The month of January throws up many a picture of footballers travelling around the world, meeting up with their new clubs and beaming awkwardly into a camera, as their dominant hand hovers, awaiting a thumbs up from the cameraman and the order to sign on the dotted line. However thrilling this ritual, laden with inconsistent camera flashes, forced eye contact and teeth brighter than my future, I find myself distracted from the player’s potential and absorbed in the exotic world of footballers’ clothing.
It’s as if when you earn an obscene amount of money – almost certainly the case with any Premier League footballer – all casual, well-made items of clothing just don’t cut it anymore. I don’t wish to call anyone out in particular, and it pains me to say it, but Gareth Bale is a prime example. Remember those thin vest/t-shirts from Topman, with fluorescent bands on the neck and sleeves, that were undoubtedly the height of year 8 fashion? Imagine paying over £100 for one, and you will have reached the ‘Bale state’.
But hey, Gareth Bale is one of the best footballers on the planet, and I’m just sat at my desk googling “gareth bale casual wear”, so I think we know who the real winner is. I think I’ll stick to poking fun at mistakes made on the pitch, such as a long overdue own goal from Phil Jones, a man whose 90 minutes also included waving goodbye to a clean sheet after a mere 11 seconds. I hope for the sake of Phil’s love life that such incidents remain on the pitch.
Still, life could be worse, you could be Riyad Mahrez, turning up for training after channelling your inner-Odemwingie in trying to force a transfer at the last minute. I guess doing your utmost to play for one of the best teams in the world is somewhat understandable; sitting, uninvited, outside Loftus Road in your Range Rover is not, although it is highly entertaining.
As for my prediction that either Arsenal or United would claim bragging rights over the other (depending on the performances of Mkhitaryan and Sanchez), it appears I got that one quite wrong. Both sets of supporters have unsurprisingly remained eerily quiet on the matter following defeats to Swansea and Tottenham. Having said that, I think I did see an “at least we didn’t lose to bottom of the league” tweet, proving once again that reflection and humility form the foundation of all supporters of the beautiful game.