Athletico Tortured Artists FC

The origins of BAZ can be traced back to the infamous artists football team Athletico Tortured Artists FC.

ATA FC emerged as a force in the Birmingham Leisure Leagues Moseley Rugby Club Wednesday league towards the end of 2008. Subjected to 9 -0 thrashings and verbal abuse from 15 year olds on a weekly basis, ATA FC left the league with their heads held high and a goal difference of minus 62 (conceded 65, scored three). ATA FC relocated to an altogether smaller pitch / cage to play amongst themselves as they underwent an intensive process of re-branding, confidence building and writing excessively detailed match reports about themselves. 

Following this, BAZ members Christolopolous F Polman and Mark Westerbrooker organised the BAF Cup, a national artists football tournament in 2009. 

The Holt Street Hussle

AC Tortured 18 - 16 FC Dynamo/Eastside projects

AC Tortured: Vesterbrucke, Stringer Bell, Whipps, Not So Effete Now Phil Barber, 18th Century Man        

FC Dynamo/Eastside projects: Wade the Elder, Lester Freaman, The ‘Guvnor’, Brother Mouzone, Thumper

Holt St witnessed another fiercely contested match between the two great rivals of artist’s football as the players of ACT and DA battled it out for selection to the eagerly anticipated BAF tournament at the end of the month. 


Hoping to somehow catch an imaginary manager’s eye, players from both teams put in a tough performance to demonstrate their BAF tournament credentials before the upcoming squad announcements.


Rumours of bribery and corruption have continued to surface from ATA FC’s training ground in recent weeks but after the tabloid shanannigans of the private view fest that was the May Day Eastside openings, it was Whipps who caused the biggest surprise by running out in the blue shirt / tatty red bib combo that now seems to represent AC Tortured’s home kit. Rumours of him transferring to ESP continue to exist but there had been no exchange of brown paper bags, or even one-day comics, but Wade the Elder will surely one day get his man.


ACT fans must now know they have to savour the sight of seeing the young trompadour Whipps playing in the famous red and odd shades of blue before he inevitably moves to the Dayglo pastures of ESP, where it is thought he will see out his George Best ‘where did it all go wrong?’ years.


Stung by Whipps Loyalty to ACT Wade the Elder and James ‘Lillie’ Langdon took the opportunity to team up with the disaffected DA team to put in some early tackles on what is becoming a dominant  AC Tortured team.


Inspired by Eastside Projects kitman Tom Bloor ( who had gone round the previous week head butting anyone who doubted ESP’s title hopes) the luminous boots of WTE and LL went in fiercely from the beginning, storming DA/ESP to an early 5-2 lead. Through the Langdon goggles, all was rosy.


Hurt, confused and lethargic ACT were now on the verge of an unprecedented defeat. But the galling sight of Colonel Daniels high fiving his troops finally stirred the Stringer Bell and Whipps striking partnership in to action. Surely these two are going to set the world of artists football alight come May 23rd as the took the match by the scruff of its Birmingham art world standard issue blue winter coat collar and powered ACT in to what would become an unassailable lead. Tait and Thumper responded with 2 goals for DA/ESP past the feeble, and often infuriatingly doing sit ups, Vesterbrucke.


Canny operator Club Chairman and Shop Steward Bell will also surely be aware that any transfer fee for Whipps will no doubt increase when the world can see his class on a bigger stage. (Word is that Bell’s after a black smart car like the one ESP allegedly wooed Whipps with earlier in the season to tow behind his decorators wagon. Rumours that this is to transport Henry Rogers between residencies are as yet unfounded). 


As the game wore on players became increasingly edgy at the thought of injury with The ‘not so effete now’ Phil Barber showing he can mix it with the big boys. Positioned on the right of midfield meant NSENPB was regularly up against DA’s Andy Broad St (affectionately known as ‘Thumper’) who has a feared reputation as a no holes barred tackler. The Andy and Phil show made for an interesting sideline to the evening’s match which also saw verbal fisticuffs between spurned lovers Wade and Whipps.


Emotions run high in these games but new rules did seem to be established (above head height ok, no slide tackles allowed, don’t drink from Frank Subotka’s water) and needless to say there were handshakes all round at the end.


The game finished 18-16 to ACT and will be remembered as the day when the race for the BAF MUG properly began. Both sides are looking fit and ready and all thoughts now are starting to turn towards that fateful day in May.

Final Score ACT 18 – 16 Dynamo Artists / Eastside Projects 

Matt Motson

Burwood's Absence Exposes Dynamo Frailties As AC Take Control 

FC DYNAMO ARTISTS  (‘mixed fabrics’)12 - 30 AC TORTURED (‘Reds’)

FC Dynamo: Whipps, The ever effete Phil Barber, Essen, Wade the Eldest, Langdon. 

AC Tortured: Poolman, The 'Guvnor', 'Brook', Thumper, The ever effete Phil Barber’s Brother ‘Mike’


Shock waves were sent round Holt St when at five past seven it became clear that lovable Chimney Sweep and fan favourite Dan Dave Burwood would not be making his usual entrance to the pitch, changing from one period costume to another whilst stumbling over his bike, or indeed be taking any part in the night’s proceedings. 


