“Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida played in goal for Real Sociedad, and former Chelsea keeper Petar Barota was an abstract artist. Have any other players had artistic tendencies?” tweets UrbanGriller.
“Surely one of the most unusually named players in Port Vale’s long history is ceramic designer Lucien Boullemier,” writes Rob Fielding. “The son of French ceramic artist Antonin Boullemir, he originally moved to the Potteries to, well, work in the Potteries! He was signed by Stoke City before joining Port Vale in 1897, but retired in 1903 to move to the US. He resumed playing in the States, turning out for Philadelphia Hibernian. He returned to the UK in 1905 and had spells with Northampton Town and a return to Port Vale. Back in the Potteries he produced a range called Boumier Ware, which is highly sought after.”
Former Wolves and Sunderland defender Jody Craddock painted throughout his career. “I didn’t really get any stick from my teammates,” Craddock told the I last year. “They ended up paying me to do portraits for them. That told me that they were taking me seriously. The ultimate compliment is for someone to want to part with their hard-earned money for something that I’ve done.” Some of Craddock’s work can be seen here.
Huw Owen points us in the direction of Owain Fôn Williams, whose paintings of miners were shown in an exhibition after Euro 2016. “I don’t do it for the money,” Williams said. “I’m not throwing these paintings out, selling them for the sake of selling them. I’m doing them because it means something to me. With a lot of artists it’s like a conveyer belt, they just paint and paint. It doesn’t happen like that with me. I literally do it for enjoyment and what I get out of it, which is making sure the Welsh history is still there.” You can see more of Williams’s work here.
“Anselmo Fernández’s career as a professional player at Sporting never took off,” notes Dirk Maas, “but as a manager he guided the Lisbon team to the Cup Winners’ Cup victory in 1964. He made name as an architect, being responsible, among other things, for the design of the Estádio José Alvalade and the national library of Portugal.”
Felix Schäfer writes to say that Former West Germany goalkeeper Rudi Kargus also turned his hand to the arts. Kargus played more than 250 games for Hamburg in the 1970s and last year his work was exhibited in the Feinkunst Krüger gallery in the city.
And also in Germany there’s Andreas Neuendorf, who turned to art after a row with the German FA. Neuendorf wanted his nickname “Zecke” on the back of his Hertha Berlin shirt, the DfB refused, so Neuendorf painted and auctioned a couple of oil paintings so that Zecke could be his official stage name.
“There are many stories of children and animals being named after footballers or teams, but has anyone ever changed their own name for football-related reasons?” asks Kári Tulinius.
Anyone who has visited Fratton Park over the last 30-odd years is likely to have seen and heard John Anthony Portsmouth Football Club Westwood, who changed his name by deed poll in 1989. “I love the club,” he told a documentary in 2009. “It’s an extension of my passion for the club. To incorporate it in my name just felt completely natural, even though my family and friends thought it was completely barking.”
But Westwood isn’t alone. “Derby County have a super fan who has changed his name to Mick Derby by deed poll,” writes Richard Place. “He has had a season ticket since 1968, and has attended all first-team games – both home and away – for at least the last 35 years, as well as most reserve, academy and under-18 games. He’s a modest chap who doesn’t do it for attention, and most of the time is happy to blend in with the crowd.”
Real-life football popping up on the big screen (2)
Last week we looked at random football action cameos in film and TV. You’ve got more. Lot’s more …
Let’s kick off with this from Gareth Clarke: “In the 1982 action pic Forced Vengeance, Chuck Norris and two other seemingly Forest-supporting colleagues are watching the 1981 top-flight clash between Nottingham Forest and Brighton. Chuck utters the line ‘Uh oh, Brighton are going to score again’, and Gordon Smith then does indeed spank in a loose ball in the box. They lost 2-1.”
Param Sampat (and others) report that in Iron Man 3, when Tony Stark stumbles upon Trevor (the Mandarin), you can see Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger on TV in the background and an equally large number of you pointed to Archie Gemmill’s NSFW cameo in Trainspotting.
News of football in a bleak future comes from Andrew Ferguson. “The critically-acclaimed Sheffield-based nuclear nightmare drama Threads opens with a scene where the main character remembers the football scores are on the radio,” he writes. “Carlisle United earn a decent away point at Fulham, which will have no doubt provided some succour in the early days of nuclear winter.”
And last but by no means least, here’s Jonathan Guest: “A friend alerted me to the Christmas Curry’s advert which had MK Dons and Wimbledon playing. A small minority of MK Dons fans boycotted the shop over Christmas.”
“Have they ever used an actual hat for the FA Cup draw?” asked Andy Morrison in 2006. “If so, when was it last used, and what kind of hat was it?”
Early draws really did involve headwear; a top hat covered by a handkerchief, to be precise. It was filled with pieces of paper bearing the names of the clubs, with a member of the FA committee delicately lifting a corner of the handkerchief to draw the ties. Bryon Butler’s history of the competition is the only source of information on this arcane ritual, as until the first radio coverage of the draw in December 1935 it was “barred and bolted against all unofficial comers” – including the press. By then, the bag and ball arrangement was in place. Indeed, the then FA secretary, Sir Stanley Rous, was asked by the BBC to rattle the balls in the bag for dramatic effect.
David Barber, the FA’s historian, suggests that the top hat and handkerchief met their demise in a drive for modernisation around 1914.
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