Influenced by Edgar Davids' move to Barnet, coupled with Marouane Fellaini's form, Jamie Casey looks back on classic haircuts in the game.
Marouane Fellaini – the big Belgian with the big hair – has been the catalyst behind Everton’s recent return to form, with a string of fine displays making him the focal figure of David Moyes’ rejuvenated side. Despite being held to a surprising draw at Wigan last weekend, last year's FA Cup semi-finalists have quietly climbed into the top four of the Premier League table, taking points off Manchester United, Aston Villa and Newcastle along the way. But what makes Fellaini stand out even more than his formidable displays, is his flamboyant hairdo. The midfielder’s afro is the biggest football has seen since Carlos Valderrama, and the best English football has seen since Kevin Keegan’s playing heyday. Thrust into the limelight whether they like it or not, professional footballers have a knack for being dedicated followers of fashion, but fashion does not always do their credibility any favours. Fellaini’s ‘fro has triggered my beer-soaked memory cells into motion and below are some of the best (or worst?) haircuts the English game has seen over the past few decades. Incidentally, the likes of Djibril Cisse and Paul Scharner have been excluded, largely because attention seeking just isn’t humorous as opposed to an innocently bad barnet.
1. Chris Waddle's Monstrous Mullet
The 80s were gone but the mullet lived on. As England’s nearly men set an otherwise dull 1990 World Cup’s wheels in motion with a scarce attacking style, the only criticism of their viewing could be directed at a number of suspect haircuts. Beardsley, Barnes and Pearce were all guilty of dodgy dos, but the one which will live long in the memory is winger Chris Waddle’s monstrous mullet. England had never seen a bigger mullet until farmer Craig Evans hit the headlines after egging politician John Prescott in 2001. A popular hairstyle in Germany at the time, where it is known as a ‘vokuhila’, Waddle did not look out of place on the pitch as England faced their old enemies in the semi-final. Sadly for him, with Germans so precise from 12 yards, he did look out of place when stepping up to blaze his shootout penalty over the bar to send his nation crashing out of Italia ’90.
2. Barry Venison - The original Robbie Savage
Having sported one of the worst hairstyles ever seen in an England shirt, Barry Venison has struggled to shrug off his past image even as a TV pundit with a trendy makeover. After being informally demoted from Sky Sports to the dreaded ITV, The former Liverpool and Newcastle defender failed to win over viewers despite offering a better insight to the game than the likes of Andy Townsend and Robbie Earl, the latter of whom replaced him on the ITV studio panel. Long, wavy, blond and shared with a constant grin, Venison could have been mistaken for the long lost brother of Fun House’s Pat Sharp. Probably the only thing more embarrassing than being replaced by Earl, though, is that Venison’s awful haircut will never truly leave his head. Famed for the phrase "It's just one man's opinion" during his punditry days, I think it’s fair to say that every man’s opinion is that his haircut was diabolical.
3. Jason Lee's 'Pineapple Head'
Despite one decent season in the Premier League, striker Jason ‘Pineapple Head’ Lee has a record which suggests he couldn’t hit a cow’s backside with a banjo. But it’s not his inability to find the net that Lee will always be remembered for, it’s his inability to find a decent hairdresser. With 8 goals in 28 Premier League outings for an overachieving Nottingham Forest side in 1994-95, Lee threw himself into the limelight with a decent goal return and an unusual hairstyle. “He’s got a pineapple on his head” sang the terraces with great fondness thanks to cult TV programme Fantasy Football, a chant that can still be heard at grounds to this day with 41-year-old Lee still plying his trade as a player-manager with Conference North side Boston United.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo's 'Father Damo'
No one could have predicted just how good this extraordinary athlete would become as a footballer, especially not with that barnet he showed up with when he first arrived in Manchester. With strings of bleached blond trickling through his greasy noggin, Ronaldo looked more Father Damo than Portuguese Supremo as he minced about on the wing with pointless step-over after pointless step-over. Six years later, having added much more than an end product to his game and a million pounds of muscle to go with it, The 24-year-old is the most expensive player on the planet and, on current form, certainly merits that label. As for his current do, the string is long gone, but the Bernabeu hasn’t seen so much Brylcreem since Jose Antonio Reyes was at the club.
Father Damo: The classic Father Ted character with the Cristiano look
5. Steve 'Shaggy' McManaman
Whether he was the sole assist provider in an underachieving Liverpool team, a much-loved super-sub in a star-studded Real Madrid side or the shrewd businessman he is today, ‘Shaggy’ has always stayed loyal to his wavy long locks. McManaman was part of the Liverpool squad nicknamed ‘The Spice Boys’ by the English media during the 90s due to their ‘ladish’ lifestyle off the pitch, which coincided with the ‘girl power’ mania promoted by girl band The Spice Girls. With his scally background and pale, frail build, McManaman was not particularly Sporty, Posh, Scary or indeed Ginger. He was once a Baby, however. But with two Champions League medals during his time in Madrid, ‘El Macca’ is the most decorated Englishman to have played abroad, and while still holding the record number of assists in the history of Liverpool F.C. (somehow still ahead of Steven Gerrard), McManaman and his hair have had some good times. Now a co-commentator and analyst for ESPN, Macca feels no need to part ways his lucky trademark locks, and why should he?
As I said, my memory cells have been soaked in beer, so if I’ve missed any obvious ones feel free to post some suggestions below.