The Making of Günter Netzer’s Hair
There are many legendary football players. There are many legendary hair styles. But only a select few managed to combine the two. Germany and Borussia Mönchengladbach playmaker Günter Netzer is one who had the hair of legends.
This post sets out to tell its’ story.
Season 1965/1966 to 1966/1967
Here’s the template from which to start. Notice the single curl over his right eye. Great things will eventually grow from it.
For the time being though, Netzer focused on perfecting his football skills. His Borussia Mönchengladbach side had just won promotion to the Bundesliga and would soon be synonymous with great attacking football. The team finished its’ first two Bundesliga seasons 13th and 8th respectively. Netzer also made his first steps in the German national team debuting in October 1965 in a friendly against Austria.
Season 1967/1968 to 1968/1969
Netzer started to add some depth and integrate the single rebelish curl into the system. At this point he can pass as the perfect son-in-law.
Netzer was in the process of testing the potential for commercial exploitation of his profession. Back in 1965 he had already started the publication of a stadium newspaper called “Fohlenecho” (still published today). His conservative hair style clearly indicates that he was overall still tapping in the dark though. His rise to prominence and the performances of his team would soon make him see the light. After finishing 3rd in 1968 and 1969, Borussia Mönchengladbach were ready to shape the Seventies and Netzer was ready for stardom.
Season 1969/1970 to 1970/1971
His trademark special side parting is starting to shine through, as does his marketing prowess. By 1970/1971 it’s becoming clear that he has intentions to go for length.
On the pitch things couldn’t go much better. Mönchengladbach won back to back Bundesliga titles – a first in the young league’s history and Netzer was starting to get more game time in the national team. A business plan also started to come together, which included complementing his work-in-progress hair with a ready-to-go Porsche and a night club called “Lovers Lane”. The Porsche ended up being an invaluable indicator for groupies hoping to catch a glimpse of Netzer at his night club.
Season 1971/1972 to 1972/1973
By 1971 every single hair had fallen into place, so all that was left to do was adding just that little bit of extra length to perfect his signature look. A task completed in time for the 1972/1973 season.
Netzer eventually connected all the remaining dots. Off the pitch he was dating a supermodel/abstract artist and did just about little enough to deny rumors of an affair with an actress to stay relevant in the boulevard. On the pitch his Borussia Mönchengladbach side had to temporarily make way for a certain Bayern Munich. But the two teams combined would end up strolling to Germany’s first European Championship title in 1972 – and beating England for the first time at Wembley along the way. Netzer would finish third in that year’s Ballon D’Or awards – behind Gerd Müller and Franz Beckenbauer. By the end of the 1972/1973 season, Netzer felt he had done and seen it all in Germany and decided to move on to Real Madrid. Borussia Mönchengladbach had reached the DFB-Pokal final against Cologne, which ought to be Netzer’s last game for his club. Just that the team’s coach Hennes Weisweiler wasn’t too enthused about his player’s latest career decision and benched him. The final turned out to be end-to-end stuff and one of the best in the competitions history, yet neither side could score the winner. The game, tied at 1-1, went into extra time. Then Netzer decided he had enough of it, substituted himself and scored the winning goal three minutes later. The legend was complete.
A happy 65th birthday Günter Netzer!
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