Monday, June 30, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #96 (Formose Gilles: Haiti)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

Today’s random choice of subject is Formose Gilles, who was featured amongst the 16 players representing Haiti in the FKS ‘Wonderful World of Soccer Stars World Cup 1974sticker album but, subsequently, was not selected for the official Haitian squad for the Finals, thus being very much one of the ghosts of the ’74 World Cup, hauntologically present only via such an object of memorabilia (& related to through archives which record him having played in 2 matches during the qualifying competition).

Sunday, June 29, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #95 (Rene van der Kerkhof: Holland)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

By one of those serendipitous coincidences of the chance generation of portrait subjects, today’s, following yesterday’s, happens to represent René van de(r) Kerkhof, another of the players from the 1974 World Cup who featured in the Final itself, in this instance in Holland’s unfortunately losing cause.
Coming on as a half-time substitute, history records that this was in fact van de Kerkhof’s only appearance of the tournament – his time, & that of his twin brother Willy, who was also a member, non-playing at all, of Holland’s 1974 squad, would subsequently come in the 1978 World Cup, when both were prominent, memorably, playing in each of the Dutch team’s matches on their way to & in another losing Final.

The original source image upon which this drawing is based comes from the sticker representing the player that featured in the FKS 'Wonderful World of Soccer Stars World Cup 1974' collectors' album.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #94 (Paul Breitner: West Germany)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

Today’s iconic subject is Paul Breitner, resplendent in his trademark 'fro-esque hairstyle, one of those relatively few memorable figures/names from the 1974 World Cup, who played in all 7 of West Germany’s matches on their way to winning the tournament (after being represented in both the FKS & Panini commemorative sticker albums), nominally at left back but often popping up in attack in the manner of ‘total football’ (as practised by not only the Dutch), socks habitually worn around his ankles, scoring the only goal in the opening victory against Chile with a spectacular long-range right-footed strike, breaking the deadlock in the first Second Round group game, the 2 – 0 win over Yugoslavia, in similarly impressive fashion, & then converting the equalizing penalty in the Final against Holland

Friday, June 27, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #93 (Lothar Kurbjuweit: East Germany)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

This most recent drawing in the project has as its subject an image of Lothar Kurbjuweit, who was represented as a member of the East Germany squad(s) pictured in both the FKS & Panini ‘World Cup ‘74’ sticker albums, & chosen for his state’s official one for the Finals, where, after missing the first 2 fixtures, he played in the subsequent 4, the East Germans’ historic 1 – 0 ‘political derby’ victory over neighbours West Germany in the final First Round group game, & each of the Second Round matches.

Ghosts abound in this case, not just the bleached representation of the subject, from, as most immediate visual reference, the enlarged photocopy of the original sticker: Kurbjuweit’s (a fine one indeed) is not a name I can recall from the time, although it would have soon afterwards come to notice via the player’s presence in the Carl Zeiss Jena team that enjoyed a certain later-Seventies – early-Eighties European club competition profile, & of course the separate states of East & West Germany subsequently came to be consigned to the past, living on not least through the recorded evidence of their sports teams, as preserved.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #92 (Georgi Denev: Bulgaria)

graphite & putty eraser/30x21cm

Today’s randomly-chosen subject proved to be another of the previously-unheard-ofs in the form of Georgi Denev, who was represented in both the FKSPanini ‘World Cup ‘74’ commemorative sticker albums, & selected for the Bulgaria squad for the Finals, where he appeared in each of his country’s three matches, after which, following two draws & a comprehensive defeat to Holland (during which Denev collected a yellow card), they were eliminated from the tournament at the first stage.

Back at the 2014 World Cup, this drawing was brought to a conclusion to the sound of the commentary of Russia taking an early & worrying lead in their match against Algeria, our African favourites of the tournament, but all ended well as we were able to see & enjoy the Algerians come back to draw the game & thus, delightfully, progress to the knock-out stages, for the first time in their history: now to overcome Germany, to advance further into uncharted territory & make proper amends for the still-disgraceful carve-up of the 1982 World Cup.

