The 1970s and 1980s were the era where I began to watch football matches in Lancashire and the North East. Initially accompanied by an adult (a pal’s dad, my dad or my granda) during the mid-to-late 1970s, I attended my first games on my own around 1984, with my first serious away trip being spring 1987 to watch Newcastle United play Manchester City at Maine Road (0-0 if you must know). Football has always kindled a creative spark for me. I remember very little about the actual games from the 1970s but can vividly remember the atmosphere of pent up rage, hard-bitten humour and machismo. And the “Fauvist”, almost giddily bright splash of green of the pitch. This somehow opened up a feeling I could only express through drawing.
During the same time (1977-1983), I was engaged in painting the armies of the C18th Austro-Hungarian Empire in full; specifically that which had fought during the later Wars of the Spanish Succession (covering 1740s-1760s). Somehow that dovetailed with obsessively drawing footballers from the 1920s and 1930s. Football history was a subject that, back then, was often ridiculed by my increasingly “casually-clothed” peers.
During 2011-12, I returned to examine this thematic link, discovering that there may be more in it than my pre-adolescent whims let on. These are sketches from a day long “draw-in”(accompanied by a crate of ale, which was polished off day-tripper charabanc style, with the aid of a cheese sandwich). The uniforms are those from all combatant armies of The Great War.