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.
Editor’s note: If you’ve never seen the Premier League Team of the Week designs by Chris, check out this week’s team as an example of his work.
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?
CG: For me, it’s because everything has to be reduced to such a small level of detail, that its fun to see how each artist interprets stuff. I’ve never really played either Football Manager or Sensible Soccer, but I would love to make a pixel-football game. I think it would be a lot of fun.
WST: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us that you think the readers would find interesting regarding the designs?
CG: I think regular viewers of the TotW might notice my obvious and shamelessly bias canonizing of any Hull City players that are picked, but I have been a huge Hull City fan for a long time and I’m loving every minute of our Premier League return. Come on you ‘Ull! (City AFC).
WST: Any plans for a book, comic or website based on the Premier League Team of the Week? Where’s the best place to find your work?
CG: I’d definitely like to take it further, just looking for the right project at the moment, but watch this space. I post them to Reddit.com/r/Soccer every Monday, or you can find them on my website, ChrisGilleard.co.uk or Follow me on Twitter @ChrisGilleard.