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100th object contender: No.1 - Football shirt

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David Prudames, British Museum David Prudames, British Museum | 09:00 UK time, Friday, 8 October 2010

Didier Drogba Chelsea Football Club shirt


As listeners to Radio 4, visitors to the British Museum and readers of this blog will not have been able to miss, we’ve chosen, but not yet revealed the star of the 100th chapter of our story.

Over the next week, we’ll be revealing five contenders for the final object that each tell of aspects of the world around us today – indeed the world that we’ve seen shaped through the previous 99 broadcasts.

If you tune into Radio 4’s Today programme each morning you’ll hear some of my colleagues – Ben, Barrie and JD – introducing the objects on-air. Here on the blog you’ll get to see them and I’ll do my best to tell you why these objects have been chosen and what they can tell us about the ingenuity and challenges shaping humanity in the twenty-first century.

Appropriately, therefore, we start with a football shirt.

Football – or association football to give it its proper title – may have evolved on the public school fields of nineteenth century Britain, but today it’s a global giant.

We live in a world more connected than at any other time in history and what else unites disparate, discrete and geographically remote parts of the world in the same way as football? Go anywhere and you could probably find someone who’ll discuss with you not just the game itself, but teams and people playing it on the other side of the world.

But this isn’t just any football shirt: it bears the name of Didier Drogba, an African who grew up in France and whose skills have led to his global fame. Through television, radio, magazines, billboard posters, the Internet, Drogba’s face and tremendously gifted feet are known the world over. And Didier plays for Chelsea, a team based in London and owned by a Russian.

The shirt was made by a German-owned company, in China, and bought in London. It’s covered in logos, names, motifs that are instantly recognisable. We know these as brands – another phenomenon of our age, protected by copyright but not exempt from being copied (underlined by the fact that the Museum has also acquired a companion object to this one, a probable fake bought in a market in Peru).

I can imagine the choice may surprise some – how could we include it in a list that features such one-off beauties as the double-headed serpent, the standard of Ur or Akan drum? Fairly mundane this shirt might be, but it tells a story every bit as potent and relevant as any great work of art.
We live in a world where we consume branded objects. The very fact that this is a mundane artefact demonstrates a distinctive new feature of our world of things: we see, own and use the same objects in many parts of the world. As JD puts it: ‘you could just as easily see people wearing this in London, Lisbon, Lima, Lagos….’

This is a potentially throw-away item – and I don’t just say that as a West Ham fan – next year it’ll likely be replaced by a new model and Didier himself may well have moved on too. The brands, the personalities and indeed the objects we consume can and do change rapidly. We all own a lot of things and we can usually replace them with ease.

This shirt is a mass-produced symbol of our globalised world – it’s got 2010 in every millimetre of its man-made fibre.

  • Listen to Evan Davis discussing Drogba's Chelsea shirt with curator JD Hill


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  • Comment number 1.

    A football shirt! No, no, NO!
    I'm assuming this has to be some badly-conceived joke.
    If I'm wrong and this becomes the object that defines our world in 2010, I'll never listen to Radio 4 again.

  • Comment number 2.

    I agree that a football shirt demonstrates a large part of our current culture for all the reasons that you have listed but disagree that the shirt should be one of Chelsea's and especially one bearing the name of Drogba.

    If you want a really global brand of football you need to look beyond the Premier League years and identify globally recognised teams from before Sky created the Premier League. The 2 teams from this country that spring to mind are Liverpool and Manchester Utd. All of their success was built over time during the years where it was a working class sport. Chelsea have bought their success in the last 10 years which makes them minnows in terms of the history and more importantly, success, that Liverpool and Manchester Utd have shared over the last 50 odd years.

    The choice of either shirt based on their globabl recognition would be a greater choice than Chelsea but in terms of indentifying one player to carry the torch for football into the future look no further that Ryan Giggs. A model professional. A one club man. Never asked for a transfer. Never had an agent. Stayed out of the limelight and played for the love of the game and not the fame and fortune that came with it. A rarity in modern day football and an icon of the game for future generations.

  • Comment number 3.

    @2 You miss the point - Drogba's Chelsea shirt is ideal because it represents the transience of brands and fame in the 21st century. As stated in the article, an African playing for Russian-owned team in London etc, etc.
    Whilst Giggs may be iconic to many football fans and Man Utd fans in particular, he represents more of a footballing past - where players did spend most of their careers at one club in an area they grew up in.

  • Comment number 4.

    I would suggest to Gregg that Ryan Giggs is a far less well known name in global terms than Didier Drogba. This is about world history, not the history of the British working class.

    Both Manchester United and Liverpool have also "bought success" over the years, albeit with revenue earned from ticket paying spectators.

