Previously on BrokenTV’s World Cup Waygoose: we assumed that after a couple of fairly boring official World Cup posters (from 1966 and 1970), the poster for the 1974 tournament in West Germany would be especially dull. Pretty much something like this:
Were we right, or were we just being as stultifyingly idiotic as all the Britons who feel the need to post comments on American sports blog articles about ‘soccer’ angrily exclaiming “IT’S CALLED FOOTBALL”?
(Note to such people: Americans tend to call it soccer, it’s an American website, written by an American writer, for an audience mainly comprised of American people. That’s what they call the sport, as their have their own sport which they call football, you dolts. Would you post on the Gazzetta Dello Sport website petulantly bitching about how “it’s not called calcio, it’s called football”? No, you wouldn’t, so stop being every bit as ignorant of slightly different cultures as you like to think Americans are when they refer to the sport of association football as ‘soccer’. Thank you.)
1974 – WEST GERMANY
See how wrong we were. That right there is a pretty great official poster. A simplistic yet hugely effective action shot of a footballer kicking a football, against a nicely understated brown backdrop. The reliably classy Helvetica used for the text, with the dates of the tournament and the host cities modestly tucked out of the way, and a pleasingly effective “WM74” official logo. We can’t even think of anything nasty to say about it, it’s a brilliant poster.
So, instead, we’re going to be nasty about something on television. Please could anyone involved in BBC Three’s “World Cup’s Most Shocking Moments” please go and live in a ditch from now until the end of time? “Cor, when England ‘aven’t qualified, everyone always support’s whoever Germany’s opponents are, don’t they? We all do! Gorblimeyluvaduck, we all ‘ate dem Germans, don’t we!” Well, no. Some of us have made the logical leap that as no members of the German national team were actually involved in the holocaust, or indeed any part of World War II, there’s no real reason to dislike them in any way, unless of course you’re a bit of a bigoted fuck. Thank you.
And “England’s Worst Ever Team” really wasn’t any better. “Ha ha! Gary Neville’s one of England’s worst ever players, because he once grew a wispy moustache and he’s an easy target for ridicule. And look! He hugged his team-mate and friend David Beckham a few times after he’d scored a goal, so he’s also secretly homosexual! I mean, yeah, he won about 80 caps for his country and I’m just a rubbish stand-up who appeared on a Paramount Comedy Channel panel show twice in 2007 and done little else since and all that, but… wispy moustache! A-ha-ha-ha.“ Really, for making us think “well, that’s a bit unfair” when hearing someone slag off Gary Neville (Gary sodding Neville!), you probably deserve to die in a house fire.
1978 – ARGENTINA
Over to South America for the next World Cup, and it’s in jolly old Argentina, then in the grip of a military dictatorship. POP FACT! The original draft for the poster had the intention more of keeping the visiting journalists in check, lest they ask a few too many questions on why all the poor people have suddenly ‘disappeared’ from Buenos Ares, and what are all these rumours about concentration camps?
1982 – SPAIN
What the bloody hell? The last few posters had seen a return to a motif of “someone actually playing football”, but the poster for Spain ‘82 took things in a wholly new direction. We think, anyway. Though it might not have done. Is that someone playing football? Is that red thing in the top right a football? Is the multicoloured blob in the middle a footballer? Is the oblong in the bottom right meant to be a goal? Or is that in fact the official mascot of the 1982 World Cup, Surreal-O™?
Well, it’s actually the latter. Surreal-O™ became a huge hit in school playgrounds around the globe, and even had his own spin-off animated series. BrokenTV was only a very tiny child at the time, but even we remember dashing home from infants and scoffing our tea in time for the continuity announcement along the lines of “but first on Children's’ ITV, another dose of Dadaist daredevilry from Surreal-O™ & Chums”.
It was utterly brilliant, too. Surreal-O™, along with his best pal “Fergus Fluxus™”, and four-legged sidekick “Nouveau Réalisme The Dog™”, could often be found sitting around in expensive coffee shops pondering the launch of new literary journals, wondering if staying in bed all day could be classed as an anti-art statement, railing against the meaninglessness of broadcast mediums by refusing to appear on screen and speaking only in numbers for an entire three episode story arc, and accidentally smashing his dad’s greenhouse then trying to claim it had never actually been a greenhouse. Ah, happier times.
1986 – MEXICO AGAIN
After the disappointment of the 1970 Official World Cup poster, Mexico were given the tournament again, just so they could come up with a better poster. This was the result.
1990 – ITALY
1990! Thrills! Spills! Bellyaches! Toto Schillaci! A really boring World Cup Final! “That” BBC World Cup Grandstand theme tune that everyone loved, even though we preferred the ITV theme tune that year, because we’re awkward!
An iconic image of The Colosseum, with a crude illustration of a football pitch in the middle, seemingly drawn by someone who didn’t have a bleeding clue what a football pitch actually looks like. We imagine the idea was to use the three colours of the Italian flag; the rosso, the blanco and the, erm, green. But really, if there’s ONE thing you’re going to make green when drawing the football pitch, it should be THE PITCH. The outer perimeter would be the place to put the red, you could just tell everyone it’s a running track or something. But no. They had to go and balls it up.
Maybe they painted in the outer perimeter first, giggling to themselves over what must have seemed like the easiest commission ever. They were just to paint in the pitch itself, when they happened to take another glance at the design brief.
“Oh. Oh dear. It says here ‘and the central illustration MUST contain the three colours of Il Tricolore’… but I’ve already done the outside bits in green!”
“You idiot! We can’t start again, João Havelange is already on his way here to collect the finished artwork! He’ll be furious. Look, er… just colour the pitch in red.”
“But… that’ll look rubbish! It’ll look more like a basketball court, if anything. I won’t even have time to paint in the semi-circles on the edge of the eighteen yard boxes. And he’s bound to notice, he’s the President of FIFA, not some corrupt businessman who only cares about abusing his position for personal gain! We’re doomed.”
”Quick! He’s in the reception area!”
“Ooh, bloody heck!”