The Christmas period saw the frozen northerner spend a couple of days in London, as usual when visiting the metropolis it took me on my customary pilgrimage to John Simons www.johnsimons.co.uk in Marylebone, as normal it was packed with the type of clothes and shoes I love to buy. Recently Mr Simons has produced his own brand loafers made in collaboration with the American shoemakers Rancourt and Co. these are beautiful shoes that have been meticulously made by a very good shoemaker, however they paled in comparison to the Rancourt wingtip brogues that he had on offer and which just had to be purchased despite being way over my budget. Now I know I am prone to exaggeration, but these Rancourt wingtips may just be the best shoes I have ever bought which is some statement given that English shoemakers pride themselves on making the best brogues in the world. Most blogs that I follow rarely talk about American made shoes, blogs such as The Shoe Snob, Permanent Style Parisian Gentleman etc tend to look down their nose at them which is shame. I however love them, as well as Rancourt other good makes include brands such as Allen Edmonds, Florsheim and possibly the best American shoe maker Alden. Rancourt like Alden are a family run company that have built their reputation on the quality of their product, Only a few shops in Britain stock any of these brands so major research is required if want purchase rare classics, fortunately, Alden can be found in the north-east at End Clothing www.endclothing.co.uk but only in limited stock but there no chance of finding Rancourt up here that is just not going to happen, the only place you are going to get these are online or possibly that the Simons shop. So if you are interested in buying a little piece of Americana then check out blogs such www.ivystyle.com or www.acontinuouslean.com which are dedicated to supporting original made in America brands. So during this winter period when you need a good pair of sturdy shoes think American and buy yourself a pair of shoes that will stand the test of time and will endure for many years to come.
No 6: Bobby Moore The Man in Full – by Matt Dickenson
The impression that stays with you throughout this book is that nobody really knew Bobby Moore, sure he had lots of friends from all walks of life, ordinary people and celebrities alike idolised him, but you are always left feeling that he was never that close to anybody. You could argue that Bobby Moore was and is England’s most famous ever player, which is some statement considering that he was not quick, was poor in the air and was not the greatest in the tackle. So what made him so great well, it was probably his superb football brain which, aligned to his brilliant positional sense allowed him to break up attack after attack on a regular basis at any level he played at. No modern day England international defender has ever come close to him in terms of football intelligence, watch any old video of Moore running the ball out of defence with his immaculate style and composure and it should give you an idea of just how great he really was. However, what makes Dickenson’s book so special is that it explores the man behind the myth and reveals a man who needed to be on the biggest stage at all times, West Ham may have preached the beautiful game but in essence they were a seriously underachieving team that often left Moore frustrated, knowing that he was trapped at club that could not match his ambition. Despite early domestic and European success at West Ham, Moore craved a move to Tottenham and those glory, glory days. However, once Moore had lifted the world cup there was no way West Ham were going to let him move on and it is tribute to Moore’s strength of character that he was able to maintain his high standards whilst clearly playing with players way below the benchmark he had set himself. Adored by the players he played with and the fans that watched him, it is somewhat fascinating to find out that away from the pitch that this seemingly flawless role model was a very different person. Outwardly it appeared that he had the prefect home life married to the beautiful Tina, two kids and a fabulous home in Chigwell. However all was not well in paradise, revealing a not so perfect home life, which was never full of the domestic bliss you thought it would be. Always described as a gentleman Moore had a prodigious appetite for alcohol, which at times threatened his career and his marriage and led to major bust ups with Tina and his two mentors Greenwood and Ramsey. He did not only play for England he could drink for England and narrowly avoided prosecution for drink driving on numerous occasions. After retiring his life should have been a bed of roses with people queuing up to employ him, no one came and after a series of bad business ventures, divorce, remarriage and then the dreadful knowledge he had bowel cancer, one is left with feeling that football deserted our greatest ever player probably when he needed it most. Matt Dickenson has put together an excellent book about a genuine legend who ended up a somewhat tragic figure, Moore never looked for sympathy he was not that type of man, but a player like him deserved a lot more respect from the FA and the football community than what he got.