Trainer Wars: Round One

An old schoolmate has just told me that Mr. O’Riordan, the former Headteacher of St. Wilfrid’s the Middle School we both attended in Rochdale died at the weekend. He’d been suffering from Altzheimer’s for some time.

I must say, I wasn’t over-keen on him, especially since the day in 1972 he ‘slippered’ me with a size 9 Dunlop Green Flash tennis shoe. For once, I was innocent of all charges (That we’d shouted obscenities at the pitch on which a match was being played as we passed one lunchtime) I hadn’t done it. I was out of the sightline of the arresting officer/teacher anyway. I was guilty by association. My only crime was to think it was cool to hang around with a bunch of ne’rdo – wells and villains.

I didn’t realise I was being beaten with a ’70s ‘Design Classic’ at the time. I suppose that in itself was reason enough for a good battering. Come to think of it, this was probably the first ‘muscle-flexing’ of those companies whose battles for superiority in the ‘Great Trainer Wars’ of the 80’s and 90’s took place in every school playground in the country. My guess is that the late John O’Riordan was being paid a tidy sum by Puma to always make sure he ‘leathered’ pupils with a Dunlop Green Flash. The spectacle was organised so that the quaking miscreants were given plenty of opportunity to view their particular instrument of torture (and its distinctive logo) before the prolonged attack. Product-placement in reverse, I suppose. Accordingly the Head at the next school down the road was being paid by Dunlop to always make sure he ‘tanned their little backsides’ with Mitre boots and shoes and so on ….

There’s a lot more to marketing than meets the eye, you know.

© Andy Daly  2010

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