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This Scottish Librarian Has The Greatest Collection Of Football Kits From Around The World

Joe Johnston has been on a quest to collect a football shirt from every FIFA nation for the last five years.

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For the past five years, Aberdeen librarian Joe Johnston has been collecting football shirts from around the world.

Some days you wake up and you just feel like it's a Bhutan Full Kit Wanker day... #BhutanClan

Johnston documents each and every shirt he buys and a little history behind it on his Global Obsession football blog.

"I've always been fascinated by obscure international football since the days of playing as Brunei on FIFA '96 on the Sega Mega Drive," he told BuzzFeed, "so it was a pretty easy quest for me to get obsessed by, really." Now his collection totals over 300 football shirts, and it's safe to say he has quite the assortment.

His goal is to have shirts from all 209 footballing nations with FIFA registration.

Johnston's collection started with an Argentina away shirt (left) for the 2010 World Cup, and ever since then he's been trawing eBay, foreign football associations, and other establishments to get all the shirts he needs – such as the natty Papua New Guinea kit on the right.

His quest has given Johnston a keen eye for what goes into an exquisite football garment.

"My love for football developed in the 1990s," he said, "so I've got a real soft spot for those really loud, over-the-top designs."

Among his favourite designs to date in his collection are his DR Congo, Tajikistan, and Scotland Euro '96 kits. "Stick a big picture of a lion's head on the front and cram in as many colours as possible," he said. "I didn't get into this to have 209 dull, plain shirts."


But his wallet has taken a bit of beating.

Joe Johnson / Via

While Johnston wouldn't like to estimate the total figure of the shirts he's purchased, he was happy to tell us the most expensive shirt in his collection.

"I just dropped £300 on a genuine, match-worn Eritrea shirt," he said." I haven't told my girlfriend yet. Oops."

But when you end up with world sport stories as good as his, it's worth it.

In his quest to get shirts from a number of smaller sporting nations, he's been collecting match-worn shirts and linking up with other football shirt collectors.

"I've has so much help from a guy called Eric over in Canada," he said, "and Sascha in Germany, who actually drove all the way to Scotland with his girlfriend and stayed with me, and Nick Warrick in England and a few other guys too."

He's also got his hands on a number of rare shirts, including an Azerbaijan under-17s shirt (left) that was once owned by the pope and a fake Malawi shirt picked up in the David James bankruptcy auction.

Not to mention one of the most enviable sporting wardrobes in the world.

@FootballShirt11 @classicshirts @talentino84 Shame to keep them hidden in boxes! You want to modify your room like me

His global obsession has taught him plenty about the power of football, he said. "There are loads of good, generous people in all parts of the world who are willing to help you out if you're polite and you explain what you're doing."