Footballers, fashion and a player’s image is more important than ever – The Athletic

Football and fashion haven’t always been easy bedfellows.

It wasn’t long ago that players were chosen for anything close to ostentatious attire. “It’s changed a lot over the years,” Nedum Onuoha, a former Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers defender, told The Athletic. “At the beginning of my career, in the early 2000s, there was almost a culture of bullying. If you walked in with something people didn’t like, they would literally cut up your clothes or hang your shoes somewhere you couldn’t reach.”

“You were always judged, so you were just trying to fit in. As a result, tons of people just wore gym clothes, just something very simple. A Nike tracksuit: This is the camouflage. You can still see that in some players.”

In the ultra-male world of football, interest in fashion was anathema. Show up in “villain clothes” and you’ll be the talk of the dressing room. Thinking about what you wore meant not thinking about the game, and perhaps more dangerously, it also had associations with vanity and effeminacy.

It’s a school of thought that goes back some time. Brian Clough once claimed he didn’t sign Gary McAllister because he came to Forest in cowboy boots for the contract negotiations, conveniently ignoring that McAllister had always preferred to sign for Leeds. Sir Alex Ferguson said he knew Manchester United would beat Liverpool in the 1996 FA Cup Final as soon as their opponents stepped onto the Wembley pitch in their white suits before the game.

“I said to (assistant) Brian Kidd, ‘1-0.’ For that reason,” Ferguson said. Footballers, fashion and a player’s image is more important than ever – The Athletic

Jake Nichol

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