Bringing the subjects of archive stickers & albums of & the current Algeria World Cup squad together, a little light match-accompanying research led to the discovery of their manager, the Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic (a great name), as represented during his time as a player, for the mighty Velez Mostar, in the Yugoslavian-published ‘Fudbaleri i Timovi’ 1974/75 season album, & as a member of the Yugoslavia squad in the Panini album (or at least a reproduction of) commemorating the España '82 World Cup.

And also, topically, here’s the small selection collected (to date) of the Algerian squad’s stickers from the contemporary Panini 2014 FIFA World Cup Brasil album, a delightful gift from A, which has been keeping us occupied, although not necessarily quiet, whilst keeping an eye on the televised matches: at the current count, we have managed to fill 278 of the 639 available spaces (interesting to consider that the figure of 278 is already greater than the total of the earlier albums, not least the 1974 ones which provide the raw materials for this drawing project, but this time so far from completion – in fact, nowhere near even half way). Anyone have any swaps (we have about 80)?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #91 (Ivica Surjak: Yugoslavia)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

Our latest subject is Ivica Surjak, strikingly-coiffed in the Seventies’ manner, a sticker of whom was included amongst the selection of Yugoslavian players represented in the Panini ’München 74’ collectors’ album & who was chosen for his nation’s official squad for the World Cup, where he went on to appear – ‘memorably’, for the name of Surjak is one of the relatively few I can recall from exposure to the television coverage of the tournament, where Yugoslavia would have enjoyed a higher profile than some teams by dint of being drawn in the same First Round group as the sole British representatives Scotland – in each of their six matches, scoring twice, in the 9 - 0 rout of Zaire & then the final second phase group fixture, a 1 – 2 loss to Sweden.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #90 (Norberto Alonso: Argentina)

graphite & putty eraser/30x21cm

Today’s subject depicts Norberto Alonso, who was selected for inclusion in both the FKS & Panini ‘World Cup ‘74’ sticker albums but, alas, not in the official Argentina squad for the Finals themselves. He did go on to earn a place in the Argentinian squad for the 1978 World Cup, where he appeared as a substitute on three occasions, once only very briefly before the unusual circumstance of being replaced himself (for those especially inclined towards World Cup trivia).

As, alphabetically, the first player of the first qualifying nation, representations of the player have previously featured in earlier incarnations & revisions of the 1974 World Cup drawing project, here, here & here.

Monday, June 23, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #89 (Wolfgang Kleff: West Germany)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

By a curious coincidence indeed, following on from the previous portrait, the next & this latest subject to be randomly chosen depicts another of what proved to be the 1974 World Cup’s reserve goalkeepers in the form of Wolfgang Kleff, of West Germany, who, like Poland’s Zygmunt Kalinowski, failed to get any minutes of tournament action, although was included for selection in both the FKS & Panini sticker albums, the latter of these providing the source image from which the drawing has come to be processed: just admire that hairstyle, & the iconic sky blue button-up adidas tracksuit top sported by the West Germans at the World Cup, having been premiered (or so photographic history seems to suggest) at the 1972 European Nations’ Cup finals.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #88 (Zygmunt Kalinowski: Poland)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

Today’s subject proved to be Zygmunt Kalinowski, who was included in the FKS ‘Wonderful World of Soccer Stars World Cup 1974’ sticker album & the Poland squad for the Finals, although subsequently, as one of the reserves to the goalkeeper who had played such a large & already-legendary part in the Poles’ qualification, Jan Tomaszewski, he played no part in the tournament, although his presence was, to my novice’s experience of the 1974 World Cup, no more ‘ghostly’ than many who did & who, subsequently, have similarly only emerged into the light of consciousness through such examples of memorabilia as the commemorative albums & official records.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #87 (Ray Richards: Australia)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

The latest subject to be randomly-chosen (in the manner of opening a packet of stickers) depicts Ray Richards, whose profile was obviously such that he was included within not only the FKS ‘Wonderful World of Soccer Stars World Cup 1974’ sticker album (where each of the qualifying nations featured a compliment of 16 player portraits, except the undecided-at-the-time-of publication play-off rivals subsequently-successful Yugoslavia & also Spain, who each had 15), but also amongst the reduced six-man Australia cohort to be represented by Panini’s ’München 74’ (which gave shorter shrift to the ‘minnows’ of Asia, Africa, & North & Central America than the ‘traditional’ footballing European & South American countries).

Richards was selected for the Australian squad for the Finals & went on to appear in all three of the Socceroos’ matches in the tournament, although he failed to see out the last of these, against Chile where Australia earned their only point with a goalless draw, being sent off, eventually, after earning a total of three yellow cards (when two would suffice): none of this impinged upon my consciousness at the time of my televisual experience of the ’74 World Cup, the particular player’s presence, like that of the great majority, only emerging ‘hauntologically’ via the items of memorabilia & subsequent research.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #86 (Jan Jongbloed: Holland)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

Today’s subject to be drawn from the random-generator features Jan Jongbloed, the source of whose image is, it must be admitted, the first of one of the few ‘cheats’ that will be employed over the course of the project, as his is one of those names vividly remembered from the time, from the televised experience of the 1974 World Cup, that appeared in neither the FKS or Panini sticker albums published to anticipate/celebrate/commemorate the event, thus necessitating research to find a constructed ‘original’ from which to make the enlarged photocopy that serves as the drawing’s immediate visual reference, the photographic image incorporated within being of a suitable vintage to accord with those upon the genuine sources from the albums themselves.

The inclusion of Jongbloed in the Holland squad for the finals seems a genuine wild card, for he had appeared for the national team but twice before, in a friendly against Argentina immediately prior to the World Cup &, previous to that, as a substitute in a match against Denmark way back in 1962 (indeed, it is a remarkable feature that the three goalkeepers in the ’74 Dutch squad had ‘amassed’ a mere 11 caps between them up to the time of the competition, what appears frightening international inexperience for an event of such magnitude), although, as first-choice ‘keeper, he went on to play in all 7 of the Dutch’s teams matches on their way to the Final (hence the memorability attached to the name).

Returning to the present & the 2014 World Cup, this drawing was processed to the nail-bitingly thrilling accompaniment of our favourite 'Celeste' - Uruguay's - 2 - 1 victory over England: great stuff, & a match for our other favourite Italy's win against the same opponents.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #85 (Ove Grahn: Sweden)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

In what seems to be proving a slower week for the drawing project, this most recent subject to be processed represents Ove Grahn, who was selected for inclusion in both the FKS & Panini ‘World Cup ‘74’ collectors’ albums, & the Sweden squad for the finals themselves, where he went on to appear in & throughout all six of the Swedes’ first & second phase group matches.
Unlike a couple of his Swedish teammates, Grahn’s, in common with the far greater majority of the players involved in the ’74 World Cup, is not a name I recall from experience of the television coverage of the tournament, although, having also played twice during the 1970 tournament (& scoring a last-minute winner against Uruguay then), history records a certain World Cup pedigree. He passed away, aged 64, in 2007.

Back in the present (just to prove we can do that too here at TOoT), this drawing was brought to a conclusion to the accompaniment of Spain’s shock demise, eliminated from the current World Cup after only two matches of their defence of the trophy courtesy of a 0 -2 defeat to a most impressive Chile, following their opening, calamitous 1 – 5 capitulation to eventually rampant Holland: how quickly history moves on (although had David Silva scored to make it 2 – 0 at one stage against the Dutch, would that have slowed the process, if not changed the course?).
And why couldn’t Ramos & Casillas have performed quite so incompetently during the Champions’ League Final?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #84 (Juan Rodriguez: Chile)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

