Return of the mullet: The hairdo heroes who’ll benefit from Waddle’s dream ​

Is the mighty mullet set for an explosive return? Well... probably not. But we can dream anyway.


In a recent interview, former Newcastle United, Spurs, Sheffield Wednesday and Marseille star Chris Waddle explained that he thought it would give everyone lift in 2021, if the classic 80’s hairstyle the mullet was to make a return.

Of course, there are parts of the world where this hairdo is still “on trend” with some of South America’s best players still strutting their stuff whilst looking like an extra out of Miami Vice.

If Waddle’s prediction does come true however, it could be good news for him and these former gods of the demi-wave.


It’s really hard to imagine that by 1987, Tyneside’s most famous sausage packer had become a football poster boy alongside Spurs club-mate Glenn Hoddle following the duo’s hit single “Diamond Lights.” Within a couple of years of this however, Waddle’s hairstyle had started to give cause for concern and by the time England jetted out to Italy for the 1990 World Cup, his barnet resembled something straight out of the Beverly Hillbillies.

Many put England’s poor start to the competition down to the fact that Waddle’s head had been turned by all the piss-taking going on around the tournament with only Colombian legend Carlos Valderrama able to take the heat off with the infestation on his head. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, the Three Lions’ and Waddle had an upturn in form and before you could say Luciano Pavarotti, they found themselves in the semi-finals facing the old enemy West Germany.

As the lads lined up in the tunnel at the Stadio Delle Alpi however, it suddenly became apparent that Waddle had rid himself of his flowing locks, replacing them with a new short crop which took about twenty years off him. Unfortunately for Chris, that’s about the same amount of time it took the citizens of Turin to find the ball he ballooned over the bar in the penalty shoot-out.


We stay in the North-East for our next fashion icon and the man who put the “M” in mullet. During an illustrious career with the likes of Sunderland, Newcastle United and Liverpool, defender Barry Venison’s hairdo became such a work of art that many experts considered it worthy of a place in the Tate Modern.

Baz’s bonnet became so ridiculous at its late 80’s peak, that rumours started to circulate that he had to get up three hours before the alarm every morning to ensure there wasn’t a hair out of place by the time he arrived at training. Along with picking up championship winning medals at Anfield, Barry also turned his hand to TV punditry where his dress sense was even more alarming than his haircut.

Unlike Waddle, Venison stuck with his mullet well into the 1990’s and it wasn’t until his brief flirtation with a career in Turkey at Galatasaray came to an abrupt end after half a dozen or so games, because the hardcore ultras were convinced their club had signed a women, that Bazza returned to blighty and got his locks chopped off.


In 1983, Arsenal went north of the border to sign Scottish goal machine Charlie Nicholas from Celtic. At the time, many questioned the sanity of Gunners chiefs bringing a young lad who was renowned for liking a night out, to the big smoke.

Sure enough, within weeks of getting his feet under the table at Highbury it was the fact that he was regularly finding the rest of his body under the table at Stringfellows that earned him the nickname “Champagne Charlie.” During a five-year stint in the capital, Charlie’s hair continued to resemble his mate Peter Stringfellow as another 80’s mullet (occasionally) terrorised opposition defences.

There’s a great story that’s gone down in folklore by Arsenal fans of a certain vintage that once upon a time, when Arsenal hosted Liverpool in a league game at Highbury, both Nicholas and Venison went up for a header and somehow managed to get their hair entangled. The game was reportedly halted for ten minutes whilst St John Ambulance workers tried to separate the two men and when they did; they discovered a family of blue tits nesting in the Arsenal striker’s hair.


So you thought this phenomenon only affected footballers in the 1980’s right? Wrong, because around seven years before his arrival at Arsenal, German international Mesut Ozil sported a hairstyle which made him look like his country’s Eurovision Song Contest entry for 2006.

Now, we all know that the German’s have a particularly odd taste in fashion, but when one of your country’s most famous ever players, striker Rudi Voller, is still sporting his hair atrocity well into the 90’s, it’s not difficult to see why it took a while for them to catch up with the more fashionable places in western Europe.

Why in the mid-noughties Ozil decided on a hairstyle that was 20 years out of date remains a mystery, but by the time he touched down in England in 2013, three years in Spain with Real Madrid had sorted out the problem. Mind you, the current predicament Ozil finds himself in at The Emirates, the only way he’ll get noticed could be to return to those heady days of bad haircuts in Gelsenkirchen.


What is it about Arsenal players and mullets? A decade before Ozil hit town and 15 after “Champagne Charlie” had abdicated his throne, a relatively unknown youngster was causing a stir in North London. Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas burst onto the scene and looked as though he had burst out of some dodgy barbers on the Holloway Road at the same time, as Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger attempted to rebuild a side to match the glory days of the late 1990’s.

The Frenchman failed to keep his side of the bargain, but Cesc did go on to become one of the best midfielders his country has ever produced picking up a World Cup and two European Championship winners medal in the process. Mercifully, nights out in one of the world’s most vibrant city’s convinced Fabregas to do what Nicholas had failed to do years earlier and dispense with a hairstyle that was quite frankly ridiculous. What has never been revealed however is why, in 2018, he appeared on BBC’s World Cup coverage from Russia dressed as a ship’s captain.


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