Ex-Sunderland boss Peter Reid has opened up about his hair transplant for the first time - saying he actually found the surgery ‘relaxing’!
The 62-year-old - who led the Black Cats to two successive seventh-place finishes in the Premier League in 2000 and 2001 - went under the knife to get a new head of hair last year.
He follows in the footsteps of fellow football stars who’ve done the same, most famously Wayne Rooney.
And despite gruelling surgery, which costs £7,000 a time, former midfield hardman Reid says he found the whole thing ‘therapeutic’.
Talking about his op at Manchester’s Farjo Hair Institute, he said: “I’ve had a lot of injuries and operations.
"I didn’t think it would be painful and it wasn’t painful, in fact I found it quite relaxing! I found it therapeutic, someone messing with your scalp.
“I know it sounds like it wasn’t a big deal, but to me it wasn’t! You can watch a movie or listen to music or talk football while it’s getting done.
"It was an altogether nice experience.”
Liverpool-born Reid, who's now a TV pundit, underwent what’s known as follicular unit extraction (FUE) surgery, with specialist Dr Bessam Farjo.
Dr Farjo extracts individual 'follicular units’ - i.e. clusters of up to five hairs - directly from a donor site of the head using a tiny ‘punch’.
He then makes microscopic slits in the balding areas of a patient's scalp, and places the harvested grafts there.
A typical FUE treatment can involve extracting up to 2,000 grafts a day, and might take up to 10 hours in some cases, while larger cases may require more than one day in surgery.
The new hairs begin to grow approximately four months after surgery, and will continue to grow through for the next 10 to 15 months.
Other footballers to have done the same include ex-Sunderland players Micky Gray, 44, Republic of Ireland international Jason McAteer, 47, Burnley striker Ashley Barnes, 28, and former England midfielder David Platt, 52.
Reid denied he had the transplant for ‘vanity’ reasons, saying: "Was I really conscious of going bald? I’m not sure.
“It wasn’t something that I was thinking about all the time, it was just something that came about. I’m glad I’ve had it done.
“Is it vanity? I don’t think so. Was I losing confidence? No, not really. It was just something where I thought, ‘Yeah, it’s playing on my mind so I’ll do it’.”
Midfielder Reid won two league titles and an FA Cup with Everton, and earned 13 England caps during his 1980s playing heyday.
But he says he does NOT envy the fame and fortunes enjoyed by modern day footballers - because of the intense scrutiny they’re subjected to.
In a video interview with the Farjo Hair Institute, he adds: "I think nowadays, because of how big the game has got, players are like movie stars.
“Everything is highlighted 100 per cent, so they can’t do the things I took for granted doing when I was growing up a young player.
“I had a really good time being a footballer, socially as well as professionally. I’m not sure they do nowadays.
“I’m just a council house kid who was good enough to play football. I’m still Peter Reid from Huyton.”
Reid’s career arc took him from Bolton Wanderers to his boyhood club Everton, where he won two championships under Howard Kendall, as well as the FA Cup in 1984.
The Toffees – boasting fellow Goodison greats such as Neville Southall, Kevin Ratcliffe and Trevor Steven – then claimed the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1985.
Reid was also in Bobby Robson’s England team that lost the infamous ‘Hand of God’ quarter-final to Diego Maradona and Argentina at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
His managerial tour included a stint in charge of the Thailand national team and club football in India as well as the closer climes of Stoke City, Leeds United and Coventry City.
Now, as well as TV punditry stints, he’s helping out his old mate Paul Cook at Championship side Wigan Athletic.