The latest randomly-chosen subject is Juan Rodriguez, who was represented in both the FKS- & Panini-published collectors’ sticker albums commemorating the 1974 World Cup, & subsequently selected for inclusion in the official Chile squad for the tournament, during which he appeared but once, in the Chileans’ opening defeat to hosts West Germany, being withdrawn in the 83rd minute.
Although I can recall being aware of Chile’s presence in the ’74 World Cup, none of the individual players’ names registered at the time, thus Juan Rodriguez is another of those many ‘ghosts’ whose presence is hauntologically maintained through photographic record in the physical relics of the items of memorabilia that serve as the original source material for this drawing project. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #83 (Leao: Brazil)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

Today featuring (Émerson) Leão, a sticker representing whom was included in both the FKS & Panini albums published to coincide with & celebrate the 1974 World Cup (the one in the latter serves as the original source image upon which the drawing is based, an enlarged photocopy of providing the immediate visual reference) &, having been selected as a member of the official Brazil squad for the tournament, then, as first-choice goalkeeper, appeared in all seven of his country’s matches on their way to a fourth-place finish, not conceding a goal until the fifth, against Argentina, although the three that followed, to Holland & subsequently Poland, condemned the Brazilians to that unsuccessful defence of the World Cup they’d won previously in 1970.

As with the previous two subjects, Leão’s is one of the names that can be recalled from the televisual experience of the finals, primarily, it’s to be assumed, precisely because their teams were featured more often in their respective advances to the latter stages &, through repetition, gradually became more memorable.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #82 (Wim Suurbier: Holland)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

This latest subject to be drawn from the random generator & represented is Wim Suurbier, another to be featured in both the FKS & Panini ‘World Cup ‘74’ sticker albums, & who was included in the Holland squad for the tournament, where he went on to appear in each of the Dutch team’s seven matches during their progress to the Final itself, nominally as a defender but also required to be a ‘total’ footballer in Holland’s ‘revolutionary’ playing system.
Again, as with the previous example of Wolfgang Overath, Suurbier’s is one of the players’ names that would have registered at the time of exposure to the televised coverage of the finals, via repeated occurrences, & has remained in the memory since. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #81 (Wolfgang Overath: West Germany)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

Today’s randomly-chosen subject is Wolfgang Overath, who was represented in both the FKS & Panini ‘World Cup ‘74’ preview/commemorative sticker albums, & subsequently selected as a member of the official West Germany squad, going on to appear in each of his country’s 7 matches, scoring twice, as they went on to win the tournament.
Given this, Overath’s is one of the relatively few names I remember from the televised experience of the World Cup itself, having inevitably been mentioned on numerous occasions (certainly, I can remember watching the games against Sweden, Poland &, the Final of course, Holland).

Thursday, June 12, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #80 (Jan Tomaszewski: Poland)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

This evening might see the kick-off of the 2014 World Cup, with the hosts Brazil playing Croatia in the opening match, but here at TOoT, whilst we will doubtless keep an eye on proceedings over the next month, we’re very much still & settled in 1974 in World Cup terms (when, in a curious coincidence, then-holders Brazil faced the former Yugoslavia - from part of the ashes of which Croatia has subsequently re-emerged, of course - in the tournament’s inaugural fixture), as the project concerning the representation of some of those players who featured in, & some of those of those who didn’t, continues.

That being the case, the latest subject to emerge from the drawing process is the legendary Jan Tomaszweski, who was selected for inclusion in both the FKSPanini ‘World Cup ‘74’ sticker albums, the Poland squad for the Finals &, subsequently, the team for each of the Poles’ 7 matches in the tournament, where he excelled to the extent of becoming the first goalkeeper to save two penalty kicks at a World Cup, all this in addition to his prior heroics in famously keeping England at bay in the 1 – 1 draw at Wembley that saw Poland qualify for the Finals at their hosts’ expense.
Having already such a high profile enabled Tomaszweski’s to become one of the few names I recognized (quite a few, though, whom were goalkeepers: obviously it’s the singularity of the position that renders its incumbents memorable, more so than many an outfield player) during my first real, concentrated exposure to football as a televised spectacle, & remain in the consciousness, able to be recalled instantly, thereafter.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #79 (Miroslav Pavlovic: Yugoslavia)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

Today’s subject to emerge from the random generator is Miroslav Pavlovic, stickers of whom were included in both the FKS & Panini collectors’ albums published to coincide with the event & who was selected for the official Yugoslavia squad for the 1974 World Cup Finals, but went on to play in only 78 minutes of one match, the final second phase ‘dead rubber’ 1 – 2 defeat to Sweden (the winner coming after Pavlovic had departed proceedings).

