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Churchill on the Pitch

Finest Hour 180, Spring 2018

Page 32

By Paul Trevillion

Paul Trevillion is Artist in Residence at the National Football Museum in Manchester, England.


In 1994 the United States hosted the World Cup, and I was the artist on Umbro’s Soccerblast: Legends of Soccer Tour. I worked alongside American soccer superstar Michelle Akers-Stahl; Sir Stanley Matthews, who was England’s wizard of the dribble; England’s 1966 World Cup goalkeeper hero Gordon Banks; and Brazilian legend Roberto Rivelino.

It was my role standing pitch side to draw the goals as they flew in so that the fans could see my images on the big screen high above the field of play.

Michelle Akers-Stahl and Roberto Rivelino hammered the ball into the back of the opposition net again and again, much to the approval of the roaring fans. Even Sir Stanley Matthews, then nearly eighty, raised laughs from the crowd when, with a shoulder feint or body swerve, he left a defender on the seat of his pants.

When the games were over, I had an opportunity to talk to the soccer superstars. On one occasion, I asked Sir Stanley what Winston Churchill had said when he greeted players before matches during the wartime England internationals. These moments were recorded by the newsreels and shown in cinemas. The Prime Minister stopped as he walked down the line of the England team to shake hands and speak with each player.

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