    Chelsea also have a 100+ year rich heritage and in current global terms have do not have a smaller level of brand awareness, certainly than Liverpool and possibly Manchester United too.

  • Comment number 5.

    Gregg - I get what you are saying - but the point of this shirt in particular, I think, is that it sums up the diversity of the global game today, as in 2010.

    An African, raised in France, playing in London, for a club owned by a Russian, wearing a shirt that would be recognised in all 4 corners of the world along with the brands that advertise on it.

    Pre Premiership / Sky TV this wouldn't necessary be the case - hence using Drogba (but equally could have been a Tevez or an Henry).

    Your right in terms of Liverpool and Manchester United though, teams that almost transcended the sport before the game was truly global.

  • Comment number 6.

    I can't think of a better item to express the world as it is today.

    Gregg has brought football dogma of historical fan bias into his reasoning why Drogba's shirt shouldn't be used but he misses the point.
    The idea is to represent the world today, not some time in the past where another club was more relevant. It is representative of a newer era of club ownership in sport.

    The fact that the shirt is made in China is as important as which club colour is used. That the name used is that of an African player and not a British player is important, just as the fact that the shirt can be found in every corner of the globe. (i recently saw a Chelsea No.11 shirt being worn by a young girl at a league game in the Swiss 1st division)

    It is representative of how powerful a sportsman from a poorer country can become when given the chance to earn fame, power and wealth.
    The fame in itself could only have been achieved by moving halfway across the globe which is so much easier in the modern world.
    The power that has been accrued is both abused by the modern sportsman to his own ends but is also used for good as seen in Drogba's humanitarian efforts (witness how many sportsmen go on to become politicians, even in our own country it is possible).
    The wealth that is garnered from the sponsorship on the shirts, the sale of the shirts and the globalisation of a sport once defined by it's simplicity and earthy beginnings.

  • Comment number 7.

    Aw, poor little Man Utd fans trying to convince themselves that they are the only football club that matters!

  • Comment number 8.

    #2 @Gregg

    Yet another blinkered comment from a typical United fan

    Did you not read the article before commenting?

  • Comment number 9.

    A drogba shirt? is this some kind of joke?

    No giggs, scholes, henry, gerrard etc who have done so much more in football?

  • Comment number 10.

    A point missed by all those above is that Ryan Giggs does represent the world today. The fact his father left his mother to raise him by herself, coupled to the fact that his father was black shows that Giggs as an individual does represent the world today.

    Nevertheless the choice of either Giggs or Drogba is a poor one. If we are looking for a footballer who represents the modern era of football and by consequence the global power, audience and influence football now controls why not look to argubaly the greatest player to have graced the game? Zidane, born in Algeria, raised in France- a player who played for Madrid and Juventus, two teams which in recent years have taken very different paths. Madrid represents the successful global brand, the dream of playing football but also the control held by over priced players over both the management and the global arena of football as expressed by the Marca. Juventus on the otherhand, once a great European power, found themselves struggling to cope financially due to the increased economic strains and the match fixing scandel which saw them relegated and stripped of their titles a few years ago.

    In Zidane there is a player who represents both these clubs, the multi-national face of football, the sponsorship, money and power. Furthermore, his international career will probably never be matched- a goal scoring hero in the 1998 World Cup Final with two goals, opposed by his ridiculous sending off in the 2006 final- thus showing the paradox between moments of inspiration and moments of childish displays which blight the game (in the latter facet Drogba is a prime contender).

    Drogba has only become an icon in Africa because arguably he is a whale in a very small pond, kept company by the likes of Essien and the Toure brothers. There is no they are good players, but they will never represent the profesionalism offered by Giggs, nor the global power house that was Zidane.

  • Comment number 11.

    #9 - I take it you didn't read the preceding 8 comments? Radio 4 clearly goes over some people's heads, I'd stick to talkSport if you think the British Museum were putting it in a list of the greatest objects in human civilization's 10,000 history based on Drogba's finishing ability...

    Read the article and comments #3 and #6.

    Finally, "Giggs, Scholes, Gerrard, Henry etc" - do players only count if they appeared on the cover of FIFA in the noughties?

  • Comment number 12.

    Baby Blue.... City fan I expect - no comment needed! Even with all that cash and you are still more than average!

    I agree with the reasons but agree that picking Drogba's shirt is wrong!

    Mattdma is correct. Pick a British Legend such as Scholes, Giggs, Gerrard etc. It is for the Brisish Museum after all.

    As for being Onessuk's comment that Drogba is more well known in the world than Giggs...... How? Giggs has won all the British accolades plus the Champions League and has played many times for his national side. It's not like the Ivory Coast are much better than Wales and United are better known over the last 20yrs than Chelsea.

