NdoyeAbel

Dame N’Doye : Serial kit thief?

NdoyeAbelSigned for just £3M in February, Senegalese striker Dame N’Doye has proven to be a steal since moving from Lokomotiv Moscow. That transfer fee is not the only theft associated with  the 30 year old however, it seems N’Doye is partial to a bit of dayl… well, floodlight robbery.

After playing the first half of City’s loin tingling win over Liverpool in one of his own shirts, The Tigers’ number 28 pinched team mate Abel Hernandez’s number 9 jerseys for the second half, until referee Lee Probert put an end to N’Doye’s dastardly scheme and made him change into a shirt with his own name and number on.

‘Player error’ was kitman John Eyre’s succinct explanation, but it seems Dame N’Doye has previous when it comes to purloining polyester!  During his goalscoring debut against Aston Villa in February, N’Doye wore gloves bearing the number 26, indicating he’d swiped them from team mate Andrew Robertson!

N’Doye might not be too trustworthy in the kitroom, but he’s certainly worthy of the faith placed in him by manager Steve Bruce to score the goals that keep City in the Premier League, he’s hit 5 goals in 10 appearances since signing. Given that he’s taken a significant paycut to turn out for The Tigers, N’Doye’s penchant for pilfering polyester can be happily overlooked.

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National flag wristbands

During our two year stint in the Premier League there was a short lived fad for wearing national flag wristbands. It began with OG-prone defender Kamil Zayatte away at Manchester City in 2008/09.

The Guinean will probably go down as the most accessory laden player in club history. At one point in the City v. Citeh game he wore a black long sleeved compression jersey, HCAFC branded gloves, a black Umbro wristband on his left arm, and on his right, a band with the red, yellow and green colours of his West African nation.

The practice reached a peak the following campaign, season 2009/10, when Kamel Ghilas, Jozy Altidore and even Geovanni got in on the act.

Ghilas, or كمال فتحي غيلاس as he’s known in Arabic (imagine getting that put on the back of a shirt), was born in Marseille, France, but evidently considers himself Algerian rather than French. He has played for the Algerian national team 18 times (3 of those games were played while with* City in World Cup Qualifiers, v. Zambia, Rwanda and Egypt) and often wore an Algerian flag wristband when playing for The Tigers in 2009/10.

The Algerian flag consists of two bars, one green, one white, with a red star and crescent at the centre representing both Islam and the blood of those killed fighting for Algerian independence. Helpfully, for those who didn’t recognise the flag, Ghilas’ wristband had ‘Algérie’ in red letters above the star and crescent.

French is no longer an official language of Algeria, although it is commonly used, maybe he got the bands from the Marseille branch of Sports Direct or summat.

*Ghilas is still a Hull City player of course, but he’s been loaned out twice on season long loans, to Arles-Avignon and Stade de Reims, and clearly isn’t in City’s plans.

Geovanni was a frequent wristband wearer during his time with the Tigers, but he usually went with black Umbro branded bands. He got into the flagband spirit for one game though, wearing a yellow and green band with ‘Brasil’ overlaid in white text for the 4-1 FA Cup 3rd Round defeat at Wigan on 2nd January 2010.   

Whereas Zayatte, Ghilas and Geovanni occasionally wore national flag wristbands, American international Jozy Altidore wore one more often than not, in fact he had two distinctive wristbands, both made by his boot sponsor adidas. 

Both featured a split flag that was half ‘Old Glory’ and half the emblem of Haiti, as Altidore’s parents are both Haitian. That flag is two horizontal bars, blue over red, with a white panel bearing the Haitian coat of arms. Altidore wore a blue wristand in games against Southend (home, in League Cup), Wolves (away, with adidas logo taped over), West Ham (away), Arsenal (home), Fulham (home), Burnley (home), Aston Villa (home) and in his last, red card truncated performance for City against Sunderland (home, shown above).

A white version was worn in games against  Bolton (home in Altidore’s debut, and away), Sunderland (away), Birmingham (home), West Ham (home), Everton (home), Manchester City (away and home, seen above) Aston Villa (away), Blackburn (home), Manchester United (home) and Wolves (home).

When Jozy scored his only Premier League goal for the Tigers, against Manchester City in a 2-1 win at the KC Stadium, Altidore’s immediate reaction was to tearfully clutch at his white USA-Haiti wristband (shown above).

National flag wristbands seem to be just a Premier League phenomenon where City are concerned, as they’ve been notable in their absence since our return to the Football League.

