before he got his hands on his second Premier League trophy, to talk about his rise from League Two to England number one and the reason he finds Aleksander Kolorov so amusing, which is something we also touched on with City teammate. Vincent Kompany. We also met-up with Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba to talk life in Turkey and more.
Eds Letter Celebrating the spirit of football in a way that RWD never have before, we knew we had to pull out the big guns for this issue. Lucky for you, that’s exactly what we’ve done. Starting with the guy through whom England will play in a style more akin to their hosts than the England we’ve previously known, our cover-star Jack Wilshere has form for sparkling in the light of Brazil, picking up a Man of the Match award in England’s not insignificant 2-1 victory over the tournament favourites at Wembley last year. Sticking with the England camp, we sat down with Joe Hart just
In what has been a football obsessed month, we were lucky enough to witness the next generation of English talent at Nike’s Winner Stays competition in north, south, east and west London, where teams of four faced-off in a high-tempo winnerstays-on feast of pure adrenalin, technique and will-power. Outside of football we grabbed buzzing photographer Eddy Leonardo who told us why he’s #ReadyForAnything, we’ve also tipped Shift K3y as About To Blow. We went Behind The Label with some of the most important movers and shakers in music, while 50 Cent, explained his motivation for returning to hip hop. I told you we brought it.
RWD Team Editor Feature Writer Online Features Contributing Editor Contributors
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Creative Director Designer Fashion Editor Stylists
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Publisher Commercial Dir. Account Managers
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Brand Relations Operations Thanks
Contact RWD RWD 4th Floor 60-62 Commercial Street Greater London E1 6LT Tel: 020 3176 4299 staff@RWDmag.com @RWDmag
In a word, I’m... stoic You’ll normally find me... over there, with those This issue… won’t get resolved with you shouting I’m all about... Lucozade in a can I’m so over... bottled Lucozade Get at me... @benkeablefaw
In a word, I’m... aspiring You’ll normally find me... burying my head in the music This issue… I’m chatting about the upcoming World Cup I’m all about... positivity I’m so over... worn-out Twitter memes Get at me... @_Aniefiok_
In a word, I’m... Oliver Green You’ll normally find me... working This issue… I’ve been designing… I’m all about... progress I’m so over... sleeping Get at me... @green_o greenomedia.co.uk
RWD Magazine is published monthly by Rewind Creative Media Ltd. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of the publishers. RWD Magazine: 25p where sold Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which RWD holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of RWD Magazine or it’s staff and we disclaims liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. RWD is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations
Regulars 8-12 Check-In, Check Out 14-15 #ReadyForAnything: Eddy Leonardo, Sonny Reeves, Rebecca James 16-17 About To Blow: Ratking 82-83 Speaker’s Corner: The Death of Tiki Taka?
RWD Football 19 20 21 22-23 24-25 26-27 28-29 30-35 36-39 40-41 42-43 44-49
Oscar Worthy Roy’s Revolution Englad’s World Cup In Numbers Joe Hart: From The Hart My First: Tinchy Stryder Winner Stays: London Two Sides: Messi or Ronaldo? Jack Wilshere: Pride in the Lion Vincent Kompany: Great Kompany Didier Drogba: Respect Due Christian Eriksen: Christian Value Boot Room: Alter Ego
Style 51-63 Match Ready
Features 64-67 68-71 72-75 76
50 Cent: So Ambitious What Does It Take To Land a Sync? Behind The Label David Short: On The Rise
Unwind 79 22 Jump Street: College Rules 80-81 Coachella: The Big Review
CONTENTS / 8
CONTENTS ISSUE #148
CHECK-IN CHECK OUT / 10
CHECK -IN CHECK OUT Shorty Swing My Way Head To Toe Check out… the coolest socks around. It’s not often you’ll find us badgering on about socks, but when they’re this cool, it’s kinda hard not to. Sporting graphics of alcohol, money, dice games and Chinese takeout, the socks are best worn pulled all the way up. Get your feet into a pair at 40sandshorties.com
From X To Next
A Slice of Rap History
Support England the right way
Finally the X-Men movie we’ve always wanted?
Illmatic Is Timeless
Check out… One True Saxon who have launched their nod to the World Cup exclusively at scottsmenswear.com and in Scotts stores across the UK. Spend £40 or more on One True Saxon to receive a free England flag and pin badge. Grab your One True Saxon at scottsmenswear.com now
Check-in… at cinemas this month for a return to where Hollywood’s obsession with comic book blockbusters began. Tying the original X-Men trilogy into 2011’s X-Men: First Class, Days of Future Past promises one or two major twists. X-Men: DOFP is in cinemas now
Check out… Time Is Illmatic, the recently released documentary created to mark the 20th anniversary of Nas’ Illmatic LP. The doc explores the making of the Queens hailing rapper’s debut, delving into the life and mind of one of the most celebrated rappers in the game. Time Is Illmatic is out now
Get your hater blockers on
UCLA knock it out the park
Check out… the smart and contemporary adidas originals melbourne sunglasses. Joining the more playful san diego and beach friendly malibu in the brand’s sick summer collection, the melbourne is our standout favourite from a strong drop. Hit adidas.com/eyewear and facebook.com/adidaseyewear
Check out… the fifth and final colour drop from UCLA’s epic Aukland range, the Black Aukland mesh Baseball tee. Dripping with California swag, the top follows successful twilight blue, ruby wine, victoria blue and white releases. Grab yours now at uclaclothing.com
Whassup gang?! I’m back with a few things from the world of me. So we’re fast approaching the World Cup in Brazil, and I’m sure 99.9% of the globe are very excited at the prospect of a whole month of football. I’m predicting there will be a lot of sick days taken from work! I can’t wait. I’m wondering if we’ll see any more novelty songs released like Three Lions? I’m hoping we don’t! In the world of music, 50 Cent is making a comeback in a big way. I’ve been playing tracks from his new album Animal Ambition and it’s sounding very strong. I recently chatted to him on The Norté Show on Capital Xtra, and I could tell he’s still got that hunger. We spoke about his company SMS Audio and he told me that super producer Timbaland and New York Knicks baller Carmelo Anthony are partners in the brand who have done some wicked collaborations with Star Wars and Disney, so it looks like they’re doing pretty well. The daddy of rnb Usher is BACK! His comeback single has been getting major play on Capital Xtra and by the looks of things, he still wants it! His new album could be a problem... in a good way! Bringing it back to the UK, the trio All About She who gave us the hit single Higher, recently released an EP called Go Slow, featuring some great production and fantastic vocals. My stand out tracks are Remedy, Like That and I Can’t Wait with Jacob Banks. Check it out if you haven’t already.
