Yesterday, I wrote something about Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge and his recently developed penchant for brimmed hats, complicated trousers, photogenic food and singers who'll probably be used to help "keep Jools relevant" this year. The central premise of the piece is that he is the only "hipster" footballer who has emerged in recent years – or at least the only one who seems interested in fashion beyond All Saints and music beyond Swedish House Mafia. And then I argued that, whatever you might think about hipsters, football – with its media training and its booze bans – holds players back from developing their own cultural and emotional identities. Which is why the vast majority end up as man-children with really bad taste in everything.
Of course, this being the internet, the article gave rise to a slew of anger from people who claimed that Sturridge was far from the only footballer to have fallen for the Dalston dream, citing all sorts of examples from across the football planet. I wondered if I'd got it wrong, and if Sturridge was in fact part of a hot, new, up-and-coming hipster footballer "scene", rather than the lone wolf in Opening Ceremony A/W 2013 pieces I thought he was.
So, as somebody who used to live in East London and occasionally gets RTs from people who've done Boiler Room sets, I thought I'd look at some of these alternative suggestions.
By far the most common mention was Dani Osvaldo, the Southampton forward currently on loan at Juventus. For those of you who didn't manage to catch any of his 13 league appearances before he was sent back to Italy for "brutally attacking" teammate Jose Fonte in training, Osvaldo is basically Tyson Fury to Zlatan's Mike Tyson. A ponytailed, pompous, one-man man-management nightmare whose swag game is a lot better than his actual game.
The criteria for so many people nominating him seemed to be that he sometimes wears glasses and has a statue of Keith Richards in his house. While you can't deny that dressing like a homeless steampunk is more interesting than the "team jacket, big headphones" look favoured by most players, a lot of you seem to have confused Osvaldo's "eurotrash Johnny Depp" aesthetic with him being the kind of person who has a favourite HypeBeast forum thread.
Is he a hipster? Dani Osvaldo is not a hipster. Unless you're the kind of person who thinks that wearing a scarf makes you a hipster. Then he's basically Charles Mingus.
Dimitar Berbatov, another Prem striker in glorious exile, currently decompressing from the trauma of playing for Alan Curbishley in Monaco like the man from Delmonte, was another popular choice. But again, the people calling him out as a hipster seem to have missed the point a bit. Yes, he smokes, yes, he wears expensive clothes and yes, he exudes the air of a man who long ago gave up on the world. But he kinda looks more like an alpine ski resort lothario than a Peckham-based conceptual artist.
People make the mistake of labelling Berbatov a hipster just because he reminds them of a character from a Wes Anderson film. But none of the characters in Wes Anderson films are hipsters; they're a hipster's idea of what an adult should be. Berbatov's too sophisticated, too sure of himself to bother with snapbacks or leather kilts. He's Jean Paul Belmondo for the FIFA Street Generation. A stylish curmudgeon.
Is he a hipster? Berba might be a bit more sophisticated than Osvaldo, but he's still a long way from a hipster. Although he does play like a man who's spent the night keying smack at Berghain.
Xabi Alonso likes guitar music and his laid-back, creative playing style is adored by the football hipsters, who often enjoy pointing out that Rafa Benitez tried to sell him to fund a move for Gareth Barry.
But is seeing an unusual pass and expressing a liking of My Bloody Valentine really enough to cast him as a hipster? Probably not. He's a bit more 6Music than Rinse FM, and all his gear's from Zara men's. He's the kind of "vinyl dad" who goes to Carnival on Sunday each year but uses his kids as an excuse to get out after Phill Jupitus and before Riko Dan.
Is he a hipster? No, his brother's a referee, which is the uncoolest thing ever.
Leighton Baines is the type of man who defines himself by the fact he stayed loyal to "proper music" and bootcut jeans longer than you did. Unless you think that weird breed of Northern guys who've just seen Quadrophenia and are determined to recreate the Mods vs Rockers fight at T in The Park are cool, you'll probably understand that Leighton Baines is about as diametrically opposed to hipsterdom as you can possibly imagine.
I mean for fuck's sake, just look at that mob. They look like Polish barmen in fancy dress.
Is he a hipster? Do you leave comments on the NME website?
Again, I think that there's a massive bias towards temperamental strikers here. Bendtner has recently added a very Central Saint Martins-esque top-knot to his look, and he certainly does seem to care more about his social life than his playing career, but he goes to Boujis and he went out with a member of the Danish Royal Family. Let's face it, he's a bit more Francis Boulle than Frank Ocean.
Is he a hipster? No. Because he's not Daniel Sturridge. And Daniel Sturridge is the only hipster footballer.