1) Wear gloves
If anything is going to give a 6’4 brick shit-house centre-half the encouragement they probably don’t require much of to come clattering into you before the first whistle’s gone, it’s wearing gloves. Unless you’ve got a number 1 on your back, gloves should always be a big no-no for all footballers. If you’re cold…run more! It not only looks daft but tells 40,000 bloodthirsty, drunken football fans that you enjoy sexual attention from Will Young and co.
2) Even worse – wear short sleeves and gloves
The ultimate clothing oxymoron. Yes, it may not be the 30+ degree matches La Liga often enjoy, so if you really must wrap up warm for physical exertion, choose the long-sleeved option. Maybe even with ‘Skins’ underneath if you have the misfortune of being away at Newcastle in January. I wouldn’t inflict that on anyone, except maybe Tottenham. But to act the hard-man with short-sleeves, then wimp out by pulling on a pair of gloves is utterly ridiculous.
3) Wear multi-coloured monstrosities on their feet
Defenders in white boots not befitting of their position, wingers who look like they’ve dropped a bowl of custard on their boots and strikers whose feet resemble over-sized tic-tacs. Why? You’re either not good enough to warrant drawing that sort of attention to yourself and if in the unlikely event you do have the odd Cruyff-turn in the locker…let your football do the talking. I’m from the real old-school camp. Boots should be black. End of. They look better, they look smarter and most of all, you don’t look like a twat in them. Unless of course, your name is Titus Bramble.
4) Over-elaborate celebrations
It’s always been amusing for opposing fans when players celebrate like monkeys at feeding time and get injured as a result. But the extent of the hilarity this can cause never really hit me fully until I Googled ‘Footballers injured celebrating’. Here are a few of my favourites.
Steve Morrow broke his collar bone after falling off the lofty shoulders of Tony Adams celebrating Arsenal’s 1993 League Cup victory over Sheffield Wednesday.
Perry Groves knocked himself out whilst on the bench during a game – hitting his head on the dugout after jumping up in celebration.
Thierry Henry (there seems to be a distinct Arsenal theme building up here…) required treatment to his face following an over-enthusiastic celebration with a corner flag (at least it was his face…).
Shaun Goater injured his foot when he kicked an advertising board celebrating a goal by Nicolas Anelka (at Manchester City on this occasion, not Arsenal!).
5) Kiss the badge
Cheap, tacky, fake and the one sure-fire way to tell your fans that tomorrow you’ll be buggering off to their local rivals for £1,000 more a week. And even worse (*cough* Gus Poyet *cough*) is kissing said rivals badge when playing against your old club. I love to see Mr Poyet try a move like that in Turkey!
6) Premature celebration
In last season’s FA Cup 4th qualifying round, Tooting and Mitcham United were 3-1 up at home to Blue Square Bet Premier side Eastbourne Borough with just 10 minutes remaining. Tooting’s star striker, Paul Vines, was substituted and received a standing ovation from the err…terraces (ok, and the rather sizeable main stand), to which he responded by repeatedly punching the air. Match ticket - £10. Half-time burger - £3 (and a dodgy stomach). Seeing Vines’ face as Eastbourne pulled a goal back and then netted an injury-time equaliser – Absolutely priceless!
7) Sign for Portsmouth
Now this isn’t an attack on dear old Pompey. There are many things I love about Portsmouth. Well no, ok, just Fratton Park. And that’s largely because I have the same taste in football grounds as Cheryl Cole has in men! As a player, if Pompey come calling, you know you’re probably guaranteed a game so long as you turn up by 2:55 on a Saturday afternoon. That’s the good news. The bad news is your career is probably going to come to a screeching halt and slowly spiral down into oblivion. So now the entire footballing world knows you have absolutely no ambition…but at least you’re not a money-grabbing wanker. Every cloud…
8) Date tarts with plastic boobs
I’m not bitter…honest!
9) Get their names/their children’s names on their boots
Now I’ll hold my hands up, in my lifetime I’ve owned two cars. I’ve given both names. But they’ve both been tongue-in-cheek and I would never dream of getting ‘Ben’ (Benito Carbone…yes I’m that sad) embossed on my Corsa. Doing the same thing with boots is a monstrosity. Admittedly, footballers have a reputation of not being the sharpest tools in the box and often they live upto this stereotype. But I’m sure even Joey Barton can remember his own name…he’s had to say it often enough in court! And at a push, he can probably recite the names of his kids too – if he has any. So what need is there for players to get the names of either themselves or their offspring stitched onto their footwear?
10) Verbally kill off your still very-much-alive grandparents to get out of international duty
Oh dear Stephen Ireland, oh dear. Now sit down and focus dear reader, this is a complex and increasingly tangled web of lies spun by the then Manchester City man in order to excuse himself from international duty. Here goes. Ireland originally told his country that his maternal grandmother had passed away. Upon reading of her own death in the papers, she came out and told the world that she was still very much alive and kicking. The footballer, clearly confused by his grief, then changed his story to say that it was in fact his paternal grandmother who had died. Guess what? She too was still with us and she too wasn’t backwards in coming forwards with that information. Ireland, obviously not knowing when to give it up, then said his grandparents were divorced and it was his grandfather’s elderly partner who was next to be verbally killed off. Another lie exposed. Learn when to put the spade down, Stephen.
N.B. It should also be noted that the real reason Ireland wanted to be excused was because his girlfriend had suffered a miscarriage. Why it didn’t cross his mind to say that from the start, well, your guess is as good as mine.