James suited to dressing down for 'Spice Boys' reunion party

"Had we won the Cup," mused David James, "we would have been the best dressed team to win the Cup."

However, Liverpool did not win the FA Cup in 1996, they lost 1-0 to Manchester United. The white Wembley suits worn by the Liverpool players subsequently became the defining image of the "Spice Boys", a cluster of Liverpool players in Roy Evans' side who were deemed to have been more style than substance.

Today there is a mini-reunion of the Spices. While James keeps goal for Portsmouth, Robbie Fowler will wait on the Cardiff bench for his chance to come on and score against his old team-mate. And in the stands Jamie Redknapp will be hoping his father, the Pompey manager Harry, oversees an FA Cup triumph. Who knows, maybe Steve McManaman, Stan Collymore and Jason McAteer will also be there, wearing anything but white?

"It was not white, it was cream, maybe even almond," corrected James this week, unable to help himself being irked by the error all these years later. He added: "If there is an irritation, it is that the suit was more memorable than the final."

"It was David James's idea," said Fowler this week. "At the time, he was an Armani model. If we had won, nobody would have mentioned it. But we lost and it has become infamous. People remind me about them all the time."

Both players have still got their suits. "I might wear it for the Christmas fancy-dress party," said Fowler. "It is in the wardrobe," said James of his. "It has got grass stains on it from when I wore it for a Travelling Bunburys charity cricket match a couple of years afterwards."

As well as the Spice Boy tag the goalkeeper was also labelled "Calamity James" following a series of high-profile errors, in part brought on by his pro-active goalkeeping style.

The nicknames did James no favours. Liverpool sold him to Aston Villa in 1999, then, after waiting years to replace David Seaman in the England goal, he was dropped within 12 months.

Since joining Portsmouth at the start of last season he has, though, developed a more serious image, creating the David James Foundation in Malawi, and campaigning at home on a range of issues. With the help of a psychologist, he appears to have come to terms with an obsessive personality. It is unlikely to be a co-incidence that he has regained his England place.

"This is probably the happiest I have been in my career," he said. Victory today would cap it, and enable James, also an FA Cup final loser with Aston Villa in 2000, to avoid an unwelcome record. Only one player, to date, has lost finals with three different clubs: John Barnes who suffered defeats with Watford (1984), Liverpool (1988 and with James in 1996) and Newcastle United (1998). Unlike James, Barnes also picked up a winner's medal, with Liverpool in 1989.

Will it be third time lucky for James? "I don't believe in luck," he replied. "The reality is in the previous two FA Cup finals we didn't play well enough and deserved to lose."

When they inspect the pitch today, Portsmouth will be wearing blue suits, chosen by Redknapp. "If the players think the style is a bit old-fashioned it doesn't bother me," said the manager. Jeff Banks has designed them. "Has he," said James with an air of studied indifference. "I really don't care."

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine