SOS! Does anyone else remember swivel boots?
They were the object of a stomach-churning greed so powerful it led to waking dreams and sleepless nights. A pair of football boots so futuristic, so desirable, they just had to be possessed. And yet, right from the very start, they had a taunting, almost illusory quality – so that after all these years of keeping the faith, the question has to be asked whether that single, cherished ad will ever resurface, never mind an actual pair of boots.
It must have been 1971 when the advert appeared in a football magazine – Shoot! or Scorcher, surely; although it could have been Goal or Striker, maybe even a multi-sport or shoot-'em-up comic like Tiger or Valiant. The earth-shattering announcement took the form of a small-ad. The boots were white with black stripes; but it was the inset diagram of the moulded sole that caught the eye, offering hastily sketched evidence of the manufacturer's claims.
Here was a boot that would enable any boy to swivel quite literally on a sixpence, twisting to bang in perhaps millions of goals past unbelieving keepers just like the one in the ad – and all thanks to the specially patented front four studs under the ball of the lucky wearer's foot, which were inset on a revolutionary rotating plastic turntable.
Casually mentioning the boots at school, it turned out that no-one else had seen the advert, and while no-one actually came out and said they never existed, there was always a distinct atmosphere of doubt. No-one ever got a pair. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, the considered tactics of praying, crying, cursing and hoping against hope failed to bear fruit either in the swivel boot, Action Man minesweeper or Sarah Medhurst departments.
The comic with the swivel boot ad sank away to the bottom of the pile, at first ignored out of pain, then pride, and then lost forever.