Written by Mike Carter, Hull KR Shirts.
Welcome to My Collection With Jason Fisher. I recently spoke to Jason about his collection, his love for Hull Kingston Rovers and also his love for collecting jerseys in general. He was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions and share his collection with us.
MC – Jason, what inspired you to collect shirts?
JF – My love for the shirts followed my love for the game of Rugby League. I used to buy replica shirts every season as most fans do. Once the season ended I’d store them away and wait for the next years to be released. My first ever Hull KR shirt was a 1986 adidas home shirt with Hanson White Print as the sponsor. My Headmaster at Alderman Cogan school was the great John Leeman, with his association to the club he had brought jerseys to school for the pupils to buy and been around 4 or 5 years old at the time that was my first ever shirt. As the years rolled by I’d continue to get them. Sadly I only have the ones from 1996 season onwards now. I’m not sure what happened to them. With the emergence of eBay in the early 2000s, I’d browse online looking for Rovers jerseys.
It started off as purely replica jerseys but as soon as I saw match-worn jerseys my attention drew to those. I loved the feeling of knowing that a jersey could have been worn when you were at that memorable game you attended. From that day forward my first and one sole focus was match-worn jerseys. I do still by replica shirts from the club shop to wear on game days but will always chase the match-worn now.
MC – When did you start collecting shirts and what do you collect?
JF – Primarily now I aim for match-worn jerseys as a whole, but I will still pick-up the odd replica. I mainly collect Hull KR, but over the years it has moved on to other Super League and NRL clubs too. I also have some International shirts and some from the State of Origin series. I now try to get the big named players when and where I can. I also try and obtain jerseys of my favourite players.
MC – What was the first match-worn shirt in your collection Jason?
JF – My first match-worn was Michael Dobson’s 2009 home shirt. I got this as the season ended so we had just finished 4th in only our third season in the Super League. Dobbo had also been picked in the Dream Team, alongside 3 other Rovers players (Peter Fox, Clint Newton & Ben Galea). It was a big deal for me at the time and then all of a sudden, it started.
MC – How many shirts do you have in your collection, Jason?
JF – On my last count, which was a month or so ago, I had over 120 match-worn jerseys and around 50 replica shirts. I regularly pick-up jerseys so that will have risen and will continue to do so.
MC – What is your favourite Rovers shirt in your collection?
JF – For me, I’ve always been a huge fan of adidas, whether it be trainers or jerseys, so the era of them supplying jerseys to Hull KR in the late 1970s into the 1980s was special. The adidas jerseys are my favourite and I’m lucky enough to own a few from that era. I would struggle to pick one as it’s a toss-up between the Centenary Savoy Tyres 1983-85 home shirt or the Hanson White Print 1986 home shirt, but if I HAD to choose, with the prestige attached to the Centenary jersey, I would probably have to pick that one.
MC – What is your favourite Rovers shirt of all time? (not necessarily in your collection).
JF – As I said in the last question, the adidas series of Hull KR jerseys are my personal favourites. There is so much history to the shirts and the success of the club in that era makes them even more memorable. The designs used by adidas can be described as timeless in my opinion, as we still use the designs from the 1980s for modern-day shirts.
MC – What is your favourite shirts in your collection, excluding Hull KR?
JF – This is a tough one, while I’ve been collecting shirts I’ve managed to build up a lot of contacts based in the UK and overseas. I have been blessed to have picked up some really nice jerseys.
My favourite player in the last 20 years is Johnathan Thurston and I am lucky enough to pick up a few of his State of Origin jerseys, so I’d have to say one of those. I met Johnathan at an event at the KCOM Stadium in March of this year, so I took my jerseys with me to the event and got them signed. I also have a photo of us both with the jerseys.
MC – In an earlier answer you mentioned having some International shirts. If you could pick one to feature in this Q&A, which would it be?
JF – The answer of this could easily change depending on when you asked me, but this time I will go with Sam Burgess’ match-worn jersey from the 2016 Rugby League Four Nations game against Scotland RL. Sam captained England RL in the series so this adds further value to me in the jersey.
MC – Would you buy a shirt you didn’t like the look of? If yes how do you feel about it?
JF – I’ve bought jerseys in the past which I’ve not particularly liked, but it’s been the player attached to the jersey that has encouraged me to buy it. If I didn’t like how a jersey looked, but it was worn by a legend of the game or a player who I like, I’d buy it for that reason.
MC – Over the years collecting Rovers shirts, what would you say was your best buy?
JF – Last year I and a fellow Rovers shirt collector managed to pick up some of Max Gold’s (Former Hull KR Director & Chairman) personal collection from an auction at Sotheby’s. The haul included some great jerseys, 2 of which were worn by Phil Hogan in the 1980s.
MC – What is your opinion on signed shirts Jason?
JF – Fully signed jerseys are great to display, in a frame. If I had the option I’d like a match-worn jersey to be signed ONLY by the player who wore it, but sometimes you just can’t choose. If the right jersey becomes available and its fully signed by a squad, it wouldn’t deter me from buying it if it was one that I was chasing.
MC – Lastly to finish up Jason, I would like to give you the opportunity to shout out for a shirt (or shirts) which have eluded you over the years?
JF – The iconic shirt I’d love to own would be a match-worn 1980 Challenge Cup Final jersey. That would then be followed by the 1981 and 1986 Challenge Cup Final jerseys. Those three would be the pinnacle jerseys which I am missing from my collection.
Jason, you’ve been great. Thank you for taking the time to go through this interview with me. It has been ace talking shirts with you and I hope you enjoyed it too! It has been excellent to be able to see some of the amazing shirts in your collection.
Fancy having your own interview with Hull KR Shirts about your shirt collection? Get in touch and we will make it happen.