    And if this is about global appearance, how about probably the best known footballer of the modern day who has played in the UK, Europe and the US and many times as Captain for his National side? How about a No.7 England with the name Beckham accross the back?

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm in tears over the foolish responses. I don't think this shirt is meant to be about football (or football accomplishment).

    I can just imagine someone saying "Chelsea is a nice name for a girl", then a Football fan telling them they should call their child Manchester United, because it has tons of history and doesn't cheat or nuffin.


    What the hell is radio 4.

  • Comment number 14.

    #13 - The incredibly tedious radio station that "a history of the world in 100 objects" goes out on...

  • Comment number 15.

    I think if a football shirt is to be included and the player's name is considered a relevant factor (transience of the sport, corporate appeal, individual branding and so on) then it has to be one of David Beckham's. Played in England, Spain, Italy, and America, and shirt-seller extraordinaire, he is the epitome of individual branding in football (#23) and the epitome of the sports/celebrity cross-over. (Might I direct you all to Ellis Cashmore's interesting book on brand Beckham). The Drogba selection makes little sense as there are better alternatives I believe...

  • Comment number 16.

    It's a Drogba shirt because he is a successful player playing for a successful team in 2010. I wish liverpool fans stopped living in the past.

    Who were they going to choose Kuyt, Babel or Drogba??

    Chelsea are minnows in terms of history and success? i thought chelsea have been around just as long as any other premier league side?

    And in a few years they will still be around while Utd and Liverpool will be around the lower leagues having been overwhelmed by the debt they have gathered!

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Droga (11)to me is the best option cos 1, An africa man. grown or trained in France.A Christain married a woman from muslim background. plays in England.wearing 11 shirt (going by tradional jersey numbring the highest number in a team then). shirt carries chelseafc colour (club in England, Owned by Russian, manage by Italian. made in china by German company.
    We can all see countries involved Cote d'ivoire, mali, France, England,Russia,Italy,China,Germany etc.

  • Comment number 19.

    I would suggest an Arsenal shirt with Fabregas on the back would make a better artefact (I'm a Southampton fan so no loyalty to Chelsea or Arsenal here).

    The club captain, a Spaniard from the Catalan region. Managed by a Frenchman. The club is majority-owned by a Russian, the shirt made by an American firm (and probably manufactured in China) and - perhaps most telling of all - the shirt sponsors are Emirates Airlines, who epitomise the current climate of wealthy Arabian organisations and individuals stamping their mark on global business and sport.

    The comparisons with the Woolwich Arsenal of 100 years ago are fascinating and numerous and I would argue that such a shirt would make a far more imposing statement about the world we live in today.

  • Comment number 20.


    you are joking, giggs has been around for nearly 20 years, i dont recall drogba being on the simpsons etc

  • Comment number 21.


    Arsenal aren't big enough right now, if it's about 2010.

    Having said that, and I am a Chelsea fan, Arsenal certainly represent the globalised, multi-cultural world with their foreign players, so I'll give you that one.


    Yes Giggs has achieved more in football in personal and professional terms, but there are probably more people who know about Drogba because he's really prominent right now. His appearances at the World Cup and African Cup helps that. If Giggs had played for England he's probably be the biggest star in the world still now.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'm almost certain that it doesn't matter whose name is on the damn shirt. You can all argue your childish little cases, but you're all proving the case. The fact that we all care so much about which footballer rather than why a footballer shows exactly why the shirt is on the list.

  • Comment number 23.

    This is an outstanding choice and all the points articulated by poster 6 apply. This is 2010, people. Wake up. It is a British Museum yes, but the article has to represent the "British World" in 2010 not in 1968 or 1999 even! The world is changing fast and people have to live with it. I live in the USA and have watched football on all continents. Those saying Giggs is more popular than Drogba are deluded folks who need to get out more. A simple facebook fan or twitter follower count will prove this. Drogba was also recently selected as one of TIME's 100 most influential people in the world. Ryan Giggs won't come close to the top 10,000. As for the mention of Gerrard, all I can say is LOL...

  • Comment number 24.

    #22 Yossarian - You're right the question 'why a football shirt?' - and not a set of cricket whites, or a basketball vest - is definitely part of the thinking behind the object. But the same time the choice of footballer does add another dimension. For instance, I don't think a Daniel Sturridge shirt or even Frank Lampard's tells quite the same story.

