Just as the winger has transcended into the ‘wide forward’, the number ten’s responsibility has shifted from scoring, to creating goals and the scissor tackle has become a straight red card, the football boot has not been immune to evolution.
Martin Keown was one of the pioneers of the coloured boot, attempting to add a little panache to his otherwise exclusively agricultural style by donning red slippers in the late 90s.
The ahead-of-his-time ex-Arsenal man in his lipstick leather was one of few to branch out from bland, boring, black range of boots; now it’s rarer to see a player adorn old-school soccer shoes, with vomit green, high-vis orange and mutli-coloured baby pink and blue pairs dominating the scene at the on-going World Cup.
For the traditionalists, this is simply unacceptable; black boots, and black boots alone, is all they’d consider squeezing their plates of meat into if given the opportunity to play pro.
Grievances voiced by the person stationed at the adjacent desk over the jazzy pattern festooning Cristiano Ronaldo’s hooves as they tuck into that same ham and cheese sandwich they eat every lunchtime have become commonplace, but funky footwear isn’t something to scorn – it should be embraced.
Here are just three reasons why the new school rules when it comes to football boots:
You can’t pull off a spectacular celebration in mud-caked beetle-crushers.
Imagine James Rodriguez and his Colombian comrades doing the cha-cha after scoring another wonder goal in cumbersome, steel toe-capped shoes that would be more at home on a dog-dirt laden Sunday league field?
Be honest; the words ‘disco-dancing dad’ sprung to mind didn’t they?
No one is going to assume a coloured-boot wearer is out of touch with the modern game.
First impressions are important and demonstrating your failure to keep abreast of the times footwear-wise, the fashion-conscious manager mulling over a bid may well assume the wearer is the sort of Neanderthal that could never adapt to their cosmopolitan tactical persuasions and reconfigure his transfer plans.
How else can a no-frills footballer pass off as a valuable commodity?
If Glen Johnson insisted on only black boots when he stepped out onto the hallowed turf, there’s no way he’d have amassed 54 England caps.
Through looking as important as Wayne Rooney and co, players of Johnson’s standing are able to create the illusion that they are as integral on the field and they have fancy boots to thanks for this.