Kyle Hulme brings the latest craze, the hipster footballers XI…
In recent weeks one particular phrase that has been popping up in football journalism and podcasts is the notion of a “football hipster”, someone who doesn’t conform to traditional football fan behaviour by supporting obscure teams in leagues you’ve never heard of. Well, we here at The False Nine have gone a step further and have compiled an XI of footballers who themselves are worthy of “hipster” status for one reason for another.
GK: Rogério Ceni
Rodrigo Ceni, as far as goalkeepers go, truly is an individual. You see, the vast majority of goalkeepers see out their careers having never known that beautiful feeling of scoring a goal in a match. Then there are those who, by mainly luck rather than skill, may have perhaps one goal to their name, or two if they’re very lucky. But for Ceni, that’s not enough. The life-long Sao Paulo stopper has notched together an almighty 52 goals for his club; that’s more than Heskey scored in his last nine seasons in the Premier League. Therefore Ceni impressive goalscoring record (and the fact that not many goalkeepers can be considered a hipster) secures him a place in the coveted Hipster XI.
RB: Gary Neville
“Gary Neville, how is he a hipster?” I hear you ask. Well, in my defence, I’d like to direct you to this former Twitter profile picture of his. Sitting with a guitar, in the heart of Madchester, in an Instagram-like black and white print? Now you can see why he’s in the XI. Add to this his love of The Smiths, his zero-carbon home (because we just have to save the icecaps, man) and metrosexual pasta cooking with David Beckham and you’ve got yourself a certified Hipster Footballer.
CB: Sergio Ramos
An undercut hairstyle? Check. Perfectly groomed beard? Check. Tattoos? Check. Sergio Ramos certainly ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to being a hipster, and he certainly wouldn’t look out of place in an espresso bar taking photos of his flat white to share with his like-minded Madrid friends. His collection of 12 red cards in the league also solidifies his place; after all, clean tackling is soooo mainstream…
CB: Gerard Pique
Well, it just wouldn’t be a hipster list without some reference to La Masia or Barcelona. Pique’s cool, laid-back ball-playing style is enough to make football hipsters around the world temporarily put down their copies of Inverting the Pyramid to rejoice in his tiki-taka tendencies. Like his centre-half partner Ramos, he also has an impressive beard and can be found around Barcelona sketching Gaudi’s cathedral wearing outfits similar to this one. Probably.
LB: Leighton Baines
“Baino” is the indie poster-boy of the fullback world. Whether he decides to wear a quiff or a side fringe, Baines is the fifth Beatle that never was. He is also best friends with the equally cool and talented fellow Scouser Miles Kane; apparently they used to hang out in Miles’ pad above a coffee shop and talk about music – the epitome of hipster culture. His love of indie music, mod dress-sense and cultured left foot make him a cornerstone of the Hipster XI.
DM: Andrea Pirlo
Andrea Pirlo is without a doubt one of the coolest footballers on the planet. His nickname, “the architect”, is a testament to his creative style of play and such a nickname alone is enough to get into a team of Football Hipsters. The Juventus regista owns a vineyard in the Lombardy region of Italy, and was recently seen looking cool as hell in a video where he talked about it. Plus – you guessed it – he possesses what may well be the best beard in world football (perhaps behind Olof Mellberg). It just wouldn’t be a list of Hipster Footballers without Pirlo.
DM: Joey Barton
Joey Barton is enigmatic to say the least. One minute he says something clever, such as quoting Nietzsche, and the next he says something really fucking stupid, such as calling Thiago Silva a fat ladyboy. But for all his airs and graces, Barton is a unique footballer in that he is an Englishman abroad – something really quite rare and admirable. On top of this, he’s also a fan of indie favourites such as The Smiths and recently twee folk bands such as The Lumineers, and was snapped holding a t-shirt which read “I Listen To Bands That Dont Even Exist Yet”. Okay Joey you’re in, just try not to do anything stupid…
RAM: Robbie Rogers
Oh Robbie, how I love you. This man is quite possibly the most hipster person in the team. Plucked from Columbus Crew and dropped into the harsh environment that is South Leeds, Beeston, it was never going to be easy for this easy-going Californian. But he persevered, developing a whirlwind relationship with trendy Leeds espresso bar Laynes Espresso (which has now immortalised Robbie in a photo frame beside the counter). Robbie was then farmed out to Stevenage, where he spent his time living in hipster-central Shoreditch, visiting coffee shops, walking his adorable pooch, Instagram-ing and kicking the occasional football for money. Robbie then took the giant step of announcing that he was gay and unfortunately retired from football. Though he didn’t retire from hipster-related activities, going on to get an internship with Men’s Health magazine. Robbie, we here at The False Nine support you in whatever you do and admire your bravery; there will always be a space for you in our Hipster XI.
CM: Raul Meireles
A pioneer of experimental hairstyles, or hair art as he probably likes to call them, Meireles definitely has the look for the Hipster XI and fortunately he can play a bit, too. He’s also a fan of the Beatles, something different compared to the usual R&B-dominated changing rooms of modern football and will fight for control of the jukebox with Leighton Baines. Always looking good off the pitch, the heavily tattooed midfielder was an easy choice for our XI.
