Thursday, 4 October 2007

15. Composition in Green and Brown (DA’s Army)

The struggle with the Axis powers of the FA, Surrey FA and the Ryman’s League, so memorably ignited by “Clear THAT!” gradually became one of attrition and Fleydon’s art adapted to the new air of austerity about the club.

“It was obvious that we were in for the long haul. Everyone knuckled down and ‘make do and mend ‘ was the order of the day. Our boffins worked tirelessly behind the scenes trying to crack the hard shell of Ryman resistance but of course those of us hunkered down in the terraces had no idea of what was going on – we had our own more immediate issues to resolve.”

Those that survived the Points War remember primarily the sense of a small island of resistance taking on an overwhelming force – a forlorn hope, a cry in the wilderness, a small spot of light on a stormy night. But also that spark of proud defiance and willingness to stand up and be counted. Fleydon responded as only he could.

“DA’s Army is pure Home Front propaganda. I knew what was required and I did it superbly. Ok so I went a bit wrong on the European coastline – the Netherlands don’t bulge like that, it’s true and I did start off by painting the sea green under the word ‘Army’, but that’s how it was – I couldn’t afford to start off anew. Those sheets had been donated by one of our wealthier fans who wished to remain anonymous, but we just couldn’t afford to get rid of them.

As to the symbolism, well you’ll note that the heart of the eagle lies directly above Wimbledon whilst the FA symbols are firmly in Europe, enjoying a freebie junket and a liquid lunch before weaving their way unsteadily back to the Channel Tunnel. The 'Army' of the title represents the swell of opinion represented by Don’s fans who would symbolically ‘like to have a word with you’ when the drunken cohorts of the FA finally cross the Channel.

Fleydon paused here as he contemplated the only individual to be explicitly identified on one of his works. A rare honour and an obvious indication of the level of respect accorded the man.

"DA was our Manager at the time who saw us through the worst of times. Sadly after the war finished the electorate rejected him, which I think hurt him after all he had done in the name of the team during those difficult times. He took his rejection with humility though. He was a truly great man and a gent to boot. Sadly he later went into a steep decline and was eventually was forced to find work in St Albans. At least, thank god, he has the memories.”

Composition in Green and Brown (DA’s Army)
featured heavily in the propaganda campaign, being photographed in the South London Press. It was also later incorporated into the Victory Medal design (the famous ‘Pyrrhic Cross’) awarded to all combatants. After the war the original was signed by many of the survivors and presented to DA following his defeat at the polls. It is currently preserved in an official black plastic bin-liner and stored in the great man’s loft.

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