Again, the image quality of the photocopy of another of the Yugoslavian photo-stickers displays a particularly bleached result, with the consequence that the drawing based upon this immediate visual reference, with consultation also of a 1:1 scale colour copy of the source, reflects this, suggesting the ‘ghostly’ atmosphere that surrounds the project as a whole – Pavlovic being another of the great majority of the players to feature at the ’74 World Cup who made no impression upon my consciousness at the time of the event & televisual exposure to its action, only emerging from the depths of time over the past couple of years, via the conduit of the sticker albums, when research & preparation for the project began in earnest.

Further to the ‘memorial’ aspect of the drawings, Pavlovic is another of those to feature at the 1974 World Cup no longer with us, having passed away over 10 years ago, early in 2004, & Yugoslavia, of course, is one of those states to be represented at the tournament that no longer exists as such.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #78 (Adam Musial: Poland)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

The latest subject to be randomly-chosen features Adam Musial, who was included in both the FKS & Panini ’World Cup ‘74’ sticker albums (although only the former actually depicts him as such, for in the latter his name is applied to another image of Antoni Szymanowski, who already appears as himself, upon an adjacent sticker) & the Poland squad for the tournament, where he went on to play in six of the Poles’ matches, only missing the opening second phase group victory over Sweden, as they claimed 3rd place.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Recently-acquired Vinyl LP of the Day #3 (The Pastels 'Up For a Bit With The Pastels')

Today presenting, in our occasional series, the very wonderful ‘Up For a Bit With The Pastels', one of the holy trinity of Scottish bands’ debut albums – the others being the Jesus and Mary Chain’s ‘Psychocandy’ & Belle and Sebastian’s ‘Tigermilk’ – that remain so dear to TOoT’s heart & sonic aesthetic ideals (& now all present & correct in vinyl form, it gives us great pleasure to announce, contemplate & enjoy).

This proved to be one of those LPs once & originally owned on vinyl that just had to be reclaimed for the collection as an essential component, the vitality of vinyl being the only way to properly experience the music contained within, from the opening thrill of “Ride” (hold on tight, there), the various guitar-twanging tunes on side one, the chiming bells of the glorious pop of “Automatically Yours”, the fuggy fuzz of “Baby Honey”, to the closing strings of the gorgeous “If I Could Tell You”, classic stuff indeed.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #77 (Stefan Staikov: Bulgaria)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

Introducing a new set of pencils, with slightly different aesthetic results, today’s randomly-chosen subject represents Stefan Staikov, who appeared in the FKS ‘Wonderful World of Soccer Stars World Cup 1974’ sticker album & was subsequently selected for the official Bulgaria squad for the tournament, where he eventually played one match, replacing Rumen Goranov, the Bulgarian’s concluding fixture in the first round group phase, the 1 – 4 defeat to Holland that resulted in their elimination following two preceding draws.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #76 (Joe Jordan: Scotland)

graphite & putty eraser/30x21cm

Today’s rogue in the portrait gallery is, regrettably, the ever-unforgivable (for his cheating hand, literally, in Wales’ elimination from the 1978 World Cup qualifiers)  ‘Volleyball’ Joe Jordan, who was selected for inclusion in both the FKS & Panini ‘World Cup ‘74’ sticker albums, the Scotland squad for the Finals &, subsequently, each of the Scots’ three matches in the tournament, when he scored two of their three goals that ultimately proved insufficient for further progress despite remaining undefeated.

