Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

ELMO is tight-lipped

I’m sure that by now there can’t be many out there that haven’t heard of Movember. But if you’re one, it’s just November, when people (mainly men) grow a moustache to raise money for Testicular Cancer Research.

Some of you will have already done it; some of you will have been collared to stump up a few quid in support of someone who’s done it, and some of you will be saying “perhaps next year” …again.

But whatever you think of it, you can’t take anything away from the people who dreamed the idea up - reputedly half a dozen blokes in an Australian pub. - it’s raised millions for what had been a relatively minor research charity." for every Billy Ayre there is a Rob McKinnon whose moustache is barely visible."

Anyway, as Movember finishes and the razors are readied to bring the itching to an end, it’s got me thinking about moustaches I’ve seen at the Vic over the years. I tried to name some moustachioed Pools players of yesteryear. Two stood out in my memory straight away - Billy Ayre with his bushy Saddam Hussein effort, and Phil Brown, who looked better in his tash than he now does in his tan.

So, with my memory failing me on too many other hairy-lipped players, I dipped into a Pools history book, and found one pictured right at the front, none other than Pools’ player and first manager, Fred Priest, who went in for Poirot-style waxed ends sticking out at each side. If you go back even further, to the earliest days of football, you'll find teams photos in which most of the players have moustaches.

However, moustaches seemed to go out of favour after the First World War and no more appear on Pools players until the 1970s, when they became fashionable, although I can't believe there wouldn't have been one or two with the narrow Clark Gable style as worn by Private Walker in Dad's Army.

Now, when things become fashionable  all sorts of people want to follow the fashion, including those who are, how shall we say it, less well endowed. Just as there are girls who wear miniskirts that haven't got the legs for them (or rather have got too much leg for them), so for every Billy Ayre there is a Rob McKinnon whose moustache is barely visible.

My history book (Ed Law’s from 1989) then shows a succession of team photos from the ‘seventies and eighties in which a sizeable proportion of the players have moustaches, such as Graham Richardson, Eddie Edgar, Malcolm Poskett, Tommy Gibb, and Billy Ayre.

The fashion continued into the eighties with John Linacre, Kevin Johnson, Phil Brown, John Brownlie, and the great Barry Wardrobe all saving time on their shaving. And Paul Dobson, John Honour and Rob McKinnon made sure it continued right through the decade.

Since then, while there have been a few beards to take their place, moustaches have rather fallen out of favour, and with Movember now a regular feature of the fundraising calendar, maybe they won’t come back into fashion for a long time.

After all, the fundamental thing about growing a moustache for Movember is that you do it precisely because it's something that’s not a cool (or a comfortable) thing to do. And that’s why the MB editorial team of John Cooper and myself can’t wait to remove ours - extremely early in December!