Northern Ireland news

Bangor man tells of 'insane' reaction to new retro football shirt shop in Belfast

Bangor man Ryan Gilmore, who has opened the NI Classic Shirt Co shop in Smithfield Market. Picture by Mal McCann
Marie Louise McConville

A Co Down man who is hoping to score with a new retro football shirt business in Belfast, has told of how he was met with queues of customers on his opening day.

Ryan Gilmore, from Bangor, opened the NI Classic Shirt Co shop in Smithfield Market on Saturday.

The 32-year-old's business, which is believed the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, sells classic football shirts from the eighties, right up to around 2015.

The shirts include those from international teams from all over the world, and the UK and Ireland and league shirts, with "nothing out of bounds".

Former civil servant Ryan said the age of the customer depends on what is considered "retro".

"People in their thirties and forties think the nineties is retro but for people in their twenties, they are looking from 2000 to 2015. They are thinking that is really old," he said.

"When they see shirts older than that they treat it like dinosaur bones or something."

He said as there are no remakes, all the shirts are originals, which he sources from around the world.

"It started with just buying locally and using the likes or ebay and general websites but now we get the stuff wholesale from around the world," he said.

"There were two that caused a bit of stir on Saturday. There was a Boca Juniors, from 1992. It was an away shirt, it is super rare and a West Germany 1988 Away shirt."

The Bangor man said the interest in the shop, especially on its opening day, had been "insane".

"There was a weather warning, we were thinking no one was going to come but the queue was there," he said.

"There is a big market for it. We ship to people all over the world because our prices are always better."

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