I didn’t realise I had a problem until I was confronted with it. The problem was storage. I had run out of room for my football socks. Come on admit it, we all have a few pairs don’t we? Some people collect shirts, others collect programmes (I have a few of those myself) whereas some individuals I wont mention (Dagenham + Dan is a clue) have to keep their match tickets in pristine condition. Those things do nothing for me. To me, I express my love of the game with football socks.
It all started out of necessity. I went to a Wasps rugby game, that is how long ago it was – they didn’t have the London bit in their name, despite the fact they played in London, as opposed to now where they are called London Wasps despite playing in Buckinghamshire. It was raining, my shoes had a hole in and my feet got very wet. I needed to get some new socks and so I went and bought a pair of rugby socks from the club shop.
My collection has now reached an impressive 61 pairs from 52 different sides. I have four times as many football socks as I do proper work ones. They aren’t any old pairs either. One rule has to be observed. You can only buy a pair from the ground or town/city of the club. So no cheating and buying socks online, or from a discount sports shop. That would be cheating, and we all hate cheats in football. Never does a trip go by these days without being on the look our for a sports shop, or a visit to the ground to see if I can get a pair in. And who wouldn’t. Some people may try and find a magic door to get into the ground and dare I say it, onto the pitch. For me it will be a trip to the official kit section of the club shop and a purchase of a pair of 42 Euro size socks.
What about the subtleties? What about a little L or R on the toes so you know on which foot each should go on? Or how about the Hanover 96 approach of having one sock with a vertical line on, and the other with a horizontal one. If that was designed by Hockney or Emin it would be deemed a masterpiece and find a home in the Tate.
The collection is almost a European Nations in its own right. There are pairs from 18 different European countries. None yet, alas from further abroad but we are working on that. European Champions, European Championship winners, World Cup winners, Europa League winners and various domestic league winners are all included….and West Ham.
Deep down I am still mad with Danny for buying the last pair of Royal Antwerp socks when we visited them back in March. He knew I bloody loved them and now he taunts me whenever he wears them. But I will have the last (no pun intended) laugh one day Danny Boy!
My newest pair? A nice turquoise pair of FC Nordsjælland complete with the manufacturer (H2O) and a club badge on the front that I picked up in March.
Most garish pair? Has to be the luminous orange FC Barcelona pair. I haven’t found any item of clothing that looks good with those.
Most sought after pair? Accrington Stanley, circa 2008 where they had the word Stanley running down the back of the sock. I would change my name by deed poll for a pair of those.
Socks, a set on Flickr.