Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughHairy Giants - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Hairy Giants - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Hairy Giants

So last week I was holidaying in Portugal, and whilst my wife and kid were basking in the 30 degree sunshine and splashing around in the pool, I was sitting in a cool, air conditioned lounge watching some of the U21 European Championships.

What struck me most about the players on show was not their technical ability, nor the big name clubs that some of them were already on the books of, but how bloody big and hairy these guys were. Are you sure these ‘boys’ were 21 or under? Some of them looked not only old for their age, but positively middle-aged, especially with regards to the Ukrainians and the Czechs.

At school there was always a boy who was a little more ‘advanced’ than others, but blimey. Maybe it’s the way of life over there, or something they put in the water, or maybe both, but I was amazed at how grizzled and weather beaten they looked. Maybe as part of their Academy Scholarship they have to spend time breaking rocks in a Gulag, or digging trenches out in sub-zero temperatures.

Speaking as someone who, blessed with youthful good looks, was regularly asked for ID in pubs and clubs up to about the age of 25, I found these hirsute brutes quite disconcerting. Even to this day I get slightly nervous when buying a six-pack at Tesco, expecting the lady on the checkout to ask me for proof of age.

However I’m sure these so-called ‘Under 21s’ would have no such problem. It’s a tradition that you are supposed to get the ‘key to the door’ on your 21st birthday. These guys have had the key, the front door, the whole house, the wife, the kids and the mortgage if looks are anything to go by.

The great stand-up comedian and Grumpy Old Man Arthur Smith said that when he was 6 years old he already had the looks of a 20 cigarettes-a-day man. Maybe the Ukrainians and the Czechs have some of Arthur’s South London stock somewhere in their history, as these Hairy Giants seem to look much older than their years.

Or maybe I’m just lucky to look younger than my years.  Maybe I should have a spell in a Russian labour camp to acquire that ‘lived in’ look these young European football stars of the future possess.

Until then, I’m off to Tesco. Quick check – phone, keys, wallet………..proof of age card. 

Lee Morgan

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