Football: VIP house call leaves local barbers starstruck

Barbers from The Golden Rule Barber Co. posing with Argentina winger Angel di Maria and his team-mates after giving several Argentina players a haircut at the Fullerton Hotel yesterday.
Barbers from The Golden Rule Barber Co. posing with Argentina winger Angel di Maria and his team-mates after giving several Argentina players a haircut at the Fullerton Hotel yesterday.PHOTO: THE GOLDEN RULE BARBER CO

Football fans will do anything to get close to their idols, from staking out airports to chasing team buses.

However, the tables were turned for a group of local barbers.

"We got a call from the hotel, and the person on the line was an Argentinian guy," said Yanto Sani, 35.

"He said there was an appointment for 4.30pm but we weren't aware of any," added the owner of The Golden Rule Barber Co.

Turns out, it was Argentina and Juventus forward Paulo Dybala who had contacted the barber group through social media asking for a haircut.

The message, time-stamped on Sunday at 12.13am, about six hours after the team had arrived in Singapore from Melbourne, read: "Hii, how are you, I need the cuthair (sic)."

The group thought it was a prank and ignored it.

Then they found out that the request was genuine, and a new 10.30pm appointment at the Fullerton Hotel was arranged.

But at the hotel, Yanto and his employees realised the true nature of a VIP appointment.

"We were held up by security, the security was very tight but I managed to smuggle my phone in," said Yanto.

"Five of us went to the hotel, but they let only three of us in. We were body-searched and our bags were searched too.

"The fans were crazy outside the hotel."

The barbers then walked into the hotel area where the entire Argentinian squad were relaxing.

"We were star-struck. We are football fans and recognised them immediately," added Yanto.

"When we entered, we tried to act cool, strolling in with our briefcases and bags as the squad was looking at us."

In the end, only Guido Rodriguez, Manuel Lanzini, Joaquin Correa and Leandro Paredes got haircuts.

Yanto also said he went over to see Paris Saint-Germain's Angel di Maria to "touch and style his hair".

The interaction between the barbers and the players was tricky, as the players had only a basic command of English. They showed the barbers pictures of hairstyles they wanted; most went for fades, work done on their sides and a trim.

Yanto said: "We didn't manage to interact much with them, all they said was, 'Good job and thank you', and they smiled a lot."

The barber group charges $100 a head for a house call, but they ended up giving free haircuts for the players.

"The management came up to us and offered six to seven Argentinian kits in exchange for the haircuts, and we thought it was good enough," added Yanto.

"One kit was signed by di Maria. We rushed to find a marker for him to sign the kit as we told the security to wait, as they were rushing us out."

The management did not allow photos to be taken, but the squad offered the barbers a photo opportunity before leaving.

"It was mind-blowing," said Yanto. "I didn't expect house calls from these personalities, the whole squad at the Fullerton (Hotel) made it really VIP."

In a Facebook post, the group called it "one of the craziest VIP House Call ever".

Golden Rule Barber Co, which has a studio located along Race Course Road, opened in May 2014 and offers a wide range of services, ranging from haircuts to shaving.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2017, with the headline 'VIP house call leaves local barbers starstruck'. Print Edition | Subscribe