Five Questions For Cultured Football: Dan Leydon, Football Illustrator

Over the years, Dan Leydon has emerged as one of the finest football illustrators out there thanks to a variety of styles and ideas that showcase both his talent as well as his creativity. His work has appeared in books, on websites, prints and posters (which are available here).

Favourite ground visited?
I have to say getting to Camp Nou is always great. When sitting before kick off the scale of the arena really hits home and it’s exciting to even be there. In recent times it’s taken on extra reverence as Messi and co are plying their heavenly trade on a weekly basis and the place has the vibe of a footballing cathedral. I’ve always been sat high up behind one of the goals when I’ve gotten to a match and there’s a totally different communal feeling to a match day in England for example. The balmy evening air helps a lot too.

Camp Nou (Source: Wikipedia)

Is there a football kit that you would happily wear around all day?
The Boca home shirt is perfect in my eyes. The colours, the layout, the association with Riquelme; it’s gorgeous. Saying that, I don’t know too much about the club.

Which is your favourite football book?
I got a lot out of ‘Pep Confidential’. It’s a fascinating read detailing Guardiola’s day to day method of channeling his obsession with soccer. The author Martí Perarnau got to shadow him throughout his first year in Munich. Coming away from it I got the feeling he’s a world class educator as well as a world class coach. He takes an holistic approach to getting his ideas across and you get to track the change in his squad’s understanding of intricate tactics which can change on the fly.

Apparently Guardiola can take his mind off football for 31 minutes, no more. I love the idea of someone dedicating themselves entirely to pursuing perfection in something. I’d recommend the book to anyone interested in passionate characters. There’s even detailed accounts of his dinners with Gary Kasparov. What more do you want?

Boca’s kit as modelled by Roman Riquelme (Source: Golazo Argentino)

Which footballer (past or present) would you most like to spend an afternoon talking to?
Rafa Benitez. He was a footballer for a while. I think I’d need to be ushered away because I am so interested in him and the way he operates. Fingers and toes crossed that he brings out an explosive autobiography some day.

Goal or moment over which you always get emotional when you think back to it?
Margaret Aspinall thanking Rafa at the Hillsborough memorial. I cry every time I watch it. It’s lovely when you see people in a group sharing one emotion. When the attendees start the Rafa chant you can see how much it means to him. It’s just an example of people coming together to try and stem the pain of a tragedy. It shows how football is a great social connector that can facilitate all sorts of experiences.