, here's a couple of sites we recommend, and some of the best options they have.
Ahead of the game, Toffs was one of the first retro shirt sellers about many years ago. So long ago, in fact, that many of the shirts around when they were set up are now on other retro shirt sites.
Toffs, though, still has a unique selling point: it tends to focus on 1960s, '70s and even older football attire. It deals more often in a pleasing era-correct cotton than the polyester standard for later decades.
There's dozens of international and European sides to choose from, plus over 100 English clubs covered.
Football gifts – retro shirts: Italy 1982 World Cup home
Italy 1982 World Cup winners Rossi shirt – £49
Unleash an inner Tardelli with this Azzurri World Cup classic. The lettering for 'Rossi 20' on the back will stir up cozy feeling of nostalgia for some of a certain age.
Warning: not to be gifted to those who are still not over the Euro 2020 final.
Football gifts – retro shirts: Barcelona 19745/75 away
Barcelona 1974/75 away shirt - £42
A Johan Cruyff era beauty, this away shirt feels as much a quintessential Barça shirt as any home strip (and more so than the current offering).
The cotton makes for a nice feel, this is different enough that you don't see it every day, and its so instantly recognisable as to make anyone jealous.
There's also personalisation available from £5. May we humbly suggest 'Cruyff 14'?
3Retro's big selling point is its licensing agreements, meaning that you can pick up official retro products. There's over 30 club ranges available from England, Scotland, Germany, Spain and Italy, plus a whole load of international options too.
It's a perfect site for retro kits primarily from the 1980s and '90s.
Football gifts – retro shirts: Manchester City 1998/99 away
Manchester City 1999 Wembley shirt – £30
Not only an iconic Man City shirt – they wore it as they won the Division Two play-offs on penalties in 1999 – but sported by Raheem Sterling in an iconic FourFourTwo cover 20 years later. Lovely stuff
Football gifts – retro shirts: England 1990 World Cup third
England 1990 World Cup third shirt – £35
There's a World Cup coming up in 2022! If someone you know goes Three Lions mad every time an international tournament comes around, they'll thank you for kitting them out early – England retro shirts across the land sold out during Euro 2020 last summer.
This blue third kit was never actually worn during the 1990 World Cup, but did get a (black and white) appearance in the World In Motion music video, as well as a thousand more appearances in pubs during England matches ever since.
Copa do a great line in more unusual retro shirts, with Zaire's 1974 World Cup offering and Stoke's 1993/94 top rubbing shoulders with your classic Netherlands or Juventus fare.
There's also not-quite-faithful reproductions of timelessly cool football shirts, which make for perfect casual wear for those who don't normally opt for a club top when they're out and about.
All the prices are in Euro, so if you're shopping from the UK, double-check the exchange rate to know what you're paying before you go ahead.
Football gifts – retro shirts: Boca Juniors Capitano T-shirt
Boca Juniors Capitano T-shirt – £33.92
More casual than a full recreation, this 100% cotton Boca tee comes with a woven-in captain's armband and No.10 on the back to pay homage to the late Diego Maradona.
Vintage football shirts
Vintage shirts is a bit of a tougher game than retro ones – these are made at the time the shirts were current, and are being sold on decades later.
This means you might struggle to find the shirt you want, in a size you want, in a condition you want, for a price you're willing to pay. And even if you do, someone might buy it before you.
But, if we're being honest, that extra effort makes them better presents than your standard retro shirt. Most fans can tell the difference between vintage and retro, making them that bit cooler, and there's always the chance to find something that's never been reproduced later.
So, what you need is to know about as many of these sites as possible to give you the biggest chance of finding what you're looking for. Unfortunately, as most are single-item stock, we can't recommend anything in particular, so you'll have to browse for yourself.
Here's our rundown:
The big daddy of vintage football shirts, CFS has a huge collection and should be your first port of call for whatever you're looking for.
A relatively new discovery for us at FFT, this already big shirt collection is growing. Our tip? Check out the J-League section...