LAM: Pat Nevin
Despite the fact that Pat, like Robbie Rogers, is retired, it would have been a crime to leave him from the team. For a start, he has an art degree, already making him unique and hipster-like compared to most footballers. But as if that wasn’t enough, Pat is a massive indie fan, reportedly once asking to leave a reserve game early to attend a concert, and has also performed as a DJ at several nightclubs. Pat is also a prophet in the world of Football Hipsterism, very much the pundit of choice for those who lose a little bit of their soul when watching Jamie Redknapp try to talk about players he’d previously never heard of. Pat, your 600+ professional football games and cracking music taste has earned you a place in our coveted Hipster XI.
CF: Dimitar Berbatov
When it came to picking a lone centre-forward for the Hipster XI, only the coolest striker would do. Step up, Mr. Dimitar Berbatov. When it comes to being cool, he’s ice cold. Never one to break into a sweat, Berba has that laissez faire, shrugged-shoulders “I don’t care” attitude that characterises a hipster. He’s also a pretty good artist too, with his sketches of 2Pac, Marlon Brando as The Godfather and various other celebrities circulating and drawing acclaim around the internet. Effortlessly cool, and somewhat resembling an Eastern European Carl Barat, he is the perfect man to lead the line of the coolest football team you’ve probably never heard of.
Higuita is a more than capable reserve for the Hipster XI. A fellow goal scoring goalkeeper, Rene is best remembered for that scorpion-kick save against England and, with individuality very much a core principle of a hipster, that alone is worthy of a place in the squad. Throw in the fact that his inclusion would see a few vintage goalkeeping garms in the dressing room and he’s already putting pressure on Ceni for the number one spot…
Few defenders played the game with such elegance, grace and all-round coolness as Beckenbauer did. A quick Google images search will also add to his cool persona, with hundreds of photos of him wearing Adidas Originals before they became edgy and dominated thrift shops in university cities. Beckenbauer may be older now, and probably has a distinct lack of pace, but he can take heart from the fact that Terry and Ferdinand still play despite these ailments as he pushes for his place in the starting XI.
No one reeks slick, sleek and smooth quite like the Basque. His play on the pitch is effortlessly casual, and so is the way he conducts himself off it. Not just a sharp dresser, Alonso is a known purveyor of the arts. His twitter account is a haven of instagrammed photos of Paris and links to songs by My Bloody Valentine, Spiritualized and the Black Keys. Swish.
Tottenham midfielder Sandro is apparently a dab hand on the ol’ acoustic guitar, and what is a Hipster football team without an aspiring musician? With a recording studio built into his home, Sandro will inevitably fight Leighton Baines for the jukebox in order to showcase his own music before being overpowered and declaring that nobody really “gets” him and that it’s all “experimental” anyway. Yeah, he’s in.
Perhaps the most mainstream of our choices, but if you think about it, it actually makes sense. Beckham was always pioneering and individual in his approaches to fashion and male grooming – in particular his hairstyles – and personified the Hipster mantra of “before it was cool” in this respect. Beckham’s penchant for flannel shirts and tattoos also add to his Hipster credentials, as does the fact that he lives in Paris, one of the coolest cities in the world. Congratulations Beckham, you make the cut.
Given the fact that unfortunately Socrates passed away in 2011, logistically it may be difficult to get him to sign for the Hipster Football Club (you know what those bloody agents can be like, eh?). However, given the fact that he was cool-as-fuck omitting him would be a sin so we’ve decided to put him on the bench anyway. Socrates, like many hipsters, went to university and studied a degree before failing to find employment in that area. Okay, so that degree was Medicine, and he did become a phenomenal footballer, but I’m counting it. Noted on wikipedia as being an intellectual, a heavy drinker and smoker, Socrates is also partial to performing salsa music and so laid back he’s practically sideways; we reckon he would have shared a room with Andrea Pirlo (and no, not just because he owns a vineyard…)
Granero will perhaps feel the most let down at not being in the starting XI than any other substitute. Not only is he called Esteban – a cool name, I’m sure you’ll agree – he’s also a fan of literature, with the existentialist author Kafka and political poet Gil de Biedma referenced as favourites of his. Like Sandro, Granero too plays the guitar and the two will no doubt form a blossoming friendship and release an EP within a matter of weeks (available only at independent record stores as a 7”, naturally). He’s also the second coffee aficionado of the squad, along with Robbie Rogers, and so expect to see them together in an independent coffee shop near you soon!
The final place on our bench goes to none other than Roberto Baggio. This man was individuality personified; not only was he a practising Buddhist, he also very nearly made the ponytail look cool (until we came to our sense and realised it’s a wank hairstyle) – two things pretty much unheard of in football and deserving in their own right of a place in the squad. He’s also said that he now support Boca Juniors, fitting in with football hipster around the world given their love for “obscure” foreign football and players they’ve only ever heard of because of a Football Manager Wonderkids thread online. Baggio, welcome aboard.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp is undoubtedly the only credible choice for manager of a team of hipster footballers. He certainly has the experience, managing a whole team of incredibly cool footballers already and he has the backing of pretty much every football hipster in the world. With his dreamy hair, artisanally-crafted stubble and thick-rimmed glasses, he’s probably the only manager capable of making the tracksuit look cool and, on the off chance that he decides to wear a suit, he makes Andre Villas Boas look like “Big” Sam Allardyce. He’ll look to bring in someone like Marco Bielsa as an assistant or technical director in order to keep the tactics-obsessed, Blizzard-reading section of the fans happy. And Dion Dublin. Not for any particular footballing reason, just that them three would look good on the touchline and that we simply don’t have enough Dubes in the world (though, that’s probably for a reason).
Have we missed anyone? Don’t hesitate in letting us know!