Seeing Mathieu Flamini score a peach of a volley and watching Arsenal supporters being absolute nobs at White Hart Lane yesterday was all well and good. As a Canadian club though, our favourite moment of the match came before a ball had been kicked. Perhaps influenced by one of Canada's best sporting exports and Spurs supporter Steve Nash, Tottenham invited another living legend, Wayne Gretzky, to be their guest of honour. Tottenham legend Ledley King presented The Great One with a custom shirt with his iconic number 99 on the back, complete with his name spelled wrong. It's the kind of thing we'd expect from a North American sports franchise, which makes the blunder so perfect.
While we prefer our footballs to be round, we do love our sports and so have been enjoying a bit of the ovoid variety thanks to the Rugby World Cup which has just kicked off. There's been some great early story lines thanks to Japan's massive upset over South Africa and the injury woes of Wales for example it's the fabled The All Blacks that've piqued our interest. It started with this great article in The Guardian leading up to the tournament with explored why they're very likely the most dominant team in any sport ever. Then came the fantastic Beats by Dre advert featuring All Black captain Richie McCaw. Equal parts inspiring and motivating, it builds on the success of last summer's FIFA World Cup version from the headphone giants. Possibly what's made us think the most traitorous thoughts though is when New Zealand finally lined up against Argentina in literally all black down to the studs. In the current climate of obnoxiously coloured fluorescent boots, to see the whole team in black-out colourways line up for the Haka made our aesthetic-centric minds more than a bit jealous. While it's likely a directive that's come from Adidas, it's a genius one and looks amazing anyways. Force of Black indeed.
Watch the ad, and swoon for/see the boots below.
This gem of an image comes courtesy of our friends at Nowhere FC – a collage of the managers in charge of this season's twenty Premier League combantants from their playing days. A few (Sparky, Koeman) had slightly more illustrious playing careers than others (Wenger, Rogers) but as can be seen, most had fantastic haircuts at the very least. Surprisingly too, whoever put it together even managed to find a photo of Jose Mourinho about to take part in what we can only assume is the one and only time he actually played the game himself. Which makes his managerial career that much more impressive really...
A subject close to our hearts, naturally Alec Leach's reflection on the bygone era of shirts over on Highsnobiety struck a chord with us. While we would disagree that the sheer mentalness of many kits of the era go overlooked – the likes of Hull and Wolves' 1992 monstrosities for example, are pretty well documented at this point – it is interesting though how even back then, supporters complained about how garish they were, and yet they still sold – just like today. Sigh…
Above though is one of our favourite beasts of era as worn by the legendary Razor Ruddock. Liverpool's Third kit was hastily produced just in time for their 1993 Boxing Day fixture away to Sheffield United. Naturally, their Home strip that season was the traditional red, and their Away was white, both of which clashed with the white and red stripes of the Blades. So at the insistence of the FA, Adidas had to hurriedly come up with a third alternative which they only used twice that season. So few times that it wasn't made available for sale to the public until next season when it was used again and worn slightly more regularly.
While a beautifully ugly shirt in itself – it'd be lovely if it didn't have the jacquard pattern so typical of the time – it's those little nuances of history that spark the nostalgia and get our inner football geek going.
Over the weekend Nowness released this lovely look at the home of AC Milan and Internazionale by filmmaker Yuri Ancarani. While not your typical vignette on football, the hypnotic architectural short is an insightful look at one of the great cathedrals of the game. One that beautifully captures a parallel sense of the pseudo-religious devotion to it that so many of us share.