1980’s English Football Fashion

Some arguments will never be settled … who invented ‘Scally/Perry’ dress sense? The Scals naturally claim it was they; the Mancs are equally vociferous it was they. Both agree on one thing, however – cockneys were years catching up. As a impartial observer who shops, drinks and watches footy in both cities, I’ll give you my memories of this period. It’s 1981 and the Scousers had started growing their fringes into wedges and wore baggy jumpers, faded Lois and Dunlop ‘Green Flash’ pumps. They danced to OMD … Human League … Kraftwerk … and Funky disco, such as Rick James and Tom Browne. At the match, the newly-named ‘Scallies’ developed this Northern style of dress to encompass pastel jumbo cords, Keo and Kicker boots and every Scal’s favourite garment … the sheepy. In the wink of an eye the Mancs adopted this style themselves and as the rivalry between the two tribes is so intense, they proudly claimed that they originated it. By 1982 the two were more or less mirror images of each other and the style spread throughout the smaller towns and cities of the Northwest. By now however the sporty foreign clobber craze had arrived from ‘darn sarf’ and Hurleys Golf Shop in Manchester became the mecca for the boys and girls who gladly forked out ridiculous prices for Head, Cerutti, Kappa, Fila, Lacoste and Ellesse. The Face told everyone that the type of people who wore these clothes were called ‘casuals’ and everyone up here laughed … As this style remained popular amongst the working class kids around England, Manchester suddenly went into a scruffy backlash in 84. Flared jeans and cords were everywhere. This meant you didn’t have to spunk £40 on a pair of trainers cos you couldn’t see the the fuckin’ things anyway. Beaten up cord suede shoes now became the big alternative to Adidas. 84 also saw the ‘Snorkel craze’; everyone went frantic digging out their old school parkas … worn loose with a polo shirt underneath and with 20″ flares below … Up until 86 you could easily tell who was and wasn’t a student, but in the next year loads of scals/Perries adopted a more studentish style. Fringes got slicked back, polo necks were worn with extra baggy kecks and brogues. The scruffy but stylish Manc style of dress hasn’t changed much over the years: the Happy Mondays are probably the best example of this mode … loose gear,  baggy kecks, Rizlas, beards, short hair, tide marks, spunk stains and don’t-give-a-fuck attitude!

Phil Thornton, Boy’s Own, 1991 from Football with Attitude by Steve Redhead, 1991.


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