Avoiding tribal fashion faux pas

You’d think someone who managed to backpack around South America for three months without serious incident would be a bit more streetwise, wouldn’t you?

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 10:48 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 10:50 am

Daughter #1 is currently sitting law exams at university and has taken to student life like a natural. Just like her dad (checks calendar) 32 years ago.

But she’s off on a football-themed fun run in Leeds with her friends in the near future and last week asked me if she could borrow a Manchester United shirt to wear for the event. I must admit a klaxon went off in my head when I heard that. The last time I watched United play at Elland Road the experience was, er, vibrant to say the least.

I’d never met as many complete strangers who wanted to kill me in all my life. Even though I was still in my 20s and gormless, even I wasn’t thick enough to wear colours in Leeds.

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These colours don’t run? Shuffling out of the away end 45 minutes after a 1-1 draw in oppressive, terrifying silence with hundreds of angry locals waiting to greet us was tense.

Twenty-one years later and daughter #1 was very interested in a now incredibly retro collection of 80s and 90s shirts.

Pawing through them, she gushed: “Ooh, can I have that one?” at the sight of Adidas’ blue and white 1990-92 Madchester masterpiece.

Absolutely not, unless you want to recreate Pamplona’s Running Of The Bulls around the streets of Leeds. And anyway, these shirts aren’t to be worn, they’re to be framed, hung on the wall and worshiped.

In the end she was placated by a 1994 long-sleeved AC Milan shirt, manufactured by Lotto, whose famous red and black stripes were worn by every self-respecting Sunday league team in the 1990s.

Even now, it wouldn’t look out of place at Milan Fashion Week draped on a stick-thin, thunder-faced, giraffe-like 15-year-old supermodel as she struts down the catwalk with a £25,000 bobble hat on her head. God bless James Richardson and Football Italia on Channel 4. Between them, and a shirt I paid £40 for 26 years ago, they might just have saved my eldest daughter’s life.