    #15 fulhambob - A David Beckham shirt is a really interesting suggestion. The object has to be from 2010, so the Beckham shirt could be an AC Milan one, which becomes really intriguing when you think about the owner of that club: Silvio Berlusconi. Not just a club chairman but also Italian prime minister and media mogul. That shirt would tell a story both about how sporting ability can be transformed into international celebrity and about football's relationship with money, politics and the media. But maybe it's not quite as global as this one with the African player - Russian owner - English club - Korean sponsor?

    Paul Sargeant - blog editor

  • Comment number 25.

    If this is included it will just go to show how much of a sad state the world is in

  • Comment number 26.

    The point, chaps, is that, in order to represent humanity and the world in 2010, it would be good to have an object in which we could all be interested and in which we might take some pride - not a relic of a trivial and irrelevant game played and supported by a minority of over-active boys.

  • Comment number 27.

    Yes Didier may well have moved on by next year and I may well have control of the BBC, wishful thinking perhaps :D

  • Comment number 28.

    Anyone know where the list of the other 99 objects is?

  • Comment number 29.

    i dont think a football shirt should be put in a museum

  • Comment number 30.

    #26 byersr - There are another four contenders for the 100th object to come. Next one will be announced at 9am tomorrow on Radio 4 and on this blog.

    #28 Luke - You can see the other 99 objects here: British Museum's 100 objects

  • Comment number 31.

    Mankers bleeting on about Giggs! Come on, even you lot will admit Didier IS football. I admit Giggs is a great pro who has been plodding on for ever now, but Didier is Mighty! Have you seen the reception he gets when he travels home.
    I don't see crowds lining the Seven bridge when Giggs visits Port Talbot!
    Didier represents everything great about world football.

  • Comment number 32.

    NO this is a DREADFUL it should be a england player- Beckham or a Ledgend

  • Comment number 33.

    Yamoussoukro Hospital - many of the ill-conceived responses to your suggestion fail to understand the thrust of the proposition. - I suspect many didn't even read the text in full.
    I appreciate your use of juxtaposition between the globalised throw-away and the truly invaluable. - Perhaps you should have mentioned the peace deal between warring factions that Drogba is said to have brokered in his homeland.........And let's not forget the 1st world hospital he is building in the Ivory Coast capital, Yamoussoukro. Maybe your semi-literate '"Beckham or a Ledgend" contributor' might tell us what this icon gave back to Peckham besides hair-gel.

  • Comment number 34.

    What a joke! Firtly a football shirt and secondly Drogba's???? And this coming from a football supporter. Goodness, things of the World. I read that today that a Samsung executive said that Chelsea simply weren't heard of outside the UK.
    Agree with number 32 above - surely it has to be an English legend/footballer/shirt?
    Says it all about today's world. Let's forget England if we can and delete it from history!

  • Comment number 35.

    #34: Oh dear. These 100 objects are a history of the world not a history of english football. If they are going to include a football shirt there is no reason why it needs to be English player.

    This is what happens when a well meaning web editor takes a world history article and puts a link to it on the BBC football web pages.

  • Comment number 36.

    Drogba is going to go down in history as one of the best of all time, Arsenal, Man United and Liverpool fans may not like this, but who cares, he has scored crucial goals goals against them, Drogba is in 100 most influencial sportsmen of all time, he stopped a civil war in his country, he does his bit for charity, he does not care what West Ham fans think he will be remembered in history not for te way he play acted but what he did for football, the amazing player he was, the goals he scored and the good deeds he did, Drogba a legend of his time

  • Comment number 37.

    Firstly, the 'A History of the World' series comes highly recommended and is one of my preferred podcasts (just behind 'Fighting Talk'). A 15 minute culture rush, and I've learnt more about the ancient world and cultures from there than I ever got from a mouldy text book at school. Well done the British Museum and the BBC.

    Check out object no.38 for an indication of how they've approached sport in the past...and for some comfort that you weren't playing ball games in Mexico in the 4th century BC.

    As for this nomination it smacks a little of the series courting some additional publicity - and the response here would seem to vindicate that. Whilst I am a Chelsea season ticket holder, and Stamford Bridge has been a big part of my world for 35 years, I'm not sure this shirt is representative for all, notwithstanding the bigger picture issues raised above. The Beckham suggestion is 100% right in that context, for better or worse.

    I'm not sure having a Chelsea, United, Madrid or LA Galaxy shirt picked for this item is something to be particularly proud of anyway, given where football sits in 2010. My Johnny Bumstead shirt (no name on the back of course, just the number) won't get a look in, which makes me a little sad. Maybe 100 years from now the Wimbledon AFC shirt will be put forward as the best example of a 'club' shirt with all the background behind it, although maybe I'm also a hopeless romantic, with rose-tinted glasses when I look back at the dilapidated Shed 30 years ago.

