Johnny Pundit Mourns The Early Bath

Our man from the 1950s wonders where they've hidden the soap

Johnny Pundit: dropped the soap
Johnny Pundit: dropped the soap
Some soap, yesterday
Some soap, yesterday
'Hugger Mugger' Henderson: keen-eyed talent-spotter
'Hugger Mugger' Henderson: keen-eyed talent-spotter
Funny old thing, Football. For instance, 'the early bath'. Thing of the past now, isn't it? More like 'early shower'. Shame: a man can learn a lot about himself sunk into two foot of muddy water with ten other men, naked as the day they were born.
The days before male hygiene
I remember the halcyon days at Upton Park, long before male hygiene, when - having given the opposition a satisfyingly good seeing-to - me and the other chaps would plunge into the team bath, whooping like schoolgirls (I wouldn't have minded a few schoolgirls in with us at the same time — but that's another story! Eh, readers?).
A man's man
One of the trainers at West Ham at that time - name of 'Hugger Mugger' Henderson - always used to come into the changing rooms and keep us company. Nice touch, I always thought. A man's man, he was. Always kept a close eye on how your body was developing. Now I look back, in those days before every club had a doctor, a psychologist, an osteopath and I don't know what else - a philatelist and a sociopath, probably! - I guess it made sense to have someone checking out the players, naked, every week. I can't pretend I didn't get something out of it at the time. Certainly, I learnt to run a lot faster because ol' Hugger Mugger' was around.
The end of an era - again
So it's a shame that the early bath got, well, the early bath. Now I think about it, I must have spent some of the happiest hours of my career in a lukewarm bath with ten naked men. Of course, they wouldn't allow it nowadays — they'd either ban it or give you an Arts Council grant, one or the other. 'Where's the soap?' — 'Doesn't it?' Classic stuff.

Till next time,

Not forgetting behind the ears,

Johnny Pundit

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