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Kicking out the colour

by Ashley Morrison on Nov 26, 2011

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There was a time when only fancy Dan’s wore coloured boots on the football pitch, but then that was a time where if you were kicked you didn’t roll around on the ground in agony, but simply stood up and waited for the chance to kick the guy who kicked you - twice as hard.

A time when wearing coloured boots made you a target for stronger physical challenges and you needed to be a pretty good player to avoid ending up with severe bruising or worse.

In fact it was the late Alan Ball who first wore coloured boots in top-flight English football. At the start of the 1970/71 season, while at Everton, he took to the field for a Charity Shield match sporting a pair of white boots, unheard of at the time.

Ball knew that Hummel were looking for an International player to wear their boots, giving them exposure, for a sum of two thousand pounds. Ball admitting in his autobiography that he saw the pound signs and grabbed the opportunity.

However, all that glitters isn’t gold. Ball found the boots incredibly uncomfortable so he put them in his garden shed and painted an old pair white. With very few close up television shots in those days, viewers were none the wiser; until one wet day when the paint started to come off. A Hummel representative spotted their boots were not as white as they should be and demanded the money be handed back.

So, you may well be asking ‘why are you telling me this?’

Today every Tom, Dick or Harry is taking the park in yellow, red or green boots irrespective of how good they are as players.

Well not any more at Manchester United.

United has confirmed no longer will their youth or academy players be allowed to wear coloured boots. Believing that someone had to put a stop to the epidemic, they’ve put their foot down - Going back to the old values that a player has to earn the right to wear a coloured boots. A player has to be special, one who has proven that they have the ability and skill to wear footwear that will get him noticed.

Personally I applaud the move, it’s quite distressing when you hear players talking at training about new boots, rather than tactics or skills. The sooner we all get back to playing football the way it was meant to be played, the better the game will be for all.

Let us hope that other clubs follow the lead of Manchester United, letting only truly gifted players grace the pitch with technicoloured footwear in the future.