A vintage shirt seller from Wrexham is highlighting the town’s Olympic links by selling official Lesotho football shirts.
The Lesotho team for London 2012 used Wrexham as their pre-game training camp utilising facilities at Queensway and staying at Glyndwr University.
The association even saw Wrexham get a mention on the Olympics opening ceremony when the Lesotho team walked out.
Now Tomas Jones, 28, from Ruabon has decided to honour the town’s Olympic connection by stocking Lesotho shirts which will be worn in the 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifying rounds on his web based company Vintagefootballshirts.com.
He took stock of 50 of the Lesotho shirts last week, which you can buy here, and the online store is believed to be the only one in the UK to sell them.
As an added incentive he is offering anyone with a Wrexham address 10% discount and free postage and packing, which will be refunded when the order goes through.
Tomas said that getting hold of the shirts had taken a lot of effort, he explained: “It took about 30 or 40 e-mails but I eventually managed to get hold of the director of the company which produces the shirts. Basutoland Ink is a local company in Lesotho so it wasn’t just like going to Nike for shirts.
“You can’t get hold of these shirts anywhere else.”
Since it started the Vintagefootballshirts site has proved a global hit and has customers as far afield as America, Australia and Asia.
In all, Tomas has over 5,000 shirts for sale and his favourite is one that has come full circle – a Barcelona shirt worn by former Wales manager Mark Hughes, who comes from Ruabon.
The local legend played at the Nou Camp in the 1980s following his transfer from Manchester United.
He also has an impressive range of Wrexham FC shirts which can be found here.
The idea to set up the company came during the World Cup in 2006 when he noticed that England shirts were being sold for £13 apiece by Sports Direct in their shops.
The same shirts were fetching £25 a time on Ebay so he ended up buying 200 from Sports Direct and selling them on for a profit.
He said: “I noticed that everybody wanted the old shirts, the vintage ones, and I just got hooked then trying to find the old ones.
“The shirts I sell are the real deal, they are not retro remakes pretending to be shirts from 20 years ago. I buy many of them from members of the public who can contact me via the website.
“They are the ones you bought in the shops at the time. I also sell the players’ jerseys, the ones that were worn or issued to them for games.
“I sell kids shirts for as little as £10 while some of the vintage shirts go for between £50 and £250.
“The most expensive ones I’ve sold were shirts issued to Manchester United players, Paul Ince and Steve Bruce, in the Champions League against Barcelona in the Nou Camp in 1994.
“They were only on the website for about two hours before we sold them for £650 each.”