The soccer stars of today take great care in the way they present themselves. Consider the natty beard and sprezzatura of Mr Andrea Pirlo; the ever-developing tattoos and hairstyles of Mr David Beckham; the salt-and-pepper stubble and luxury knits of Mr Pep Guardiola. It would be easy to assume this is a modern obsession, but a good look has been important to players and managers from the get-go.
Take, for example, Mr Ned Doig, goalkeeper in Sunderland’s title-winning team of 1892, who was so worried about his receding hairline that he’d take to the field wearing a cap attached with a strap under his chin. Whenever the wind blew it off, he'd race after it, even if the opposition was heading towards his goal. Or how about Mr Hughie Gallacher, the absurdly talented Newcastle and Chelsea winger, often spotted zig-zagging down London's famous King’s Road during the early 1930s in a refreshed and emotional state, yet never less than resplendent in a well-cut pinstriped three-piece.
In fact, some of the greatest style statements in the sport were made in the pre-Premier League era, which stretched from 1888 to 1992. I should know – it’s a period I’ve covered comprehensively in my new book, The Title: The Story of the First Division (Bloomsbury). Of course, during these years, there were some men who particularly stand out for their sartorial chops. Scroll down to discover five of them.