    It will be interesting to see the other nominations and I would have thought a clear winner will be one of either the device I am using to send this message (a computer) or the medium in which it is sent (the internet).

  • Comment number 38.

    I don't know why some people like creating hatred for a legend i.e Drogba. This is his luck, he has been chosen then why not leave him and rejoice with him? All because you might not a Chelsea fan and you come here to condemn. Most people putting comment here are just enemy of progress honestly.

    Honestly, if it were to be, some other English or other country players they have chosen, the likes of Henry, Gerrard, Lampard, Giggs and so on, then i would have been so happy at-least it their luck and good fortune, so i see no reason why you come here and start condemning someone all because he's from Africa and also playing for Chelsea.

    Honestly, should be some comment to be removed here by the moderator because some people come here and write nonsense all because they are here to spoil someone.

  • Comment number 39.

    A named shirt reflects our fascination (some might say fixation) with brands and celebrity. It does not signify football as played by real people but rather football as a business to be promoted and consumed it embodies the exploitation of those who make, and wear, such shirts and is therefore a rather sad representation of modern life. The name is transient like the players themselves - it will be replaced when it ceases to have sufficient market value.

  • Comment number 40.

    Totally agree with you Dave no better example there is.

  • Comment number 41.

    Gregg, I think you underestimate the stature of Didier Drogba. This isn't about British footballer legends, which rightly so Ryan Giggs is a living one. This is about WORLDWIDE names, and simply put Drogba is more worldwidely recieved then the likes of Giggs or Steven Gerrard.

    You'd be hard put to find many children out in Africa supporting names of those two players, but with Drogba? He is their legend, and not just there. He was with Marseille for just a year and still highly regarded there.

    This is a man who got named as one of world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine after he successfully managed a cease fire after 5 years of civil war in his home country of Ivory Coast. Let me tell you that is quite an achievement for a footballer and certainly impression for a sportsman who doesn't have much to do with the US. Plus the fact that it was he, no one else who caused the cease fire is an incredible feat, and just goes to show you how much he is adored out in Africa.

    Even in Asia, a continent that Man U have been trying to dominate the market of (Park Ji-Sung ensures a lot of Asian interest in Man U and sales of shirts), they still know and admire Drogba and his skills on the pitch.

    So yes, while I do agree with you 100% that here in the UK there are other more.. deserving men of such recognition, worldwide Drogba is more known and liked then the skillful and reliable Giggs could ever be.

    That is why his shirt was chosen.

    It's simple really.

  • Comment number 42.

    Drogba............!!! Your 'avin a laugh!!!

  • Comment number 43.

    +35. Oh dear, no need to try to be above "football supporters", silly comment especially as you seem to be in the minority. And EVERYONE is allowed a comment, especially as its a football shirt!
    As football was invented here it would seem "appropriate" for there to be an English name on. I'd suggest an England shirt with 6 on it for Bobby Moore (and I'm not a West Ham supporter). It seems I'm not in the minority here - why Drogba? Don't give us reasons about him being a hero in Africa etc. Its an iconic symbol of one of the games we invented..

  • Comment number 44.

    The comment section of BBC articles is always an interesting read. It gives a clear idea of the readership of this website. I am, however, surprised that over 70% of people who comment on BBC stories do not seem to understand what they read. Is this because most people do not actually read the piece or failure of the writer to communicate?

    In this case, there was a simple question, "what best represents the world today?" I am writing from Canada, it is 0552hr and I am awake reading about English football and convinced that someone in Tasmania is probably doing the same at this time! What else captures the image of the world better in 2010?

    This jersey is the best choice ever; we could write a thesis on it to express the world in 2010. Beckham is great and so is Giggs but Didier represents the image of a Chinese engineer, wearing a shirt made of the American flag and sending a spaceship to mars. He represents two Russian Scientists winning the Nobel Prize while working in a laboratory in Manchester. People should wake up and understand what that jersey means: our world in 2010!

  • Comment number 45.

    Yet another example of the over-inflated importance given to football in our culture. If actual audiences were proportionate to the media hype on this sport MoTD would be getting 15-20 million viewers instead of the very low millions it actually receive. More people still go fishing than attend football matches.

    On the other hand football could justify its place in the list as the ultimate representative of the Form Over Substance mentality that dominates our modern society. Who cares what's on your TV as long as its in HD and you have 50" screen.

  • Comment number 46.

    Are you thick or just away with the fairies?..........A football shirt...a poxy football shirt?

    Its just a THING, made for buttons and bought for a fortune by the gullible.

    He is from here, he plays for them, they are owned by him and they are this that and the other, its total rubbish, it's an arm of BUSINESS, albeit a very successful one, but in reality it is meaningless and valueless to the vast majority of people.