Rumours circulated as to the reasons for his disappearance but this, and the continued absence of Stuart Tait (tai chi over kill), Jacob Masters (web finger) added to the fact that it appears that the MLS has now permanently lured Alex Marzeta to the land of the chilli dog ( he was last seen in New York on Google earth dressed as ‘Bubbles’ fromThe Wire) meant another massive overhaul of the teams. 


Transfers between the two rival teams were decided clandestinely by the bin before the game by ‘Stringer Bell’ Poolman and ‘Avon Barksdale’ Tom Grosvenor, seemingly on the basis on what everyone was wearing. 


Mark Essen (Ziggy) made his second appearance for Dynamo, having been part of the loan deal that took Gaz Hughes (Herc) to Berlin Sausagemakers. Essen’s arrival had clearly upset Matt Westerbrucker (Frank Sobotka) who had changed his name by deed poll in an attempt to be in pole position to receive the player with most German sounding name award. 


Westerbrucker was also amazingly exposed as the brains behind a bizarre failed plot to win car of the year in last week’s game when he had arranged for some heavies to impede the Essen’s vehicle. 


Stringer Bell wisely chose to keep them apart for this game by placing them on opposing teams and advising both to stay in goal for most of the game. This didn’t however stop the irrepressible Westerbrucker, who made an outrageous attempt to bug Essen’s goal with the old ‘hoodie left in the goal mouth’ routine. This one will surely run and run at least until Tait ( Brother Mouzone) returns. 


Whipps (Sgt. Ellis Carver) had defied the odds again by appearing to shave off another 10 years off his dubious age by turning up in a full Blues home kit giving him the appearance of a club mascot. The fact that he pleaded that this was down to sheer economy (£10 from SPORTS DIRECT) wasn’t washing with anyone, and most people’s suspicions were confirmed by the fact that gave an ongoing running commentary every time he touched the ball throughout the game. 


The Ever Effete Phil Barber (Greggs) appeared also to be in on this replica kit wearing but had bought the unliked 0607 home kit, a classic EEPB error. This was however trumped by the twinkle toed one by bringing along his mercenary younger (but older looking) brother Mike (Poot), who was to put in another strong performance in payment for half a coke and a bag of crisps. 


The game kicked off and there proceeded to be a change from the usual edgy first 10 minutes with AC Tortured imposing themselves quickly on the FC Dynamo defence and striding in to a 4-0 lead. The home crowd went quiet and Dynamo were creaking with some divisions in the ranks being exposed. It took club mascot Sgt Ellis Carver to change the flow of the game as he set about imposing himself on the AC defence. This led to some tough exchanges with Andy ‘Thumper’ Broad st (Bodie) and Old Man Frank Sobotka, who surely by now should be playing in an old masters league somewhere else. The Sergeant certainly gave the orders and before too long Dynamo were back in it with 3 quickly taken goals. 4-3. Quarter of an hour had passed and both teams were knackered with one eye on the clock. Fearing that the first team to demand for a half time break would be exposed as lightweights both teams continued to blindly kick hacks out of each other for an hour and a half in which time the scoreline rose to 21-11 to ACT. It took union man Frank Sobotka’s son Ziggy to call time and keep hold of the ball so everyone could stand in their goalmouth and pretend they weren’t hurting half as much as they actually were. 


New Dynamo signing Wade the Eldest (Colonel Daniels) had had enough and came out for the second half recharged by writing a half time press release about Kurt Vonnegut.  He continued to inspire others and gave another storming performance, linking well with The Sergeant and EEPB but they were overall powerless to prevent Iron man Tom Avon Barksdale and the lolloping Stringer Bell from casually extending AC’s goal tally as the Dynamo defence continued to be caught on the break. Despite Frank Sobotka’s best attempts to undermine any advantage his team had gained, AC asserted themselves in to what would become an unassailable lead. 


As the game petered out and Whipp’s had his customary 5 minute lie down, it became apparent that no one had seen The Thinking man’s Edgar Davids/ James Langdon /Lester Freamon for some time, indeed he was conspicuous by his absence. Choosing to wear his black Marks and Spencer pyjamas for the game TTMED/JL/LF had made some early impressive runs up the left wing but as the game had progressed had voluntarily retreated back to the Dynamo defence. Odd, as he seemed a potent part of Dynamo’s attack. 


It what can be classed as a Matt Motson exclusive I can now reveal that TTMED/JL/LF was in fact communicating via his swimming goggles, throughout the match with 18thCentury Dan Burwood who had become stuck, Quantum Leap-esque in a future dimension. RUSTY. It turns out that throughout the match Langdon was in fact collecting rubbish to send to travelling man Burwood so that he could power his rusty fixed wheel postman’s bike BACK to the future to collect an item that a future Langdon had bid for on e-bay in the year 2056. 


The only problem was that the money Langdon had used in the future to bid for his purchase was reliant on a bet he had placed on the score being EXACTLY 12-30 to AC Tortured. This scoreline would also ensure Burwood’s safe return by mirroring the calibration on his bike lock thus allowing his flux capacitor to be recharged. It would also explain the tension and the late onslaught of goals that Dynamo proceeded to let in as the clock ticked away. 


