Our European guru educates and enlightens
As TS Eliot very nearly said, I will show you fear in Graeme Souness’s moustache.
In the great man’s heyday, that distinctive hair on his upper lip was fiendishly useful for intimidating opponents but in the Sky Sports studio this week, the great Scot’s silvery moustache was merely a pleasing novelty.
In width, scale and texture Souness’s moustache would, in a previous age, have been worn by a caddish, retired wing commander known to his chums at the RAF Club as Biffer or, in the movies, by the kind of grinning, evil Mexican bandit whose persecution of some hapless, innocent villagers inevitably brings forth the wrath of the Magnificent Seven, the Three Amigos or the Magnificent Seven Who Rode Again.
(Mind you, George Hamilton was wearing something similar in the jungle on ITV, so maybe these two legends are starting a trend).
It wasn’t Eli Wallach who seemed to inspire Souness after Liverpool’s exit but Dad's Army’s Private Fraser as he shook his head and said: “I fear for Liverpool.”
And he was right: he feared at length and very cogently.
If it hadn’t been for the fact that it was easier to focus on the moustache rather than the message I suspect Liverpool fans would have felt thoroughly deflated.
Matters didn’t improve when the camera panned to David Platt who, in a desire to look more down with the kids, has taken to using industrial quantities of black hair dye.
And we’re talking jet-black dye, of the kind that looked good on Elvis when he was wearing leather in his 1968 comeback TV special, and was tolerable on Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu (but only because anyone who sniggered got sent to a labour camp), but looks utterly out of the place on the head of a slightly portly middle-aged former England midfielder with a receding hairline.
Platty aspires to be august and if he took a few style tips from Richard Gere and had the nerve to go charismatically grey he might well achieve that ambition.
This might sound pernickety but when assessing a football pundit I always start with the hair, possibly because my own head is rapidly becoming as bald as the Australian outback.
Besides, if a man can’t own up to his natural hair colour, how can I trust him, as a pundit, to tell the truth about the beautiful game?
Say what you like about Andy Gray – and people do – but he has the sense to trust that his silver-white locks and Greco-Roman bust of hairdo a lend him the kind of gravitas that no dye could improve upon.
I do find Sky Sports' UEFA Champions League punditry fascinating, possibly because of the absence of Robbie Earle, whose solution to Liverpool’s current troubles was for the players to walk up to the plate, stand up and be counted and, with their backs to the wall, run something up the flagpole to see if anyone saluted.
I exaggerate, of course, but only by 75 percent.
And I shall watch Souness with interest.
In two weeks' time, on matchday six, I fully expect him to have developed a full grown, twirlable Terry Thomas moustache.
Face-fuzz fans! Have you tried our guess-the-moustache gallery quiz? If not, why not?
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I had assumed Souness had grown the moustache as part of the movember charity thing(unsure of the proper name) but if its some enjoyable punditry your after you cant beat RTE's line up of Dunphy, Giles and Souness(who had a full beard on the show a couple of weeks ago!) on CL games. If you haven't seen them I recommend a quick trip to Youtube now.
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