Unfortunately, I remember my first pair of football boots with dread.
They were called 'World Cups', and not of the Adidas variety! They
were purchased from a terrible, knock off shop in Northampton, and
were an embarrassment to be seen in. Whilst everyone else was
flaunting their Puma or Diadora, I was stuck in these absolute
monstrosities of shame. With a welded sole that was neither a mould
nor a blade, and a yellow triangle on the side, I ventured out into
the unknown realm of Under 12's football.
Thankfully my football did the talking and not my boots, and in my
first ever game of competitive league football I bagged a goal from
the half way line, with my right foot (I'm all left foot) wrapped in
said 'World Cup's' and the season started well. I was captain of the
team, and I remember the embarrassment of having to go up and shake
hands with the opposition captain wearing the football equivalent of
flippers every week. Again, my football, and not my boots did the
talking, and not only did I net the winner in the end of season cup
final (against a team who hadn't lost all season and turned up with a
cake that said 'We Won The Cup'), but also went onto become the
captain of the league representative team. Having to go and shake
hands with captains of other counties was even worse, but I did it all
the same and still played my game to the standard that my brain, and
not my boots, allowed me too.
I'm 38 now and have become a player/manager who still adds his bit on
the pitch. Even though the legs don't exactly go where I want them
to, the majority of the game is still played in your head. I've had my
feet wrapped in Puma Kings for longer than I care to recall, but I
still remember those boots, my first boots, from 26 years ago.
I can still remember standing there, looking at all the other kids
boots and wishing I had them, but I proved myself as a footballer in a
different way, and not by what I was wearing.
You can have boots that cost £100, but if you don't know how to play
football, the price tag won't help you. I just wish I could have told
my 12 year old self that to save my unnecessary blushes at every coin