McQueen Makes Kings When a football boot is more than a football boot Check out… Puma’s incredible collaboration with designer Alexander McQueen which has produced two limited edition PUMA King boots, one Fish Skin, tanned and crafted with a gold hand finish, the other a supple hand burnished Italian leather. Visit pumafootball.com for more
Don’t forget that as well as my Friday night mix show (The Norté Show) from 11pm on Capital Xtra, I’m also on weekdays 9am - midday. I do Reloaded on Xtra at 11am every day, and now the sun’s come out, I want you to choose some of the biggest old school and urban dance anthems. So if you’ve got any ideas for tunes you’d like to hear, make sure you tweet me @MannyNorte. If I play your request, I’ll shout you out, simple! Catch you next time. Peace.
CHECK-IN CHECK OUT / 12
Wireless Heads To Brum Birmingham to welcome one of the festivals of the year Check In… to Perry Park in Birmingham this summer where Wireless Festival will be following up an incredible 2013 by establishing itself in England’s second city. With the task of outdoing last year’s epic Jay Z and Justin Timberlake headline, this year’s Wireless announcements have not disappointed. Headline acts of Kanye West and Drake over the two cities is enough to ensure our presence, but it’s the line-up’s attention to detail including former RWD coverstars Tinie Tempah, Joel Compass, Rudimental, Ella Eyre and Clean Bandit, which make Perry Park a guaranteed festival stop this summer. Wireless Festival takes place across 4-5-6 July in Perry Park, Birmingham and Finsbury Park, London. Hit livenation.co.uk for tickets
CHECK-IN CHECK OUT / 14
Iconic Status Lacoste hit the court Check out… legendary tennis brand Lacoste’s Icon collection featuring the heritage inspired Carnaby, Camden, Marcel Cup, Graduate and Fairlead trainers, which see the brand add new materials and production techniques to a few classics. The Icon collection is exclusive to jdsports.co.uk
Prepare For Battle adidas are ready for war this summer Check out... the adidas Battle Pack which will catch the eye at the World Cup this summer. The adizero f50, predator, nitrocharge, 11pro and f50 Messi have all been given disruptive black and white war paint inspired patterns. The only colour feature on the boots comes from three fiery gold stripes, which represent the glory of the competition. Get your hands on a Battle Pack boot from jdsports.co.uk
Live for the Weekend
Boy Better Know
Like A Baller
Smart summer style
Bestival gets Grimey
Luol Deng taught me
Check-in… at Weekend Offender’s flagship store at 19 D’Arblay Street in Soho to get a closer look at the brand’s summer collection. Boasting a defiantly lairy but smart colour pallet, the collection features typically sharp cuts, premium fabrics and mod silhouettes. Or hit up weekendoffender.com
Check out… the Red Bull Music Academy stage at this year’s Bestival. The union has birthed a cray line-up including Diplo, Kaytranada, and grime godfather JME, who brings the BBK fam Skepta and DJ Logan Sama for some serious bass. Tickets are on sale now at bestival.net
Check-in… to two time NBA All-Star Luol Deng’s basketball camp. The South Norwood hailing player will handpick the 50 best under-19s in the UK for the camp, which will run from 20-22 August. The camp will continue to build the sport’s foundations in the UK. For more visit luoldeng.com
#READYFORANYTHING / 16
#ReadyForAnything If you needed further proof that life really does just take you where it wants you to go, then Eddy Leonardo is it. Starting out as a writer, it was a combination of timing and opportunity, and a talent he didn’t even know he had yet, which provided the now 24 year-old with the opportunity to prove that he is indeed #ReadyForAnything. We got in depth with the photographer to find out how exactly he ended up shooting Wiley’s album cover as well as snapping for Trapstar and London Fashion Week. Photgraphy by Jon Attenbrough Styling by Kyran Low “I wrote an article on Parker and James who had produced [Chip’s song] Oopsy Daisy and sent it to RWD. They liked it but said they didn’t have a photograph. I bought an SLR, took the photos and sent them in,” he says, of his route into photography. “After a few months no one gave a sh*t about my writing; everyone wanted me to do their photos.”
“We live in a day and age where any little idea you have there is nothing stopping you from doing it. The only thing stopping you are your own doubts.” And that was pretty much it. The next few years spiraled into a blur of shoots for Nicki Minaj, Diddy and Wiley, who even ended up using one of Leonardo’s shots as his album cover “It was nice walking around and seeing my picture all over London, that’s probably a highlight,” Eddy booms, and it’s easy to understand why, particularly as he regards Wiley as one of his heroes “That was the first time I was ever star stuck. It was the equivalent of meeting Santa Clause.” Was it a conscious decision that took Eddy from relative unknown to being front and centre at London Fashion Week? “I just went with the flow,” says the super laid back Leonardo. But it’s an inherent understanding of what needs to be done to capture the best images, “If you’re a photographer, essentially you’re an entertainer,” he explains. “If you’re taking a picture of someone, you have to entertain them to get the best out of them.” As for his plans for the future? “Before I get stuck with a kid or a mortgage or something, I wanna see the world,” he says, adding that he will be documenting as he goes. “I just want to go traveling and try and shoot some new subject matter,” he explains. Short films are on the cards, too, “We live in a day and age where any little idea you have there is nothing stopping you from doing it. The only thing stopping you are your own doubts.” Follow the journey @eddyleonardo
Sonny Reeves Disturbing London signee Sonny Reeves – formerly known as Dot J.R – most recently caused a buzz by featuring on G-FrSh’s Falling High, but the London hailing singer is much more than just a voice [albeit a stunning one]. The songwriter and producer is often in the studio with label mate Tinie Tempah, and it’s the jamming sessions Reeves enjoys most: “I think that’s the most amazing, creative way of making music, because it’s more of a feeling. I love making big hit singles and things that people can sing along to, but more than anything else I love to experiment and try to do something that no one else has done.” @Sonny_Reeves1
Tweet To Win! Duck and Cover’s directional take on trendled menswear always keeps us one step ahead. RWD and Duck and Cover partner up to champion the hottest emerging talent and this month Sonny Reeves and Rebecca James, plus photographer Eddy Leonardo are all #ReadyForAnything. As always we’re here to make sure your style is on point and these Duck and Cover World Cup-ready Plean shorts will keep you cool this summer. Get involved in this month’s competition by heading to Twitter using #ReadyForAnything @duckandcover_ @RWDmag duckandcover.co.uk
At aged 18, Rebecca James has lay down the foundations of a career well beyond her years. A talented singer/songwriter, Rebecca’s hauntingly beautiful covers have set the Welsh born singer on the right path. The last few years have seen her go from performing at local shows to surprising packed arenas with her unique and soulful sound. Currently writing and recording her debut LP and basking in the success of buzz certifying single Thinking About Me, Rebecca is on the precipice of something special. With her cool and nonchalant attitude combined with a natural beauty and incredible voice she is one you should definitely keep an eye on. @RebeccaJames_
ABOUT TO BLOW / 18
About To Blow: Shift K3y 20 year-old DJ, producer and singer Shift K3y rose to prominence a couple of months ago when his single Touch peaked at number three on the official charts - pretty impressive for a first release! Alya Mooro caught up with the North London hailing talent to find out more. “I think it’s happened pretty quickly,” says Shift K3y, real name Lewis Jankel, of his neck-breaking catapult to chart topping success. But although it’s only been a short stint since signing to Columbia Records and unleashing Touch, it has been a long time coming for the north London hailing artist, who has been writing and producing since the age of ten.