Friday, June 06, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #75 (Luis Ubinas: Uruguay)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

The latest subject features Luis Ubinas, a sticker of whom was included in the FKS ‘Wonderful World of Soccer Stars World Cup 1974’ collectors’ album but who subsequently failed to gain selection for the Uruguay squad for the Finals, thus rendering him one of those particular ‘ghosts’ of the tournament, present yet absent (or vice versa), although he had a considerable World Cup pedigree, having represented Uruguay in all of their matches (4 & 6 respectively) at both the preceding 1966 & 1970 series.  Luis Ubinas passed away in July of 2013.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Season's Review

With the kick-off of the 2014 World Cup now but a week away, bringing with it a focus on international footballing matters, it seems high time to make a brief review of how some of TOoT’s club favourites fared over the course of the domestic season across Europe.

Atlético Madrid, of course, achieved the magnificent feat of winning La Liga in Spain, a quite phenomenal team achievement in the face of the ‘financially-doped’ competition from their putrid ‘Royal’ city rivals & the resources Barcelona – who finished as runners-up in both league & cup - are able to call upon. As has been mentioned in the immediate aftermath, Atlético were also the most unfortunate beaten finalists in the Champions' League, their presence at the event further testament to the team’s talent, class & resilience in the context of distorted competition.

Other champions were Ajax in Holland, for the fourth consecutive season, who then surprisingly missed out on a Double by losing the Cup Final 1 – 5 to PEC Zwolle, &, delightfully, for the first time since 2007, breaking the stranglehold of Partizan, the mighty Red Star Belgrade in Serbia, concluding with a 3 – 3 draw at Vojvodina Novi Sad (having clinched the title in their previous match), who themselves finished fourth in the league.
Further news from the lower Serbian divisions was, frankly, disastrous, with both Smederevo, in last place of 16 teams, & Timok Zaječar, in 13th, suffering relegation from the second-level Prva Liga, the latter losing a final fixture 6-pointer to Inđija who thus leapfrogged to safety (from bottom of the table themselves with 5 games to go, which yielded an impressive total of 11 points, so fair play to them, at least), & the lovely Dubočica Leskovac being demoted from the third-tier Srpska Liga (East) after finishing 16th & last – for a team whose delightfully romantic name should be involved in the business end of the Champions’ or Europa Leagues, such further distancing from is a saddening blow indeed.
Elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia (during the time of which our favourites became established, of course) Hajduk Split trailed in a distant third behind perennial champions Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia, whilst Velez MostarBorac Banja Luka finished 5th & 6th respectively in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Fifth was also the thoroughly undistinguished fate of Internazionale in Italy, a desperately disappointing & forgettable season for the mighty Nerazzurri, apart from perhaps the 7 – 0 away win at Sassuolo, albeit before the hosts had properly settled into Serie A, whilst, in similar fashion, KRC Genk ended 6th in Belgium, declining badly after early season promise had seen them keep pretty good pace with leaders Standard Liege, who themselves faltered to allow Anderlecht to claim the championship.
Things were brighter & more successful elsewhere in Belgium in the form of Westerlo, who were champions of the second division & will be joined in the top flight again next season by (Royal) Mouscron(-Peruwelz), who won promotion via the play-offs, both clubs having failed at that stage in 2012-13. Lommel (United) finished 5th in the second tier, just outside of play-off qualification, but that was a place & 9 points improvement on last season.
Of the RWDMs, the news was less good – the ‘FC Brussels’ version being relegated from the second division, failing to gain a license to continue at that level next season, despite finishing a comfortably mid-table 8th, & the phoenix RWDM 2003 club, born from the demise of the original, failing to complete the season at their lower regional level, & being firmly at the bottom of the table when they withdrew: a sad outcome indeed for one of TOoT’s very favourite European names from the 1970s & that time of getting into football on a continental scale.

Of other names, a new one to the instant-favourites this season, the truly wonderful Kischpelt Welwerwolz (Wilwerwiltz), achieved a most impressive 3rd in their section of the fifth level, given their recent seasons’ history tending  towards the bottom end of the table, & further up the league structure, more delightful news as US Hostert finished second in the ‘Division of Honour’ & thus earned promotion to the top flight again.

