Proper Footballers

When you think of “heritage“, most people wouldn’t think of footballers let alone the things that they put on their feet.

I do.

Nowadays, football boots are marketed in to specific silos.  We have the speed boot for players who are quick and tricky and flamboyant. Then there is the boot designed for control and those players who like to dominate and pass.  Some manufacturers even make boots specially designed for goal scorers who, it would appear, need their own type for some reason.

The other type of boot is the “heritage” boot.  The heritage boot forgoes fancy synthetic materials and quite literally ground-breaking stud configurations and laceless technology to give just a good, proper, solid, football boot.

Although not quite hitting those marks entirely, adidas have released a limited edition boot as a remake of an absolute icon for football boot fans – the Predator Mania in champagne.  I’d love to be able to describe this in terms of other fashions, but I can’t, because I’m not fashionable.

The limited edition boots aren’t being worn by adidas sponsored players (unless, I suppose, they bought their own) except for two players who are retiring from the game this season – Bayern Munich players Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso.

Lahm I don’t know too much about.  Barring a few months out on loan, he spent his entire career at Bayern and is widely regarded as one of the best fullbacks to ever play the game.  He’s won all there is to win with club and country.

Xabi I know more about, because he used to play for Liverpool.  He was one of those players who I would have paid to watch, in the sense that I was gutted when he left Liverpool simply because I couldn’t watch him play in the flesh every other week.

Xabi is simply a class act.  He is the best passer of a ball I’ve ever seen, with tremendous vision.  He could dictate the pace of a game like it was just the easiest thing in the world to do.

He didn’t need to be spectacular either.  A lot of his work could go unnoticed.

Xabi played for Liverpool at a time where they had strong personalities in the team all the way through from front to back.  He wasn’t a player that would rant and rave but he was vocal and would organise.  He would also stand up to be counted.  In any walk of life, you want someone you can trust and Alonso was one of those players who gave you confidence just because he was there.

When one talks about heritage, a lot of people would comment that things aren’t as good as they used to be.  There can always be a thought that the first was the purest version and every development or evolution is just diluting that.

Both Alonso and Lahm hark back to the good old days where footballers was footballers.  They wouldn’t be accused of being unintelligent thugs with silly hair and, while few of their fame completely shun the limelight, they don’t seek glitz and glamour outside of their job.

They were proper footballers.

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