Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Giving It Both Barrels

Over the years, footballers names have evolved with changing fashions. In the Fifties, it was all Berts, Nats and Tommys. In the Seventies the football world was full of Kevins. Today it’s James, Thomas and Alfie, presumably named after the popular series of multi coloured railway engines. The next generation will probably be stuffed with retro chic Jacobs, Josephs and Joshuas. And not just first names are moving with the times. Witness the sudden proliferation of footballers with double barrelled surnames. Once the exclusive territory of Tory toffs who can trace their lineage back to the Plantagenets, now a typical teamsheet boasts a couple of good examples.

It’s quite a shift in a few years from the sheer novelty value of a hyphenated member of the professional ranks. Once there was just Ian Storey-Moore, Chris Bart-Williams and of course Ron Chopper-Harris.  Storey-Moore overcame any perceived foppishness by being a renowned dirty bastard in an era when they were ten a penny, whilst RC-H ended his career at the Bridge with 795 appearances, 14 convictions and 42 other offences taken into consideration.  Now, far from being an indicator of poshness, a pair of surnames either hints at a very modern approach to equal marital partnerships, or a chequered upbringing. Either way, it’s the new Smith or Jones and probably here to stay.

Until the present crop of Ward-Prowses and Oxlade-Chamberlains intermingle and start to reproduce. Then things could get very complicated. If neither parent gives ground, we could be up to a 32 barrel surname within 4 generations. Which, if players are still wearing shirts then, rather than hologram projections with rotating advertising and data on pass rate completion and volume of spit expended, will call for a fair bit of editing across their shoulders.

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