GARETH Southgate’s waistcoat has set something of a trend. So much so that all high street retailers ran out as sales rocketed as fans at home and in Russia donned their waistcoats in support.

The England manager however has proved to be much more than his dress sense as he led his team to the brink of success in the World Cup.

His unique style of managerial skills were new and effective and the latest accolade is that Southgate station on London’s underground is now ‘Gareth Southgate’ for a few days at least – well deserved for a man who against the odds has given hope and potential for even greater success.

Fashion and football have always combined to set many a trend. Who will ever forget Kevin Keagan’s curly perm that had a generation of male supporters taking over many hair salons to keep up, and no one, of course, could quite wear flairs as Keagan did.

Posh and Becks must take the cake for trendsetting with their often-outlandish iconic combinations. Then again Mr Beckham’s tattoos has had a whole generation rushing to be inked and a domain previously for men far from home on sea and land became a trend that may change as quickly as it has exploded in youth culture, only time will tell.

Young people of every generation are always influenced by their sporting or music icons. That’s why those who are the centre of their hero worship do have responsibilities for their actions and lifestyles. Most do, and encourage their fans in the right way, sadly some do not and that’s regrettable. Gareth Southgate and the whole of the England team has been fine examples of true sportsmanship and their manager with his non-aggressive style and obvious respect and regard for his players and staff will be remembered long after the waistcoat is back in the wardrobe.

The Princes Trust has for some time encouraged those older and wiser to share their experience with young people through their mentoring shame. Mentoring is not training, it’s getting alongside and sharing advice and experience with young people, especially those most vulnerable and that has, already made a difference in the lives of so many young people.

The greatest example of such deep compassion and concern was in the life of Jesus. The old, young, outcasts and sinners, the self-righteous religious zealots as well as those bruised and hurt by their experiences of life all found non- judgemental acceptance. Lives were, and still are being changed as his love is shared by those who follow him today. A sure promise that will outlast and outlive all the passing trends of the world.

“I will be with you even to the end of the world” said Jesus – we’re always on the winning side.

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