NEIL BONNAR: Blood-soaked head bandages a symbol of a better time
11:00pm Thursday 3rd October 2013 in Sport
FOOTBALL has overpaid itself so far from the normal world that the common man can no longer relate to it.
But there is still one thing they’ve not taken away from us.
One lasting sign of how things used to be when the game belonged to the working classes.
The last bastion of non-corporate ordinariness.
I refer, of course, to the bandage-headed footballer.
The lasting image of the week for me is that of Jay Spearing with a well-wrapped-up cranium against Yeovil last weekend.
Dubbed by many as the lowest point for 10 or 20 years, the game had the feel of a throwback to a better time.
Losing to minnow opponents, a group of defenders got together in injury time to force an equaliser that sent the crowd into raptures.
That was until the full-time whistle went and the emotion of some turned to angry boos and chants.
Even then, one of the chants was “sack the board”, another trip down memory lane to the days when football clubs actually had boards that mattered.
But it was Spearing’s head that stole the show.
It evoked memories of bygone days when players would leave the field with a head injury, had a few stitches shoved in and turn up back on the pitch minutes later with a tightly-bound white wrapping that became less tight by the minute.
Who can forget Terry Butcher and his blood-soaked bandage while playing for England in a qualifying game for the 1990 World Cup?
Or, similarly, Paul Ince in Rome eight years later.
The great thing about bandage-headed players is that they never have a bad game. Or, if they do, it is ignored by the fans whose affinity for a player willing to play through a head injury knows no bounds.
And when it is spattered with blood, all the better, as it satisfies our need to think of our footballers as brave, heroic warriors.
It also gets one over the health and safety brigade, which is never a bad thing.
But the one overriding plus to a head bandage is that it has managed to escape football’s marketing frenzy. So far.
Maybe someone reading this column will have the idea to buy a load of bandages, dip them in red ink and sell them for £9.99.
And don’t rule out the sponsors swooping. What better place for an accident solicitor to advertise their company than on a bandaged head?
I can just see the words “had an accident at work?” poking through a blood-soaked bandage.