Smallman Sydrome - 205

Published: 14 November, 2011 - Featured in Skin Deep 205, November, 2011

Hello everybody, hope you’re all well. Over the past couple of months I’ve started doing a little bit of TV work for a station called Sports Tonight. This is exciting for two reasons: firstly, that my snaggle-toothed little face somehow makes it onto the small screen; and secondly, that I get to talk about one of my other passions away from getting tattoos… football.

My Dad is constantly bemused by the fact that I haven’t ever had the badge of our beloved Leicester City inked onto myself at any point. My main reason for that is that our badge constantly seems to change every couple of years to a different variation on our fox theme, and I don’t want to be hideously out of date. The other reason is for me, I love my football team and we all know that if you ever get something you love dearly tattooed upon yourself then it will inevitably break your heart and leave you a weeping mess.

Probably the most famous football-related tattoo disaster concerned the Newcastle United fan who had his hero Andy Cole tattooed onto his thigh, only for the striker to leave for Manchester United the following day. He made it into the national press and I think that might have been the first point in my life where I realised that people may actually regret the occasional tattoo…

Football does odd things to people. I can’t think of another sport that causes people to have tattoos so often. There’s a guy who sits near me at Leicester’s stadium who has the current city badge taking up his entire back (we all know this as he never wears a shirt, no matter what the weather), and I’m forever having people show me their football themed tattoos. But does anyone bother with rugby teams? Cricket? Tiddlywinks?

On one of our shows we asked for viewers to send in pictures of their football based ink, and the ones that made me smile the most weren’t necessarily the boldest or brightest, they were normally those dedicated to smaller teams. Millions of people support Manchester United, but if you have an Aldershot tattoo on your arm you have my maximum respect.

This did make me think – amongst our Skin Deep readers, do you think we could build up a collection of ink from every professional football club in the league? If you think you can help then send pictures through to my address listed below. If we can get all 92, I’ll put pictures up on my website and we’ll publish some of the best in this very column in a couple of months time. I’m sure we can do it. After all, there are enough guys and girls in the world who love their football teams far too much, even if they break your heart with a 3-0 defeat at home to Millwall (yes, I’m still bitter).

Before I go, just a quick plug: I recorded my first ever DVD back in September, so if you fancy watching an hour and a half of me being silly and talking about kestrels, goths and of course tattoos, then visit my website and grab yourself a copy. It makes an ideal Christmas present – or coaster.


Text: Jim Smallman