An American site, so get your Google-assisted exchange-rate calculator ready, this is a much smaller collection, but with excellent options. What's actually vintage and what's near-perfect reproduction is hard to say, but finding the maroon Arsenal strip with 'Henry' on the back available in multiple sizes means we're not too fussed on this occasion.
Cult Kits boasts over 100 new items added to the site every day, making it well worth a regular check, and its themed
Not everyone wants to wear actual football shirts – and even those that do probably don't want to wear them every day.
But cotton T-shirts that have a nod to your beloved team, or a great tournament or player of the past? One that you can wear to the pub on a Saturday without looking a bit try-hard? Yes please.
Football gifts – T-shirts: James Richardson Football Italia shirt
James Richardson chest tee – £22
Football fans of a certain age (roughly the 30-40 range, if you're not sure) have a special place in their hearts for Channel 4's Football Italia show from the 1990s.
Football Devotion has loads of great stuff, and a particularly beautiful Football Italia range, but the print of then-hirsute presenter James Ricardson pointing at a copy of Gazzetta Della Sport is the one that really does it for us.
Football gifts – T-shirts: Gazza World Cup 90 third kit
Gazza World Cup 90 third kit T-shirt – £24.99
Paul Gascoigne's tears defined a World Cup. England's next great hope.
Periodico Emporium has lots of stuff – mugs, coasters, the usual – in this periodic table style, covering different players, teams, and even different sports, if that's your thing.
Football gifts – T-shirts: Celtic Classics
Celtic Classics Art of Football T-shirt – £28
We've been big Art of Football fans at FourFourTwo for a long time, and the breadth of what they produce – including jumpers, hats, posters, bags and socks – means there's plenty to choose from if you like the look of anything.
Football gifts – T-shirts: The Bird Football Town
The Bird Football Town T-shirt – £43
Football Town produces cotton shirts that look like retro kits, but are just clean and comfortable unofficial tops. The deep red and gold Definitely Not Liverpool shirts are among the best on offer.
Football gifts – T-shirts: Euro 88 Poster
Euro 88 Poster T-shirts 365 – £19.99
These retro Euros posters on T-shirts 365 look like old band T-shirts – and we are very, very into it.
Boots are a great football gift for those that play the game. Getting a decent pair makes a huge difference, not just in terms of longevity, but to performance on the pitch.
However, they can be a bit pricey – which is why they make such a good present.
Nike and Adidas are the two brands that really dominate the market, and that should be where you start your search if you're looking to bestow some new clogs on a loved one.
Football gifts – boots: Nike Phantom GT2 Elite
Nike Phantom GT2 Elite AG-Pro – £224.95
The Nike Phantom range is probably the most popular football boot around at the minute, with Kevin De Bruyne and Mason Mount among the Premier League stars who rock a pair.
As with all boot ranges, there's plenty of choice around – from colour to what surface they're designed for – but this is what we'd be hoping to unwrap.
Football gifts – balls: Premier League Flight
Premier League Flight – £124.95
Everyone wants the Premier League ball. If you don't know what to get, get the Premier League ball. Absolutely no one is going to get sniffy about receiving the Premier League ball.
As simple present ideas go, this is the simplest.
Architecture, history and a great big dollop of football – stadium tours are perfect, either for seeing a beloved club's stomping ground in a new light, or for adding something a bit different to a weekend city break.
Plenty of guides offer their own take on stadium tours, often working it into a wider city tour or as part of a full holiday package deal. At FourFourTwo, we find the best way to scout one out is simply to search for it on Expedia.
Here's a few big ones we've scouted out for you:
• Wembley, London – £23
• Nou Camp, Barcelona – £96
• Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London – £28
• Etihad, Manchester – £26
Football gifts – stadium tour: San Siro, Milan
The San Siro (or Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, if we're being pedantic) is home to AC Milan and Inter Milan, and is among the most beautiful football grounds in the world.
It is a cathedral of the game, instantly recognisable, and impossible to mistake for any other use.