“I feel a lot of producers and DJs are playing musical production rather similar to a video game.” Honing his skills by playing the guitar, songwriting and singing in a number of bands, it was only natural that elements of the aforementioned crafts would weave themselves into his productions: “It makes you think in a different way,” he says. “I feel a lot of producers and DJs are playing musical production rather similar to a video game; they’re just thinking this sound plus this drum at this tempo equals deep house or whatever,” he explains. “I have absolutely no time for that; I make music that I want to make, which sort of stems back to that thing of being in bands and being a singer-songwriter.” And it’s not just his productions that separate him from the pack; Shift K3y has also made waves by singing over his productions, even mid-DJ set. The question as far as he’s concerned though, isn’t why, but instead how could he not? “I think anyone who gets up there and just plays other people’s records… [and I’m] not discounting all the other DJs, but I just think they could do a lot more with their time when they get up there, especially when you have stages the size of Ultra [Music Festival]. I just find that a bit embarrassing.” He’s already felt a noticeable shift: “Before, it was us asking for stuff and trying to make things happen, now it’s completely the opposite.” As for his plans for the rest of the year? More single releases, music videos, free downloads and rocking a whole bunch of music festivals, the likes of Bestival, Boardmasters, Ibiza and Mallorca, ahead of an album release early next year. Phewf! Touch out now @ShiftK3y
Chelsea fans won’t have loved Oscar’s declaration that he has been saving himself for Brazil’s World Cup campaign, but that’s how seriously the hosts are taking things this summer. Rocking the brand new Battle Pack Predator LZ, the former Sao Paolo star represents the new generation of Samba player in which technique and invention are teamed with a European taught physicality and aggression. The master plan is almost complete. Oscar wears the adidas Battle Pack Predator LZ available now from jdsports.co.uk
With lower expectations come lower risks, and at times it’s felt as if our expectations for England have been minimal to non-existent. We’ve certainly had good reason. Steve McClaren had to suffer the ignominy of failing to qualify for the 2008 European Championships and bore a large proportion of the media and public’s bile, but the truth of the matter was that an England team featuring Joe Cole, Gareth Barry, Micah Richards, Paul Robinson, and Shaun Wright-Phillips was never going to make waves at a major tournament, and while McClaren was perhaps guilty of taking the job a few years too early, he wasn’t guilty of much else. Caught between generations, Sven-Goran Eriksson tried and failed, before Fabio Capello stared Ferdinand, Owen, Scholes, Neville and Seaman’s rightful heirs in the face, and still managed to assemble an ageing and ultimate flaccid squad. While fans were shocked at England’s humiliating exit in the 2010 World Cup at the hands of a resurgent Germany, they really oughtn’t have been. David James, Aaron Lennon, Michael Dawson, Peter Crouch and the aforementioned Joe Cole were all starters for Capello, while the bench included world beating stars such as Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock and of course Emile Heskey. If it feels like you’re struggling to get your hopes up for this summer’s tournament then be sure to blame those names and that period of footballing purgatory. This England squad is fresh. This squad is new. Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere, Adam Lallana, Ross Barkley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joe Hart, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge and Luke Shaw make this an England team worth getting behind. Roy Hodgson is bearing the fruits of investment into academies up and down the country, and while we’re still a few years away from a Spain-like super-group, Steven Gerrard leads the most exciting squad of our lifetime. If this team were traveling under the name Belgium or Colombia, then it would be looked at as one of the World Cup’s dark horses, and that’s exactly how we should see ourselves. It’s time to be proud of our England team again, and not because of some aimless, flag-waving sense of patriotism, but as a true representation of our nation. I’ll be proud to call myself English when I see this team face Italy on 14 June, and you should too. Viva la revolucion.
IN THIS ISSUE: Joe Hart On His Epic Rise
Tinchy Stryder Breaks Down His Firsts
Jack Wilshere Is Ready For The World Cup
England’s World Cup In Numbers For the first time in a long time we may have reason to really be excited about a World Cup, so with that in mind, we’ve got a few stats to help maintain our high patriotic gas mark
England hold the record for the most matches without conceding a goal in the World Cup, held by Peter Shilton. A run spanning 1982 and 1990 The Most goals scored in a World Cup final came from Geoff Hurst and his legendary hat trick against West Germany in that 1966 final Steven Gerrard has been deadly in front of goal this season with the highest goal and assist return in his Liverpool career 13 goals and 13 assists Daniel Sturridge scored had an amazing goal average with a goal coming every 1.34 games in the 2013/14 campaign Gary Cahill’s Chelsea finished the season with the best defensive record in the league with just 27 goals conceded England qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup top of their group, losing no games Wayne Rooney was top goal scorer in England’s FIFA 2014 qualification group with seven goals in 10 games
We Hit The Winner Stays London Tournament
Two Sides Asks Messi or Ronaldo?
