Behold the Don is one of Fleydon’s least regarded works despite being in his own words ‘a spiritual and divine attempt to capture the essence of the men behind the shirt. It is Football as a question, or rather a plea…’ However it is a plea that seems to have fallen on stony ground as it is regularly voted one of Zoo Magazine’s top five ‘Flag’s Fit For Burning’.
Fleydon seems to accept this as the price for ‘baring my soul a little further than was really necessary’ although he cannot help pointing out that he felt at least some of the opprobrium directed was because some were still convinced that the hair of the figure was modeled on that of Peter Winkleman rather than the actual model Luke Garrard. “If it was supposed to be Winkie I’d of done the hair in thick oils!” he chuckled in his distinctive West Country burr “but it was watching Garrard and his refusal to let opposing forwards pass that was the real inspiration.
‘Ecce Homo – Behold the Man’ were the words of Pilate as he threw Christ to the mob, and that’s what I feel like shouting as Garrard takes his place in the team. Behold the Don! He doesn’t normally have all those extra limbs of course – he is no Shiva the Destroyer – but they are symbolic of his determination that ‘none shall pass!’. However, I must concede that he does sometimes have an aura of grubbiness about him (hence his nickname ‘Stig of the Dump’) so I thought I’d put in a bit of grey around the figure, like an aura of soot enveloping a mighty steam locomotive!”
However many are left cold by the religious overtones within the work. Mr Garrard’s feelings on the matter are too well-known to bear further repetition and I was happy to leave this curio of a flag and to move on to other, more rewarding works…
Composition in Grey and Green (“Behold the Don”) remains unsold and is currently being used as a duvet cover by the artist