Kitted out in a new strip

Imagine all your colleagues telling you your dress sense is the pits. That's what happened to one Suffolk footballer who decided to go in search of a new look. by fashion writer KATY EVANS

Imagine all your colleagues telling you your dress sense is the pits. That's what happened to one Suffolk footballer who decided to go in search of a new look. By Katy Evans

DAVID Beckham may be considered by some to be one of the best dressed footballers. But while he and many other professional footballers like to spend money on designer clothes so as to impress off the pitch as well as on, one young Suffolk footballer prefers to shop second hand and was recently voted the worst dressed player by all his team mates.

“I think it was a big stitch up personally - but it has worked,” chuckled Carl Murkin, a right wing mid-fielder from Bury Town.

His 'worst dresses' statue came about thanks to a new idea to put player profiles into the home game programmes. The questions included favourite TV show, favourite food, favourite holiday destination, and the best and worst dressed player in the team. Carl was voted worst dressed by all 17 other squad members, although “some of them voted me the worst AND best,” he adds proudly.

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Carl, originally from Mildenhall, started playing football at the age of 13 when he joined a local team. He was soon scouted by Ipswich Town where he stayed for five years. After being released by ITFC, Carl joined Tuddenham Rovers before moving to Bury Town at the beginning of last season.

The team has just finished in the respectable runner up spot of the region's Eastern Counties Premier Division and were also semi finalists of the FA Vase.

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So now Bury Town players look good on paper, the club thought they all ought to look good in the flesh.

Turning up at Trotter & Deane in Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, dressed in casual jeans and a checked shirt not too dissimilar from one a lumberjack would wear, 22-year-old Carl is keen to try out some new trends.

Just before Christmas, the store won the UK Independent Men's Retailer of the Year Award from fashion business magazine Drapers Record so he was in safe hands.

“I like this outfit,” says Carl of the beige linen suit he tries on, “but the first shirt was a bit dodgy!” referring to the multi-patterned Ralph Lauren shirt picked out for him by John Deane-Bowers, managing director of the store.

Carl then changes into a pink blazer outfit, followed by a snazzy black and white striped blazer with jeans, then a black and pink checked suit.

Carl is a natural in front of the camera laps up the attention received during the shoot, what with people staring in the street and poking their heads into the store at the sight of flashbulbs.

Even during the 'before' photos in the Abbey Gardens, just down the road from the shop, Carl had to change behind a bush and says he was heckled by a couple of elderly ladies. “I'm glad I pleased them,” he says with a cheeky smile.

So what was it that his team mates found so offensive in Carl's wardrobe?

“Well, I guess I wear quite loud colours sometimes. And I did wear a cowboy-type shirt one night and the lads gave me a lot of stick for that,” he laughs.

“I shop on ebay normally because it's cheaper. It's the best shop on the Internet in my opinion,” says Carl, who will also be taking a trip to Bluewater, the shppping Mecca in Kent, on his next day off.

Being a bit of a bargain-hunter, Carl says the smart clothing in Trotter & Deane is a bit out of his price range at this stage in his career but that if he had a budget closer to that of Mr Beckham's, he would definitely pay a visit. “I like this pink jacket (£255). If it was a tenner I'd be there! I could wear it for my end of season do at Newmarket races.”

I can see Carl is enjoying his new status as a model and so ask whether it might be a potential new career. “Come on Gucci and Prada, I'll take them on,” he jokes.

“I'm probably better at modelling than I am at football anyway,” he laughs, admiring his smart reflection in the huge floor to ceiling mirror.

So have Carl's team mates made him re-think his wardrobe and will he be changing his style?

“I might change my look now. Anything to avoid getting any more stick during training!”

Photographs: Phil Morley

Clothes: all from Trotter & Deane, Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, 01284 762333.

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