30 years ago the most exposure a top-flight player received was after a forceful slide tackle on a boggy pitch, in shorts that David Hasselhoff would have to think twice about donning.
The only player who rose to notoriety was legendary womanizing ‘Fifth Beatle’, George Best. He often found himself plastered across both ends of the tabloids, usually for being found plastered across both ends of the latest Miss World. I just read his autobiography actually makes Fat Frank Lampard’s look like a charity shop. It is a phenomenal read, I assure you. In fact, name me a better biography by a footballer and I’ll shake you by the virtual hand.
Anyway, nowadays you can’t pass a newsstand or billboard in the hectic London haze or even click on your homepage without being subjected to news and/or images of professional footballers. This has its benefits as well as its drawbacks. For every snap of the rotting potato-faced, granny-grabbing, grotesque chav Wayne Rooney, there’s a comedic face such as Coco Pops monkey Gareth Bale to ease the agitation. As we get exposed to more and more gimps with bad haircuts as well as footballing legends in waiting, I’d like to make a few comparisons and talk of the joy that can be found in the homoerotic, sometimes hilarious and frequently rewarding study of footballers’ faces that my therapist/psychiatrist/probation officer regularly ticks me off for.
Take a player like Jose Enrique. Jose is a beautiful little man who could incite camp aspirations in any man -possibly even in the deepest recesses of a Millwall ‘ard nut’s heart. There’s a similar feeling gleaned from looking at Marcus Hahnemann. That comforting vibe emitted through those strong shoulders, moist lips, and finely-crafted goatee beard tells us that everything’s alright with the world. We hear you heck we even agree sometimes. But come on, that Karl Henry ‘tackle’ on Jordi Gomez would be frowned upon in a cage fight.
Arsenal’s answer to diving sensation Tom Daley, Marouane Chamakh, looks like a sun-soaked penguin Feathers Macgraw from Wallace and Gromit. You know, the bit where he expertly disguises himself as a Chicken whilst attempting to rob a diamond, roughly riding a snoozing Wallace. Or was that the late-night Channel 4 adult remake I’m thinking of?
Remember Icelandic bankrupt baldy owner, Eggert Magnusson? A dead ringer of sad-eyed more deadpan, ‘Brain’, from the classic cartoon ‘Pinky and the Brain’. Hmmm, guess the brain went bust, then. Spurs’ rough-looking right-sided rampager Alan Hutton looks so Scottish he may as well carry bagpipes around with him (which he seemed to be doing on the pitch last season, the slugged pace he was traveling) He also bears an uncanny resemblance to Tony Hart’s plasticine creation Morph or some may argue he models his look on a Nintendo Wii character who’s had no modification whatsoever.