December 9 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
The revolution is hair – and it’s hair to stay.
Beards are back, and Norwich City fans are in a lather at a trend that has seen the club kick off the season with a flock of hairy Canaries.
Despite the fetish for face-fuzz at Carrow Road, supporters have bristled at suggestions the club’s transfer policy now judges players less by their talent on the ball and more by the hairs on their chinny-chin-chin.
Among the hirsute highlights of the early season have been Johan Elmander’s fulsome Viking bush, Bradley Johnson’s hipster homage and Anthony Pilkington’s chinstrap – although Jacob Butterfield’s departure did raise eyebrows.
Even previously clean-cut record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel – aka the Wolfman – has sprouted whiskers since landing in Norwich.
Of course, beards are nothing new in the city, with former Norwich South MP Charles Clarke taking the prestigious Beard of the Year Crown, awarded by the Beard Liberation Front, in 2002.
And after a fall in popularity, it seems beards are growing on people again.
The recent resurgence hasn’t escaped the notice of Norwich City fans online, who have been pledging their commitment using the Twitter hashtag #NCFCBeardRevolution.
Mark Young, co-owner of Swagger and Jacks barber shop in Bridewell Alley with business partner Barry Carter, said the trend showed that Norwich City’s players had their fingers firmly on the fashion pulse.
“The beard is a fashion accessory that most men are aspiring to at the moment,” he said.
But growing a beard is more complicated than simply not shaving, said Mr Young – there are strict rules for cultivating the right kind of facial hair.
“They must be groomed beards, not the unkempt ‘wild man of Borneo’ look,” he said.
“There are three areas which must be right: the cheek line, the neck line and the lip line. If they are there, then it’s officially a fashionable beard.”
As a barber shop specialising in beard grooming, Swagger and Jacks has seen first-hand the growing popularity of beards in Norwich since it opened in April.
He added: “Footballers are very iconic in their appearance, and some of the people we look to in determining what is fashionable.”
And the team trend for beards may even help to strengthen the spirit in the squad.
“It’s a very strong sign of masculinity,” said Mr Young.
“In the same way that motorcyclists give each other a nod when they pass on the road, people with beards look out for each other too.”