When one of the world's finest forgot his shirt ahead of a World Cup semi-final

Ashley Jackson HWC2014
How many people reading this have forgotten something crucial before a match?

Judging by the responses to our Instagram story post earlier this week, quite a few of you, with items ranging from socks to gumshields, sticks and much more. One goalkeeper even once forgot their goalie kit!

Even the best players forget their kit though, as Dan Fox and George Pinner recount in the second part of the InsideTheCircle: The Podcast special looking back at World Cup stories.


They hilariously tell the story of how Ashley Jackson, one of the greatest players the game has seen, turned up in the wrong coloured playing shirt ahead of the 2014 World Cup semi-final.

“It was the semi-final game against The Netherlands, a massive game and there were a few pre-match nerves. For Ashley and Barry, having played so long in Holland, this was a huge thing for them, to play well and show what they could do in front of a Dutch crowd,” recalled Fox.

“We get to the ground, which is a good 20 minutes from the ground, and we don’t mess around at there so we arrive there probably only an hour before the start of play. Ashley then goes to our manager: ‘Andy, what would happen if somebody forgot their match shirt?’ Andy says it’s ok as you have two so it’s not a problem.

“Ashley then says: ‘What if they’ve forgot both match shirts? Would that be a problem?’ Andy’s face went completely white doing the maths. It was a huge, huge, huge panic. 

“Ashley was asking if we could stitch the number on the back of another shirt but this wasn’t a South League game, he had to have his match shirt. But fortunately he got it, we played and it was all fine.”

While Pinner wasn’t aware of the issue at the time, it had come to the attention of one of Jackson’s team-mates. 

“Ash always used to be one of the guys who wore his match shirt to the pitch, full warm-up and never changed his shirt,” the goalkeeper explained. 

“He was in the changing room in the wrong coloured shirt for a period of time before and Dave Condon has picked up on in instantly but is thinking ‘Ashley, one of the best players, definitely got his house in order’. 

“So he chooses not to actually say anything except to Foxy and as they’re walking out Dave says to him ‘Ash does know he’s got the wrong coloured shirt on doesn’t he?’ So we’ve also lost a huge period of time where it could have been resolved.

“Luckily the doctor we were assigned for this trip had a very decent convertible car so he was straight in it and drove it straight back to deliver the match shirt. Even the best players have kit issues. It’s not just at club level, it happens with internationals too.”

Hear more brilliant stories like this from the 2010 and 2014 World Cups by subscribing to Inside The Circle: The Podcast now.