Yes, ‘waygoose’. It’s a word! Look, it means “An annual feast of the persons employed in a printing office”, and was included in the 1914 Webster dictionary. Hey, we wanted to make the headline at least moderately alliterative, and that was the best we could find. ANYWAY, welcome to the first of our FIFA™ World™ Cup™ South™ Africa™ 2010™ updates, and as we’re still at the stage where no-one’s getting annoyed by vuvuzelas just yet we’ll kick things off with a little history. A look back at World Cup posters.
Now, these are something that you hardly seem to see when the actual tournament is going on, but they tend to be used after the event quite often. The official poster art allows an artist from each host nation to sum up their homeland, the decade, and the continent-uniting power of football all in one simple image. And yet, the practice doesn’t even seem to warrant a Wikipedia entry of its own, nor is there much background information available on FIFA’s website.
Now surely, there MUST be a lot of background information on each poster somewhere, but if there is, it’s not easy to find. Someone, preferably a blog with a surprisingly high Google ranking, really should get around to writing a definitive guide to these cultural artefacts.
GOOD NEWS! Someone has done just that. BAD NEWS! It’s us. Disclaimer: where we aren’t sure of the facts, we are going to make things up. And that will be most of the time.
The first ever World Cup, held in Uruguay and later aloft by the winning captain of that country, and maybe best known for being the World Cup that anyone who could be bothered turning up got to take part. This was mainly due to FIFA still being a relatively new body, and the four British nations abstaining (from the World Cup and FIFA itself), as they were still treating the Home Internationals at the true method of determining the best footballing nation on the planet. And we reckon even then, lazy comedians scoffed at the Baseball World Series only ever including teams from North America. Tsk, eh?
Anyway, the cut and paste approach of the first ever World Cup was reflected in the first ever Official FIFA World Cup Poster, which has entirely out of fuzzy felt. And, it seems, Mr Tickle from Roger Hargreaves’ Mr Men books saving a goalbound shot was the central image.
Famously, the World Cup held under the gaze of Benito Mussolini, with the dictator keen to use the tournament as a means of promoting fascism. Astonishingly, this extended as far as post-mach interviews with goalscorers taking place in front of a backdrop comprised of jackbooted feet stomping on faces, and some controversial pitch-side advertising, as this rarely seen photo of the host nation’s post-final celebrations shows.
The poster itself was a little less overt in it’s support of murderous regimes, seeing a bigshorted sportsman kicking a ball. See, if nothing else, at least fascists in the 1930s knew their marketing. Much like how all marketing executives in the modern day are all fascists! Oh, come on! You wouldn’t come up with a campaign like the We! Buy! Any! Car! Dot! Com! one unless you’ve a deep seated desire to kick everyone who isn’t exactly like you very hard in the face.
Ah, some things are just more fun to say when they’ve been translated into French, don’t they? “Coupe du Monde” is right up there with “ou est le gare” and “bon appetit”. Some may say that we’re being needlessly pretentious when we say that, but we’d say “au contraire”, which is certainly more sophisticated than just saying “bollocks”.
The poster is a doozy, too. A huge golden footballer, standing atop the WORLD ITSELF. It’s quite interesting to see the acronym “FIFA” appear on a poster for the first time too, along with the lesser-spotted “FFFA”. What’s that, you might be asking. Well, as we can EXCLUSIVELY reveal, it’s the remnants of an earlier, less successful draft of the poster.
1942: NO WORLD CUP
Due to World War II, there was no World Cup tournament, but few people realise that FIFA actually did commission a poster regardless. It only got as far as the draft stage, and included an image of two footballers tussling for a 50:50 ball, and Hitler ruining everyone’s fun by sticking a fucking great pitchfork through the ball. Boo! Well, in another exclusive, we’ve actually got that original poster design for you! Here! Now!
1946: NO WORLD CUP
1946, and despite the war being over, no World Cup again. With there having been no time for the qualification rounds (and many European nations still mostly being on fire at the time), it was all a pretty unworkable proposition. That said, FIFA did commission another poster for the non-tournament, which AGAIN, we have exclusively unearthed:
PART TWO TOMORROW!