But the real reason for this recommendation is that it's time limited: by the end of the 2020s, the San Siro will be no more. It's due to be demolished and replaced with a new stadium, which we're sure will be very nice. But it won't be the San Siro. Get there while you can.
Football gifts: A FourFourTwo magazine subscription
FourFourTwo magazine subscription – £3 for the first three issues
Subtle, eh? With a subscription to the greatest football magazine on Earth, you'll get 13 issues a year delivered straight to your door, at a cheaper price than you can get in the shops.
Our current deal means you can get the first three issues of FourFourTwo for just £3 – saving 84%. It's the best gift any football lover will ever receive.
There are only two football stadiums available as official Lego kits, but they are both absolutely incredible.
Football gifts – Lego kits: Old Trafford (Manchester United)
Old Trafford stadium Lego kit – £249.99
If you know a Manchester United fan, you have to consider this gift for them.
Almost 4,000 pieces make up this gloriously detailed set, which rises to nine inches tall and 16 inches in diameter, and even recreates the statues outside the ground.
Football gifts – Lego kits: Nou Camp (Barcelona)
Nou Camp stadium Lego kit – £299.99
Know a football fan who loves Lego but hates Manchester United? You're not alone.
Unfortunately, there's only one other option available from Lego at the moment. Fortunately, it's a very good option indeed.
Barcelona's Nou Camp is one of the most iconic stadiums in world football, and this set, like the Old Trafford one, is brilliantly detailed. We can only hope there will be plenty more to come.
There are, essentially, two options when it comes to football games: FIFA or Football Manager.
Here's what you need to know:
Football gifts – video games: FIFA 22
Available on PS4, PS5, XBox One, XBox Series X and S, Nintendo Switch and PC
This is the football simulator, which continues to dominate the conversation around football and video games – and, if we're honest, is beginning to influence the way we watch and talk about actual football.
The Nintendo Switch version – called the 'Legacy Edition' – is pared down compared to the one available on other consoles, but is significantly cheaper as a result.
The 'Ultimate Edition' (available on various platforms) comes with in-game currency that can be used on the popular online mode FIFA Ultimate Team, as well as dual entitlement – meaning that those with a PS4 or XBox One who later upgrade to a new console will have their game upgraded too.
ALSO READ FIFA 22 review: This is the most realistic game yet
FIFA 22 Standard Edition
FIFA 22 for PS4 – £49.99
FIFA 22 for PS5 – £59.99
FIFA 22 for XBox One – £49.99
FIFA 22 for XBox Series X – £59.99
FIFA 22 for Nintendo Switch – £31.99
FIFA 22 for PC – £36.99
FIFA 22 Ultimate Edition
FIFA 22 Ultimate Edition for PS4/PS5 – £89.99
FIFA 22 Ultimate Edition for PC – £49.99
FIFA 22 Ultimate for XBox Series X/S – £74.99
Football gifts – video games: Football Manager 2022
Available on PC and XBox
This is the football video game for people who you might not normally expect to be into video games. Essentially a series of spreadsheets, the FM series is an all-encompassing simulator of what it's like to be a, well, football manager.
Releasing on November 9, if you pre-order it for PC from Fanatical and use the code 'FOURFOURTWOFM22' at the checkout, you'll get an extra 7% off. Find out more about the offer here.
Fanatical is currently offering £10 off already, so that makes it an absolute steal.
Football Manager 2022 for PC – £27.74 (with the code 'FOURFOURTWOFM22')
Subscribe to FourFourTwo today and get three issues delivered for just £3. The offer ends October 17, 2021.
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Conor Pope is the Online Editor of FourFourTwo, overseeing all digital content, and joined the team in February 2019. He plays football regularly, both on grass and artificial surfaces, and has a large, discerning and ever-growing collection of football shirts from around the world.
He supports Blackburn Rovers and holds a season ticket with south London non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. His main football passions include Tugay, the San Siro and only using a winter ball when it snows.
By Mark White
By Mark White