    Typical out-of-touch, smug idiots in their BBC offices with no idea what is important in real life.

    I pay my licence fee for clowns like you to even come up with stupid ideas like this, let alone be in a position to influence the results?

  • Comment number 47.

    @10(SolomonVanHelsing) I need to make a small adjustment here Zinedine Zidane was born in Marseille in France if you didn't know. And Didier Drogba's shirt truly deserves to be in this contest.

  • Comment number 48.

    Yo museum dudes, I'm both a mad keen football fan and a listener to your excellent 100 Objects podcast and I think this is a fine selection! The ire of bigoted posters on here simply enforces the argument that Drogba is the perfect choice as the name on the shirt. He *is* football in 2010, good *and* bad. None of the other names mentioned come anywhere near him in terms of global identity. David Beckham might be a contender, but of last decade, not this. Ditto Zidane. Bobby Moore’s name is written into the history of football, but his time was 40 years ago. Ryan Giggs is ace, but he’s a national superstar not a global one. This programme is about a history of the World.

    Having said all of this, to focus on the players in terms of their footballing ability is to miss the point entirely. Asamoah Gyan would be a great choice for the shirt, as would Gael Katuta, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Wayne Rooney, Clint Dempsey, Adam Johnson, Carlos Tevez or a dozen other names you could mention. All of whom tell us something about “the ingenuity and challenges shaping humanity in the twenty-first century.“

    Oh, and to all the snobs seeking to belittle football’s significance and cultural value; you are as laughable as the buffoons who hate Didier Drogba and think him a black devil. You’re dinosaurs, the lot of you!

  • Comment number 49.

    I'm really not sure that the football shirt is the right item to include.
    I suppose it depends what comment the commitee want make on about football or modern culture or both.
    I assume they see both becoming ever more global and cynical when it comes to making profits and using methods or people's faces to sell products.

    Regards some commenters getting their knickers in a twist over whether or not the choice of Drogba/Chelsea is right, well, it's not as bad as some would have us believe.

    I personally believe if the point is to reflect the way society has become media and clebrity obesessed then really there can be only one candidate.

    He was brought up in London but was a Man United fan, has endorsed more products than some people have had hot dinners (e.g. in Africa), the man is truly a global brand and has even sought to crack the one big market where "football" does not reach.

    His wife had a highly successful recording career that made her richer than the global brand himself. She also has a clothing label and a perfume named her.

    I would agrue though that, surely, whilst football has become ever more popular in the last twenty to thirty years, couldn't you always include a football shirt in any similar collection?

    It's popularity rises and falls but it has never gone away has it? Is there a need to emphasise it? The throw away item is in that sense a throw away gesture to make this collection relevant to 2010, surely?

    Surely a more thought provoking token would be a SKY subscription receipt.
    Surely the influence of the media, the influx of money into sport, the introduction en masse of the reality TV show etc is far more relevant than a football jersey?

  • Comment number 50.

    BBC, will you ever learn?

    "it bears the name of Didier Drogba, an African who grew up in France"
    should read
    "it bears the name of Didier Drogba, an African who grew up in EUROPE"
    it bears the name of Didier Drogba, an Ivorian who grew up in France".

    Africa is not one country along the lines of France.

  • Comment number 51.

    I have been a great fan of the show and I am also a great fan of football.

    The choice of a football shirt is a great idea and quite positive. Those who suggest that football is meaningless are dismissive because they personally don't like it as a sport or due to its link to the 'culture of celebrity' etc. However it can not be beaten as a sporting phenomenon known worldwide. The stories of soldiers during WW1 playing football in no-mans land at Christmas shows this. A more recent example is child soldiers going through rehabilitation playing football with those they were previously encouraged to shoot.

    However, for the 'World' today it should be a Brazil shirt (as the world's most easily recognised) or (as much as it pains me to say as an Arsenal fan) a Man U shirt. Man U because they simply a larger brand than Chelsea, which was a reason behind choosing a club shirt. Giggs would be a good choice for the name on the back, he has African roots (grandfather sierre leone) and is playing for a club owned by foreigners (US - Glazer family).

  • Comment number 52.

    #43 On the contrary, I myself am a diehard football fan. But fact is most user comments on the bbc football pages are postings motivated by club rivalries, who has the best players etc etc. That is why so many previous comments have missed the point of this article. You and others are demanding it be an english player's shirt. Well an audience of Brazilians might equally say it should be a Brazilian player, the French might say a Zidane shirt, the Argentines might say a Messi shirt etc. In fact it does not particularly matter. As the author writes: "This shirt is a mass-produced symbol of our globalised world". As such the shirt of any top class football player would have sufficed.

