The ultimate guide to every lad you’ll meet during Freshers’ Week

Strongbow Dark Fruits and misogyny


As mid-September rolls around again, an army of fresh-faced students will descend on Manchester to partake in one of Britain’s greatest traditions, Freshers' Week.

Despite the ever-changing student population, there are some archetypal groups of ‘lads’ who never fail to make an appearance. Lads are found everywhere, from the high-end bars of the Northern Quarter, to the dingiest basements in Fallowfield.

So, with that in mind, now is a perfect time to get acquainted with the groups you’ll be doing your best to avoid for the next three years.

The Love Island lads

They've been downing Stella Artois since 5pm and despite the fact Matt’s mum made them all a delicious roast, now they're out and it’s time to disrespect women.

They’re all dressed the same in a Ralph Lauren polo, Lacoste jumper, and obscenely white jeans. You hear them chatting in the queue, "Daz is too drunk, he’s not getting in", says one, another pipes up to reassure the lads, "it’s fine, I know the bouncer". He doesn’t.

Really, it’s irony that Daz doesn’t make it in because, presumably, washing powder makes up about 80 per cent of the low-grade cocaine they bought for that evening.

The "who needs a personality when you have drugs" lads

They’re from the home counties, but since moving to university have reinvented themselves as low-key cocaine dealers and are insistent on telling you about their transformative DMT experiences in the Peruvian rainforest.

They’re the guys you see on Facebook that have suddenly become the human embodiment of TicketMaster as soon as they discovered they could get 10p commission for every person they can get to a trance night in a club nobody has heard of that is inexplicably located underneath a laundrette.

If the drugs lads aren't dying in a K-hole, they’re commonly found in the Antwerp smoking area chaining a variety of weird brands of cigarettes from countries you’re fairly certain ceased to exist following the dissolution of the USSR.

The rugby lads

Forget the Love Island boys who have been drinking Dark Fruits since 5, these characters have been on the beers ever since the rugby finished at 2.

You'll hear them about 20 minutes before you see them with their eponymous chant "lads, lads, lads".

Fresh from their testosterone fuelled pre-drinks, you know at least one has consumed some bodily fluids or received a staple to their scrotum in a debauched drinking game.

Rugby lads' social events are only ever one Snapchat away from a deeply unflattering Daily Mail headline and tearful apology.

In the club these lads are often found by the bar with their WKD handcuffs and, of course, are born knowing the words to countless 00s hits such as Mr Brightside, or their favourite Wonderwall, which they use to demonstrate their sensitive side and serenade girls, who will no doubt soon be rated out of 10 in a WhatsApp group.

The '90s throwback lads

These are the boys that belong to the wrong generation, the kind of boys that would sell their kidneys to have been at Spike Island.

Their fashion icon is 90s Paul Gascoigne: they’re wearing a vintage Italian football shirt, an offensively coloured shell suit jacket and, of course, a bucket hat looking like a visual representation of Depop.

They’ve been in the club 30 seconds and they’re already at the bar taking advantage of the three cans of Red Stripe for a tenner deal.

You later see them in the toilets later on excitedly telling you that Shaun Ryder probably urinated here in the 90s.

The "wish we were in a bar" lads

These lads detest clubs and all they stand for, they are constantly complaining about the volume and temperature and how a better time could be had paying £8 for a continental lager in the Northern Quarter.

But somehow you drag them to a club, they stand there wearing a t-shirt with a blazer on top and their finest brogues looking like a supply teacher that’s trying to be cool and on the kids' level so they stop spitting in his tea.

You persuade them to get a drink and they come back with a can of IPA so strong it’s like drinking watery marmite.

They eventually tire of the club and order themselves an Uber to go to an underground themed cocktail bar with a girl from their course who is inexplicably related to Hugh Grant and reads the tasting notes for cheap wine.

The drunk lads

They started off the night fresh-faced and ready with nothing but a smile and a bottle of cheap vodka from New Zealand wines but after a few hours the smile is still there, but the vodka is gone.

You see the drunk lads as you’re standing in the Factory queue, stumbling out of a taxi and proceeding to vomit down a drain.

By the time you see them in the club they’ve usually lost all their friends so just stand swaying on the dance floor, occasionally singing badly out of tune and often disgracing themselves by trying to rap and forgetting to omit racial epithets.

You decide to go for a takeaway before going home and you see them for the last time, face down in a kebab.

The Tab Manchester 🐝

last seen today at 05:22

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