Football is a world of superstition: John Terry wore the same pair of shin pads for 10 seasons; Mesut Özil always puts his right boot on first. Gareth Southgate is no exception because throughout Euro 2020 the England manager has had a lucky tie.
Southgate has worn the same knitted polka dot tie at most matches since the middle of June. Notably, the only match he did not do so was England’s 0-0 draw against Scotland, the only time the team have failed to win in the tournament. Southgate wore the tie again for the semi-final against Denmark on Wednesday, and he was backed up by Ian Wright, the ITV pundit, who also wore a polka dot tie.
Southgate’s lucky tie is one by the British boutique label Percival, which also makes some of the manager’s suits. Even called Gareth Southgate’s Lucky Tie on the Percival website, it is now available for pre-order, always a sign of an item in demand. Priced at £49, it will ship to customers the week of 9 August. Those who cannot wait that long and perhaps are keen to wear a lucky tie when watching the final on Sunday have been sourcing similar ones elsewhere.
John Lewis says sales of its navy polka dot tie doubled in a week, while TM Lewin says tie sales have increased 250% following the semi-final, with a navy polka dot style particularly popular. Sold out overnight after Wednesday’s game, the brand has now restocked with a polka dot style called The Southgate. At Matalan, a £4 polka dot tie also sold out after the semi-final.
It means businesses are again capitalising on the Southgate effect, previously seen in 2018 when sales of waistcoats soared as he wore one during the World Cup.
“Our customers are keen to emulate,” says Rosie Doran, John Lewis’s menswear tailoring buyer. Doran suggests there has been a general move towards smartening up. “Formalwear is increasingly proving popular as they pay homage to our England football manager’s style and ready themselves for the wedding season in the months ahead.”
Southgate is held up as a suit icon in British menswear, and Prince William and David Beckham also looked smart in suits and ties at the semi-final. Not all men in public life got the memo, however. The prime minister, Boris Johnson, let the sartorial side down by wearing an England shirt over office attire to watch the match on Wednesday.
One hopes the lucky tie does the trick on Sunday, and that Johnson – likely to be watching again – dresses for the occasion.