  • Comment number 53.

    Hello BBC 4 and footie fans everywhere!

    Yes, I can see how the type of shirt can distract the listeners to the show from the story of the shirt as an object. Neil you are naughtie, inciting the normaly reasonable history fans, tsk.

    I hear everything you said about the item and agree that if it was found in the garbage, take heart you anti-Chelsea and anti-footie fans that is usually where much of the preserved stuff is found these days:), it would be a curiosity to the future humans(?) researching the past.

    However it doesn't work as well a the cell phone (tool) as an object that was carried around and revered the world over. It's just another piece of clothing with symbols all over it. Interesting concept though.

    What about the British museum itself?

  • Comment number 54.

    The arguments for the "Drogba" shirt seem more about Global Economics and Geography than History?
    If football is to be represented amongst these 100 objects why not a trophy such as the FA Cup, the oldest competition in the world and not as transient as a named club shirt.
    Various nationalities have participated in it, It encompasses social history and is recognised the world over.

  • Comment number 55.

    The idea of a shirt being honoured ISN'T that ridiculous -- IF IN A 'CONTEST' OF THIS TYPE it is a shirt 100% connected to the UK. BUT, a shirt worn by a 'mercenary' - while honouring the person who wore it maybe - doesn't come close to warranting a place. AS A PERECTNAGE OF TIME DIDIER DROGBA has been in the slightest 'connected' to the UK, it must be minuscule indeed.
    This has nothing to do with Drogba's nationality or his footballing prowess. It has to do with how British is a shirt worn by him.

  • Comment number 56.

    @Paul Sargeant your comment about the name of the shirt is interesting in passing, and misses the point that it is only the object that will remain.

    However the overarching point of artifacts in history have a much different significancy to the viewer/user/owner. For example the Jomon Pot #10 was lined and used differently by a later generation. The shirt could be worn, but the symbols, if they can be interpreted, won't have the meaning of today. We honour #15 early writing tablet for it's use and the fact that human's used symbols the meanings are nice but the point is the object. The Rosetta Stone #33 tells us about the society and their interests. They were trying to communicate with each other.

    Another interesting corelation is football to past Roman 'games'. Also most of the objects in the B.M. were stolen from the countries they belong to. Yes, I know 'preserved' for all time etc.

    I was surprised but anyway if the show THOW-100 objects was needing something to represent 2010 a football or any sport jersey wouldn't be appropriate. The majority of the humans in the world in 2010 are all about the phone, the internet, and the portability. Smart technology rules Asia and North America and is changing the way we live. If you don't think that matters you are lost to the future.

  • Comment number 57.

    Can't see why, if you are highlighting the importance of the globalization of football in 2010, anybody in could feasibly argue the use of a football shirt instead of The World Cup.

    There's been one this very year, it's the biggest competition in world football, it attracts literally billions of viewers..all with their individual points and criticisms. Every single thing mentioned in the article as a reason to use a Drogba Chelsea shirt just seems to fit better if you used a replica World Cup.

    Plus you won't get the haters banging on about why "it should be have been Alan Shearerrrr!!"

  • Comment number 58.

    To Gregg (2.)
    Typical whinging and whining from a jealous ManU supporter,

  • Comment number 59.

    I say this as a neutral Aberdeen FC fan.

    At first I thought 'Drogba? What a load of rubbish.' But having read through the entire article, I agree that Drogba makes the most sense.

    Giggs and Fabregas are not even close, sadly Giggs probably tops the list of amazing players never to have played in an international tournament.

    Fabregas may have a World Cup & European Cup winners medal but he is not quite a starter for Spain.

    Beckham is an interesting choice and was probably the closest second choice, but he grew up in London and in relative comfort.

    The journey to stardom that Beckham, Giggs and Fabregas each travelled do not compare to the literal rags to riches tale that Drogba epitomises.

    Drogba better symbolises talent breaking down the racial, economic and social divide between Europe and Africa.

    The Drogba Chelsea shirt is truly global and symbolises in many ways how sport, football, business, economics, sociology, status, politics, society, Britain and the world has changed.

    Great choice.

  • Comment number 60.


  • Comment number 61.

    I am not a follower of Manchester United, or indeed any of the recognised 'top' british clubs, however as a global icon of football and internationalism there can only be one man and one shirt - number 23 as worn by David Beckham. He has not only achieved international status through playing for his country, he has also represented clubs in Spain, Italy and the USA.
    That is my vote!

  • Comment number 62.

    Oh dear oh dear, I think this page of responses could be used at object number 101, representing attitudes in the world today. Almost everyone has immediately switched into tribal mode, and largely missed the point of this object, instead offering up their favourite player from THEIR team, or attaching their own predjudices and values to who should be chosen.

