Leicester City's Premier League title-winning star player Danny Simpson has revealed his superstitious pre-match routine that kept anxiety at bay before games this season. On a new episode of the Makers Channel online series #STYLE - which follows Daniel Johnson, hairdresser to the sporting elite, as he grooms and grills some of the nation’s most admired football stars ahead of their big matches - Simpson shyly admits the quirky things he has to do so he doesn’t “panic”:
“I put everything on the left foot first - everything. Left leg of my shorts, sock, boot. Left arm through my shirt. I wear tape on my wrists too, don’t ask me why. I did it once because I saw Ashley Cole do it when I was young, then I did it and had a good game. So in my head I have to, or I panic.”
One of Simpson’s surprising rituals is a fresh trim: “I like to get my hair cut before a game, it’s a bit of a superstition. I don’t know why, it’s weird, it makes me feel better - I can’t explain it! Everyone has their own little ways, it just makes me relax before a game - we talk, we chat, Daniel cuts my hair and puts the music on. He’s good, I don't even need to check it!”
As well as grooming the rest of the team, including Vardy, Morgan and Drinkwater, and most of the league, Johnson is allowed free reign on Balotelli and according to Rooney, is the only stylist he’ll let style his hair. Nicknamed James Bond among the players because he’s always on a mission, Johnson travels far and wide on trains, planes and automobiles to ensure his talented clientele are trimmed and styled to perfection before every match, without fail.
Simpson recalls a ‘close shave’: “I remember one time kick-off was at 3 o’clock, and he couldn’t make it Friday night so he ended up cutting my hair literally hours before kick-off. As soon as he finished I had to go, I had to get on the coach.”
According to Johnson, this ritual is widespread throughout football: “I cut nearly all the Premier League players hair before a match, they want to look good for their team, for their fans and for their country. And when they look good, they feel good and that can boost their game. I would say that the more high profile a player is, the more superstitious they are about their hair which makes sense as the pressure is really on and millions of eyes are watching.”
#STYLE demonstrates how Johnson perfects the intricate looks set to inspire millions of haircuts across the world, whilst he interviews his famous clientele as they relax and open up about football and beyond.
A new episode of #STYLE launches every Thursday on MakersChannel.com - the home of the best in online content, featuring series handpicked from across the internet plus new original productions starring well-known influencers.