Vogue, Fads & Trends.

RENFREW FC – Match Programme

League –December 1st 2018 – Hurlford United


It’s often been said that I’m a bit of a dinosaur. You may have sussed that out for yourself, having read previous editions of ‘FREW THE LOOKING GLASS. Probably a little stegosaurus would be the most accurate visual description if you know what I mean. One that wears rose-tinted glasses, at that. And you don’t see many of them around these days.

The good thing about wanting to live in the past, is that you’d know what to expect. (Work that one out if you can.) No need to worry about the future and the changes it inevitably brings. Everything remains the way you remember it. And of course, life is so much better when viewed from over your shoulder – unless you’re being stalked by a tiptoeing, psychotic axeman.

You see, I remember days when football even at the highest level, was played for enjoyment; when everything about the game was simple. Like the player wearing the number 10 shirt was simply an ‘inside forward,’ and not this god-like being often referred to in radio and television commentary. Even the offside law was relatively easy to understand. But we are now in an age where money and quirky fads and trends are the order of the day.

The monetary aspects of the game will no doubt be raised in a future FTLG article, but let’s start this week with the UEFA Nations League. Not the competition as such, the format of which is as simple to understand as Brexit negotiations conducted in Slovenian. No, I’m talking about Sky Sports and their presentation of the league tables throughout the campaign.

Us dinosaurs are not the quickest of thinkers. We are more reactionary creatures. Slow, reactionary creatures at that. And so, when the tables were shown after each match, with the Points column being displayed before the Games Played, I was more confused than a goat on an astroturf pitch.

I sure hope this is just another example of somebody’s misguided thinking that change is necessary; that the idea will go the same way as many other trends and fads of relatively recent times:

Nose- strips: made trendy by Liverpool’s  Robbie Fowler, these band-aid looking plasters were meant, I believe, to ease the player’s breathing. In effect though, all they did was make the wearer look like some pratt who managed only third place in an Adam Ant lookalike competition.

Vicks vapour rub: like the nose-strips, rubbing a liberal dollop of this stuff on the front of the football shirt was a means of clearing the player’s airwaves throughout the match. I haven’t seen so much of this in recent times, but can find no reason as to why the fad faded. Perhaps players have now realised the benefits of Living in the Past, and have reverted to the miracle properties of Wintergreen liniment. In addition to curing muscle stiffness, it invariably cleared the heads, eyes, nose and throat of not only the individual player, but the rest of those sharing the changing room …  and spectators standing by the players’ tunnel.

Snoods: what?! I’d never even heard of these before Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotlelli started wearing them. Cold? What’s wrong with a good old fashioned string vest under their shirt? It’s just as well FIFA outlawed the damned things. It’s bad enough that there would eventually have been a neck injury or strangulation resulting from playing in these garments. But in this day and age where high profile players like to create a unique, individual image, permitting them would have inevitably led to the first player taking the field in a natty hat and scarf set.

Upturned collars: this one is obviously dictated and restricted by shirt design. The fashion was first popularised in 1929 when French tennis star René Lacoste designed the tennis shirt (polo shirt as we know it.) The revolutionary, unstarched collar could be ‘popped’ to protect the wearer’s neck from the sun. I suppose then it was inevitable the trend should re-emerge on the football field through the posturing of a fellow countryman in the Nineties.

Thankfully though, given the distinct lack of both sunshine and arrogant, kung-fu kicking, self-styled philosophising male models in the modern game, shirt manufacturers have now generally reverted to a crew neck design of football shirt.

Different coloured boots: anyone remember the brouhaha when Alan Whittle and Alan Ball, both of Everton at the time, posed for Shoot! magazine in white boots? White boots! Woah – that was radical – even for the Glam trends of the early Seventies.

It took a while, but it was a natural progression to the day boots were produced in more adventurous and luminous colours. That was fair enough, I suppose, but the day players started wearing different coloured boots on each foot was the day ‘fashion’ went out of fashion.

One good thing – it was quick reminder to those players often accused of having two left feet, that they did actually have a left and a right …. or a sky blue and pink.

Alice bands: hahaha! Alice bands! Did George Best wear one? Tony Currie? Charlie George?
‘Nuff said.

Thankfully, all of the above have virtually been eradicated from the game. A couple have been outlawed (snoods and alice bands) but in the main, these fads grow to a point of implosion and then die away. It’s kind of ironic that they are instigated by a player looking to create a unique identity. When that is copied by hundreds of other, less inventive players, the impact is lost and the idea discarded.

There is an argument to have included tattoos and daft haircuts in the above list, but they are still very much current trends, and something we may have a look at in a future FTLG.

It could be a while before they go the way of the dinosaur – especially the haircuts. But then I would say that.