Quite what this all means for next weeks match is unclear. What was Essen’s involvement in the downfall? Will Burwood return from the future to sturdy up Dynamo defence? Will anyone really care? Find out next week as the rivalry goes on.



Matt Motson

Whipps Wonders Steal March on Rivals

By Matt Motson

AC TORTURED  14(?)    -      7    FC DYNAMO ARTISTS

In what became a hard fought and frankly, over physical game, the APL resumed its competitive edge for the summer season. Barring a meta narrative injury to Stuart Tait, Jake Master's finger strain and the continued absence of Alex Marzeta (last seen boarding a plane to play for Ecuador on international duty) both teams were back to full strength. The exertion and slight inertia of last week’s international friendly with America had been put to one side but Whipp’s toe remained a concern.

Conditions were unusually balmy with the match being the first game to kick off in daylight. This exposed the rather primitive changing facilities at Holt St and the ever effete Phil Barber was seen struggling with a towel round his waist trying to change in to his pre moulded inner body layer. Dan Dave Burwood surprised everyone by arriving a full 5 minutes early, presumably getting leave from his day job at a Victorian Manchester workhouse.

In a scene reminiscent of ‘Back to the Future’ Burwood freewheeled down the embankment on a what appeared to be a World War Two era, air raid marshal’s bike, seemingly preoccupied with the time on the large university clock on the side of a building, he repeatedly indicated that it was stuck at five to seven. Team-mate’s suspicions were further raised when he was overheard to mumble ‘Marty! Marty! It’s worked! It’s worked!’ in to a walkie-talkie concealed somewhere in his BBC costume drama attire.

The teams warmed up and looking for any glimmer of inspiration, and ever the fashionista, Dynamo Artist’s captain Matt Westbrook walked on to the pitch donning a vintage 1984 England ‘Admiral’ kit. Such a shame the 1984 version of Westbrook could not also be present as the unsettling sight of his bulging frame, shrink wrapped in to shiny polyester was thought to upset and distract his fellow team-mates.

Bizarrely new ACT signing James Langdon, perhaps expecting a swim off, appeared to be wearing goggles or some sort of advanced Nintendo Wii application.  It later transpired that this was an attempt by the pyjama bottomed and fold away bike expert to view the game purely in fluorescent colour. Quite how this will function with the expected return of Marzeta next week is unclear.

The game kicked off and there proceeded to be an edgy first 10 minutes with AC Tortured imposing themselves on the FC Dynamo defence but without any return. Dynamo were creaking though, with ACT new signing Wade the Elder starting impressively, passing to feet and making the most of the indecision that seemed endemic in the Dynamo ranks. Phil Barber was already despairing at the lack of numbers in defence and it was no surprise when a Westbrook defensive error let in Whipps who fired home to score the first of his many goals. This was swiftly followed by a belter from the inimitable Wade the Elder.

As the ball hit the back of the net and in to a sportsworld rucksack, it was as if the dramatic music that accompanied the German goals in ‘Escape to Victory’ could be heard in the minds of the team in blue. The omens indeed did not look good for Dynamo.

Quite what happened next may go down in FC Dynamo history. A glance around his team gave Captain Westbrook all the motivation he needed. The dejected Andy Broad St sat motionless on the floor, head in hands. Phil Barber appeared to be repeatedly making the 'Lineker eyes' to an imaginary manager on an imaginary bench. Herr ‘Gaz’ Hughes just stood there, wryly shaking his head, muttering something about Arbeloa, whilst the absent Dan Burwood was scaling the fence, seemingly to link a makeshift time travel device between Whipp’s Smart car and the aforementioned university clock.

What would Clough do in a situation like this?  How could FC Dynamo get back into the game? There was only one answer.

CRUNCH! there Andy Broad St tackling everything that moves.

BANG! There’s Burwood, back in the room, cutting out another sloppy Chairman Poolman pass.

WALLOP! There’s Westbrook stamping down on every ACT attacking move     (literally- apologies to all) and...

WHOOSH! ITS A GOAL! The Ginger Pele breaks clear to fire home a long range effort 2-1! Dynamo are back in the game.

GOAL! Some fine interplay from Burwood and Andy Broad St , along with some luck from a fumble by Langdon sees a Barber shot make it 2-2!

and then Dynamo got tired, heads dropped and ACT kind of run away with it…

Final Score:  AC Tortured 14 – 7 FC Dynamo

(to be honest it was probably nearer 20) 


AC Tortured FC: 

8 - Langdon - The thinking man's Edgar Davids  - some great saves and good interplay. After a shaky debut he now looks to be a good signing for ACT. Nice bike.

8 - Wade The Elder - An immediate impact made to the land of APL football with goals and assists aplenty. This imposing midfielder will surely be a keystone of future ACT teams. Uses his experience well. Unusual to see him without his blackberry.

6 - Chris ‘The Chairman’ Poolman -  a quiet game. Perhaps distracted by events off the pitch and rumours of financial meltdown. Seemed to be carrying a lot of cash towards end of game though- is there a bung culture at ATAFC? more next week.

9 - Whipps The Wondermeister. What more can be said about this young trompadour? Is he Benjamin Button-esque actually getting younger? Where does he get his energy from? Is it a beard or a tache? Why did he buy a smart car? Playing out of his skin to justify the expense of buying a new England shirt .

