DOC Martens have left their imprint on football culture. Not quite Orwell's vision of a boot stamping on a human face forever, but an icon of the good old, bad old days of butcher-boy coats on the inter-city special for sure.
Doc Martens and hooligans gave up the bovver-boy look long ago, and each went upwardly mobile image-wise. But while the hooligan vision is ultimately reductive, the money that it and other youth cultures brought to Doc Martens contributed to a less famous, more utopian idyll.
Max Griggs owned the company that bought the patent to the utilitarian shoe invented by Dr Klaus Maertens to combat the effects of a skiing accident on his crushed toes. Griggs anglicised the name, reshaped the heel, added the yellow stitching and trademarked the AirWair soles. By the time Sid Vicious bought himself a pair, Max Griggs was on his way to the kind of fortune that fuels a man's dreams.
He was approached by his local football team, Irthlingborough Diamonds of Northamptonshire, and asked if he would like to sponsor them. Griggs did more than that: he merged them with adjacent Rushden Town and bankrolled a club that he hoped would one day become as exotic as their name, Rushden & Diamonds.
He bought them a ground and some players, and from a spot in Southern League Division One on their formation in 1992, had them in the Football League as a fully professional club by 2001. Managed by the former Arsenal player, Brian Talbot, they gathered the momentum to overcome the disadvantage of being based in one of the smallest towns to host a professional football club.
Griggs's view on Gretna's place in the Scottish Cup final has not been recorded, but it will probably be one of empathy and regret. For as Gretna's dream has come improbably true, that of Max Griggs might just die. Rushden occupy the second relegation place in League Two, and they sit on the lip of the chute that slides back to non-league football.
As recently as 2003, the Diamonds won automatic promotion to League One and might have fancied themselves as a modern Wimbledon, a club that could explode through the divisions, but English football increasingly forbids such progress. The culture in which Sam Hammam, Dickie Guy and Harry Bassett did the trick has passed, and so has the club with which they did it. The money required to overwhelm such disadvantages has become too great.
Jack Haywood provided Wolves with millions to move them one division, from first to Premiership, and when they finally staggered up they won seven games and lasted a year. Blackburn's Premiership title looks innocuous, surrounded as it is by the only other champions: Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. Their 'era' ended as soon as Jack Walker backed off. And as for Leeds United, well.
The English game is just too vast and too divided to permit a Gretna moment. The FA Cup has not just become a trophy for Premiership clubs; it has developed into a competition merely for the top three or four. The last final to feature none of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea or Liverpool was in 1991, when Gazza did his knee playing for Spurs against Nottingham Forest; the last occasion when none of them won it came in 1995, when Everton beat United.
Even the lower divisions offer no guarantee for the dreamy philanthropist. By 2004, Max Griggs and his son, Steven, had to acknowledge that the Doc Martens bank account was not bottomless. The confines of population had proved insurmountable.
Rushden had an average gate of 3,000. In 2002, when they reached a play-off final, they took no more than 8,000 fans with them; in 2004, Max Griggs's final year of outright ownership, the club lost 1.4m. But then the Griggs family made a remarkable gesture, one entirely in keeping with their dream and out of step with the brutal pragmatism of modern football. They simply gave the club to the fans.
Unable to find a buyer, Max and Steven donated the Diamonds and their ground to a supporters' trust. They also contributed a further 750,000 to keep the club going for last season and this one. Such largesse is almost heroic.
Yet the new chairman, Richard Palmer, who is a banker, has done his sums and has hope. "If we maintain the same level of gate, our current forecasts are that we will run a very small profit. Our aspirations are to stay in this league, stabilise and then move up."
Staying up might be the hardest part. Entropy often has its way. Rushden & Diamonds went out of the FA Cup in round two this season, beaten by another League Two team, Leyton Orient. They somehow beat Fulham, but lost to Charlton, who face a replay with Middlesbrough to see who take on West Ham for the right to lose to Chelsea or Liverpool in the final.
Orwell's boot on a human face forever is far too melodramatic a parallel, but such is the divide between the haves and the have-even-mores. Max Griggs, and many others in England, will be wishing Gretna well.