If the group stages of Euro 2016 have given pundits trends such as last-minute goals and less-than-thrilling 0-0 draws to mutter about, hair has all been about bleach. Thanks to Lucky Blue Smith and Nick Grimshaw, bleached hair on men is already pretty standard in fashion. But the news that Welsh player Aaron Ramsey – a man better known for his golfing snaps on Instagram than Jenner-esque selfies – has bleached his hair for the tournament. Add Belgium’s Marouane Fellaini and Divock Origi alongside Switzerland’s Valon Behrami, and such is the influence of today’s footballers, you can guarantee bleached hair is going to go mainstream.
Footballers are no strangers to hair dye, although previous experiments have had mixed success. There have been triumphs. See Freddie Ljunberg’s Arsenal-red hair in the noughties, which led to the ultimate seal of approval from fans: a chant. Less successful were Neymar’s frosted tips at the 2014 World Cup which may or may not – football fans are a superstitious bunch – have contributed to his bad luck and an injury that forced him to withdraw from the competition.
Then there was the all-bleached Romania team back in 1998’s World Cup, supposedly an inspiration for Fellaini. What all these styles now mean for the fortunes of the players’ teams is up for debate – Romania topped their group in 1998 to reach the last 16, so maybe they should have tried bleach for this year’s tournament, too.
So far, it’s worked well for Wales and Ramsey, who was man of the match in a 3-0 win against Russia on Monday night, and Switzerland – Behrami included – are very happy with their second-place spot in Group A. Fellaini and Origi’s bleach finesse should help Belgium qualify to the next round. But perhaps it’s Paul Pogba’s hair that contains the most secrets. For the first France game, he sported the outline of a cockerel bleached into his head. It speaks volumes about the hosting team’s confidence. It crows, in fact. Just saying.