8 - Tom ‘The Guvnor’ Grosvenor - BMAGIC! BMA(G)ARVELLOUS! The Guvnor was up and down the left wing like a young Tony Blair. His silky skills and fitness are rare at this level. 


5- ‘Old Man’ Matt Westbrook – lucky to be on the pitch and visibly aging with each kick. When this player takes the field you can almost here the whimsical melodies of Neil Young serenading his every move. Got a hat trick but his wayward shooting would have irritated the most loyal of FC DA fans. Stay at the back, stay out of trouble. Buy some new kit.

6 - Big Dan Burwood - The loan signing from the 18th century continues to improve, but showed some woeful keeping. Perhaps not yet adjusted to the modern day match balls. 

7 - Herr ‘Gaz’ Hughes  - Soon to be departed Herr Gaz will leave FC Dynamo for a pre planned loan signing to Herta Berlin Sausagemakers and fittingly got the last goal. His trickery and control on the ball will be sorely missed by FC DA who wish him well and a return testimonial one day in the odd assortment of Blue that constitutes their kit.Is Marzeta out there? Can he accept the mantle that Hughes has left? Auf Weidersen, farewell, wish me luck, say goodbye Hughes was not heard to say.

5 - ‘Andy’ Broad St – by his own high standards the ‘thumper’ had a bad day at the office. Still in line for 'name that sounds most like an entertainment district' award at the end of the season awards.

6 - Barber 'El Nino' – seemingly out of the game for long spells but he still managed to twinkle toe it up with some neat interplay. How does he do that drag back thing? Great words of inspiration. Chin up PB they'll be better days than this.

A Brief History of Artist’s Football in Birmingham 

The whole world + artist’s football = the whole world but with a bit faux partisanship 

Why Birmingham? 

The story of artist’s football is a chequered one, akin to watching a box set of ‘The Wire’ with the curtains drawn. 

It all started in early 2007 when a syndicate of 5 businessmen of ‘Old Birmingham’ notoriety were notified by an anonymous text to meet at midnight in the centre of Calthorpe Park, a neglected area of greenery south of the city that attracts all that is rare in life. 

It would later transpire that these 5 men’s involvement in a match that would be dubbed the ‘Battle for Calthorpe Park’ would become the defining moment in the history of artists’ football. 

The clandestine meetings appeared to be set to coincide with when Art Monthly came out and each member was instructed bizarrely to bring nylon offerings from Sports World as well as energy drinks in the colour of that month’s front cover. 

Present at these moonlight meetings were founder members Jacob Masters, Robert Grose, Chris Poolman, Tubs Westbrook and various other housemates of Poolman’s ‘Fawlty Towers-esque’ B’n’B that he was running at the time. These ‘Fathers’ of artist’s football, as they would soon become known, would describe themselves as the ‘Lumina Taverna’ society, due mainly to their connections to a local hostelry (and a basic attempt to drum up some sponsorship). 

The moonlit conditions encouraged early Lumina Taverna discussions to veer between pressing social issues such as basic car maintenance, doner kebab pizzas and whether you could really fit 120 people in the back room of the Lamp Tavern. Discussions were brief though; people either ran around the park to warm up or sat back in their cars to listen to the radio. 

There were however some intense debates on the work of conceptual artist Peter ‘Sol le’ Withe, who had been one of the first to reference the many links between art and football. Withe had recognised primarily that the ability to deliver short, sharp directives at a specific audience in a structured format was common to both art and football, and hence at the core of both of their definitions. Withe, of ex-Aston Villa fame, had famously declared in Sentence 6, his seminal text ‘Sentences on Artists’ Football’ (1969), that: 

If the artist changes his mind midway through the execution of the pass he compromises the result and repeats past results. 

The Lumina Taverna Society Fathers could see no truer logic than this and applied their illogical minds to applying his rational theory in a mystical way. To this day the Fathers have never missed a penalty. History has been extended. 

Before long, discussions between the society members turned to actually playing a game of football. Self taught theorist Chris Poolman would not allow such rashness until some mental stretching had been done. For a game to occur he demanded that a name must be chosen by all who sought to play in a team. Rules would also have to be established. 

As the originators of artists’ football, The Fathers decided to name a team that primarily had alphabetical superiority. This would mean they would appear permanently top of all arts listings, especially the ones at the back of Art Monthly, and also guarantee a top position at least once a year in any league they enter. Agreed on this, the name also needed to represent the vague continental philosophy of its members and sound a bit ‘emo’ to attract younger ‘academy’ players. Athletico Tortured Artists was born. 

Games could now commence and though rules were a bit Spartan in these early exchanges, skills and fitness never got in the way of a sense of camaraderie being built up. In general, pushing people over in the mud and kicking people on the shins was allowed, but if you blazed a shot wide it was deemed un-gentlemanly conduct to not retrieve the ball yourself. It was also apparent that if you misplaced a pass to another society member, you had to immediately hold up your hand and affect a demeanour of sincere apology, even if you didn’t mean it. It was established that if a player was ‘losing it’, it became common parlance to adopt the ‘Lineker eyes’ gesture and point towards an imaginary bench. 

