Football, much like myself, can be a hotbed of questionable fashion decisions.
Kit used to be so simple. Players would wear a short sleeved shirt, really short shorts, socks pulled up over shin pads and black boots. Then came 1991 and the advent of longer baggier shorts introduced by Umbro for Tottenham Hotspur. Shirts followed the trend for bagginess but while shorts get longer, shirts have started to get tighter.
Boots have gone from plain black to any colour under the sun, and often all of them on the same shoe. Some look like socks with studs, while others are still made out of leather. Some don’t have laces while some come with hundreds of holes through which you can thread your own lace configuration.
Around a decade or so ago compression gear made its way in to the game and instead of players wearing long sleeve shirts, they now wear short sleeve shirts with a long sleeve vest. This is a God send for those of us that used to play amateur football and were cursed with not having the choice.
The main thing that annoys me nowadays though, and which is particularly prevalent nowadays, is the short sleeved shirt and glove combination.
I’m not talking about goalkeepers here, who wear gloves to aid their grip on the ball. I’m talking about outfield players wearing thermal insulating gloves as protection from the cold.
Again, as an amateur footballer let alone a normal human being, I can understand getting cold and wanting to stop that. I can understand wearing gloves. To an extent, I can also understand wearing gloves and short sleeves because fingers are an extremity worth protecting from the harshest weather.
What I can’t understand is how someone makes the decision that it’s cold enough for gloves but not long sleeves.
I always see my utilitarian dressing as a progressive scale where clothes are added as the weather gets worse and, for that matter, vice versa. So to move from summer in to winter I will go through the range of t-shirt, to jumper, to t-shirt and jumper, to jumper and t-shirt and coat, to jumper and t-shirt and coat and scarf and gloves and woolly hat. Obviously wet weather has a say in that, but for temperature that process stands.
So I don’t get how someone of reasonable thought can look outside at the cold weather and say, “You know what, I don’t need to be warm, I just need to make sure my fingers aren’t too cold.”
There are all sorts of rules for kits. No kit may consist of more than 4 colours; the numbers on the backs of women’s shirts must be between 20 and 35cm in height. Indeed, even the gloves to which I refer are subject to stringent regulations:
23.1 – The outfield players and Team Officials may wear gloves. The gloves shall be an Equipment item separate from the shirt. The Colour of any gloves worn
by outfield players and Team Officials must be either black or of the same group of a basic Colour as the sleeve of the shirt. The gloves worn by outfield players and Team Officials must be produced by the Manufacturer of a Playing Equipment item.
23.2 – Neither the name, nor any abbreviation thereof, nor the number of a Player may be displayed on the gloves of outfield players.
23.3 – Member Associations may display one single identification of the Member Association on each glove of an outfield player or a Team Official. This identification of the Member Association may be freely positioned on the gloves and shall be displayed no more than once. The size of the identification of the Member Association shall not exceed 12cm2.
Unfortunately none of them go far enough in disciplining a player for wearing gloves and short sleeves.