The New Season Starts Here*

  • 8/10/2008 02:16:00 pm
  • By Mark Gibbings-Jones
  • 8 Comments

(*Or started yesterday, and not really 'here' at all.)

But never mind all that. We've bought an almost complete copy of Panini's Football '80 sticker album from a car boot sale. So, what better time to fire up our scanner and prepare a list of

THE TOP TEN FOOTBALLERS FROM 1980 WHO ARE SURELY A LOT OLDER THAN THEY ARE CLAIMING TO BE

10. David Armstrong (Middlesbrough)



Age: 25. When exactly was it that footballers - and indeed, all men - who are going bald in their twenties moved away from "quick, grow as much hair as possible in the non-bald spots, while I still can" to "cut the rest of it as short as possible, as that actually looks a lot better"? We're guessing... ooh, 1991?

9. Malcolm Poskett (Brighton and Hove Albion)



Age: 24. Twenty-four? At that age, you're experimenting with stupidly trendy hairstyles just because it's your last realistic change to get away with a bleached shark-fin without looking daft. Not thinking "hmm. I'm going a bit bald. I know, I'll comb my hair with a side parting in a place which makes my male pattern baldness as visible as possible".

8. Mick McGuire (Norwich City)



Age: 26. Perhaps there has been a mix-up here, and a passing geography teacher in a replica shirt had his photo taken instead.

7. Brendan O'Callaghan (Stoke City)



Age: 24. He looks like the dad from the Oxo family in an unconvincing wig, for flip's sake!

6. Mick Ferguson (Coventry City)



Age: 25. Twenty-five? That beard looks like it took at least fifteen years of grooming. We didn't even think it would be possible to have that much hair sprouting from the entire circumferance of your head.

5. Paul Clarke (Brighton and Hove Albion)



Age: 20. Twenty! Not only does he sport mutton chops that would put Amos Brierly to shame, but he wears the weary expression of a man who has seen everything the world has to offer in his time, and he's tired of it all. Not someone who has only been legally entitled to do things with girls for a few years.

4. Tommy Hutchison (Coventry City)



Age: 32. Maybe the real Tommy Hutchison had sloped off to the bookies, and had got the groundsman to cover for him.

BRONZE: Gerry Gow (Bristol City)



Age: 27. Are those highlights in his hair, or just grey hairs? And even for 1980, surely to only people who still had handlebar moustaches by that point were ex-Spitfire pilots?

SILVER: Mick Mills (Ipswich Town)



Age: 30. Thirty! He could have two kids older than thirty at the time this photo was taken, by the looks of him. Providing his ageing process hadn't accelerated wildly in the previous eight years, we bet he had to take two forms of ID with him every time he turned up for England Under-23 duty.

GOLD: Peter Noble (Burnley)



Good god. There are no words. Sadly, the player photos for League Division Two don't carry the players' ages, but unless the words "remarkably still playing professionally at the age of 53" were going to be applied to this photo, we have our winner.


However, because of the quite bewildering quantity of hirsute sportsmen from the era, we've had more trouble compiling a list of

THE TOP TWO FOOTBALLERS FROM 1980 WHO ARE SURELY A LOT YOUNGER THAN THEY ARE CLAIMING TO BE

Silver: Alan Hansen (Liverpool)



Twenty-four? He looks a lot more like he has bunked off from school, and is now trying to sneak his way onto the team photo. That would explain why he looks a little apprehensive when asked forward for his solo portrait. Go on, check his pockets for Hubba Bubba.

Gold: Adrian Heath (Stoke City)



More famously known for his time at Everton, it's fair to say that he never really looked his age. Bet he had a hell of a time getting served in pubs. Regardless, the footballer known as 'Inchey' (which might not have an 'e' in it, Wikipedia doesn't know) looks about twelve years old here.


Here are some other spurious awards:

BEST COVER UP FOR A MANAGER WHO CLEARLY DIDN'T TURN UP FOR THE PHOTO SESSION: Brian Clough (Nottingham Forest)



Cloughie was clearly away from the City Ground on the morning all the photos were taken, probably appearing in the prime centre square on a recording of Celebrity Squares. Subsequently, the first shot the Panini work experience lad could find in their press archive was used. Where could Cloughie be here? Giving an interview to the press? On punditry duty for an England qualifying match? In a photo booth? And is he speaking, yawning, or left open mouthed at a witty retort from Zsa Zsa Gabor, because he was actually appearing on the Russell Harty Show when this photo was taken? We may never know.

BEST FACIAL EXPRESSION THAT MIRRORS A PANEL FROM A 1950s EDITION OF ACTION COMICS: Sandy Jardine (Rangers)



"Grr. How dare Lex Luther grab Lois like that, just when I'm unable to change into Superman. I must think of a way to get out of this photo shoot."