In the absence of anyone to play, no competitive balls had yet been kicked in anger. Ball skills, or ‘showing off’ as it was called, were frowned upon but generally attempted by all. The inadequacies of the early footwear of the Lumina Taverna Society and the boggy state of the pitch were often blamed for poor control or unwillingness to run. Masters in particular insisted in playing in brogues, until a horrific slide tackle meant that he boarded the number 45 bus and had to circle the inner ring road stuck in the luggage rack. 

Indeed the dim conditions were also causing some of the Lumina Fathers to doubt the true identity of Chris Poolman. It was commonly thought that the lanky character was an elder of a lost Canadian Farmer’s tribe who laid claim to the territory of South Birmingham between the 45 and 35 bus routes, where Calthorpe Park now stands. These suspicions appeared to be confirmed by the fact that he would repeatedly wear a coat made of a specific Canadian Farmers’ tartan to the midnight meetings. 

It was only a chance meeting in daylight between Grose and Poolman that revealed Poolman’s true identity. Grose had briefly seen a flash of the tartan whilst working on a thesis on Baudrillard at a table in a local public house. Following the distinctive pattern outside, Grose proceeded to overhear conversations between Poolman and a man he only referred to only as ‘E.F.W.’ They appeared to be discussing the state of the pitches at Calthorpe Park and a Brown paper package was exchanged between them. 

Intrigued as to the identity of E.F.W., Grose confronted Poolman as he returned to his pint of lime and soda. Poolman was unwilling to divulge the nature of the exchange and that he couldn’t say any more at this stage. He did though agree to a daylight meeting of the Lumina Taverna Society to discuss, what he described as dramatic developments in the development of artists football. (He also indicated that the texts they had been receiving had actually meant 12.00 noon on Saturdays, not midnight, and that this was the time that the Society should now meet. This brought much relief to everyone, especially Westbrook who had discovered through a later inspection of the minutes of previous meetings, that he had been alone one particularly dark night in December talking to a tree and a goal post.) 

Saturday arrived and the Society Members stood in the middle of Calthorpe Park but were now surrounded by young children howling with derision. The colours of the team kit had already been decided in a previous midnight meeting and in view of the dark conditions they had gone for a rather garish combination of day-glo and fluorescent colours in an attempt to see one another. 

It’s true to say that the bright pink, blue, yellow and green strip that would characterise early ATAFC outings was never truly loved by the Lumina Taverna founding members and was especially loathed by later signings such as Stuart Whipps and Phil Barber. However its origins can be traced back to this time, and what could be found which hadn’t been on the floor at Soccer Direct. 

Poolman however grouped the Society around him and in the middle of a set of goalposts divulged the secrets of his meeting with the mysterious E.F.W. Poolman revealed it was he himself who had summonsed everyone to meet there over the last few weeks and that he had made a shocking discovery whilst researching his tribal heritage on a computer at Birmingham Central Library. A keen researcher, Poolman revealed that a section of Calthorpe Park had been bequeathed to him by his farming ancestors, leading him to contact the mysterious E.F.W. (a mystic from Ladywood), for legal guidance. 

There was an unfortunate hitch as E.F.W. discovered that the deeds Poolman needed to prove his claim for the land were still located in the 18th century, in a large house nearby to Calthorpe Park on Oakfield Road. An analysis of newspapers of that time showed that the deeds to the land were lost in a bet over a football match between Poolman’s elders and local aristocrat Daniel David Burwood. The match would become better known as the ‘Battle for Calthorpe Park’. 

Two teams, Burwood’s ‘FC Dynamo Artists’ and Poolman’s ‘AC Tortured’, had fought out a bitterly contested game for the right to own part of Calthorpe Park, but it was Burwood’s Battlers who emerged triumphant after a dubious offside decision which led to a Dynamo scoring the winning goal right on the final whistle. 

E.F.W. believed that the deeds were still in the Burwood residence, but to claim the right to his land Poolman would have to travel back in time to the 18th century, correct the offside decision that had led to his ancestors defeat, score the winning goal himself and thus retain the deeds; surely an unthinkable task… 

In despair at never being able to claim what was rightfully his, Poolman went home and cooked his usual dinner of baked potato. Later, he sought advice from ‘Google’ where he found new hope. A random search of maps on ‘Google Earth’ and photos on ‘Flickr’ had shown that potentially, there existed a conversion of lay lines, canal systems and bus routes that could make it possible to travel back in time. What he didn’t know was how to unlock the time travelling ‘transfer window’ that would allow him passage back to the 18th century. 

If only he could find the code to enter. And then it struck him… further study of the newspapers of the time had highlighted some bizarre occurrences in ‘The Battle for Calthorpe Park’. For instance, all of Burwood’s team apparently arrived 5 minutes late for the match travelling by pedalo up the nearby River Rea, but AC Tortured had not registered a single goal against what would have been no opposition at all, surely this couldn’t be right?! [could well have been!] 

At another point in the second half it has been recorded that FC Dynamo Keeper Westerbrucker bizarrely repeatedly appears to do 10 sit-ups whilst the ball remains in the AC Tortured half. This seems to have some sort of demoralising effect on the AC Tortured players, making them prone to errors that cost at least 2 goals. Of main suspicion however, was a shot by Poolman-the-Elder, described as sailing towards the top corner when, from nowhere, a dog leaps up catches the ball and runs off in the direction of popular ex-catalogue store ‘Association Football Direct’, only to return with a poorer quality match ball. The goal is never given and the match goes on in FC Dynamo’s favour. 

