For most of us, the dream of being a professional footballer is never realised. Let’s face it: as students, the super-fit footballer’s lifestyle and our own apathetic existence rarely cross paths.
I spend my weekends forlornly watching the pros as they glide around on billiards greens I could only dream of playing on. My meek impersonation begins and ends with my own match-day every Wednesday afternoon. But there are no fans there chanting my name; nobody’s passing me on the street with ‘Hamill’ printed on their shirt. Ok, so I could spend 10,000 hours putting the practice in, working my socks off every day until I make it. I’ve left it a bit late though, and by my maths, I’m going to be very old before I get somewhere. I don’t want to be 60 years old with a receding hairline and grey beard doing keepy-uppies in the park, swilling a warm tinnie of Foster’s and laughing manically to myself as I succumb to my obsession. Like so many others before me I want success and I want it now.
So what’s the solution? “Well, to be honest, I should accept that my dream is over. So what if no one’s singing my name from the stands, do I really need that gratification?” This is a sane person’s response. As you might be able to tell (I mean it’s pretty obvious from the blog itself) this is not the response I have taken. To my mind, if I can’t play the part of the pro-footballer, at least I can look like one. This is why I just spent £145 on a new pair of football boots. I fluttered a further £45 away on a pair PSG Official trackies (just like the ones Zlatan wears!) On starting the new season, I went into overdrive and tried to order a full away kit for my team. Where does this materialistic desire come from? Am I just a capitalist love-child trying to fulfil my burning existence in the cauldron of desire and objects by displacing my ‘self’ in imitation of my idols? Do I really need another pair of branded England football socks?!
It seems that I’m not alone in my obsession. Facebook and Instagram mean we’re sharing what we’re wearing now more than ever: just look at the rise of Wavey Garms and Hypebeast. Don’t be naïve enough to think Nike and Adidas don’t know about it either. I’ve been following the football boot market for years and I’m stunned by the regularity with which the big producers are now sending out new boots and colourways. For example, this year alone Adidas are ‘celebrating’ their Predator boot by releasing it in 14 different guises. This is a huge increase in a market where a new product used to be an annual event. So can we lay the blame at their feet? Or would it be wrong to criticise a business for smartly exploiting a burgeoning market? The rise of sportswear as day to day wear is certainly an interesting fashion phenomenon. Ultimately, rather than a style choice, it seems to be a decision made out of convenience. What’s made the sportswear fashionable is designers tapping in to this demand and producing good-looking products.
All I can say with certainty is that I love stash. It seems to come from two places: wanting to look like a footballer, and sportswear now actually being cool. As long as I don’t go as far as getting a ridiculous tattoo sleeve, or becoming a gambling addict, I think my impersonations just fine.