Vincent Kompany Does It All
10 3 13 1.34 27 0 7
14 FOR 14 / 24
The Hart Following a season which saw Joe Hart lose and reclaim his Manchester City number one jersey- before a near faultless run-in saw the 27 year-old claim his second Premier League medal, the England man couldn’t be in better form as he prepares for his first World Cup as England’s first choice. The former Shrewsbury Town man talked to Tego Sigel about his teammates, his taste in music and more.
“I don’t even remember what happened [against QPR in 2012]. I was just so wrapped up in it and emotionally drained from that second half.” As we prepare for our chat with Joe Hart, the England keeper has Twitter abuzz with a photo from 2006 which features him in an aerial dual with England teammate Rickie Lambert, back when the international teammates were both plying their trade at League Two clubs ”I remember the game, he got two!” Joe recalls. “That was the home game. Him and Grant Holt used to play up-front for Rochdale.” So does Joe ever think about how far he’s come? “It’s hard to think like that. I’m kinda living it... there’s too much going on right now for me to reflect.” From League Two prospect to Premier League winner, Joe’s ascent is a rarity in the modern game, and it’s not one he takes for granted “I’ve loved everywhere I’ve been.” He ponders “I’m really proud to have been at Shrewsbury Town and I’m really grateful for the opportunity they gave me at such an early age.” Going on to claim one of the most dramatic title wins of all-time in 2012, Joe struggles with the memory, “I couldn’t even explain that feeling. Obviously it’s great to get your first England Cap and stuff, which is a really humbling honour, but going 38 games and then that second, that moment. You can’t write that I don’t think.” Even if Joe’s memory of the day, which saw team-mate
Sergio Aguero grab a last second winner, is a haze, the feeling will last forever “I don’t even remember what happened. I was just so wrapped up in it and emotionally drained from that second half. I was thinking ‘What have we done?’” And Hart holds Argentinian hero Aguero in extremely high regard “He’s a good guy first and foremost, that’s important. He’s good fun and obviously super talented. He can do whatever he wants football wise and he’s a legend at our club.” But whom in particular does Joe Hart find to be the most entertaining character in the City dressing room? “I think Aleksandar Kolarov, he’s a great character.” The threetime Golden Glove winner grins, “Ally is a real one-off! He is as he comes across, real firm, but his banter is so sharp, he’s got everything.” The Manchester City dressing room banter is not what people would expect though, “People think of football banter and they think of people hiding people’s keys or leaving fish in places, it’s different.” Having seen control of the dressing room stereo wrestled away from Joleon Lescott by a rogue kit-man - “He had no reason to be in our dressing room and then he turned into a DJ.” Joe Hart says his own taste is quite varied, “I listen to the radio a lot. I like 1Xtra, that does it for me, kinda keeps it mixed up. When I go in it’s quite a multicultural dressing room, a bit of music from all over the world. It all interests me” But what of this summer’s World Cup and the vibe in the England camp? “You look around the league and see the all of the boys playing and think everybody is in good form.” Joe confidently affirms, “We’ll come together at the end of the season and our lives will revolve around England when the time comes.” Joe Hart fronts the Doritos Penalty Shootout, a campaign which has seen groups of friends compete for the chance to score a penalty against the No.1 goalkeeper, in order to win the ultimate mates trip. To see the winner’s story or take a penalty against him in a digital game, go to doritos.co.uk
Needing no introduction to RWD readers, Tinchy Stryder’s selfenforced hiatus from the frontline of British music has allowed him to refocus his energy on a brand new sound as witnessed on his buzz-heavy comeback single Misunderstood. A trailblazer who made his name in the Grime scene, Tinchy went on to redefine the pop music landscape and set a new standard for urban music with smash singles Number 1, Take Me Back and Never Leave You. The East London pioneer is similarly known for his love of all things Manchester United though and the former Wimbledon FC prospect told RWD Football about his memories as a player, his thoughts on David Moyes, why he will never like Luis Suarez and more… Photography Verena Stefanie Grotto
My First Love… is Manchester United. My first game was against Spurs at Old Trafford, in 2009. Ever since I was young I’ve loved United, but nobody took me to the games, so when I got to the point where I would get invited to games I went a lot, but that was my first game. At the end of the first half we were losing 0-2 and then we came back to win 5-2. I remember during the game just feeling like ’Yeah, this is home’ it felt really good. This Season has been different. I haven’t felt this way before. Since David Moyes came and Sir Alex Ferguson made that speech telling us to stick by him, something felt to me as if he was telling us ’Yo, something ain’t gonna go right, so you should stick by him!’ I was like, why does it feel like people are already negative and like we’re gonna need to stick by him? My First Favourite Player… for Manchester United was David Beckham. There was something about Beckham. I remember one of the first kits I got had his name on the back, when he was number 24. I remember that half way line goal, I was playing for Wimbledon at the time, so when he scored that goal I remember thinking ’Is this real? From the half-way line? Na, you’re joking!’ and I remember getting home and watching it like ’He’s really on the half way line!’ That was crazy, that was a very big moment for our whole generation. My First Big Match... was a final in Sunday League. That’s when your parents and everyone is watching you and I’m like ’Woah, I’ve never had this!’ You see it on TV, but when everyone’s there to watch, it’s different. The stadium was bigger than I was used to playing on, on a Sunday, with the muddy grass and that, but this was an ok pitch. I was playing at leftback when usually I was a striker, but in that team the manager made us try different positions. I don’t play defence but because I was good on the ball and I was fast it was cool and we won - I remember that! My First International Heartbreak… was in South Africa when Suarez stopped Ghana making the semi-finals of the World Cup with that infamous handball. After that I couldn’t like him. Plus he’s Liverpool. That was a real heartbreak, I went out to South Africa to watch it so when I got back I was like ’Really? We got that close?’ @TinchyStryder’s single Misunderstood is out now
“I was playing for Wimbledon at the time, so when [David Beckham] scored that goal I remember thinking ’Is this real? From the half-way line? Na, you’re joking!’”
