Lifelong Hearts fan publishes book about his iconic football jersey collection

A longtime Hearts fan and collector of game-worn strips is set to release a book that details the history of the iconic shirts in his own collection.

Grant Young, 53, started attending Hearts games at Tynecastle with his father when he was 10.

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The book ’51 Shirts: Heart of Midlothian A Moment In Time’ will celebrate 51 iconic Hearts kits from the 1950s to the present day.

Grant, who works as a project manager at Abrdn, only started collecting match shirts in 2000 when his wife sponsored Ricardo Fuller for half of the 2000/2001 season.

It was from there that his desire to collect game shirts came to fruition.

The book celebrates Grant’s personal collection and it has a foreword written by Hearts legend Stephen Adam.

The project manager was motivated by a suggestion from a friend, Ross Millar, and by the free time he found during the multiple confinements linked to Covid-19.

On his book, he said: “The idea for the book came from my friend Ross Millar who I was walking around with during the various lockdown times. He noted that he thought there was a book in my retro shirt collection.



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“So I started thinking about how I could shape it and frame it, because I thought it would be good for other people to see the collection.

“I put together some chapter ideas and if a shirt came from a particular season or game, I would write about that specific story to go along with the images.

“But then I didn’t think about it for about two months when Ross pushed me again and I wrote a framework of how I’d like it to go before sending it out to various sports editors at Edinburgh and the UK.

“Pitch Publishing then got in touch to say they thought it was a great idea and they would be interested. So I spent the next 16 months of Covid working on putting it together.



Bukta 86/87 home shirt.
Bukta 86/87 home shirt.

“I think this will make the perfect coffee table book for people to flip through and reminisce about nostalgic tapes or memories from the Hearts story.

“I considered writing a Hearts story through the comics, but after talking to the guy who did something similar about Rangers, I realized it would take me about five years and I don’t didn’t want it to become a chore.

“What really blew my mind was the relationship I managed to build with Stephan Adam. I bought the shirt he was wearing when he scored the winner against Rangers in the Champions League final. the Scottish Cup in 1998 at an auction held to save Hearts around 2012.

“From there we kept in touch by email, but when I told him about the book, he agreed to write the foreword.



Away shirt from 2003/04.
Away shirt from 2003/04.

“It’s amazing to think that someone I would idolize from the terraces is playing an active role in the book.

“The book is called 51 Shirts: Heart of Midlothian A Moment In Time and will be released on May 16 to coincide with the anniversary of Hearts’ 5-1 victory over Hibs in the Scottish Cup final.

“I wanted it to be a bit ironic while celebrating one of the greatest results in Hearts history.

“I hope fellow fans enjoy the book and can reminisce with loved ones about the iconic kits and fond memories.”

Grant added that collecting shirts used to be a relatively geeky business that was aimed at a small, niche group of football fanatics, but in recent years collecting shirts has become more difficult and expensive.



Novafone jersey of the season in which Hearts tackled Bayern Munich 1988/89.
Novafone jersey of the season in which Hearts tackled Bayern Munich 1988/89.

Nonetheless, he says he enjoys hunting and the community that has grown up around this now popular pastime.

Grant explained how he started collecting shirts, he said: “I’ve been collecting game shirts for about 20 years.

“I have quite a large collection with around 270 match-worn Hearts shirts and around 40 odd international kits.

“Collecting has always been a big part of my life. When I was younger it was cars, then when I started going to matches it was match schedules, then I moved on to kits.

“It all started when my wife sponsored Ricardo Fuller in the 2000/2001 season and managed to secure a peak. From there I caught a bug and sponsored a player each season and I continued to collect shirts – this season I have Ben Woodburn.

“Collecting shirts has become a little more difficult due to the rise of online shops offering this service. Many people are now involved in the space that was normally reserved for a friendly group of football fans.

“That being said, I love being part of the community and I love chasing the iconic Hearts high.”

To pre-purchase the book, please visit Pitch Publishing here or Amazon here.

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