Watford FC's most memorable moments captured by artist Alex Bennett in his illustrated Football Mishmash: The History of Soccer in One Image (From Watford Observer)
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Watford FC's most memorable moments captured by artist Alex Bennett in his illustrated Football Mishmash: The History of Soccer in One Image
Some of Watford FC's most memorable moments are captured by artist Alex Bennett in his illustrated Football Mishmash: The History of Soccer in One Image
It’s got to be among the most ambitious illustration projects ever conceived: capture the whole history of football in a single image.
Some 1,600 caffeine-fuelled hours later and artist Alex Bennett has done just that – and his incredible Football Mishmash is now available to buy.
There are more than 500 memorable moments from the beautiful game to be found in the picture (48in by 34in), from Zidane’s notorious headbutt on Materazzi to Sylvester Stallone’s penalty save in the movie Escape to Victory, to a timeline of David Beckham – and his haircuts.
“Like most children of the ‘80s I was a huge fan of the Where’s Wally books,“ says Alex, cartoonist for the Watford matchday programme and an Upper Rous Stand faithful of 25 years. “I realised a few years ago that there had not been a crowd scene that depicted a football crowd in such detail.
“I always knew I was going to finish it, I just didn’t know when! I actually enjoyed creating it, although there were moments when at 2.30 in the morning I was drawing things like the infamous image of Vinnie Jones grabbing Paul Gascoigne’s private parts and I wondered ’what on earth am I doing?!’“
The finished piece is a humourous, detailed history of soccer with some 3,000 figures to be found within.
“I would ask friends for historic moments in football they thought I might have missed,“ explains Alex. “More often than not I would have already put them in but occasionally someone would mention something I hadn’t done. This incident would then bug me to the point that I had to get it in as soon as possible!
“The biggest challenge, and one of the most time consuming aspects, was far and away the composition of the illustration and putting everything in so it was all clearly visible. Because I drew each incident individually, during the latter stages it was like putting together an 8,000 piece jigsaw.“
Alex’s love of football goes back to the time when, aged six, his father took him to see Watford play Wimbledon.
“We beat them 1-0 with a textbook Luther Blissett header,“ says Alex, 32. “I remember it like it was yesterday!
“I’ve tried to stay neutral but there’s quite a few memorable Watford incidents included in the image like Nick Wright’s overhead kick at the Play-Off Final, Pierre Issa falling off the stretcher in front of the Rookery stand in 2001 and Lloyd Doyley’s first goal after 234 appearances in 2009. Harry Hornet and Elton pop up too.“
It’s the kind of picture you can lose yourself in for hours and there are plans for the design to be made into jigsaw puzzles, stationery and even wallpaper.
“Without doubt the most satisfying part is the reaction of people when they see it for the first time,“ says Alex. “It also gives me a great deal of pleasure when someone notices something that they don’t even think I’ve noticed!“
Check out the full Football Mishmash illustration and order prints from: www.footballmishmash.com