WINNER STAYS / 28
Winner Stays: London Rarely have we seen football played with such intensity as we did in the four corners of London for Nike’s Winner Stays tournament last month. Taking place in cities around the world, Winner Stays debuted an exciting new small-sided format in which participants were challenged to risk everything. 4 v 4, the first team to concede loses a player and regardless of who scores it, the next goal wins! Photography Liam Ricketts All of London’s regions boasting their own unique identities, it was only right that local heroes be selected from competitive and creative music worlds to host the regional heats, with north London represented by Meridian Dan, west London by Sylo G, south London by Krept & Konan and east London by the legendary Newham Generals. Making sure south London stayed at the top of the agenda, Konan knows what makes his region special, “Everybody wants to be from South London, you know? We’re just the best.” D Double E begs to differ though, offering “There must be something in the air [that makes East London special], something in the water.” While Stylo G cites the comfort he
feels in his adopted home of west London for his loyalty to the area, “West London is great, trust me.” Meridian Dan explained his theory on how north London developed its ball skills “We speak differently in north London and then those vocal chords travel down the body and end up in the feet.” With industrial, sun-drenched concrete, surrounded by steel cages, graffiti laden walls and glorious London skylines, Winner Stays had the perfect street-ball feel with environments perfectly contrasting the innovative flicks, dribbles and turns of the confident and intuitive players who adapted, thrived and became champions to a pumping soundtrack in the combative risk everything format. Visit nike.com/riskeverything
“There must be something in the air [that makes East London special], something in the water.”
The Winners The winners of the heats will compete in the Winner Stays: London final at Phenomenal House on 31 May and they are:
D Double E
West: Ultra Fast starters Ultra got into their rhythm and rarely looked like letting it go. A pure passing team, the west London winners tortured their opposition across the day.
East: Team Easy Their name might suggest that the competition wasn’t up to the task in east London, but Team Easy had a fair amount of scrap to them too, throwing their bodies on the line throughout the tournament.
South: Pimlico Plumbers Dripping with swagger, Pimlico Plumbers started in blistering form and ended the day just as strong, as they were forced into a playoff to decide the south’s overall winner.
North: Team Banjo One of the trickiest teams across the heats, Team Banjo were equipped to play in tight spaces and explode into possession when the time came. Worthy winners.
14 FOR 14 / 30
Messi or Ronaldo? Find a room of football fans and ask them the question, ‘Messi or Ronaldo?’ and you’re likely to find a pretty even split. Considering the question of the season so far, which of the two is the world’s best, Ben Fawcett and Tego Sigel debate.
“Cristiano always strives for greatness, and he does it so we know that, with hard work, anything is possible”
and was back in training a couple of days later. Typical Cristiano. Following an eye-catching performance against Manchester United in a pre-season game, Sir Alex Ferguson had to have him at his club. Cristiano became a star in the Premier League with 84 goals in 196 games.
Never have two players so divided opinion on football domination. The balance constantly tipping from one side to the other, dependent on form, accolades and impact. Me? I don’t have that quandary; I am steadfast in my stance that not only is Cristiano the best player alive, but the best player of all time. The Ballon d’Or holder is the epitome of hard work, graft and commitment. Cristiano first made ripples in football as a 16 year-old playing for Portuguese side Sporting FC. During his freshman season at Sporting, Cristiano featured for the club’s Under 16s, Under 17s, Under 18s and B-team, before making his debut for the first team, where he scored two goals and announced himself in a way that only he could.
With a world record bid accepted, Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid, where he has faced his greatest challenge yet, Lionel Messi. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Cristiano has excelled in the Spanish capital. THE football role model, an example of hard work, sacrifice and dedication, Cristiano was born a football god, but that natural talent wasn’t enough for him, he wanted to change the game. He’s grown taller, stronger, more intelligent and generally more incredible in front of our eyes. There is no limit for Cristiano, he gets better with every passing game, even when those around him falter, Ronaldo stays awesome.
Diagnosed with a ‘racing heart’ at 15, Cristiano underwent a breakthrough laser surgery to remedy his career threatening condition. After a successful operation Ronaldo was discharged from hospital
The people’s champ, Cristiano always strives for greatness, and he does it so we know, that with hard work, anything is possible. @BenKeableFaw
Very few players would have been able to handle the pressure of leading the line for the worst Manchester United team in over 20 years without missing a beat. As players around him struggled and ultimately failed, Wayne remained world class.
Not only does Luis Suarez have a goal average better than one in two for Liverpool, he scores goals that defy logic, reason and frankly respect. If you give him an inch he’ll take a mile and he’ll probably lob you from that mile out, with his eyes closed and a grin across his face.
There is no denying that Cristiano Ronaldo is a phenom. A beast created in a lab by the best coaches, experts and tacticians on the planet. The Portuguese is well deserving of his Ballon d’Or award, he has been the most effective player on earth this season. But that doesn’t make him the best. There is only one best and he’s the most natural football player to ever play the game, he is Lionel Messi. We’ve all heard the stories about Ronaldo’s workethic. Admired by teammates, coaches and rivals alike, Messi is also known to be one of the most professional and obsessive trainers in the world. So Ronaldo has perfected the six-foot leap, developed thighs the size of tree trunks and has the top-line speed of an Olympic sprinter, it was ‘Little Leo’ who outjumped Rio Ferdinand to score a header in the Champions League final, it’s ‘Little Leo’ who consistently wins matches single-handedly and hypnotises with every touch of the ball. Admire Ronaldo the machine, adore Messi the god. The 2013/14 season has been Ronaldo’s. He’s scored goals for club and country, he’s met the challenge of Gareth Bale and become a better player for it, and he’s driven Carlo Ancelotti’s
“Lionel Messi has it all. Stop debating and start enjoying this era of the great one, the best that ever lived” side to the Champions League final. But in this, a notably quiet season for Lionel Messi, the Argentinian has scored almost a goal a game, broken club and league scoring records, led Barcelona to a higher place in the league table than rivals Real and is well placed to spearhead Argentina’s World Cup assault this summer. The wheels on the Barcelona band-wagon have been dented in the post-Guardiola era and it’s become hipster cool to claim that the more efficient Bayern Munich are more deserving of the world’s greatest club title. And while hard work is a virtue, it’s one that nobody in this conversation could ever do without. True genius has to have that and so much more, and Lionel Messi has it all. Stop debating and start enjoying this era of the great one, the best that ever lived. @TegoSigel
Since his earth shattering transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid, Gareth has not taken his foot off the pedal and is getting better and more terrifying with every passing game. Just ask Marc Bartra.
Undeniably one of the most important players at any club in world football, Toure is also the best player at the Premier League champions. With 24 goals in all competitions this season Yaya could be the best midfielder in the world.