Poolman’s theory was that if he could recreate all these events in a game of heads-and-volleys between the Lumina Taverna Society, he might just might unlock the transfer window and be able to head back in time to alter history. It was surely worth a go, and the Society (in the absence of any real social life) agreed to give it a go. 

All the team arrived the next Saturday on makeshift wheeled/water-bourn devices, some on bikes, some in smart cars, whilst Westbrook assumed the role of FC Dynamo Keeper ‘Westerbrucker’ and set about doing batches of 10 sit-ups in a faraway goal. All the players set about laying the ball off for Poolman to strike, but despite repeated practice he just couldn’t hit the target. Just as thoughts of the absurdity of this exercise began to loom in the minds of all the Lumina Taverna, something incredible happened… 

It was getting late in the afternoon and with another group of lads wanting to get on the pitch Poolman knew he only had one last chance. The ball broke to Masters, who in his brogues slipped, but inadvertently knocked the ball on to Grose, who was by now lying down, exhausted and breathing unusually heavily in the penalty area. The ball accidentally hit his head though and bobbled up perfectly to the oncoming Poolman, who now seeing his chance, arched his body to smash an unstoppable volley past the sit-upping Westerbrucker. As the ball swerved towards the top corner, time indeed did seem to stand still; there was a flash of lightning and then suddenly, a stray dog who from nowhere jumped up, grabbed the ball and ran off in the direction of the 47 bus in to town. 

All of a sudden everything became sepia toned. The players knew. The Transfer window had been opened! 

In no way a rip off of Quantum Leap, the 4 Lumina Society members had now found themselves involved within the battle for Calthorpe Park and had replaced the original ‘elder’ players of AC Tortured. This was it. All they had to do now was win the game, get the deeds, claim the intellectual property rights to artists’ football and get home. 


Nothing could stop Poolman as he fought out his age-old families’ wrong-doing by charging round the pitch like a pink and blue shirted Steven Gerrard. FC Dynamo with their 18th Century training methods didn’t know what had hit them and could be no match for the effervescent AC Tortured who were knocking the ball around with the precision of an early Frank Stella. 

Aided by their fluorescent kits, which in the smog filled air of the 18th Century were easy to spot, AC Tortured began to dominate the match and soon went 1-0 up. This was followed by a hideous mistake by FC Dynamo’s Wade-the-Elder that made it 2-0 to AC Tortured. Wade put through his own net in a disastrous attempt to subvert the theoretical boundaries of the match, whilst also undermining the accepted rules of the game. 

The game panned out and sure enough come the final whistle, the ball worked its way to Poolman who, played onside by an asleep Grose, scored the winning goal right in front of a crowd largely made up of art world 18th Century luminaries, drinking small bottles of ASDA French lager. 3-0. The deeds to the land roughly in the middle of Calthorpe Park, and the intellectual property rights to artists’ football, now belonged to Poolman. 

Burwood lay dejected, motionless as he begrudgingly handed over the documents. A life of hardship now seemingly awaited him with careers in chimney sweeping, carriage mending and bit parts in BBC period dramas being the only prospects he could reasonably foresee. 

In memory to those historic events, a shirt bearing the Poolman Canadian Farmer tartan is buried to this day in Calthorpe Park under a now empty plinth where there had been a statue of the original Lumina Taverna Fathers: Westbrook, Grose, Masters and Poolman. 

The Plinth is empty due to the bronze statue being bought on ebay by new town, power hungry team Eastside Projects (aka MK Dons) who then used it in part exchange for a deal that would bring the 18th Century Dan Dave Burwood to the present day. The deal also saw the 20th Century Dan Dave Burwood go back to the 18th Century, where he continues to reside, operating a successful business supplying puncture repair kits. 

For the AC tortured team, the win meant an immediate and unprecedented rise to the top of all league and chart rankings. Their unheralded success also places Birmingham at the centre of the artists’ football world, which exists in almost an opposite universe to the conventional game. The Artist Premier League (APL) has witnessed a time where low wages, fast bicycles and small cars are revered, with unwashed kit and theoretical backchat during matches also being highly praised. 

Poolman’s goal is still talked about by many and recent exhibition matches have taken place across the country to satiate the demand of faraway fans desire to see their heroes. The formation of the E.F.W. Academy at Margarine St. has further cemented Artists’ Football status within Birmingham, whilst an attendance of 22,000 was recorded at an Ikon Eastside opening, where many young art aficionados tried to catch a glimpse, an autograph, or even a thumbnail sketch of the AC Tortured stars. Overnight, the success of AC Tortured has changed the way the art world sees group team sports and pink and yellow nylon football kits forever. 

And so the rivalry goes on, and will no doubt continue, at this year’s inaugural British Artists’ Football Tournament where new teams come to challenge the supremacy of AC Tortured. Proposals for all art to stop and football to begin are currently being researched by Club Chairman Poolman. Big things lie ahead. A NAN bursary may also be applied for. 

