The clamour for Omar Bogle to play more this season boils down to one thing. And that is because he brings something different to the team. The way he wears his socks. Bet you haven’t noticed it have you? But next time he plays, look at his lovely, thick calves. His socks are rolled down to halfway down his shin. His shin pads barely protecting his large mans legs.
But, as Cardiff players go, he’s certainly not the first to do this and he won’t be the last. If you look across football, there are more players than ever embracing the rolled down sock look. Gone are the days of it being Veron and Blanc as leaders in this game. Now you’ve got Grealish – and his XS boys shin pads – McBurnie, and others who choose to roll down their socks and play with an impetuous outlook on your studs.
Over the years Cardiff have had their own sock trailblazers, choosing a different way of rolling them up or down. Here’s some of the best.
When Rhys signed from Arsenal, his socks were the regulation height. It was the 2003/04 season where a change took place. He’d grown his hair out, his shirt was untucked and his socks? They were rolled down and paired with Mizuno boots. Usually the reserve of Rivaldo, Mizuno boots were a rare sight back then but Rhys knew how to wear them.
He also took this style internationally, choosing to roll down the red socks of Wales when he was called up. The illusion of rolling down his socks to just below his calf made his muscular legs look even more so. Which begs the question. Was this style psychological, showing to attackers that he wasn’t to be messed with? Who knows.
Before Rhys could run, James Harper walked. A few loan games for Cardiff gave us a glimpse of the Premier League calves he chose to leave unadorned by socks. He didn’t stay for long but his sock game left an impression.
Fun fact about Harper. He used to buy the smallest shin pads he could get his hands on and then cut off any excess foam making them smaller still.
The smoothest man this side of Cwmbran, not only did he bring slick and continental defending to Ninian Park, he also brought a distinctly European touch to his socks. Ninian Park wasn’t ready for an over the knee roll but Danny did it. He put Xara on the map by pulling his socks up to meet his shorts at the thigh. He was also the only centre half who could pull off wearing a pair of Mercurial Vapors – usually the reserve of a striker.
The kids went nuts! You’ve never seen a trend hit the school field so quick. Every inter-school matchup saw at least four players rocking the thigh-high style, completely misrepresenting how good they were at football.
Some say that Gabbidon alone was responsible for the European revolution in East London when he packed up his long socks and exchanged them for a claret and blue Reebok pair.
Nowadays, every player under the sun is clipping their club issue socks and pairing them with a white pair of trusox or similar. But before this trend, Gary O’Neill was doing it first. Sure, a naturally gifted footballer who was a cut above in a ten game loan spell but it was his sock game that wowed the sartorial visitors in the Bob Bank.
Socks fully rolled up, a cut under the knee, paired with a pair of pulled up white socks. They never rolled down. Paired with the purists boot; an adidas World Cup and you really had a winning combination. Without those socks, he was nothing. Those socks let his football do the talking and gave a silent statement: I can play.