From the archives – Hair Today

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I’m having a bit of a barren spell at the moment so it seems a good time to dredge up this blast from the notapatchon past. This article first appeared on the site in January 2011 when, ironically, I used it to cover up the fact I was having a barren spell on the writing front.

You’ve probably picked up that I’m in a lazy mood at the moment, something like normal service will be resumed shortly, but to keep me in your minds I thought that I’d share this what I wrote for the Mudhutter Winter Special available free from here. If you haven’t got it then you’re missing out on 48 pages of top writing that you wouldn’t usually get on the web. Try it now, or else you’re missing out. Did I mention that it was free? (Please don’t read this section if you’re reading on TNS+1 or on demand)

Given the name that I’ve been hiding behind for the last ten or so years it was inevitable that I’d get around to talking about hair at some point, in fact it’s more amazing that it’s taken so long but then again, apart from the odd indiscretion, Latics have survived most of the more outlandish hair fads over the years with even Alan Mahon managing to stick to the single hair-style at once during his time at the JJB.

In fact, it’s been reasonably difficult to pick out a top five of the notable hair styles of Latics players over the years, but that’s what I set out to do and I don’t give in easy. The net result being that there are some fairly staid crops in here and a few that missed out that, on another day and with better results from Google images, could have made the.. wait for it… cut.

Honorable mentions go to the Don Page flat top, David Thompson’s baked bean, Bran Griffith’s Paul Calf lite, Carl Bradshaw’s number one, Jorg Smeets’ bleached crop and Colin Methvan’s “bald? not me gov” but in the end they fell out of the running behind the following

5. The Scouser
Look at the squad photo from 78/79 and it’s amazing how many of them have got the same hairstyle, it’s a proper style as well, not a crop or a short, back and sides that might be the norm in later years. Here you have grown men, a few of whom would have been working in factories months earlier. The style is the sort of collar length bouffant that would later give way to the stereotypical curly perm, but wasn’t quite there yet.

Of course that was all a bit girly for the typical northern types that were called to play for Latics so it had to, almost with out exception, be offset with a ‘tache the bushier, apparently, the better. In retrospect it’s easy to say it didn’t work, but back then it would have taken a brave man to walk up to Graham Barrow and tell him looked a bit gay.

4. The Greg Strong
Strong’s bleach blond, soon to be bob was very of it’s time, but combined with the perma-tan and polished white teeth it did him no favours when he buggered off to Bolton before he’d even really established himself in the Latics team. All he was trying to do was look like Brad from Neighbours and it got him stuck with a reputation as a big time Charlie who thought he was better than he was.

Obviously that’s something I should have got over by now, but having checked out Wikipedia and found out that Greg is currently managing Rhyl Town, I can’t decide whether it means he’s finally got his comeuppance or that I was wrong about him all along.

3. David Lowe

Lowey’s floppy fringed, grown out short, back and sides was a staple for mid-eighties, north-western lads who couldn’t quite get their head and their hairdresser around to a full on wedge. Often copied (see Paul Jewell circa 1988), it’s on the cool side but otherwise unremarkable so how come it makes the list? For sheer bloody persistence that’s how come.

The length at the back may have varied (did someone say mullet? Not me!) but the fringe was there when he made his debut in ’84, when he left us in ’86, through Ipswich, England U21s and Leicester. It was still there when he came back in ’96, when he joined the coaching staff a few years later and since then it’s done Derby a service and popped up at the Masters tournament.

Over 25 years service deserves a certificate and a clock, but as we’ve neither it can have third place in our list instead.


2. Neill Rimmer’s Perm
The username itself was just a throwaway reference to the mop-topped midfielder, chances are that he’s never seen a hair-curler in his life, but just had a nice ring to it and it stuck. Sharing the affliction of curly hair, I’d probably never have come up with the username if it hadn’t been for the story that followed him about how his haircut (or lack of it) prevented him from making the grade at Everton and how at one stage Howard Kendal basically made him have his locks cut off.

Now, the story of a man so committed to his hairstyle that he’d give up a top flight career for it is worthy of a place in this list on it’s own, but without it the hair in it’s prime was no less impressive. It was never clear whether it was inspired more by Waddle and Hoddle or Brian May and Anita Dobson but it was a flowing, billowing mess of curls and it surely must have got in the way when he was playing.


1. Thanx

Surely you knew that this was coming? A whole two sides of A4 on hairstyles and no mention of my favourite Austrian mifender (that’s a new position just for him, because “he deserves it”).

Where do you start? The pre-latics Bran Bergen Mohican? The multi-purpose Latics/Birmingham stripes he had dyed when he came to us? The mad badger? Or the, ‘just go will you?’ goodbye effort from last season’s Hull game? Not that any of them made him look any less like a Sacha Baron Cohen pornstar character than his bog standard crop and goatee.

Despite what people might think now, Scharner is destined to be known more for expressing his personality purely through the medium of hair than anything he ever did on the pitch and for that reason alone he tops this chart, no matter how much I still haven’t got over my dislike of the man.



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