Monday 23 October 2017

Meet the Corkman behind Sergio Aguero’s five goals at the weekend

Sergio Aguero celebrates and (inset) Corkman Con O'Brien who designed his boots
Sergio Aguero celebrates and (inset) Corkman Con O'Brien who designed his boots

Sergio Aguero has a Corkman to thank for his stunning 20-minute five-goal haul for Manchester City against Newcastle at the weekend.

The Argentine striker was wearing the new Puma EvoSPEED – a boot designed by Corkman Con O’Brien.

Con is a 22-year-old former graffiti artist who struggled to complete college courses due to dyslexia. During his college days, he worried if he would ever hold down a full-time job but now he finds himself designing boots for the top players in the Premier League.

“I am out in Puma HQ in  Nuremeberg and I do the graphics for all the boots. It’s basically all the graphics that go on the outside of boots,” said O’Brien on The Ryan Tubridy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning.

“With the marketing department here we get constant feedback from the players and we have a very good connection with them.

“For example, some of them won’t wear certain colours, some of them will be very picky. Some of their arguments will be very, very strange. You would have some who wouldn’t wear yellow for example, they might be superstitious.

“Others will only wear a certain type for a certain game. They are very interesting I have to say.”

O’Brien admits he was an interested spectator as Aguero slammed home five at the weekend.

“For me it was all about the graphic on that shoe, it was nothing to do with Aguero,” joked O’Brien.

O’Brien says that every boot design goes through a gruelling procedure that requires a lot of time and thought.

“You start off from the very early stages, you get your brief. For example they will tell you it might incorporate these details. It has to link to the footballer, it can’t be any random graphic.

“You then get the sketching and you sketch it out. You brainstorm and then construct it piece by piece. When everyone is happy we go for it.”

His role in Puma HQ has meant he has come face to face with many of his football heroes, including Thierry Henry, but he didn’t have the courage to bring up the 2009 handball incident against Ireland.

 “It was frightening being face to face with the guy (Thierry Henry) because I have looked up to him all my life. He is my idol. It was incredible to speak to him one on one.

“First off I wanted to ask him what happened in the match with France and Ireland but I bottled it unfortunately.”

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