independent

Saturday 21 September 2019

The beautiful game that is brimming with bad hair days

'INSIDE RIGHT' has been in quite serious mode over the past few weeks, in keeping with the mindnumbing mid-winter blues.

However, now that the back of the insufferable month of January has been well and truly broken, it's time to look forward with confidence and for thoughts to turn to matters of a more light-hearted nature.

Seeing the mop-headed Marouane Fellaini celebrate his lasp-gasp equaliser for Everton against West Ham at the weekend had to raise a chuckle and got 'Inside Right' thinking about the most outrageous and downright worst haircuts to have graced the beautiful game.

Rather that a countdown of the top five of the most shocking barnets to take centre stage on a football field, 'InsideRight' decided to assemble an entire team of our friends of the fiendish follicles, and with yours truly having had some dubious long hairstyles himself, with a bright purple phase particularly springing to mind, this columnist is definitely in a good position to comment.

GOALKEEPER

David James: James takes his rightful place between the sticks and we have a litany of horrendous haircuts to choose from. After much deliberation we plumped for this woolly, bleached, orangy blonde number although there were plenty of other shocking styles on the shortlist.

DEFENDERS

Taribo West: There just had to be a place in the team for the Nigerian defender, who was famous for his antler hair-style that wouldn't have looked out of place on Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. If you plugged him into your television you'd probably pick up some crazy Japanese gameshow.

Abel Xavier: The Portuguese defender looks like a cross between a yeti and a long-extinct woolly mammoth with his bizarre hairstyle and facial hair.

The former Everton and Liverpool man would definitely stand out in a crowd, like a giant cotton bud in the land of Lilliput.

Trifon Ivanov: The Bulgarian Wolf had a damned scary mullet and beard, and the face to match. Surely one of most frightening looking men ever to step onto a football field. Even if he merely brushed against you, you'd be rushing out for a tetanus jab.

Alexi Lalas: The garish ginger one looks like Luke Kelly's love child. Off the pitch the American defender, who shot to fame in the 1994 World Cup, played for the rock band Gypsies.

His Hell's Angels style is definitely far more in keeping with that scruffy sphere.

MIDFIELDERS

Carlos Valderrama: No team filled with eccentric hairstyles could be complete without the weirdest of them all - the poodle-headed Carlos Valderrama.

The Columbian's hair is a true work of art and should require planning permission, such is the sheer size of it.

Small animals could spend a lifetime lost amid the roots.

Chris Waddle: A true product of 1980s fashion, or the lack of if.

A classic example of the mullet at its finest.

Even Ireland's Shane Byrne in his hey-day couldn't compete with Waddle's tresses.

The English midfielder perfected the sculpted at the front, but flowing playfully in the wind at the back look, although others like Barry Venision undoubtedly gave him a good run for his money.

David Beckham: Beckham has never been afraid to try out a new hairstyle but his Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver impersonation wasn't his finest hour.

The main problem is that it was a bit of a hard man look and the minute Becks opens his gob and blurts out his high-pitched squeak that facade is well and truly blown.

FORWARDS

Ronaldo: The Brazilian is responsible for one of the strangest hairstyles, or non-hairstyles, in soccer.

For some unknown reason he decided to leave a bit of hair the size of a postage stamp on his forehead and had the rest shaved off.

Maybe his barber got caught short and had to make a run for the toilet, leaving poor old Ronaldo in the lurch with the job half finished.

Jason Lee: Lee had such an over-the-top haircut that it spawned the memorable crowd chant 'he's got a pineapple on his head', thanks to Frank Skinner and David Baddiel's merciless slagging.

A perfect nesting place for small birds and the like.

Roberto Baggio: 'The Divine Ponytail' was one seriously talented footballer but the Italian star looked like he was permanently wearing a Davy Crockett hat.

The mullet and ponytail are surely bad enough as separate entities - but together they just take the proverbial biscuit.

Baggio deserves to lead the line in this hairy bunch.

SUBS

Rene Higuita: The Columbian legend Rene Higuita of scorpion kick fame deserves his place on the bench as second choice goalkeeper, just losing out to David James because of the Englishman's vast array of horror haircuts.

However, Higuita's mane is quite ghastly in its own right.

Carles Puyol: The Barcelona caveman clone was close to making it into the first 11 but his unkempt appearance is definitely worth a place in the squad.

A man from an ancient time when dinosaurs roamed the earth and dodos doddered around clumsily like non-league footballers.

Fabricio Colloconi: The nononsense Newcastle Un i ted defender is cut from the same caveman cloth as Puyol - another of those ancient hunter, gatherer types that only goes out to roam the streets after dark in search of food and blankets.

Marouane Fellaini: Since Fellaini is the man who inspired this column he could hardly be left out of the reckoning.

His shock of dark hair is a sight to behold, almost defying gravity as the energetic Everton midfielder strides the length and breadth of the pitch in full flight.

You'd just love to get at the Belgian with a scissors and take a good healthy chunk out of his emormous afro.

Now I know how my mother must have felt!