Ferencváros’ progress continued with a third-place finish in Hungary, with reigning champions Győri ETO coming up short only on goal difference to their successors Debrecen, whilst MTK Budapest revived to end-up comfortably mid-table.
Vasas, alas, will continue at the second level next season after even good a late-season run of results achieved nothing better than a final fourth place, whilst Szolnoki MAV finished a lowly 12th in NB II.

Saint-Etienne achieved a good 4th in Ligue 1 in France, excellent to see their name up around the higher echelons of the table once again, & only 2 points from Champions' League qualification, so they will have the opportunity to grace the Europa League, whilst another of our green & white favourites, Sporting Lisbon, were second in the Portuguese championship, thus earning themselves a tilt at the Champions' League – how about the 2015 final being between them & Atlético Madrid? In an ideal & gloriously aesthetic world, it might be.

Sparta Praha were crowned champions of the Czech Republic once again, & completed a domestic double with an 8 – 7 penalties win over League runners-up Viktoria Plzen, following a 1 – 1 draw courtesy of a dramatic 95th-minute penalty equaliser.
Also of our Prague favourites, SlaviaBohemians managed to finish a point clear of the relegation places, not least as a consequence of Sigma Olomouc’s failure to win their final fixture, although Bohemians did themselves a massive favour with a last-gasp winner at Jablonec in the previous round of matches, which followed a 3 – 2 Prague derby victory over Dukla.  Bottom club Znojmo lost each of their last 3 fixtures, including a crucial 6-pointer at Sigma, which also assisted Slavia’s & Bohemians’ respective escapes, cue much relieved ‘phew-ing’.

In Germany, Werder Bremen finished a most undistinguished 12th in the Bundesliga, the nadir of a forgettable season being the shameful 0 – 7 home defeat to the always-appalling Bayern Munich, the high point the two derby wins over Hamburg, which somehow felt like less of an achievement given the latter’s struggle in the relegation positions.
The fate of relegation alas befell both Dynamo Dresden, from the Bundesliga 2, & Lokomotive Leipzig, from the Regionalliga Nordost to the 5th level of German domestic football, a tragic descent indeed.
Carl Zeiss JenaFSV Zwickau, formerly the mighty Sachsenring, fared better in the Regionalliga Nordost, but not well enough to gain promotion, thus both will remain in the 4th tier for next season, as will Rot-Weiss Essen, 9th in the Regionalliga West, whilst at the next stage up, MSV Duisburg finished 7thHansa Rostock 13th in the 3 Liga.
Dynamo Berlin represent the success story of the season of the former East German cohort, winning the 5th-level NOFV-Oberliga Nord & consequently gaining promotion to the Regionallia Nordost.

Panathinaikos won the Greek Super League play-off to effectively finish 2nd & qualify for next season’s  Champions’ League, & also won their domestic Cup for a double of sorts.
Of our Ukranian favourites, Dnipro (the formerly magnificent Dnepr Dnepropetrovsk, in the Soviet Russian style we remain ‘Ostalgically’ attached to) finished second, Karpaty Lviv (though we go with the old ‘Lvov’ as preference) a disappointing 10thTavriya Simferopol bottom, although events in the Crimea & the uncertainty thus engendered tended to overshadow the latter situation.
Ararat Yerevan ended fourth in Armenia, a shame after they’d led the league, hopefully, in fine style at the mid-season recess, whilst Wisla Krakow also finished fourth in Poland.
Grasshoppers achieved a creditable second, & Champions' League qualification, in the Swiss league, as did Galatasaray in Turkey, also winning their domestic Cup, followed by a fourth-place finish for Trabzonspor.

Of our favourites in English domestic football, Wrexham ‘achieved’ a frankly disgusting 17th place in the Conference, their lowest ever finish in the league structure, & a steep decline (although perhaps not totally unpredictable) after 2013’s promotion near-miss & FA Trophy triumph.
The mighty Mossley finished 15th in the First Division North of Northern Premier League,  Blyth Spartans 8thMarine a lowly 20th in the Premier Division of the NPL, Stalybridge Celtic 19th in the Conference North, just about saving themselves from relegation, & Gainsborough Trinity little better in 16th, a disappointing decline from last season's 'almost' of promotion play-off defeat.

