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Playing the fashion game

Alex Kirkley talks fashion and footie with Gary McAllister

Published on August 28th 2007.

Playing the fashion game

As a former top footballer with both Leeds and Liverpool, people might think you haven’t half got some balls setting up your own clothing shop in city centre Manchester.

Remarkably, Gary McAllister has pulled it off. His G-Star store, which features raw denim and urban street wear is the biggest in Europe and can be located on level one of the new extension of the Arndale Centre.

It took me a while to find Gary, despite him being stood literally five yards behind me manning one of the tills. Such is his unassuming manner that I never would have recognised the league, FA Cup and UEFA Cup winner if it hadn’t have been for the gormless look on the lad’s face he was serving (obviously paralysed by greatness).

So how did G-Star Raw and Gary McAllister (hardly the first name to spring to mind in the fashionable footballer stakes) come to be in unison?
Me and my mate, Martin (Schneider) always talked about putting something together and he said this brand having its own store in Manchester would work.

But you played for Leeds and Liverpool, regarded in these parts as the arch-enemy…
I was at Manchester United as a schoolboy, but the Scottish FA wanted to keep their schoolboys for themselves, so we weren’t allowed to sign for English teams. I was down here every holiday and have always had a good relationship with the people of Manchester.

Alright, we’ll let you in. How would you describe your own fashion style?
My own style would be low risk and classic. Over the years I’ve bought classics that have stood the test of time. Way back , the first sort of fashion things that I liked would have been influenced by my dad. He was a big Sinatra and Dean Martin fan, big brat pack fan, so very sharp forties style suits.

So how do you fare to other football players in the fashion stakes?
Becks definitely has his own style. There are quite a few stylish boys at Liverpool like Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen. Jamie Carragher is a very smart guy and Jamie Redknapp’s a very sharp dresser. They’re all making a few quid though so they can afford to be.

David Beckham – fashion guru or victim?
Certainly on occasions David is a fashion ‘guru’ but I think he would be the first to admit that he has been a fashion victim on more than one occasion.

So what’s been your fashion victim moment?
I bought a really bad taste, massive Katharine Hamnett silk shirt. Really bad. It was a lot of money at the time – early eighties. Katharine Hamnett had a big range of save the world t-shirts back then. V cutting edge. Looking back the shirt was a bad buy.

Right. Moving on to a subject we’re both more comfortably with… Did you get any stick from your English team mates for missing that penalty at Wembley during Euro 96?
“The ball rolled. You watch it again!”

Ex-Liverpool boss, Gerard Houllier once called you his most inspirational signing. Who would yours be in today’s game?
“Steven Gerrard, by some distance.”

In a survey of Liverpool fans last year, you were voted No. 32 in the list of players ‘Who Shook The Kop’ (ahead of John Toshack – 34, Mark Lawrenson – 35 and Sammy Lee – 47). Who is your favourite player of all time?
“Glenn Hoddle was the sort of guy I tried to emulate. His range of passing was phenomenal”

Who’s been the best player you’ve ever played against?
Zidane. The guy is a giant. People don’t realise how big he is. Also, Gheorghe Hagi. I couldn’t get near him.

Pele or Maradona?
Pele was a sensational player, but for me it’s Maradona.

Goal line technology, for or against?
Definitely for it. It makes perfect sense. Goal line technology only though. Don’t start messing around with penalties or infringements in the box. There’s no need for that.

G-Star Raw is open now and sells a range of urban fashion and denim for men and women.

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