by Dan Mobbs
Carlos Valderrama had the hair. Jimmy Hill had the chin. Diego Maradona had the cocaine. And Abe Van Den Ban 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 form 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.
On the pitch, 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, as 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. But, his steady club career isn’t the perfectly manicured feature that makes him stand so distinctively out from the crowd. Instead, the captivating tache which remained with him throughout his career has been a near daily source of wonderment.
And the honourable fact that he reportedly managed an asylum seekers centre for seven years after retirement doesn’t come close to the moustache’s grandeur.
Even in moments of panic, when former Dutch international midfielder, Dick Schoenaker (below), managed to evade his attention, it was his moustache’s ability to remain the epitome of calm in the sweat-drenched, oh-shit surroundings of a defensive implosion that shows how otherworldly and gloriously out of time he and that cracking tache was.