adidas Originals Archive News – An Interview with John ‘Fenners’ Fendley

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The adidas Archive has proved once again that the impact of the Three Stripes spans generations, and when John ‘Fenners’ Fendley isn’t sat on the Soccer AM couch he’s coming up with new excuses to add to his rapidly growing collection…

When did you first become aware of adidas?
As a brand it was definitely the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. It was a great tournament, with the ticker tape and the classic kits, but it was the adidas Tango ball was the thing I desired the most. I was playing for East Aiton U12’s, a team with just one ball, and I wanted that ball so much, and that was when I felt the magic of the brand for the first time. We finally got a Tango ball about four years later when the 1982 World Cup came around, and I remember playing with it on the local village pitch, it was incredible.

Then the first footwear I can recall is adidas Kick, I never had any though. We lived in Scarborough and it wasn’t like living in a city like Manchester, Leeds, or Liverpool, where there would have been a lot of kids wearing this stuff. I can remember Samba, Mamba, and Bamba—an older lad at school had some Bamba—but Kicks were the really desirable ones for me.

I suppose back in those days before social media and the internet, we all looked up to an elder brother or a cool kid at school. Was it the same for you?

When you’re young you try and find that identity with music and clothes and that sort of stuff. I’d seen the sportswear thing going on, but wasn’t really across it. Then a cousin from Ellesmere Port who I’d never met came to stay, and he turned up in a polo shirt, cords, and these trainers. It was like nothing I’d seen before. It was weird because he was like a casual super hero. I became slightly obsessed, not just with the clothes, but with him as well. He was the first person who I really wanted to be like.

There was a sports shop called Pavers of York and they had all sorts in there. I would say the first proper pair of adidas trainers I owned were Trimm Trab. I had to wait a long time before I actually got my hands on them. I still get excited now, about having the box and smelling them. Why do you smell shoes?

A good question! So you must love the nostalgia factor of the adidas Archive?

When the Albrecht came out I missed them first time. Then a friend of mine who’s got a shop in Wolverhampton said he had some size nines. I got them and they are my favourite shoes by a mile. I have lots of conversations with my wife about it. “Do you really need another pair?” I’m now running out of ways to answer it. I will just sit and look through websites, look through magazines, look through imagery of them, and follow so many people who love adidas on Instagram just so I can see pictures and see what people are saying about them.

I am just really into it; I am really interested in it. I love seeing what will come next. And my advice would be to if you want them and can afford them, then get them. Plenty of times I’ve thought, ‘I’ll wait, they’ll do them again,’ and they haven’t and it’s heartbreaking.

So do you consider yourself a collector?

I wouldn’t say I was a collector, but I keep things, I look after things. I pull something out, maybe a pair I’ve had for fifteen to twenty years and they’re still in good nick. Occasionally I’ll get them out and give them a little run for a few weeks. There are some Micropacers I kind of always go back to every once in a while. Going back to the conversations with my wife, she’ll often say “can we get rid of these,” and of course, I’ll reply “we are absolutely not getting rid of these. I’ve got at least 30 pairs, probably more.

Could you pick five pairs to take to a desert island?

Yes. I am definitely putting the Albrecht in there, but these are in no particular order. I would have to have a Trimm Trab. Do you want colours? If so I would have to go with the grey and the dark blue. I would say I should go for a Gazelle really, but I do like a London as well—a low profile works with my skinny legs. This is hard. I’ll put in a pair of the new ZX600 which are a brilliant example of how to use colour and also the Grand Slam.

The Grand Slam just edge it over the Kegler Super and Columbia, anything with pegs and I’m in. So it’s Trimm Trab, Albrecht, ZX600, Gazelle and Grand Slam. I should add the Micropacers because they are a bit more than a trainer really—I have the white ones, not the silvers, but they don’t make the cut. I might get them out this weekend; do you think I can get away with them on Soccer AM?

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