Thursday, January 02, 2014
(Re)presenting today a recent addition to the European football print library/archive in the form of the magnificent & essential Yugoslavian ‘Fudbaleri i Timovi’ 1974/75 season sticker album, an original artefact from the season I became properly interested in football & seduced by the glamour & romance of continental teams’ names, imbued with a hauntological aura & redolent with ‘Ostalgie’, acquired via ebay from a seller resident in Belgrade, for just that little bit extra authenticity: this, dear reader, is the very realest of deals.
As can be seen from the images, the album & its contents form an essential visual document(ation) of the protagonists of Yugoslavian domestic football in the mid-1970s: the player pictures are, of course, a period delight, there is also a brief illustrated (with black & white stickers, a nice detail) history of Yugoslavian league football since 1946, the complete roster of first & second division teams are featured in pictorial sticker form, enabling an aesthetic appreciation of their colours, but perhaps the real gold is the inclusion of the grid-format graphs plotting each of the featured teams’ top division progress from post-war to the previous '73-74 season (the vertical y-axis), & the unique line drawings that are thus created as a consequence of joining the small circles that fix the individual seasons’ finishing position from 1 to 18 (along the horizontal x-axis).
Grids & drawing is, of course, living the TOoT modernist dream, at least in terms of historical & enduring concerns, & especially so when applied to a football statistics context.
From the examples below, please feel free to appreciate the jagged elegance of the point-to-point line drawings, from our favourites Velež Mostar, through the particularly striking inconsistent ups & downs of lovely-sounding Vojvodina, to OFK Beograd, whose linear progress can be seen to be interrupted by a season’s absence.
On the subject of football statistics as drawing, art, the stuff & subject matter of creative practice, we return to the example of Marc Renshaw’s continuing ‘Sporting League’ project (who also happens to run another blog on the subject of ‘The Grid’, albeit the search for a particular one), & recent personal considerations of the possibility & viability of doing something along similar lines, having, since 1990, sporadically worked on what now stands at a total of almost 34 full seasons’-worth of an alternative football league (better & much more real, vivid, exciting than the real thing, of course), featuring a combination of English & Welsh league, non-league & invented teams, thus already having a significant store of raw material from which to work & expand – there might be mileage, watch this space…