BROWNE ON THE BALL: Let the man wear pink if he wants to

Ashley Timms.
Ashley Timms.

I’m a huge admirer of Palermo. Not because the Sicilian city is the birthplace of Cosa Nostra. Not because of its beautiful Mediterranean architecture. Not even because of its picturesque lemon groves.

I love the city’s football team.

In a sport like football – where acting anything other than macho is seen as a weakness – watching a team run out in a pink strip is as eyecatching as it is refreshing.

Of course, they’re not the only club to have ever dared sport the colour.

Juventus originally wore a pink kit in the early 1900s. But because the colour faded so quickly when washed, the shirts never lasted a season.

One one such occasion, Notts County leant them a black and white striped kit... and the rest is history.

From Everton to Harrogate Town, other clubs have used the colour in their away strips. But Palermo in football, like Stade Francais in rugby (check out their kits, flipping superb), have made the colour their own.

A few years back, the idea of a pink away strip was mooted at Boston United, but sadly chairman David Newton was having none of it.

That was until this season when new keeper Ashley Timms decided he wanted to sport the colour throughout the campaign – to raise awareness and cash for a well-known cancer charity.

The old cliche states that you have to be a bit mad to be a stopper. Ashley Timms may well be – like the rest of the goalkeepers’ union – two thumbs short of a pair of gloves, but his gesture is a tremendous one.

Sadly, you have to be living on Mars not to have a loved one who has been affected by this disgusting disease. It kills, it debilitates, it strips away dignity. Quite frankly, it can sod off.

Any penny that could help the boffins move a step closer to finding a cure is a penny well spent.

But when United ran out to face Worcester City in their last home match, away keeper Jose Veiga was the one in pink and Timms had a silver strip on.

The reason for this was that the Football Conference bigwigs intervened.

League rule 7.1 states that clubs must register all home and away colours with the Conference prior to the season.

And as Boston did this before Timms’ decision, they have been told they must stick to their original plan.

This means the keeper can wear pink at away matches this season, but not at York Street.

I know rules are rules, and without them we’d have 22 men running around with shotguns while chasing a ball on a Saturday afternoons.

But surely some dialogue and common sense could be used here?

Is Timms’ fundraising not for the greater good? Or are the Conference afraid that a change in the rules could lead to future abuse?

Maybe they’re worried the Leamington stopper wants to wear a Batman onesie? Perhaps Gainsborough would dress their keeper as a brick wall?

Sadly, it appears the league won’t back down from their stance. I suppose it’s their playground and their rules.

But I’ve come up with a cunning plan. Conference rule 7.3 states that ‘the goalkeeper may wear tracksuit trousers’.

So, Ashley, on Saturday morning head off down to Sports Direct and pick yourself up a pair of bright pink jogging bottoms.

You may be dressed a bit like a six-feet-four Vicky Pollard... but you’d be having the last laugh.