by Dan Mobbs
Carlos Valderrama had the hair. Jimmy Hill had the chin. Diego Maradona had the cocaine. And Abe Van Den had the moustache.
Lent against a garage door outside his mum’s house, wearing a roll neck 70s tracky top and the latest gold designer bracelet, Abe’s tache is able to steal the show from the hipster fashion and the ahead-of-his-time, Oasis-influenced, Burton’s-new-menswear-collection haircut.
The man had from in this area though, as not only was he a successful player in the top two tiers in Netherlands for a decade, but he was also said to be a hairdresser for a period.
Van Den Ban’s steady career reached a peak and a simultaneous trough when his FC Amsterdam side played Koln in the quarter final of the 1974/75 UEFA Cup, but they were beaten 5-1 in the first leg and Van Den Ban was sent off for a second bookable offence. They would lose 8-3 on aggregate and the club disbanded eight years later following relegation to the second tier in 1978.
Not done there, he went on to play for HFC Haarlem from 1976 to 1981 alongside a youthful Ruud Gullit. His career isn’t the element of his appeal that drew me in though. Instead, the beguiling tache which remained with him throughout his career, has been a near daily source of wonderment.
The noble fact that he reportedly managed an asylum seekers centre for seven years after retirement doesn’t come close to the moustache’s grandeur.
And, even in moments of panic when he managed to lose the man he was supposed to be marking, former Dutch international midfielder, Dick Schoenaker (below), his moustache’s ability to remain the epitome of calm in a sweat-drenched, oh-shit surroundings of a defensive implosion show how otherworldly and gloriously out of time he was.~Image: Wikimedia Commons / Fotograaf is een onbekend~