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April 10 2020 4.20am

Those hairy yesterdays

July 10 2011

Neil Warnock

Neil Warnock

Jamesey reveals some interesting pictures of a few former Palace managers.

With heart-felt sympathy to those who find every word I write offensive (especially those in Australia where bile seems to proliferate like gum trees) I return to the fray.

As many of my well-wishers suggested, if you don't like me, don't click and don't waste your keyboard muscles or, alternatively, debate an issue in "Palace Talk" without resorting to abuse and insults. That's what grown-ups do...

Seeing the mug-shot of the departing Adam "Baldy" Barrett reminded me of the days when exotic haircuts were the norm for many footballers. The modern trend towards disguising incipient baldness through a shaven pate has made the game far less colourful.

Three of our ex-managers in recent times, as the pictures show, were not averse to fabulous follicles in their younger years.

Neil Warnock in his undistinguished days as a player employed a curly comb-over combined with side whiskers that crept down his face and nearly met under his chin.

Neil also wears a hesitant grin with just a suggestion of the angry snarl that was to feature in much of his managerial career.

Still he had calmed down somewhat by the time he reached SE25 and he did a good job for us. My only quarrel with Neil was that he was a friend of Simon Jordan which is not much of a reference.

Trevor Francis Going back a few years, we see Trevor Francis with a hair style that would have done the late Elizabeth Taylor proud.

Trevor's time with us wasn't exactly inspiring. Let's just say that he was a brilliant footballer in his day but didn't set the world on fire.

Steve Bruce is almost unrecognisable and with ginger curls surrounding his bonce, he looks like an angelic choirboy.

Even his nose looked cute at that time although it was subsequently to turn very flat.

Steve Bruce

Steve still has the power after a decade to rouse extreme ire in many Palace fans although he was highly successful on the field in the short time he was at Selhurst.

Pictures are reproduced with the kind permission of Cris Freddi, the well-known football writer.

On a completely different subject, I spent a little time in northern Spain last month, a region where ethnic identities are fiercely guarded.

But in a land where Basques, Cantabrians, Galicians and Asturians regard themselves as only incidentally Spanish, the "Man U syndrome" seems to have crept in.

It was surprising to see that, just like in Croydon and Bromley, where London-born glory hunters wear Man U and Liverpool (not much glory there these days) strips, the only shirts I could see were somewhat familiar red and blue-striped tops.

Yes, where one would expect to see the colours of clubs with proud traditions like Real Sociedad (San Sebastian), Sporting Gijon, Racing Santander and Athletico Bilbao, the only shirts I saw were bloody Barca!


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