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Pride In The
Lion Appearing as a late substitute in the most important game in Arsenal’s recent history, Jack Wilshere managed to be a part of that all-important first trophy in nine-years, whilst simultaneously thrusting himself to the forefront of Roy Hodgson’s World Cup plans – not a bad way to end the season. As methodical and passionate as his delicate, yet lionhearted playing style suggests, he’s had to cope with the expectation that he should lead two sleeping giants into a new age of dominance and he’s a better man for it - and don’t let Paul Scholes tell you otherwise.
“A year is a long time to be out of the game… The game changes all the time, so you have to watch and learn. Otherwise, you’re just going to be left behind.”
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> “When you’re not doing the thing you love, you’re going to be frustrated, whatever it is,” Arsenal’s number 10 considers. “My son Archie was born two days after I had surgery, so I was quite lucky in that way because he kept me occupied.” The perfect counterbalance for the frustration of not being able to develop in what would have been a crucial year for the star, “When you’re around football, football is your life, and you love it, but nothing comes before your kids and when you realise that, then it helps you to enjoy it a bit more.”
“I’m one of the English players who likes to be loud and aggressive on the pitch as well as everything else that goes with playing for England.” Excruciatingly unlucky with injuries, Jack missed the entirety of the 2011/12 season, a period which, with no hesitation he calls “The worst time for me in my life.” With a note of zen in his tone, he continues, “Sure it took pressure off in the short term, but in the end it just added pressure. In the press, when I was injured, I became a better player than I have ever been.” At a time when Arsenal were struggling to match expectations and England were undergoing seismic changes as the Fabio Capello era gave-way to Roy Hodgson’s vision for the three-lions, Jack’s name was at the tip of every pundit’s tongue. “They’re always waiting for you to come back, and when I eventually came back, they were saying that the England team will win the World Cup and whatever, blah, blah, blah. But I think it added a little bit more pressure.” There have to be lessons learnt from the hard times though “I think you do learn a lot. A year is a long time to be out.” Jack recalls, “The game changes all the time, so you have to watch and learn. Otherwise, you’re just going to be left behind.” His off-pitch antics remain an obsession of the national press, and while it’s easy to brush off Wayne Rooney’s complaints about paparazzi ruining his pre-World Cup family holiday [The
amount of money they earn?], it’s only when you put a human face on the struggle that you begin to understand why somebody who has been the subject of such intense scrutiny from such a young age might view the intrusive and utterly surreal obsession with their lives something of an annoyance. Himself a former child prodigy, heralded and scrutinised since first appearing in the Arsenal youth ranks, a contemplative Wilshere knows it’s all part of the game “It is a little bit [frustrating],” he concedes. “Still, I have grown up around it. I was in this since I was 16. There are players around me who had to deal with the same.” Understanding the beast makes it a little easier to cope with, “When I was younger I used to open a newspaper and read about players. So I sort of got used to it.” But does he wish it were different? “If you look at other countries, football is football, they respect their men outside of the game and what they’re doing. So it is a bit frustrating, I think. But being brought up around it, it’s the English culture. You just have to deal with it.” It’s not in the gossip pages that Jack Wilshere will cement his legend though, so what is the hardest thing facing him as a player? “I think it’s maintaining the standards week in and week out.” He confirms, “You see some players they are so good at it, and other players have top form and then the next game they can be at their worst. I think maintaining that level is the hardest thing.“ And with massive Champions League nights, England appearances and the consistent battles that face any team trying to achieve in the always unpredictable Premier League, Jack knows consistency is the key, “When you’re playing every three days, to stay mentally prepared is tough, you’re out one game and no matter what happened in that game - if you’ve had a bad game, if you’ve done something, if you’ve missed a goal or if you’ve missed a penalty, that game is over. Then you’ve got to switch on to the next game. That’s quite tough to do sometimes.” It’s his consistency, across an action packed career, which has made Jack a lynchpin in England’s midfield and a man of whom great things are expected this summer. A taste for trophies intensified since winning his first senior medal >
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< this year, Wilshere dares to dream when it comes to Brazil 2014, saying his only plan is to “Try to win the World Cup.” A focus England will need if they’re to have any impact on the biggest stage of all, because as Jack will testify, the talent is there. “We don’t really play like other nations, but in the end we’ve got our own style. We’ve got our own way of playing.” With the current squad boasting the kind of technical ball-players English fans have been crying out for since Paul Gascoigne, Jack has a point. “Just because we don’t play like Spain doesn’t mean we haven’t got a high level of technical ability. We’re changing our game all the time and we want to adapt it to a level where we are going to be able to win things.” The 15-cap man considers, “If that requires passing it around a bit more, then we’ll do it. But at the moment, we’re doing all right.” Englishness is a defining characteristic for Jack, who takes immense pride in representing the national team, “I think sometimes people get too caught up in ‘we need to do this or that,’ we need to remember as well that we are English.” But what does that mean? “We are determined. We’ve got great hunger for the game. We invented the game. We have a great passion for it. We like to tackle hard and make teams know that we’re there and we’re there for a proper game.” That rough and ready attitude has given Jack something of a hardman reputation in the game, with his fearlessness making him a target for Premier League wind-up merchants, “I think that’s become a part of the game these days.” Jack considers, “You’ve seen the great midfielders of the past, Steven Gerrard and players like that, they’ve all had it. You know, they all like to get stuck in and like to tackle and they can play as well.” But what gave Wilshere the fearless edge that makes him such an intense and fiercely proud player? “I’m not sure. I was always tough and I always used to play my brother’s mates growing up, and my brother was three years older than me.” The former FA Youth Cup winner recalls, “I think it was important for me to play older players and get used to that. Looking back I always remember finding football easy, it would come naturally. I don’t remember trying something
“When I was younger I used to open a newspaper and read about players. So I sort of got used to [the media pressure].” that was difficult. I could just do it.” But what do Arsenal’s continental stars make of the combative midfielder? “I think they know that I’m English and proud, that I would always give my all when I’m representing my country. I’m one of the English players who likes to be loud and aggressive on the pitch as well as everything else that goes with playing for England.” Of his multicultural dressing room, Jack thinks there’s a lot to be learnt from Santi Cazorla and co. “It’s very interesting. Everyone is different. The Spanish are different from the French. It’s just how they’ve been brought up. So it’s interesting to work with different cultures. You learn different things every day.“ The scorer of the 2013/14 Premier League goal of the season, for which the diminutive playmaker started and ended a hypnotic team-move in a routine Arsenal victory over Norwich City, Jack’s in no mind about the thing that gives him the most pleasure on the pitch, “I think I would be lying if I didn’t say scoring a goal.” The proud star confidently confirms, “I think no matter what, you always like to be scoring goals. And an assist is good, but you always want to be number one.” He does admit that an assist is a special feeling, “It’s not as good as scoring though, but it’s close.” Letting slip that he’d like Tom Cruise to play him in the movie of his life, he’s hoping it will be an exciting one, “There is a long way to go, hopefully. I’m only 22, I’ve been here six years and so much has happened in that time, so hopefully in the next 15 or 16 years I’m involved in the game, there’s a lot of trophies coming,” and with one trophy in the bag, you’d be a fool to bet against the young champion “It will be interesting, but I’m not sure anyone would want to watch a movie about me!” Jack Wilshere wears NIKE FC, buy the range at nike.com
Great Kompany Captaining the dark horses of the tournament this summer, Belgium’s Vincent Kompany heads to the World Cup with a spring in his step following League Cup and Premier League winners medals as well as a place in the prestigious PFA Team of the Year. Coolness personified, the popular Match of the Day pundit had high expectations to meet when he sat down with Oliver Hayes last month to talk Brazil 2014 (“I’ve been looking forward to this World Cup for the last 10 years!”) growing up in the spotlight and characters in The Etihad dressing room, but Kompany always delivers...