BEST KIT: Wrexham



Being right in the middle of their five year stint in the second tier, 1980 saw Wrexham wearing a brilliant Adidas outfit very similar to the Wales shirt of the time, replete with the classic trefoil. You can't go wrong with a classy red with white trim like this. Why can't football shirts be anywhere near as good these days? Aberdeen came close to taking the award, but on their outfit the three stripes were on the collars as opposed to the shoulders, which is all wrong.

BEST ATTEMPT AT MAKING THE MOST OF HAVING THEIR PHOTO TAKEN BY THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S IDIOT ASSISTANT: Billy Gilbert (Crystal Palace)



"No, Jimmy. You need to use a light meter for a very good reason. Can you see what you've done wrong here? Now, ask Mister Gilbert to come back, and I'll take his photo this time. What's that? He's gone home? Tsk. We'll have to make do with this one."

HARDEST LOOKING GINGE: Lindsay Smith (Cambridge United)



We certainly don't fancy telling him he might be overcompensating for having a girl's name.

GREATEST AMOUNT OF HAIR LOST BETWEEN THEN AND NOW: Steve Coppell (Manchester United)



Aside from the hair, he doesn't look that different now. The fact-box makes mention of his degree from Liverpool University, which according to Wikipedia, is in economic history, so fair dues. Are there any current top-level footballers with a degree? We can't think of any, and unless the John Moores begins to offer a course in looking miserable in post-match interviews even though you've just won four-nil in a Champions League quarter-final, that situation isn't likely to improve soon.

MOST PLEASED TO BE HAVING HIS PHOTO TAKEN:

Bronze: Michael Robinson (Man City)



Then going by the name 'Mick', we bet the future Liverpool striker's mum was so pleased with this photo, it's still on her mantlepiece now. Fun fact: Everyone knows Robinson went on to become a television presenter in Spain, but did you know he's actually so famous over there his latex visage was chosen to front the Spanish version of Spitting Image?

Silver: Mickey Thomas



The man, the legend. He could have bothered combing his hair first, though.

Gold: Barry Silkman (Manchester City)



This is quite possibly the most pleased we've even seen anyone get about anything, ever.

LEAST PLEASED TO BE HAVING HIS PHOTO TAKEN: Kenny Burns (Nottingham Forest)



At the other end of the scale, this is almost upsetting. We could genuinely believe he had just seen his grandmother, holding his pet dog, being crushed beneath the remorseless metal wheels of a steamroller, which is being driven by the kid who used to bully him at school, who is running away with his wife. And then being told, no, he can't have the day off work, because it's photo day.

LONGEST NECK: Roger Palmer (Manchester City)



Cripes. He makes Plug from the Bash Street Kids look like Sandi Toksvig.

MOST SURPRISED TO BE HAVING HIS PHOTO TAKEN: Ray Wilkins (Manchester United)



"My god, where did you spring from?"

MOST ILL-CONSIDERED MOUSTACHE BY A WELL-REMEMBERED BRITISH INTERNATIONAL MIDFIELDER

Bronze: Bryan Robson (West Bromwich Albion)



Yikes. If there's any consolation here, it is that there's still time to shave it off painlessly. If it weren't for the trademark Robbo lopsided smirk, you wouldn't know it's him. If he'd made the decision to keep the soup-strainer to this very day, we doubt he'd ever had got the gig advertising condos on Dubai television with Peter Reid, which you might have seen on a Saturday afternoon in Sky-circumventing pubs -

Peter Reid: "You bought two? I only bought one!"

Bryan Robson: "That's why I was captain!"

Look out Mitchell and Webb!

Silver: Terry Yorath (Tottenham Hotspur)



A porn moustache, offset with flowing golden locks that we're sure were a hit in the swinging 'night spots' of London at the turn of the decade. Politeness and a fear of litigation prevent us from wondering aloud just how many half-brothers and -sisters Gaby Logan is innocently unaware of, but well... y'know.

Gold: Glenn Hoddle (Tottenham Hotspur)



That's just wrong. If you keep that look, you'll never make up 50% of a chart-plundering pop combo. A Remington Micro Screen and a home perm kit, stat!

FOOTBALLER WHO MOST CLEARLY SEEMS TO HAVE MISSED OUT ON THEIR TRUE CALLING IN LIFE, AS AN AVUNCULAR TOBACCONIST: Arthur Duncan (Hibernian)



Say no more.

WORST HAIR DAY: Tony Higgins (Hibernian)



You're having your photo taken, man. At least this puts Mickey Thomas' unkempt barnet into some sort of perspective.


[Update] More of this kind of thing: here

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