Tim Howard’s beard: it helps him save penalties.
It makes him a Republican hero, because Barack Obama told him to shave it off, and he didn’t.
It preserves and continues US soccer’s proud tradition of hirsute heroes (insert any picture of Alexi Lalas during the 1990s).
It helps hide his blushes when he makes a string of errors that lead Everton fans to call for him to be dropped.
It is even so big and bushy that Howard uses it as a handy storage device. It’s where he keeps his iPhone, so he can catch up with the latest scores and Twitter banter during quiet Everton matches. *
Now the beard is art. Officially. Because it’s being featured in an exhibition gallery at London’s Somerset House.
Entitled simply though accurately “Beard”, the display by photographer Mr Elbank features “over 80 images exhibited for the first time and exploring the art of grooming, the show celebrates the enduring beard trend which has exploded across the world.”
Much like Everton’s hopes of getting in the top half of the EPL, it finishes at the end of March.