For the past several months, one of the treasures of Reddit’s soccer section has been the brilliant and irreverent Premier League Team of the Week images. The intentionally retro design that looks like an 8-bit video game have been visually stunning. But for hardcore soccer fans such as myself and others, the team selection and slice of humor in each image always make Monday mornings something to look forward to in order to see what he does next.
‘He’ was a mystery until last week when the designer contacted me directly. Chris Gilleard is the man responsible for the series, so I thought it’d be an ideal opportunity to learn more about his artwork, who he is and where he’s heading.
Here’s our interview with designer Chris Gilleard.
World Soccer Talk (WST): When did you start doing them, and where did you come up with the idea of doing the Premier League Team of the Week?
Chris Gilleard (CG): During the summer after I graduated from my illustration course, I had a little time to work on some new stuff. As a fan of football, I started making a little player model and found it fun to do ‘de-resolutions’ of Premier League kits. I just wanted to put them to some sort of use, so I just lined them up and made a regular Monday-morning habit out of it.
WST: How do you rate the players? Is it based purely on your subjective analysis, or is the Team of the Week based on concrete ratings?
CG: I actually use the team picked by BBC’s Garth Crooks. I like a good old-fashioned pundit’s perspective, as I’m not a great fan of stat-first analysis. As I post these primarily to Reddit.com/r/Soccer, the image is really just a springboard for discussion and argument as to the weekend’s performances. I think it’s impossible to pick ‘THE’ team of the week anyway so I’ve just stuck with a regular source (albeit a source that induces heated criticism, but that’s just a catalyst for discussion).
WST: What’s been your favorite Team of the Week thus far? We particularly enjoyed the recent one with Alan Pardew getting manager of the week and receiving a title belt from his future boss Vince McMahon.
CG: I think I’d have to agree. I actually wasn’t fully aware of the whole McMahon buyout rumor even as I was donning Pardew in his leotard (as I was going to make him a wrestler anyway), but luckily I did some last minute googling and learnt it was particularly relevant.
I’m lucky that the Premier League throws up so many little stories and nuggets of drama these days. It’s rare to not have something to satirize.
WST: There’s a beauty in pixelation. Why do you think it gives people a warm and fuzzy feeling? Also is ‘Premier League Team of the Week’ a throwback to the early versions of Football Manager or Sensible Soccer, or similar football computer games?