Short Back and Sides

Footballers’ haircuts have provided some exceptional moments of comedy in the history of the game. In the sixties, we had the Bobby Charlton comb over – an iconic classic. In the seventies, the perm ruled, with Kevin Keegan sporting the definitive curly mop. In the eighties and nineties, the hairstyles of footballers became front page news, with the likes of David Beckham and his ever-changing styles causing many a stir. In this article Brian Clough’s statue reflects on how hairstyles have affected history… 

The Life of Brian’s Statue: Short Back and Sides

Brian Clough’s statue in Nottingham muses on his life and what’s happening in the world today…

Forget about Maradona’s goal against England in 1986. Forget about the one Carlos Alberto scored for Brazil in 1970. For me, the best goal ever scored was by my old mate Archie Gemmill for Scotland in 1978. The way he nut-megged the last defender before chipping it over the keeper makes it easily the best as far as I’m concerned.

But, it was a shame for the Scots. They conceded another goal and failed to qualify. Alan Rough was the keeper who let in that late goal. I, for one, admire his bravery in admitting that he couldn’t save Johnny Rep’s long range effort ’cause his hair was in his eyes. It wasn’t long after that game before he got a perm that was reckoned to be years ahead of its time. If only he’d got rid of his fringe sooner, then history could have been completely different. Scotland could have won the World Cup!

I’ve always impressed upon my players that there’s nowt wrong with a good old-fashioned short back and sides and a dab of Brylcreem on top to keep your mop out of your eyes. Players these days are a bloody fickle lot though, always wanting the latest fancy cut.

If you look at what happened in the Second World War, you’ll see exactly what I mean. Hitler was well on top. He’d conquered most of Europe and was driving east to conquer the Soviet Union. In footballing terms, he was in the ascendancy.

But, he couldn’t have anticipated how Churchill would eventually defeat him. It was Churchill’s low maintenance hair that turned that contest around. While Hitler was in his bunker pushing that oily fringe out of his eyes and trimming that bloody daft moustache, Churchill had the big cigar on. Hitler took his eye off the ball and failed to close the game out. The rest is history as they say, and there’s a lesson there.

Now then, I’ve never suggested that all players should adopt the Churchill haircut, but we should all be prepared to learn from history, whether it’s from Winston Churchill or Alan Rough.

This article appeared in NG5 Magazine and on in 2010

4 thoughts on “Short Back and Sides

  1. Hello; Cool post for me. Your post has valuable infos. I want to has good posts like yours in my website. How do you write these posts? And you have a problem about your template.You should fix your caseabout your template … I recently came across your blog and have been visitingalong. I think I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Very Nice blog. I will keep reading this site often.Good day…

  2. Andy,

    Aha, now I know how you stumbled upon my recently added blog!

    I am so pleased you did and so amazed that you have chosen to ‘like’, ‘follow’ me and ‘comment’. It took 10 mins to remove my chin from the ground and half an hour to stop bouncing around the room.

    As a complete amateur, to receive a post from an established and successful author is so inspiring. I’m sending you an email with something that may be of interest in return!!

    Thanks again
    Majoula x

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