Photo finish | Kebab-backed footballer among prize finalists

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Tony Saddique, Red Star Harehills, Leeds, 2004. Copyright © 2004 Paul Blake. Link to Financial Times article.London | Tony Saddique of Red Star Harehills in Leeds is not a well-known footballer. The side is sponsored by a kebab shop. But, until 12 Feb 2006, his picture will hang alongside 59 others in the National Portrait Gallery as a finalist in the Schweppes Photographic Portrait Prize competition. In a Financial Times review, Francis Hodgson reads the clues that portraiture supplies to identity and the photographer’s intent. In this case, photographer Paul Blake—as part of a “Sport for Sport’s Sake” series—has positioned Saddique with a bearing that, to Hodgson, suggests historic poses struck by legendary cricketer W.G. Grace and Football Association principal Arthur Kinnaird. “[A]s a viewer,” writes Hodgson,

I have never heard of Tony Saddique and have to make what sense of him I can. Once I know where to situate him in my mental filing cabinet, the details start to make sense. Clubs called Red Star were traditionally army clubs in eastern Europe under communism. It is possible that the Harehills club was founded by people who knew that and wanted to make a radical or mock-radical point. But there is a cross of St George on Saddique’s left thigh to underline the multicultural side of the scene, too.

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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