How much pressure do you feel being captain of your country? I think the first thing is that for me to captain of my country is not a pressure alone, it’s a pleasure and I’m happy to do it. I’m proud to do it, and I think I grow stronger the more I have responsibility, so if you call it pressure, then pressure is good for me. The other thing is that it probably links into how I play, so again if there’s pressure then I feel comfortable and on the pitch it’s the same. A lot of it is down to my personality and a lot of it is down to how I was taught to play as a young kid at Anderlecht, and I think that will never leave me. I’m actually still trying to improve every single day to ensure that towards the end of my career when my legs won’t be as quick anymore, but my brain can be quicker and my feet can be better. What are the expectations for this Belgium team from fans back home? Expectations are like any country that is going to participate in the World Cup; it’s disproportionate. People want to see their team do well, but some want to see even more than that, so you have to live with that. But I couldn’t be happier to enter that competition with the group of players that we have, and not just the talent but the personalities and attitudes as well. How has Belgium managed to produce this incredible generation of players? I don’t know, there’s a bit of luck involved. I think for such a small country to have all these players coming through within the same period of time, there
“I couldn’t be happier to enter that competition with the group of players that we have, and not just the talent but the personalities and attitudes” must be a bit of luck involved, but that luck has helped us to realise that we can do it and it maybe shows that we have to just put in the right amount of effort and we can have players like that, and hopefully this can carry on much longer than just my career. Is there anything England can learn from the development of this generation of Belgian players? I think maybe you have to work into depth and details and that it’s not all about the first teams, but that it’s about the youth as well. In a country like England where everybody loves football and with a bigger population than a lot of countries around Europe; it shouldn’t be too hard to produce a huge amount of top players all the time. Obviously you have good players at the moment, but you can produce a lot more by going into more depth. You’ve played in Belgium, Germany and England, how do those leagues compare in terms of atmosphere and how much of an impact do you think fans can have on games? The fans were good in Germany. The fans were good in Belgium. And obviously we’ve been very lucky here
at Manchester City. The main difference is that the English fans react to the games, so if it’s a good game with a lot of challenges, speed, tempo then you get the English fans on your side, whereas in other leagues it’s a different atmosphere. I have only positives to say because there’s nothing better than to be supported by such huge crowds. You’ve made a lot of fans through your punditry on Match of the Day, how do you enjoy being involved in that? It’s different. It’s obviously something that’s out of my comfort zone, but I like to do it. It’s a show that I used to watch when I was a kid, then you get asked and how can you refuse? It was good to meet those guys as well because Gary Linneker and the team are all people who have done something in the game and they show you a different side of what’s going on around football, so I liked it. How much has Manuel Pellegrini changed things at Manchester City? The positive thing is that we’d won trophies before Pellegrini, but we’ve won trophies with him, so you can see we’re carrying on with our winning habit. But he’s obviously got his own playing style and his playing style is very, very good for offensive minded players like Samir Nasri,
like other players. It’s true they have been incredible for us this season, they have been so important, and I can only say that I’m happy with that because this is the way football should be played, and if you win stuff as well then you are doing something right. Who would you say is the funniest character in the Manchester City dressing room? If you want to have a good laugh in the morning when you come in then you go and sit in the corner with Micah Richards and Joe Hart. Those are the guys that have really good banter. The other guys are all good guys, but I’m looking at them and I’m thinking ‘We might get entertained here!’ Joe Hart told us that Aleksandar Kolarov is a particularly funny character, is that something you’d agree with? Yeah, Kolorov is hilarious, but he’s hilarious because he doesn’t try to be funny. He’s actually always serious. It’s disproportionate that he’s always serious and always angry and that makes everyone laugh I guess. Vincent Kompany wears the new Warrior Skreamer Pro. For more information go to warriorfootball.com or follow @WARRIOR_FTBL
“Kolorov is hilarious, but he’s hilarious because he doesn’t try to be funny. He’s actually always serious. It’s disproportionate that he’s always serious and always angry”
respect due Not too many players unite the neutrals in their simultaneous fear and respect in the way that Galatasaray’s Didier Drogba does. Known for his devastating power and lethal finishing, the Ivorian striker also boasts a great reputation as a philanthropist and humanitarian, so catching up with the former Chelsea man at the launch of his new HOM underwear range, profits from which will go towards building a hospital in his homeland, Ravi Sidhu talked World Cup, living in Turkey, charity and more…
“They’re more…not passionate, but they support the team in a different way... everybody that goes to games is shouting and it’s all for the love of the team.” How are you finding life in Turkey? It’s great. The weather is not so good right now, it’s raining and windy but I think soon better days are coming. The culture is great. The way the Turkish people welcomed me, they’re really nice people. Istanbul is a fantastic city. How do the fans over there compare to those in England? They’re more…not passionate, but they support the team in a different way. They sing more, there’s no VIP in the stadium, everybody that goes to games is shouting and it’s all for the love of the team. Tell us about your new HOM range… We wanted to do something different to help the Didier Drogba Foundation so our idea was when you buy one pair, one euro is going to the Foundation. It’s a different approach and it’s different to what has been done before. And what is the Didier Drogba Foundation hoping to achieve? We are building five clinics. We have started the building of the first one in Abidjan this year. We want to also give
