THEY WERE pink, green, and orange – and there was the occasional flash of yellow.
Not any shade of those colours, either, but the bright, fluorescent and loud variety.
Yes, the days of the understated football boot are a thing of the past.
And never was that more evident than at the University of Portsmouth’s Langstone Campus, as Pompey returned for pre-season training yesterday.
The likes of Patrick Agyemang, Nigel Atangana, Danny East, Craig Westcarr and David Connolly were loud and proud in their choice of footwear.
Pompey boss Andy Awford, being one of the footballing old school, admitted he couldn’t quite fathom the fascination with boots of the more vibrant description.
But, if the World Cup in Brazil is anything to go by, they are here to stay.
Awford said: ‘In our day it was black boots and when me and Paul (Hardyman) took over the Academy we said it was black boots only.
‘We have this perception that you have to be someone if you wear coloured boots. That’s because we are that era.
‘In our era, if someone turned up in coloured boots, all we wanted to do was put them in the stand!
‘This era, it doesn’t matter because they all wear them.
‘They probably want to put you in the stand if you wear black boots these days!
‘The psyche is totally different. It’s natural and normal to wear them.
‘I remember holding an Academy meeting in my second season with all the kids from under-sevens through to 16s.
‘I announced they can wear any colour boots – and there was a roar! It’s quite funny.
‘They see all the senior pros wearing them and they want to do the same.’
Despite the modern footballer’s choice to go with a louder colour of boot, there were still players holding it down for traditionalists as Pompey returned.
Nicky Shorey, Ben Chorley and Johnny Ertl all opted for understated options.
Awford said: ‘There’s a couple of old school ones.
Nicky Shorey wears black, Ben Chorley does and Johnny Ertl’s are normally like that. You can tell the types.’