Life Lessons of the Utility Man

Life Lessons of the Utility Man

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Acrylic - Novermber 2013
50cm x 50cm

This is a painting of Leeds United legend Paul Madeley, who was so talented he could play virtually anywhere on the pitch and did so with humility and without regard for his own career (he would probably have played many more times for England had he stuck to one position). He played in the great Leeds teams of the late 60s and early 70s.

I always felt an affinity with Madeley, that desire to prove wrong the old cliché “jack of all trades, master of none”. He turned versatility into an art form, something to be enjoyed in itself - my own ‘career’ has followed a meandering Madley-esque experiment in several different fields.

The concept of the Zentral defender is that Madeley, in his ego-less way, attempted to transcend our obsession with roles, formations and positions, unconsciously mirroring what was going on in Dutch football at the time.

And, of course, my mum fancied him.