A Note from Phil, 11 May


“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I’m very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”
– Bill Shankly

Having bitten nails at a penalty shootout and chanted along to Smurf in Wanderland this past week, it struck me that I’ve always liked a bit of drama. Like many a ratbag boy-lad, growing up in the salty outer crust of the London boroughs, I loved football. I loved playing football, talking about football, playing computer football and talking about playing computer football.

“Winning doesn’t really matter as long as you win”
– Vinnie Jones

Don’t get me wrong, I was not team captain material, I was sort of mid-pick on the pecking order of the lunchtime kickabout. But at 18 years of age, teenage Phil was selected to play a semi-professional match (i.e we were paid a crisp £10 note and a bag of cheese and onion crisps).

“Behind every kick of the ball there has to be a thought.”
– Dennis Bergkamp

This sudden rise to sporting stardom as the right back of Wallingford Town FC was a dizzying time in my teenagehood. So dizzying in fact that after just seven minutes of this momentous game, I stuck a leg out, gave a penalty away and was promptly red carded. The Wallingford Town FC manager (his name was Andy, managers are always called Andy, there must be something in the coaching guidelines about being called Andy) gently patted me on the shoulder and firmly whispered in my ear that I didn’t need to come to training next week.

But the semi-professional football league’s loss is the small-to-medium theatre sector’s gain. Am I right?

Smurf In Wanderland finishes this Saturday, so it’s your very last chance to talk football (and play foosball) in the Griffin foyer. Don’t miss out.


Phil Spencer
Studio Artist