The physical transformation of the modern footballer in line with the game’s increasingly uncompromising attitude to health and fitness and a growing tendency for high profile players to market their physical charms as though they were boyband pin-ups or Attitude Magazine cover stars cannot be underestimated.  If you aren’t convinced just conjure up a mental image of a burly, ale and Bovril fuelled footballer from the days of Nat Lofthouse and contrast it with the lithe metrosexual figure of Cristiano Ronaldo advertising some fragrance or other in his pants. Make no mistake – times have changed.

Which makes it all the more surprising when players with less youthful and visually appealing physical characteristics somehow find themselves on the pitch alongside the toned and moisturised pretty boys more typical of today’s rather too beautiful game.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher

In many respects Gary Taylor-Fletcher is a truly heroic figure. Having pursued a successful career in roofing he was spotted by Northwich Victoria and has since completed an almost unprecedented ascent to the top of English football via stints in every division. The 22 appearances Taylor-Fletcher made for Blackpool in the Premier League a few seasons ago should rightly be cheered as a rare against-the-odds triumph of an ordinary bloke. The thing is he really looks like an ordinary bloke, right down to his portly physique and a receding hairline of a distinctly silvery hue.

Andy Reid

Talking of portly, Irish midfield schemer Andy Reid has long been accused of modelling a less that streamlined physique. As you can imagine fans aren’t shy when it comes to highlighting this observation via the medium of song – “Andy Reid, Andy Reid running down the wing. Andy Reid, Andy Reid been to Burger King” is a particular favourite.

Jeremy Toulalan

OK cultured Monaco playmaker looks more like he belongs in a martini bar on the Riviera than a pub but he is most certainly out of place on a football pitch. Still only 31, somehow Toulalan has resembled a latter-day George Clooney since his mid 20s.

Steve McNulty

Few players are currently subverting society’s expectations of what a professional footballer should look like quite as impressively as Luton’s Steve McNulty. Somehow McNulty, nicknamed Sumo, put in a Player of the Season performance and played a vital role as Luton won promotion back to the Football League last season. He did this while inhabiting the body of a man who surely has eaten all the pies.

Alan Cork

A bit of a throwback this one but Alan Cork’s 1993 look –complete with the ruddy complexion of a weather-beaten fisherman, receding hairline and your dad’s beard remains a truly shocking anomaly in the history of professional football. The fact that he was still in his early 30s is impossible to fully accept.

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