Former English Premier League coach Harry Redknapp has given his backing to a revolutionary Australian-pioneered square-toed football boot which he and its creators believe could be a game changer.
David Lewis

18 Nov 2015 - 3:46 AM  UPDATED 18 Nov 2015 - 9:27 AM

Twenty years after the great Craig Johnston's Predator became a best seller for Adidas, the Australian triumvirate of fashion designer John Serafino, London-based entrepreneur Mel Braham and SBS football doyen Les Murray have come up with their own embellishment to the beautiful game with football footwear which champions the forgotten art of the toe poke.

Launched in London last week at a bash featuring endorsements from ex-pros and current coaches, Redknapp, who managed West Ham, Portsmouth, Southampton, Tottenham and Queens Park Rangers, is convinced the boot is a winner, insisting it will just "take a few pros to try it out” for the Serafino 4th Edge to follow in the Predator's stud marks.

“It’s a different to anything I have seen before,” Redknapp said. “I’ve coached players before who were very adept at toe-poking the ball, especially strikers.

"I think players will benefit greatly because when you get in tight situations, that’s when it comes into its own. The ball flies off the boot.

"And if anybody treads on your toe, it could also stop metatarsal injuries because it’s so hard on the end.

“It does everything a standard boot does but with that extra dimension to it. They’re more solid than most boots out there now but still lighter than what we used to play in.

"If I was still playing today, I’d definitely give them a go."

A star midfielder for West Ham in the 1970s, Redknapp knows it will take time to win hearts and wallets for a product which had 32 previous prototypes before achieving its design nirvana.

“It’s like everything, people will have to try it out and I’m sure it can have big future in the game. It's a question of getting players to embrace it," he said.

“You had Craig Johnston with the Predator, but he had to knock on a lot of doors. And it wasn't until they were worn by some German players that Adidas came on board and that was start of the Predator, one of the most successful boots ever."

Businessman Braham, who made his fortune in the cosmetic medicine industry, is a long-time friend of Sydney- based Serafino, who asked him to back the project.

“John watched a lot of football and saw a lot of the striking of the ball wasn’t going where it was supposed to and couldn’t understand why nobody bothered using the toe of the boot," he said.

"So he decided to design boot to facilitate that … it’s a natural way to kick a ball, you generate a lot of power and accuracy.

"Everybody who has used it says it’s the most comfortable they have worn, which is a bonus to us. I see it as a big step forward. It takes nothing away from the normal function of a boot; you can still shoot through the laces, and use the left and right insteps.

"It just gives you that added opportunity to use something extra in tricky situation."

Already road tested by professionals during its development phase, ex-Liverpool midfielder Johnston, now based in Florida, and has agreed to an ambassador for the boot in States when it’s released worldwide in the New Year.

“It will speed the game and contribute to more goals, and that what crowds want,” added Braham.

“It could change the way the game is played because when a player tries to toe poke the ball using a conventional boot you don’t know where it’s going to end up."

Murray, another close confidante of Serafino's, has tried the boot himself and is an avowed fan.

“If you hit the sweet spot with the toe on the ball, it goes like a rocket,” said the broadcaster and author, who assisted in its design and development.

“It offers the opportunity to propel the ball with a fourth part of the foot. Up until now it’s been the inside, the outside of the foot and maybe the laces but rarely the toe.

“In modern football, where there’s so little space and defenders are so fast, it can offer an advantage.

“There’s hardly any back-lift involved ... imagine if you there playing for Barcelona and your name is Xavi, you still have to adjust your body to manoeuvre the ball to the inside of your foot to make a pass, but if you can do it with your toe you are going to save at least half of that time.”