Football – 12 July 2021
Even a casual observer will know straight away that this is a painting by L S Lowry. The painting is called Going to the Match, and with it in 1953 Lowry won a competition called Football and Fine Arts. A whole community, men and women, are making their way to the match, forming long queues to get through the turn-styles. The stands are already quite full, so soon the ground will be packed, the noise of the crowd filling the stadium. In the distance is an industrial landscape, showing the places of work for most of those who make up the crowd. The picture offers a sense of community cohesion around a common love for the game. Win or loose, the community is together.
This painting characterizes football from before and after the second world war. It depicts a town called Bolton, where the working class flocked to every home game of Bolton Wanderers in Burnden Park. When the working week lasted five and a half-days, the destination at Saturday lunchtime for most people was invariably pub and then football. However, this lifestyle applied only to the industrial workforce, (the clerks still had long working hours) and soon football became the domain of the working class. This painting was bought by the Professional Footballers’ Association as an investment in 1999 and is now on loan to the Lowry Collection in Salford.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
We were challenged by The Dingoes — they’re the pride of Squatter’s Gap—
To a friendly game of football on the flat by Devil’s Trap.
And we went along on horses, sworn to triumph in the game,
For the honour of Gyp’s Diggings, and the glory of the same.
And we took the challenge with us. It was beautiful to see,
With its lovely curly letters, at its pretty filigree.
It was very gently worded, and it made us all feel good,
For it breathed the sweetest sentiments of peace and brotherhood.
We had Chang, and Trucker Hogan, and the man who licked The Plug,
Also Heggarty, and Hoolahan, and Peter Scott, the pug;
And we wore our knuckle-dusters, and we took a keg on tap
To our friendly game of football with The Dingoes at The Gap …
Edward George Dyson (1865-1931) A friendly game of football