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Sock horror! Ricketts’ ripped hose

Does how you wear your socks characterise how you play? In the 70s and 80s, socks worn around the ankles became a metaphor for ‘maverick’ players who eschewed rigid formations and defensive responsibilities, instead playing with carefree flair and swagger until FIFA’s policy wonks literally had them pull their socks up.

In recent years it has gone the other way, socks worn way above the knee became associated with graceful, gazelle-like forward play when Thierry Henry pioneered the tights of a Tokyo schoolgirl look, at least it did until Peter Halmosi and a swathe of others copied the look.

So, what of a player who tears holes in his socks? What style of play does that symbolise? For City fans it means high octane, enterprising wing back play, for Sam Ricketts, the Welsh international full back who played for the Tigers between 2006-2009, has a habit of ripping holes in his legwear.

At least he has had since the start of the 2007/08 season, as we can find no photographic evidence of him intentionally tearing the Diadora socks worn during the 2006/07 season, Rickett’s first year with the Tigers (though he did do this rolling down of the turnover band thing midway through the Leicester home game that made it look like he had different socks to everyone else).

The first camera captured instance we can find of Ricketts’ sock ripping is in the sixth Championship game of 2007/08, away to Wolves, though he could have started this earlier (though not against Norwich, he was suspended after being sent off at Coventry, and he didn’t feature against Wigan in the League Cup or at Blackpool in the league.)

This continued throughout the 2007/08 campaign, here’s Sam at West Brom in the January (taking on Robert Koren) and against Southampton in the March. Sometimes the tears were just to the top of the foldover band and there was no hole further down, such as here at Sheffield United. It isn’t easy to tell if there is a tear at all on some pictures, it could be on the side opposite the photographer, but it’s clear that he faffs with his socks no end during games, take the Sheffield Wednesday away game where sometimes the sock is pulled up to normal height and other times pulled over the knee.

Rickett’s played every minute of the Play-Off final at Wembley with holey socks.

Though the right-back doesn’t appear to have torn or cut holes in his socks for the first game of 2008/09 against Fulham, Ricketts resumed the idiosyncrasy for most of City’s inaugural Premier League campaign, from small holes against Manchester City and Stoke,  to gaping gashes at Everton and Wigan.

Sam didn’t get on the field for the Earth axis shifting win at Arsenal, he was an unused substitute. However while partially dressed to play at the Emirates Stadium, his socks were rolled down, creating the same effect seen against Leicester two years earlier.

We wondered why Ricketts would choose to have holes in his socks, so we asked him on Twitter, his reply? Tight socks made his legs feel tired.

Fascinated by the reply, we tried on the Diadora 2006/07 and Umbro 2007/08 socks for comparison, and you know what? Umbro’s socks are definitely much tighter.

Sam Rickett’s joined Bolton in the summer of 2009 for £2,000,000 and as a ‘Trotter’ faced City early in the 2009/10 season wearing socks made by Reebok. Did he tear holes in them? Yep, he sure did.

We love: Andy Dawson’s old skool tie ups

Football equipment is constantly evolving, and it’s an evolution driven by marketing and retail. Every year we’re told these new balls are 7% lighter, that shirt has improved sweat wicking properties and Petr Cech’s new headcap has three USB ports.

Immaculately rendered commercials show Kaka balletically slaloming past angels on a field of fire thanks to his new anti-grav adiFLY Kinetiq III’s and challenge us to emulate him.

Chuck those old boots away pal, these new Nike’s that look like they’re made from Clingfilm have an LED covered outer layer that constantly changes colour during the course of a game and they’ll improve your performance by 18%.

Equipment that isn’t readily visible on a player isn’t quite as aggressively marketed, shin pads, ankle straps, sock ties, that sort of thing, but there have still been periodic updates as new materials have become available.

Sock ties were once like laces (and an object of desire for young lads stood in The Well at Boothferry Park reserve games, players leaving the pitch at full time would be subject to shrill entreaties for their muddied tie-ups), a quick knot kept the foldover bands from slipping down the leg, now Velcro tipped elasticated bands (which really means they’re not ‘ties’ at all) are used instead.

Except by Andy Dawson, who appears to be on a one man crusade to keep sock ties in use, having worn them in all four divisions. From his arrival in May 2003 through to his most recent game, tell tale exposed strands have identified the full back as a Velcro-band abstainer, and we love that he’s never ditched the tie ups. Here’s a pictorial tribute, spanning Dawson’s storied City career…

2003/042004/05
2005/06
2006/07
2007/08
2008/09
2009/10
2010/11
2011/12