Why we love Gareth Southgate
Samantha Brick has had her eyes fixed firmly on the Euro 2020 games – for one very special man. It’s seems he’s the ultimate middle-age crush…
Every woman I know has been glued to the telly watching our nation sail into the finals of the Euro 2020 games. But our man of the match has never been one of the two Harrys. Neither was it the likes of syrupy Gary Lineker, paid a fortune to state the blinking obvious on the BBC.
The only chap we wanted to see and hear more from was the one with the reassuringly calm presence on the side of the pitch. In his trademark unflashy navy suit, crisp pocket handkerchief and with an endearingly huge honker, heartthrob Gareth Southgate has become my middle-aged crush.
Hollywood writers (usually male) typically have the fairer sex falling for dimbo men with a six-pack or a chiselled face. They are, in a word, clueless about what turns us women on.
Gareth is no shouty thrusty alpha male manager – and thank goodness for that. Instead, here is a man who – when tensions are running high – gives his players a reassuring hug, calmly delivering wise words of wisdom.
This is a man who avoided the glitz and the glamour of
the Jamie Redknapp and fellow Liverpool players’ Spice Boys era of the late Nineties. Neither did he bother succumbing to the Beckhamstyle tat and teeth makeover. The closest our Gareth gets to unleashing his fashion mojo is when he puts on his Paddington Bear waistcoat.
Granted, Gareth would never make the Love Island line-up like most of his fellow, former players would. But when you’re an older, wiser woman – as I, at 50, now class myself – you know that the definition of a heartthrob isn’t Magic Mike.
It’s a man who knows just how we like our morning cuppa. He’ll automatically run us a bath if we’ve had one of those days. He’ll never leave the toilet seat up or the loo roll empty either. When we’re having a PMT strop, hubbies like Gareth never retaliate. Instead they sit us down in front of Netflix with our favourite glass of wine.
What would we do without the likes of Gareths in our lives? They never argue about putting the bins out. Nor do they mind doing the late-night dog walk. Quite simply our hearts beat that little bit faster when it comes to thoughtful Mr Nice Guys.
Just before the quarter-finals EnglandUkraine game a tweet from Madeleine Brettingham (@littlemaddles) went viral and launched one extremely funny thread about our Gareth. It read, ‘Gareth Southgate is the ultimate middle-aged crush. I just want him to drive me to a colonoscopy appointment then sit outside eating a scotch egg in dignified silence.’
The Saturday afternoon tweet (normally tumbleweed time on Twitter) gained over 20,000 likes and nearly 2,000 retweets. But, best of all, other women chimed in on their fantasy home life with Gareth.
One nailed our dreams, tweeting, ‘He would methodically sort out the condiments shelf in the fridge because it was getting a bit out of hand. All the out-of-date ones would be emptied and popped in the recycling bin.’
Another fan followed up by saying, ‘And he would rinse them out first.’
The thread ended up taking
‘I bet he doesn’t snore – or he’d go to the spare room’
Gareth-imaginings into the bedroom. Where it’s less Fifty Shades of Grey and more fifty ways of how to get some sleep: ‘I bet he doesn’t snore either and if he uncharacteristically did because he was poorly, he would move to the spare room so you could sleep well.’ Thoughts of Gareth went beyond the bedroom and into an area where us girls know he would excel – housework. ‘He’d hang the washing properly making sure not to stretch the shoulders of your cardigan, and use the curtain tie-backs even though he thinks they’re a bit fussy.’ Even in the kitchen – and my personal favourite – our Gareth could do no wrong. ‘I bet he gets the toast done just how you like it, and makes sure that the butter goes all the way to the edges.’ When Gareth lost that penalty shoot-out in 1996, frankly he wasn’t on my or my girlfriends’ radars either. I felt sorry for him. Pity, as us women know, does not trigger our bedroom desires. The type of blokes we fancy in our 20s are danger men, around for a good – but rarely a long – time. Gareth is the type of beta male most of us ignored at school or in the office. But he has matured into a man who puts family first and has taken these caring values into his working world. It’s only when you get older you appreciate the keepers in life are the good guys.
Gareth doesn’t shout, he soothes. He anticipates the needs of those around him. He probably even folds up his clothes before getting into bed. I can’t imagine he’d ever leave his boxer shorts on the floor for the undie fairy to pick up. Chaps – these are the heartthrob qualities us women love. Alison Southgate is one very lucky woman.
Before Euro 2020, doubtless I wouldn’t have noticed Gareth walking down the street and that’s just the way he likes it. Not any more, though.
There is every chance football is coming home and if it does, it will be thanks to our perfect pin-up.
The men of England might have had their eyes on the ball, but mine and many women like me have had theirs trained on the real hero and hunk of Euro 2020 – our Gareth.