In the words of Peter ‘Sol le’ Withe: 

No one invented artist’s football. It invented artists. 


ATAFC bear no relation to the team of the same name in Sudbury. 

False rumours of the origin of ATAFC have since been proved false. Mainly those detailing the origin of the team as being part of a bizarre ‘Games Cult’ of performance artists which has since been discredited as spurious rumours started by Eastide Projects Head of Operations, Wade-the-Elder. 

Westbrook has adopted his ancestor’s name of Westerbrucke and continues to talk to trees and goalposts. In order for the transfer window to remain open he must continue to do 10 sit-ups in every match, for eternity. 

Matt Motson, 2009 

Squad Announcements Overshadowed by Eastside Preparation

ATA FC officials sensationally called a press conference last night to announce the squads for the BAF Cup. In the esteemed surroundings of The Prince of Wales, club officials explained to a disinterested audience of Tolkien lookalikes and bearded types that ATA FC would be submitting an A (AC Tortured) and a B (Dynamo Artists) team into the tournament. After weeks of discussion as to the relative merits of putting in two equally matched teams teams or an A and B team, the latter choice was decided upon. This is largely due to the rumours that Jibbering could be pretty good and the increased possibility of Eastside blowing two years worth of BCU funding on flying in Lionel Messi for the afternoon. 

ATA FC officials sensationally called a press conference last night to announce the squads for the BAF Cup. In the esteemed surroundings of The Prince of Wales, club officials explained to a disinterested audience of Tolkien lookalikes and bearded types that ATA FC would be submitting an A (AC Tortured) and a B (Dynamo Artists) team into the tournament. After weeks of discussion as to the relative merits of putting in two equally matched teams teams or an A and B team, the latter choice was decided upon. This is largely due to the rumours that Jibbering could be pretty good and the increased possibility of Eastside blowing two years worth of BCU funding on flying in Lionel Messi for the afternoon. 


ATA FC officials were also slightly perturbed earlier in the evening when Jibbering centre half Dee revealed that Jibbering play 2 hour games on a weekly basis whilst he completed pull ups on a Moose's head. Such dedication to duty appeared to frighten ATA FC personnel who vowed there and then to shun equal opportunities and egalitarianism in favour of a strong side and a slightly less than strong side (but strong nevertheless). 


To prevent any last minute transfer shenanigans (the Whipps-gate affair), the blue kited one has been given the captaincy of AC Tortured. Whipps, whose silky skills are matched only by his vocal ones on the football pitch, expressed his delight this morning at the gates of his decaying compound in Sutton Coldfield (the locals call it Xanadu).


Donning a novelty pair of Radhi Jaidi slippers and a BCFC dressing gown that has clearly seen better and brighter days, Whipps proudly posed for photographers, before giving everyone a nasty shock when he revealed a new Alex Mcleish tattoo on his arse. Dynamo Artists will be captained by Victorian gent and everybody's favourite lovable rogue Dan Burwood.  Burwood who is the bookies favourite to win 'Most Improved Player' at the end of year awards bash was within spitting distance of making the A team. ATA FC officials decided though, that it would be impossible to accommodate a player who wears Dave Thomas's boots.


Whilst Burwood has put his superstitions aside, the majority of ATA FC personnel remain wary of the boots. Only two weeks ago, Phil Barber - in a moment of unexplainable irrationality - touched the boots in question; he has subsequently picked up a minor case of the infamous 'Athletico Ankle'. Burwood was unavailable to comment on the news that he is to captain Dynamo Artists as he was busy opening his latest hairdressing salon 'PERMACULTURE' in Handsworth. Just who will make up the Eastside team is anybody's guess. Disturbing reports today suggest that Eastside associates have been locked up in the VRU unit and made to stare at a Bill Drummond poster for up to 18 hours a day.


The cruel brainwashing device is thought to have been implemented after Eastside bigwigs saw a similar device been used by Paul Ince during his successful spell at Blackburn Rovers. Rumours are that the plan may be already backfiring, after several associates were seen hanging around a corner of Ladypool road this afternoon enquiring after 'a bag of something smelly'. Quite where this leaves Eastside nobody knows. Will Messi be flying into Birmingham for the afternoon? Will the associates be able to keep off the weed long enough to play? Or do Wade and Langdon have something special up their sleeve that the artists football world know nothing about ? 


With only two weeks to go until the most anticipated football tournament in England since the 1966 World Cup, the tension continues to mount. Just how good are Jibbering? Should a street art team be allowed in the tournament? Can you really fit 120 people into the back room of The Lamp Tavern as Landlord Eddie Claims? Who will have the best kit? Should Dan Burwood be allowed to play on his bike? Will it rain? Will teams be able to find Aston Powerleague? With so many questions to be answered, the BAF Cup promises to be the footballing event of the year.


With tickets exchanging hands on the black market for over £200, ebay has noted a dramatic rise in back catalogues of A-N magazine appearing on it's website as hard up artists attempt to generate enough capital to buy a ticket. Six desperate artists were arrested yesterday at Aston Poweleague after their attempts to dig a tunnel into the complex were thwarted. Quick witted powerleague employees thought they smelt a rat when they heard the theme tune from Escape to Victory emanating from a drain.


