Jonny Wilkinson: please get rid of that excuse for a beard

Do it for all the other men who can’t grow beards

Jonny Wilkinson is the sort of person you could never picture getting old. He’s boyish looking, he was everywhere in our lives during his young years, and he’s got lovely soft skin. Jonny is the Dorian Gray of sport – no one could ever picture him getting older, and no one really thought he would.

Well now we know what the picture in his attic looks like and it’s terrible. It’s the same face but with a tiny, scratty, patchy growth added on top. Is it even a beard? It’s certainly deliberate, but it probably lacks the volume to meet the dictionary definition.

Jonny, you were pure and you were innocent and mums everywhere were in love with you. You were the clean-living, clean shaven face of M&S, and a man who spent his life writhing in mud but somehow always came up smelling of roses. That is your brand, and facial hair has no place in that brand.

How we will remember him

It is scarily reminscent of Michael Owen, another boyish-faced British sporting icon who spent his early twenties lighting up our lives before injuries saw him fade into the background, who made the leap to TV punditry and grew what can only be described as the single most inappropriate bit of facial hair outside of the porn industry.

Look, I can’t grow much facial hair, loads of men can’t. There is no shame in it. We’re all sitting tight and waiting for this beard obsession to pass. But we need heroes, we need poster boys for the baby-faced bum fluff brigade. We can’t rely on One Direction any more, so Jonny, you’ve got to take one for the team here.

He has given an interview about the beard, saying the hair growth is part of “relaxing”, and he admitted the beard is “very patchy on both sides and it’s not going to get any better than it is now.” Can I make a suggestion to improve the situation? Shave.

Jonny, you deserve to relax, you are a God and I am not fit to lick your boots. But please, please shave it off.