In the south, Marlow came 17th in Division One Central of the Southern League, consolidation at the higher level after last season’s promotion, & Hendon finished 8th in the Premier Division of the Ryman Isthmian League.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #74 (Dimitar Dimitrov: Bulgaria)

graphite & putty eraser/30x21cm

Today’s randomly chosen subject represents Dimitar Dimitrov, who was selected for inclusion in sticker form in both the FKS & Panini ‘World Cup ‘74’ collectors’ albums but who failed to make the official Bulgaria squad for the tournament, thus casting him as one of the particular ‘ghosts’ of the event, absent at the time yet maintaining an historical presence down the years since via the memorabilia trade.

Research reveals that Dimitar Dimitrov played on 18 occasions for the Bulgarian national team, including a couple of matches in the qualifying competition for the 1974 World Cup & a sequence of friendlies preceding the Finals before missing out on them for whatever reason, then briefly resuming his international career in 1976.

Being the 74th drawing in the ’74 project, we are now at exactly the one-quarter point of proceedings, unless the decision is made to exclude the ‘excluded nations’ as featured in the Panini ’München 74’ album & instead rigorously concentrate upon only the qualifying nations/squads, in which case we’re a bit further along the road to completing what would be a total of 256 drawings.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #73 (Fritz André: Haiti)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

The latest subject to be drawn from the random generator revealed himself to be Fritz André, a sticker representing whom was included in the FKS ‘Wonderful World of Soccer Stars World Cup 1974’ album (from which original source was made the enlarged photocopy, of consequently compromised image quality, that provided the immediate visual reference for the drawing process), & who was selected  for the official Haiti squad for the Finals, subsequently making but one brief appearance at the tournament, against Poland (André was replaced in the 37th minute of the match, by which time Haiti already trailed 0 – 5, hurtling towards inevitable defeat).

Monday, June 02, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #72 (Ilija Petkovic: Yugoslavia)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

This most recent addition to the gallery features the palely loitering Ilija Petkovic, who appeared in both the FKS & Panini ‘World Cup 1974’ collectors’ albums, & was selected for inclusion in the Yugoslavia squad for the tournament, where he played in the first five of his country’s matches (although merely as an 84th minute substitute against West Germany in the opening second phase fixture), scoring once in the 9 – 0 rout of Zaire, only missing the final inconsequential defeat to Sweden (interestingly, the only one of those four named states to still exist as such).

Choosing the sticker from the FKS album from which to make an enlarged photocopy to serve as the immediate visual reference for the drawing process resulted in a most ghostly image, highly suitable for another of the many players who made no inroads into my consciousness at the time of my experience of the television coverage of the ’74 World Cup &, indeed, remained unheard-of until coming into relatively recent possession of the sticker albums that both preview & commemorate the event: given such a source, the drawing  consequently condemns the portrait subject to remain in a state of some obscurity.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #71 (Rob Rensenbrink: Holland)

graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm

Today’s randomly-chosen subject depicts Rob Rensenbrink, who appeared in sticker form in both the FKSPanini albums published to accompany the 1974 World Cup & was selected for the Holland squad for the tournament, where he went on to play in six of seven matches the Dutch contested (missing only the goalless draw with Sweden), scoring once, against East Germany, although history records he was withdrawn at half-time in the Final.

Given the profile Rensenbrink enjoyed during the 1970s – he appeared in the 1978 World Cup in addition to starring for his Belgian club Anderlecht as they reached three successive European Cup-Winners’ Cup finals from 1976, winning the first & last (scoring the decisive equalising goal at Wrexham as Anderlecht overcame their hosts during their progress that first year, & then twice against West Ham in the Final itself as they triumphed 4 - 2) – his seems like a name I should remember from 1974, but is perhaps not, the memory of these other events more likely fixing it in mind, although nothing can be certain.