    I am not a Chelsea fan, and I personally dislike Drogba, but I do think this is a good choice, and for me this works because it is thought provoking. Drogba fits that better than other players who have much greater standing in other ways.

    The point of this isn't about the favourite footballer from the favourite club, and in that respect Drogba and Chelsea make this a good and interesting fit.

    P.S. #19, since when was Arsenal majority owned by a Russian? They have a Russian with a large stake in the club, that isn't a majority ownership.

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    I think choosing a "Drogba" Chelsea shirt perfectly suits the aim of the display. The shirt perfectly sums up the superficial transient nature of modern life and the shallowness of modern culture which seems to suggest that with money you can achieve anything.

    If this were an exhibition looking at the history of certain aspects of culture then the most fitting shirt - without question - to exhibit would be Aston Villa's. They are the club that gave the world league football in 1888. League football is, today, a world wide phenomenon played and followed everywhere.

  • Comment number 65.


    If it was Messi's football shirt I could maybe see the point.

    Although Drogba is a good striker, the first thing I (and I think many others) associate with him is simulation and poor sportsmanship.

    If it's to be an iconic object, surely it should belong to the world's greatest player?

  • Comment number 66.

    Aaaaaargghhh. So many people having their say but can't be bothered to reading and comprehend the text contained in the article. That could also be a sort of virtual icon for the world in 2010. People who have plenty to say, but will allow no time to listen and understand. Unfortunately, it's not an object.

  • Comment number 67.

    The shirt is not there yet. Even if it fails to be there among the top 100 it is still an honour For Didier Drogba.

  • Comment number 68.

    As an American with little interest in the football played by the rest of the world, perhaps I can see this choice a little more dispassionately.
    The fact that football is an international sport is not what makes the shirt a brilliant choice per se. What matters are all the global connections this shirt represents in its manufacture, in the ubiquitousness of the logos, in the location and ownership of the team, and in the nationality and international following of the player. This is not about football; it’s about global interconnectedness.

  • Comment number 69.

    Drogba deserves a Nobel's prize for Peace for his efforts in cease-fire in Ivory Coast, let alone a place for his shirt in a museum. For comparison, Barrack Obama got Nobel's prize. For what exactly?

    For those ManU fans, I have an advise: get a ticket to somewhere outside of Manchester City and go to a pub.I'm living in Switzerland, and I see more DD11 shirts than those of Giggs, Fabregas or even Messi.

    Drogba's Chelsea shirt symbolizes following trends of history that no other player's shirt could do:
    1. Break from racial intolerance.
    2. Shift of industries: shirt made in China
    3. Rise of new class of richman - Russian oligarchs
    4. Power of footballer and the influence they have over masses
    5. New clubs breaking into European elite thru a wealthy owner

  • Comment number 70.

    I am very happy that the Shirt is nominated and I hope it wins as football rightfully deserves its place in the museum.

    To the haters of football (who are mainly snobs and wannabe snobs) I say 'eat your heart out'. There is nothing in this world today that brings more joy to many as football does. If you free your mind and look beyond your tiny world you will see what the rest of the world see.

    I think the choice of a football shirt is excellent. I cannot see a better one. One could argue that the world cup is appropriate because it simply is the biggest as it represents thew whole world; but it is such a big entity in itself and lacks a personal touch or connection (excuse my grammar for I could not think of a better word). It can only be won by a few. To add that personal touch you will need a common item such as a ball, a pair of boots or a shirt. Then you need it to tell a story. To do that you have to give it some magnitude and dimension. You need to breathe life into it. You need to get it moving. The item that will do that is the shirt with a name on it.

    Quite frankly, there are only a few players today with the personality to fit the story being told. European football has the largest viewership/followership in world football today (the world cup comes once in four years) and that makes it the appropriate choice. In choosing a player you need one that has a great footballing ability in the field of play, a positive contribution to society at large, a leader, a player who is presently at the top of the game and a living legend who is easily identifiable globally. When you add the journey/strides made by the player to get to his present position only two players playing today come to mind, Didier Drogba and Lionel Messi. The clubs they play for also tell a story. The significant difference being that Chelsea shows the latest trend in Billionaire ownerships and Barcelona tells a story of Fan Ownership. Chelsea has the added advantage of telling a modern story, of being a recent entrant to the European football powerhouse and of being in the country where the present format of the game was designed. That makes DIDIER DROGBA of Chelsea the best choice.

    Players like Giggs and Gerrard, where they are good players, are not Big enough. They are just Local heroes. Beckham is an International star known for his limited football abilities and celebrity lifestyle.


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