“Everyone can remember where they were when news of the thirteen point deduction came through. Shops and offices emptied onto the street and much of the capital ground to a halt in disbelief. It was up to activists to take a lead in galvanising public feeling and I was proud to do my bit. ‘Clear THAT!’ was created in a single evening not by an artist of genius, but by a FAN, a fan possessed of passion, and anger, and...well, a burning sense of injustice really. The FA had done for us once and they were trying to do for us again. Well over my dead body!! Fleydon is not a door-mat for emasculated bureaucrats!! Fleydon is Passion! Fleydon is Art! Fleydon is Instinct! ....In truth, it was my finest hour...”
Unveiled that same night to roars of public applause, ‘Clear THAT!’ caught the mood of the crowd and sparked the flame of resistance. Never one to shrink from the limelight Fleydon basked in his renewed notoriety. Compared by some for its emotional intensity to ‘Guernica’ by Picasso, Fleydon believes ‘Clear THAT!’ goes far beyond its predecessor. For a start, as he points out, it was in colour...
“I was gently criticised for depicting petty officials spraying blood. In fact the red is actually my own blood and it was supposed to depict the whiff of revolution in the air, not a bloody nose. I had run out of match-pots of blue and black paint, which is why the figure is not finished at the back, so I had to improvise. The book clutched to the stalwart hero's chest is ‘The Spirit of Wimbledon’ that I had just received as a present. I had some yellow paint so put the book in to take up some space on the blue shirt. It works quite well, even if you can’t read it very clearly. Power and learning harnessed to a single cause! Unstoppable, like the club!! I think it is undeniably a great work but I do wish people would stop referring to it as Take That!, which I believe is a modern acapella troupe. I find that demeaning…”
“Clear THAT!” is on display today thanks to the FA. It currently hangs in their Museum of Football Memorabilia at Soho Square