According to Wikipedia, a Snood is a type of headgear worn mainly by European women to cover their hair. According to Shearer, Lawrenson, et al, it is a scarf-like garment worn by metrosexual footballers to the detriment of their ability to do their job. Aside from debates over classification, the ‘snood’ has become a divisive issue in the English game.
On one side stand the ‘old guard’. This largeish contingent is made up variously of managers and pundits and consists largely of ex-players. Apart from its outspoken media representation, the anti-snood agenda has also been given voice by Roy Keane, Alex McLeish and Ian Holloway this week, their views ranging from grudging tolerance to something close to rage.
On the other side stand the snood set of players, most notably Carlos Tevez, Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh. This weekend Tevez and Nasri managed, in spite of their self-imposed neck manacles, to score some pretty good and important goals.
Nasri’s performance in particular gave lie to the ‘how can you play football in that?!’ argument. He was absolutely brilliant. But the way that he was brilliant is indicative of why some in the game find the snood so hard to stomach.
Nasri’s goals against Fulham were dainty and balletic. He skipped through on his tip-toes and literally pirouetted his second goal into the net.
And he did it all in a snood. On the one hand, this shows that the whole debate is nonsense. On the other, it shows why it’s such a big deal in the first place.
There was something innately foreign in the delicacy of Nasri’s movements on Saturday, something suggestive of effeminacy. This combination goes to the heart of English football’s prejudices. Of course, ‘the game has come a long way from the dark days of the 70s and 80s’. Nonetheless, there remains an ingrained mistrust of Jonny Foreigner. Exemplified by the ex-pros on the game’s sofas and benches, this mistrust is characterized by a vague mingling of xeno and homophobia.
In football, as in society, these prejudices have receded into repression. In this era of political correctness negative commentary on an individual’s nationality or sexuality is, happily, unacceptable. Their distaste for the cold and consequent fashion decisions, however, are fair game. Through the snood, these prejudices have snuck back onto the table. Here’s the Daily Mail’s weekend ‘stats’:
This isn’t a massive problem, and it’s not new. Diving and feigning injury were treated the same way. But in the backlash against the World Cup Draw, and the perceived responsibility of the BBC and Sunday Times for England’s failure, there is a risk of English football regressing back into its old isolationism. This would be a bad thing.
Maybe what we need, while there is no chance of a gay footballer coming out and forcing those within the game to examine their prejudices, is a typically English player, a Kevin Davies or a Jamie Carragher to don a snood.