Beautiful game made ugly by boot culture

As rough as new boots.

As rough as new boots.

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It used to be the case if a footballer wore a pair of coloured boots, he might as well have worn a sign around his neck saying ‘Kick me’.

But that was back in the day when I played more football than I watched.

During this World Cup I’d be hard pushed to kick all the players sporting eyecatching footwear. Having watched all but three games so far I’m yet to spot an outfield player wearing black boots.

Do then even sell black boots anymore? The last pair I bought were blue, and before you accuse me of being a show off, the other choices were luminous green, glow in the dark yellow and highlighter pen pink. That was two years ago but I can still see a remnant image of the boot display if I shut my eyes hard.

Determined to stand out amidst the sea of colourful boots, some players have taken the zany footwear craze one step beyond.

But what, you ask, could be more eyecatching than a pair of bright pink boots or a pair of bright blue boots?

The answer - one of each. That’s right, some of the players have now taken to wearing two boots of different colours.

One of my favourite things about sport is that all the players from a team wear the same coloured kit (or uniform as my wife calls it). The struggle between two competing nations is enhanced by this clash of colours.

All the different coloured boots just ruins it.

Put simply it’s too messy, or should that be Messi, who incidentally plays in Adidas adizero f50 Messis. They contain too many colours to list and look like a pair of shoes that he’s been sick on after drinking a WKD cocktail.

It’s a bad example to set for kids, who ask, “Daddy, what do I have to do to play at the World Cup?”

The answer should be, “You need to train hard, practise your skills and technique, assume a healthy lifestyle and focus your energies on meeting self-set targets on the road to World Cup glory.”

Instead the answer is, “Ask Santa for a pair of multicoloured boots.”

When we look back on this World Cup in 20 or 30 years time, I think its memory will be tarnsished by the mass of coloured boots, spoiling a well-oiled machine like decorations on a bike spoke.

The other legacy of this World Cup will be the spray can wielding referees. The idea is that the refs use the spray to mark the position of the ball and the wall for freekicks to make sure none of the defenders try to steal a few yards.

The white spray vanishes reasonably quickly after being sprayed, but if I had my way I’d replace it with permanent black paint.

That way when the referees are putting a line in front of the defensive wall, they can tone down a few of the players boots while they’re down there.

And what of Lurgan man Neil Lennon’s role in all of this?

The BBC have flown him to Brazil to provide insight as a pundit alongside the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera and Rio Ferdinand.

I think it’s a very cruel move by the Beeb - to take a pale, ginger-haired Armagh man and expose him to the midday sun of the Copacabana.

Lennon too seemed to have joined the trend of coloured footwear.

Reports suggested he was wearing a pair of shiny red shoes on the beach the other day, but it turned out to be his sunburnt feet.