Football is not the game it once was. That’s not to say there haven’t been some changes for the better as well as some overtly negative influences.
The past few premier league seasons have been particuarly poignant. They have altered the face of the modern game forever in what has been, for the most part, a positive move forwards.
Notably, goal-line technology has eliminated one of the most frustrating points for debate over previous years; providing clarity to pivotal refereeing decisions – a long overdue modern advancement.
Furthermore, the top flight in English football has become a far more competitive division. Spitting in the face of corporate influence and club investment, smaller clubs like Leicester City, Southampton and Watford are thriving in the Premier League.
Leicester have become everyone’s ‘second team’ as they continue to topple heavyweights in their quest to win the title.; it’s a trend that many pray will continue into the future.
But one emerging trend in football has left many scratching their heads in bewilderment. We’re currently witnessing the era of the Masked Men of Football.
Are these masks necessary!?
Well, that all depends on who you’re asking. From a medical perspective, the mask provides necessary protection to the brittle region around the nose, particularly fragile following a fracture or a nose break.
But is it worth preventing such a minor injury in order to look like a moonlighting Zorro impersonator?
Football fans are sick and tired of having their sport compared to other more physical contests like rugby and american football but for the purpose of this argument, it’s necessary to delve into that sensitive area of discussion.
Firstly football is nothing like rugby or american football, of course. The Beautiful Game is exactly as described, physical challenges are a part of the game but the sport does not revolve around or depend upon this aspect in any way; unlike rugby or american football.
So when football is compared with their more physical derivatives and labelled as being ‘soft’, it’s annoying but easy to shrug off as a football fan.
But every now and then, a trend comes along that makes even the most avid football fan facepalm and feel like ‘we don’t help ourselves’.
No-one wants to wind up like these two american football and rugby players respectively, but if you’ve suffered a hairline fracture in your nose; it’s unlikely that you’re going to complete distort your face with a slight bump.
The face mask is without doubt one of the worst things to be introduced to the Premier League over recent seasons.
Long gone are the days of Terry Butcher, one of the defining images of the England National Team. Butcher’s battle scars perfectly encapsulated the ethos of the 3 Lions crest.
Now let’s compare Butcher with one of England’s more recent captains:
Very fetching Mr. Terry – it seems that Chelsea in particular have a fascination with sporting the face wear.
Face Masks As Fashion Accessories
The Blues could now create an All Star XI of players who have donned face masks over the past few seasons, to the extent that boss Guus Hiddink admitted:
“We are a team with a lot of masks… we are a Zorro team!”
It appears to have become a right of passage for all Chelsea players to wear a face mask at some point in their career – to the point where members of the squad have taken to accessorising their tailored masks:
Designer made in Milan… Ramires makes me question whether his mask is worn in the name of safety or fashion.
Your number is on the back of your shirt Demba (where it should be), does it need to be on your face too; imprinted on carbon fibre?
These masks make football look like a joke. No-one is questioning that safety in sport is important, but when deliberately ostentatious protective face masks are becoming commonplace in the game, you have to wonder where the line is going to be drawn!
Ominously, the fad shows no sign of going away as it slowly spreads outside of the Premier League too…
Emanuel Pogatetz’s mask looks like it’s trying it’s best to suffocate the guy.
Alberto Aquilani looks far from impressed in his leather mask – can’t imagine that’s particularly good for the pores!