Upon removing the drain cover, six artists donning Sylvester Stallone masks were found after having tunneled into the drain by mistake. In what vaguely resembled something by Santiago Sierra, the six artists were removed from the cramped drain they had been stuck in for 3 days with only a copy of Art Monthly for entertainment. Clearly distressed at the incident, the 'Aston Six' explained that they were so distraught at not been able to get a ticket for the tournament, that they had decided to dig a tunnel into the powerleague. Security has now been stepped up at the complex, with West Midlands police drafting in an extra 400 officers from London to help with managing the tournament.


Unfortunately, the hooligan element in Artists football continues to rear its ugly head at events such as this. With the infamous Worcester Firm 'Direct Pottery Action' expected to turn up, the Firms of both ATA FC and Eastside are expected to be in attendance. It can only be hoped that the hooligan faction respect football on an occasion like this and keep their disturbance to a minimum. It would be a shame for both football and art if the tournament was ruined by the rampaging mindlessness of a few. 


On a more positive note, Landlord Eddie of The Lamp Tavern has expressed his uncontained delight that the post tournament awards are occurring at The Lamp. Talking to reporters this morning over several Irish coffees, Eddie explained how he couldn't sleep properly at night because he was so excited that such a prestigious event was coming to his pub ('it's great to feel young again'). Tickets for the event sold out last year within 15 minutes of going on sale. The awards ceremony, which builds on the critically acclaimed ATA FC awards last December (the Guardian called it 'insightful and irreverent entertainment. Brilliant stuff') will take a slightly more abridged format this time, after a small minority of attendees complained at the excessive length of the last ceremony.


Punters won't feel that they're been short changed though, as everyones favourite entertainer AC Tortured Captain Whipps will be compering a late night bingo session with all proceeds going to the Ian England Appeal. It promises to be the event of the year. If you haven't got a ticket, get one. 


Westbrook in Huff over POW (Player of the Week) Award

Overweight Dynamo Artists right back Matt Westbrook today sensationally declared himself UNHAPPY at his recent POW award, given for his indomitable performance in Wednesday nights 11-7 win over DA's staunch, and only, rivals AC Tortured.

Westbrook, on loan from the 1987 promotion winning Portsmouth team, revealed his despair at receiving the award at a press conference from his humble 16 bed residence on the outskirts of Birmingham.

Journalists were bizarrely made to fix or clean certain aspects of the fading Edwardian mansion before being allowed to enter the back room to meet Westbrook, still not up and dressed, over a cup of jasmine tea and some wagon wheels.


Faced with the increased praise and fan attention his recent performances have attracted, Westbrook was coy about accepting the award and declared that instead it should have been the rough sleeping Dan Dave Burwood who should have received the dubious award. ‘He had a much better game than me, and worked the space on the left like a South American revolutionary in a missile crisis’ said Westbrook, seemingly continually distracted by the scrabble application on Facebook. ‘Even Marzetta lasted a half and Big Kris scares the shit out of me, so God knows what he’s doing to the opposition…” he went on to say whilst staring at his stolen apple laptop.


Dramatically though, Westbrook then went on to say how he believes his improved form for DA has nothing to do with the clubs new, smaller 5-a-side sized pitch or indeed its close location near two pubs. He wished instead to focus on how his recent performances may be having a negative effect on the club he still dreams to play for again, the FA Cup Winning South Coast illegal gun running franchise, Pimpy.


Since scoring his first goals of the season Westbrook has become acutely aware that his improved performances have also coincided with the poor form of Pimpy, now managed by the reformed Father Jack off Father Ted.

Pimpy were one of the modern day game’s super teams. But with success comes plastic mobile phone holders emblazoned with epithets such as ‘Come on Pimpy, work a bit harder.’


Westbrook continued to recount his acrimonious departure from the Fratton World Heritage Site Stadium.

‘When I was at Pimpy, Harry didn’t seem to realize I was part of the squad and kept giving me the keys to his car and asking me to make sure the tyres got cleaned.’

‘…maybe it was because I still had the ’87 strip on that he didn’t take me seriously. I asked to go on loan. No one seemed to mind. Even Micky Quinn’s shadow seemed to nod in agreement. I knew it was over. It was the saddest day of my life, walking out of that mock tudor chipboard door.’

“Now Father Jacks come in and whilst I’m loving my time in the APL it seems that whenever I play well for DA, Pimpy seem to lose by an increasing margin’

“It’s making my Saturdays unbearable. I still follow Pimpy’s results and sometimes I find myself staring at teletext working out what a draw against Stoke would do.’

‘I haven’t watched Match of the Day for weeks and think the only way to break this run of bad luck for me to disappear like Stephen Fry somewhere, somewhere foreign and grow a beard’

‘I’m therefore announcing I will not be available for DA’s next match against our closest rivals AC Tortured, and am traveling east in a desperate attempt to try reverse Father Jack’s and Pimpy’s fortunes’.

To a rather bemused audience Westbrook then announced he was going for a shower and if someone could hang the washing out that would be great.

Westbrook hasn’t timed it well though, with Pimpy not having another match until they face the perennial big time Charlies Liverpool next Saturday.

Dynamo Artists continue to look elsewhere for inspiration. 

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