The World Cup’s most popular haircut is the mohican; we celebrate with a Top 10 of mohicans…

your author john robb sports his version : photo by karen mcbride

When we were callow youths shaving the side of your head in all the glorious variations of the so called Mohican hair cut was a risky business. For some reason having shorter follicles at the side of your head was an invitation to get punched by the kind of people that looked like footballers-lumpen buffoons with perms.

Ironically these days the footballers have caught up with the once extreme hairstyle and this year’s world cup sees a whole world wide variation of the hairstyle – making it the go to haircut for the modern footballer.

The mohican has a patchy and strange history.

The Iroquois were a native American tribe who quite possibly invented the style- though historically the hair was plucked out rather than shaved. Ouch.

The Pawnee tribe also had the style as well as the Mohawk and the rest of the Iroquois confederacy (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Tuscarora and Oneida). The Mohawk did not shave their heads when creating this square of hair, but rather pulled the hair out, small tufts at a time.

There are several other cultures with the same style- the Clonycavan Man, a 2000-year-old male bog bodydiscovered near Dublin in 2003, was found to be wearing a mohawk styled with plant oil and pine resin.

Artwork discovered at the Pazyryk burials dating back to 600 BCE depicts Scythian warriors sporting similar mohawks. The body of a warrior occupying one of the kurgans had been scalped earlier in life and wore a hair prosthesis in the form of a mohawk. Herodotus claimed that the Macai, a northern Libyan tribe, “shave their hair so as to leave tufts, letting the middle of their hair grow long, but round this on all sides shaving it close to the skin.”

When going to war, 16th-century Ukrainian Cossacks would shave their heads, leaving a long central strip. This haircut was known as a khokhol and was often braided or tied in a topknot.

During World War II, many American GIs, notably paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division wore mohawks to intimidate their enemies. It was also occasionally worn by American troops during the Vietnam War. In the early 1950s some jazzmusicians,and even a few teenage girls, wore them.

In modern times the post war rise of the Hells Angels saw some of their number sporting the haircut in reference to their war days when they would shave the sides of their hair when going into combat to get a focus and it kinda floated around the fringes of music culture – a far too dangerous hair cut for the mainstream to deal with and it wasn’t until punk rock and it’s love of the extreme that the clippers came out.

The haircut was cemented into punk rock and is one of the key styles of the scene and remained in that scene until it crossed over into football and sport and then onto the heads of the people who had only recently been castigating the punks…

1. Travis Bickle 


Someday a rain is going to come and wash all the scum of the streets but not before the barber has clipped the side of the head for one of the most memorable screen presences in the historyhistory of cinema las Robert De Niro goes gonzoid at the end of the film and bridges the gap between the hair cuts warrior roots and introduces it to the wiring punk rock underground…

2. Joe Strummer

With the Clash being left high and dry by the rise of the rougher and wilder second wave of punk rock Joe grabbed the clippers and shaved his hair down to grab the new ground with his take on the Travis Bickle.


3. Mitch : Rezillos/Adam and the Ants roadie

Rumoured to be the first punk rock mohican- he even sported a famous double mohican – a huge effort that looked very freaky at the time and was more of a mohican than a mohawk- and broke all the barriers and the rules. A revolutionary hair style.

4. David Beckham

Decades after punk and everyone getting beaten up for having a mohawk David Beckham brought the hair cut into football and, bizarrely,  got the credit for inviting the hairstyle- I guess it matched his famous Crass T shirt!


5. Balotelli

The Italian striker who made his name in the UK with Manchester City and his lunatic antics on and off the pitch took the Beckham model one step further with a severe trim that has become his trademark and has possibly brought the hair cut to a world wide level with many version suddenly sprouting an expensive heads of footballers all over the planet.


6. Bow Wow Wow

Malcolm McClaren’s band after the Sex Pistols were a mish mash of jungle pirate styles and the mohicans leaked in from their former band Adam and the Ants looked great on guitarist- the late Mathew Ashman  and singer Annabella Lwin.


7. Wattie from the Exploited

The wild eyed singer from the Edinburgh second wave punk band had a red mohican that became the staple of the new scene of leather bristles acne and studs punk rock look that remains to this day.


8. there are no photos of the 19th century tribes so we had to go with this made up book cover instead…





9. Demi Moore- the style has even been creeping into Hollywood as a de rigger red carpet cut for floundering actresses.



10 Mr. T spent the 80s with his hair in a mohawk but did anyone really care- did anyone got into a barbers demanding  mr. T apart from long forgotten sack of potato wrestlers…





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4 comments on “The World Cup’s most popular haircut is the mohican; we celebrate with a Top 10 of mohicans…”

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  1. There used to be a guy in Lytham St Annes with a killer mohican in the 80’s. Forgotten his name though

  2. According to Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader; during the vienam conflict soldiers would shave their hair into a mohican if they had a sense of impending doom of felt they would not come back from their next mission.
    this is why Travis Bickle adopted it before going “gonzoid” as you put it

  3. No place for feathered anarchist Woody Woodpecker?

  4. Derek Dougan? Rainy Discharge? Richie Stotts Plasmatics? Nicky Garret UK Subs?

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