26 November 2020

Diego Maradona ‘Hand of God’ shirt held as ‘astonishing artefact’ in Manchester

26 November 2020

Steve Hodge may have angered his team-mates by taking it, but the shirt Diego Maradona wore when he cheated and humiliated England in 1986 has been causing jaws to drop for many years since.

Bosses at the National Football Museum in Manchester, where the jersey of Argentina’s most famous number 10 from his most talked-about game currently resides, say the item is one of their most popular.

It was loaned to them for exhibitions in 2003 by former England midfielder Hodge, who swapped shirts with Maradona after the ‘Hand of God’ World Cup quarter-final in Mexico City 34 years ago.

Claiming the shirt did not go down well among the squad at the time, after Maradona pushed the ball into the net to open the scoring and then rubbed salt into the wounds by adding a dazzling solo second soon after.

But with that game becoming one of the most discussed in football history, for good and bad reasons, the museum have been forever grateful.

“To have a Diego Maradona shirt on display would be amazing in itself but to have ‘the’ shirt, the one he wore on June 22, 1986 and scored those two goals, for us, is absolutely phenomenal,” Dickie Felton, spokesperson for the National Football Museum, told the PA news agency.

“Our visitors, they love it. It provokes so many talking points because it is ‘the’ shirt and it provokes so many memories of people watching the game all those years ago.

“We were very lucky and fortunate in that Steve Hodge loaned us this remarkable piece of football history. So many thousands of visitors have seen it over the years. It is an astonishing artefact.

National Football Museum spokesperson Dickie Felton with the shirt Diego Maradona wore when he played England in 1986 (PA Wire)

“I am in this museum all the time but when I walk past it I have to stop and look at it because of what it is.

“It almost has a certain power to it, still. It is quite something to have it on display here in Manchester.”

The story of Hodge acquiring the shirt has resurfaced following the death of Argentina great Maradona at the age of 60 on Wednesday. In the aftermath of the controversial 2-1 defeat it was a sore point and room-mate Peter Reid admits he told Hodge “to go away in Anglo-Saxon”.

However, with the passing of time, perspective has changed.

“Who’s the fool?” said Reid on BBC Breakfast. “I think it’s worth a right few quid now!”

The exact value, though, must remain a matter for conjecture.

Felton said: “We would never put a monetary figure on objects and items but the cultural value of this is absolutely immense.

“I think, after 34 years, England fans have got over the heartbreak now and I think Maradona will be completely remembered for that second goal.

“The first one, the ‘Hand of God’, will disappear and it will be all about that second goal where he took on several players.

“It was poetry in motion. It was art, it was opera, it was remarkable. I think it was the greatest goal ever seen.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox