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14.11.2003
Who is the style guru?

It was after my very first week in England when my team mates asked me to join for a night-out. Although I hardly knew anyone I was pleased to go and I even put my top gear on. One of the lads immediately made a comment on my shirt. He said it was minging. My limited vocabulary didnít involve this word but since I was wearing one of my finest shirts I was sure it was a compliment.



Later the same week I met this girl and ended up chatting with her. She had a beautiful brown hair and as I was very charmed by her I thought I am going to give her a compliment in true English way. I told her hair was minging. For my big disappointment suddenly the conversation dried up and I never heard from that bird again. I never quite understood what had happened until the true meaning of the word minging was revealed to me after I was hammered wearing a Scandinavian pullover at the training ground. It was not just my language barrier but also a designer barrier that was letting me down.



We are all shallow. On a way or another. Everyone of us. Obviously some more than the others. Us footballers are on top of that list. You can play in many styles but off the pitch you have to got style. Otherwise you are labelled minging. There is quite an emphasis on the image.



My Scandinavian wardrobe didnít fit the English eye from the first minute. Obviously there was this minging incident but even before that I was mobbed. After my first ever training in England my yellow jumper was hanged in the middle of the dressing room. I thought it was just the English way to welcome a new player inn or maybe someone was not pleased that another midfielder was in the competition for the places in the team.



Couple of days later my socks were in the bin and trainers violated, to put it mildly. I was not really sure what this was all about since I was getting on quite well with the lads. However every time I walked in the dressing room I could feel that others were watching. I was first little scared that maybe some of these boys could be attacking both ways but eventually I found out what it was all about.



There are two major subjects of conversation in the dressing room Ė cars and clothes. Footballers are generally very aware of trends and spend a lot of time and money to be on top of the range. There is no going to the dressing room without footballers best friends Armani, Gucci, Prada... the fashion police make sure which labels and clothes are accepted. Wearing right clothes and fashion policing others are the duties of every footballer.



It is vain. It is very unimportant in a big picture. However it has developed to be a good laugh throughout the whole football society. One of the best parts of team sports is the humour in the dressing room, trying to catch your friends, making jokes about them. This is the very essence and foundation of a good team spirit. And what could be easier start than the clothes? After all when people are so anxious to give stick to each other, in clothes you can do it in entertaining but harmless way. Everyone knows what the script is, so nobody takes it too personally.



I have to admit that some of my clothes had passed their best by date. And I didnít get away with it. So when I wore a grey pullover I was a submarine man. I tried light blue collar, and people were asking when does the Tour de France begin. My shoes were going for a testimonial, some of the shirts were too bright even for the colour-blinds and I have been looking to be on my way to a safari quite a many times. There seemed to be a funny comment to whatever was introduced.



I still understood when young English FHM-readers were nailing me, but when elderly Scottish strikers wearing only pullovers from Colin Montgommery collection had they say, then I knew that it was enough.



So I had to change. I even made a little effort to make my wardrobe better. I made myself part of the game. However still most of the times I canít be bothered to make an effort since I am only going to training. It is actually bit gay that many footballers dress something better just that the lads wonít hammer them.



Overall I am bit ashamed about it but there is no denying it, I am involved in this world now, and sometimes actually fascinated about it. Not just my taste of clothes has changed, but also my attitude towards the whole thing. I know it is shallow, but I often find it dead funny. The amount of laughs shared in the dressing room by the comments and practical jokes made on other playerís clothes have been brilliant.



This unnecessarily big emphasis on fancy clothes has some to do with the image footballers want to have, some to do with us having ourselves a bit. At some level it does make footballers to look like spoiled Primadonnas without a perspective on real things. But after all arenít we all bit vain and bit childish sometimes. At least footballers have made an art out of it and can laugh about it. And the good part is that there is nothing evil involved with this, it is just a common way to spice up the days. I think the main point of it is the entertainment level it provides.



I have been voted and named in many occasions the worst dresser in our club. My reputation is so strong that no matter what I have on, I am anyway most likely being criticised. Actually sometimes I amuse myself by wearing something ridiculous just to spice up the day a bit. Most of these times I return from training partly naked after sudden accidents happened to my clothes at the dressing room.



I know it is shallow. I know it does put on emphasis on unimportant things. But it is fun. An innocent humour about fashion, I have learned to enjoy giving and getting stick and knowingly taking the risks of being fashionably crucified. It is nothing mean or too personal, it is just for the sake of entertainment and everyone takes it like that. It is an endless discussion of whose taste and clothes are fancier and who is the submarine man.



And no matter what people say I still like my style. I feel comfortable with it. And as long as I donít get bad feedback from female, I think I am doing just fine. So I am going to keep being myself, wearing the yellow pullovers I feel good about, taking the comments and insults inn and enjoy it all. It is lovely to look minging.


This time I recommend:
1. Keeping your own style
- if the yellow jumper looks money on you, dont let others to believe you look cheap-
2. Laughing to yourself
- there is nothing better than brand yourself Minging -

I do not recommend:
1. Telling girls that their hair looks minging
- there is no recovery from that -
2. Pullovers from Collin Montgommery -collection
- oh my God, is it seriously fashion in Scotland! -


" I am going to get dressed for success "
- Roxette about Aki


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