I have a theory that most men stop liking fashion at some juncture. Whether in our teens or 30s, we all have a point at which new clothes just start to look stupid and we refuse to change any more. So we get a look and we stick with it, pretty much until we’re dead. For Dwight this was clearly around 1999 when he was King of the World.
As such, he puts a warm glow in the heart of every expensive clothes shop as he walks in, because they know he’ll have the clothes which they’ve had on the rail at the back for years, that no-one would even buy in the sale.
There’s the oddly cut suit with strange lapels, the garishly-shaded check, the extravagantly collared vivid shirt, the epilepsy inducing patterned tie fastened in one of those big, loose knots. Yes, they’re all part of Dwight’s go-to dress-sense. Probably has an entire wardrobe of those coloured shirts with white collars, another for suits made out of shiny material and third dedicated entirely to gold cuff-links with inset diamonds. Probably has watches that cost as much as a house.
At one time he seemed to have taken Jim Carrey in The Mask as a style icon, but seems to have toned things down a little in a late attempt at middle-aged maturity, or possibly due to getting some wear out of his court suit. Even so, there’s still a strong element of cash-for-flash about his appearance and occasionally it appears as though something he’s wearing is genuinely radioactive.
Pleasing Tobago lilt, I always wish he’d combined it with a bit of a laconic black country accent whilst at Villa. Not exactly a poet with words. Defaults to the usual hoary classics about players who have ‘got that in his locker’, ‘at this level’, ‘knows the club inside and out, right down to the tea lady’ (why is it always a tea lady? Are there no men serving tea and if not, why not?) Likes players who ‘play with a smile on his face,’ ‘takes time to settle in’ and is very much against anything that is ‘not the Manchester United way.’ Repeat and fade.
Hits and misses
Dwight’s biggest hit is to get asked to be a pundit just to bring a ray of sunshine to proceedings and to allow the presenter and a fellow pundit to make a joke about his clothes. Very few are employed almost wholly for their suit and their smile. So fair play for that. There needs to be a lot more smiling in football. He certainly doesn’t really do analysis. Seems employed to invest proceedings with some good vibes and in that regard, is perhaps unique amongst the ex-player punditocracy.
However, it has to be said there is an air of palpable ‘already done his money in’ sadness in his eyes, at times. One of those ex-players who, on retiring, finds life just isn’t the same and that watching football is pale imitation of playing it.
When it comes to misses, the whole tabloid side of his life is somewhat dispiriting. While researching this, I was surprised to find so much still written about him in the heinous gossip sections. Very distasteful and possibly goes some way to explaining that lingering air of sadness.
Big club bias
Overwhelmingly in thrall to Manchester United. Still refers to them as ‘we’ or ‘us’. Absolutely to the manor born as a big player for a big club and has lost none of that element after retiring. One senses he wants nothing to do with the lesser fretted strings on football’s, or indeed, on life’s guitar. So full of BCB that he clearly feels being a Manchester United player qualifies you to do anything you want in life, hence pushing Ryan Giggs to be the next manager, or possible Teddy, Brucey or Sparky, Keano or Robbo or someone else with a ‘y’ or ‘o’ on their name. Of course.
Loved or loathed
Social media was quick to focus on his clothes. Indeed, that seems to be the first and only thing that comes to mind when you mention his name. A few were rude about his pundit abilities but most seem to accept that thinking he’s there to offer anything other than a smile and garish tie, is unrealistic.
A prevailing view seems to be that he’s stuck in the 90s. That his ideas, such as they are, are out-moded and that, in essence, he doesn’t really know about the modern game. The pushing of Giggs for the United job has lost him some points too, if only because it’s distasteful to see mates on the telly pushing each other for jobs.
All that being said, he’s largely well-liked and doesn’t frighten the horses. However, for such a flamboyant player, he’s brought none of that into punditry beyond his clothing, and that seems, to many, to be a shame.
Proper Football Man
Very much an associate member but without full membership privileges. Yorke is already a good nickname, though should be spelt Yorky, obviously. Middle name is Eversley which is hilarious and could provide micky-taking opportunities for literally years. Expensive clothes are also a source of great fun because it makes cutting the bum out of them even more eye-wateringly funny. The words “watch me suit, lads. Five grand! Five grand!” being uttered by a man who is being tied to the bumper of a car and pulled down the road, are what the PFM lifestyle is all about.
He’s quick to support all ex-team-mates and generally do his bit to pretend they’re all brilliant managers and aren’t getting a chance at the big clubs. So Dwight has got a lot going for him in the world of Proper Football Men as long he doesn’t mind an occasional Jim Davidson-inspired comments, no offence, it’s just a joke. You can’t say anything these days.
But the trouble is, although the PFM likes a playboy and hankers for a penthouse with glass tables, chrome furniture and black satin sheets, the PFM isn’t a sexual athlete and dislikes men who are, fearing that such types are making them look bad and suggests that their wives are only with them for their money. They’re also generally very suspicious of men who spend too much time with women, fearing that such a man might be gay, backs against the wall lads, no offence, like. We’re all men’s men. Are you wearing a bra, Chaz?
Any good PFM likes to dress as though he’s going to a wedding reception at local country house hotel, but the idea of making a show of yourself by wearing anything more outlandish than a pink polo shirt, is anathema to them and as unwelcome as a pish stain on your grey slacks. A man wearing the show-off shiny sort of clothes Dwight likes would, in the great PFM tradition, be the man who was picked on in a casino, followed outside and provoked into an unfair fight.
But then, even a usually flaccid PFM, occasionally needs to drain his build-up of bodily fluids and hanging around with Dwight may mean he gets a chance with Miss Goblin Meat Pudding Body of 1981, when she’s out with Yorky’s latest fling, Miss Industrial Iron Filings Upper Thighs of 1982, at Oswaldtwistle’s premier night spot, Shafted ‘n’ Shaven at 4.27am.
Sadly, doesn’t seem likely to be physically capable of absorbing a few nips of Reidy’s healthy pick-me-up of cochineal beetles, embalming fluid and hair pomade, fearing it may lead to permanent brewers droop. Yet seems likely to be up for dancing on cars, racing stolen bikes on a canal tow-path or tying an unconscious Deano to a horse and putting him in a tower block lift.
And then there’s his speeding offences and driving suspension to be taken into account. Good work. Even if doing 66 in a 40 area is still a bit slow, at least he was in a posh 60-grand car at the time and turned up for court wearing a ‘designer’ watch. Throw in a glamour model, a paternity dispute or two and he’s got every PFM absolutely purring and squeezing each others upper thighs, with that sort of form.
Membership application will be kept on hold, pending more lifestyle mentoring from Dion and having tolerance to intoxication built up by Reidy’s specialist training programme.
Beyond the lighted stage
Does his share of charity fundraising for the blind and visually impaired. Has a foundation for helping poor kids. Outside of that, if you want to know what Dwight is up to at any time and who he might be doing it with, just read one of the many mind-numbing newspaper websites.