five clinics around the country because it’s suffered from civil war and a lot of other things have to be done in terms of infrastructure and medicine, healthcare etc. We’re focusing on children, women, healthcare and education, so right now we’re focused on the clinics in order to realise what we want. We’re launching the underwear brand in order to help fund the work we do. You’re known for your charity work, how important is it to you to be able to help people? It’s important because it’s part of my life. I was doing this before, but now I’m lucky to have the attention and the media behind me to approach what I’m doing, but in my family and in Africa, it’s normal to help so for me there’s nothing different to what I was doing before. I was helping the same before but now I have more people behind me, so it’s better. Are you excited about the World Cup? Yeah, I am. A World Cup in Brazil, I think it’s special. I’ve never been to Brazil. Who are you tipping for glory? I think Spain and Germany but number one, Brazil. What Ivory Coast players should we be looking out for? I won’t say me [laughs]. I think Yaya Toure, Gervinho, Salomon Kalou. Drogba and Co is available to purchase online at hom.com/didier-drogba follow @DidierDrogba
Value It’s not every day that you witness a Premier League superstar airdropped into a training facility via helicopter, at least outside of the transfer window, but that’s how Tottenham Hostpur and Denmark playmaker Christian Eriksen made his presence felt as a group of young fans tested out Nike’s new Magista boots at The Hive in Barnet. Having overseen a training session and fan Q&A, we joined the former Ajax man to talk Football Manager, London life and more…
How did you enjoy your helicopter ride? It was good; it was the second time in my life and the first time just for me. It was really nice. I did publish a selfie saying it was mine What was your first reaction to the Magista boots? I was a bit surprised; normally I just assume it’s going to be a small boot with new colours or something. Then they showed me it and I thought it was just a clip on sock bit. It was really impressive that they changed it so much. How have you enjoyed your first season in the Premier league? I’ve really enjoyed it, very much. I’ve really liked it, I’ve been really impressed by the whole thing, with the club and with the city. It’s been a really nice place so far. Which players inspired you most growing up? I think the player that most impressed me was Francesco Totti from Football Manager because I play a lot of Football Manager, but I think it changed a little bit to Michael Laudrup after reading books and keeping it a bit Danish. Did you always buy yourself when you played Football Manager? As soon as I could, I did. I did cheat a couple of times where some clubs couldn’t afford me but still got me anyway [laughs]. Given that you’re a player who likes to control the pace of a game, how much did you have to adjust to the pace of English football? Of course, I’ve had some stupid injuries that you can’t do anything about and it takes time to come back on track. I don’t
“I think the player that most impressed me was Francesco Totti from Football Manager because I play a lot of Football Manager” know how, but you adjust. Over time you adjust to the game, you get used to the training, you get used to the players and that’s when things start getting automatic, then things start to turn. It feels like football fans have been waiting for you to make your big move for a few years now, how did you handle the pressure of being so hotly tipped? I don’t know. Of course, it’s been like that for a little while, I’ve been compared to a lot of different payers with people saying ‘You have to play like that and you can become like him,’ but I’ve always been trying my own thing and trying to make my own name and this is something I’m still willing to do, make my own name and then maybe people will be compared to me. Right now I’m just enjoying where I am. You seem to be enjoying London life, what’s your favourite thing about living in the capital? There’s always something new to see, which is probably more for my girlfriend. I get bored in the same place, but here there’s always something new, somewhere new to go like a nice restaurant. Time goes really quick. Christian Eriksen wears the brand new Nike Magista boots which you can buy now from jdsports.co.uk
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SO AMBITIOUS “My core audience wants something from me that doesn’t sell records, like when they say ‘I miss the old 50’, they want what I put out for promotional purposes” The second coming of 50 Cent has been a headline grabbing one, but the cerebral assassin’s return has seen a change in approach for the mogul - at least when compared to his earth shattering debut in 2003. Back then a starving Curtis Jackson, backed by Dr Dre and Eminem, made trouble his business, pulling cards and ending careers on an almost weekly basis. With his first run including two diamond selling solo albums Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and The Massacre, followed by a double platinum plaque for Curtis and then a gold one for Before I Self Destruct, 50’s decision to step back from the music business when even his lowest profile releases were outselling those by the majority of his peers, might have seemed a strange one. But lucrative business ventures including a vitamin water partnership, his own headphone range, an energy drink brand and a film production company, which is currently working its way through a fairly substantial $200Million investment from Lionsgate, you can see why being the most dominant force in hip hop slipped down his list of priorities. So what has motivated the Queensbridge MC to release two albums in 2014, Animal Ambition and Street King Immortal, and make the hip hop world freeze all over again? Tego Sigel finds out.
SO AMBITOUS / 68
It feels like your newfound independence is a big driver in your new music… That’s exactly what it is and it feels great too, because they’re allowing me being independent to make the right decisions for me as an artist. A lot of the time it’s not just making a record so that you get it, like with a major company, once you have a successful sales history there’s really nobody that isn’t an option [to work with], unless you get punked from the record or if there’s somebody who already went through the process and rebelled from it who won’t be influenced by that. So some of the ideas for collaborations and who should do what with who come from the room, you know what I’m saying? They’re going ‘This will work!’ and you want to make sure that everyone who is engaged with the project is passionate about it, and if you go away from what they’re actually saying then you’re giving them the perfect opportunity to say ‘We told you! You should have did it like this!’ Then it’s because you’re not being cooperative and a lot of the time that’s not going to be spot-on. My core audience wants something from me that doesn’t sell records, like when they say ‘I miss the old 50’, they want what I put out for promotional purposes, the street energy on these records, but they can’t go but so far because they can’t reach those exposure levels. But your single Smoke featuring Trey Songz is something that could have worked on a major label… Right! It’s still not as big of a compromise. Trey Songz is not a difficult artist for me to work with. Like his last two records, the Na Na record, the joint Ordinary he had, with those records, I can find verses on songs that I wrote for myself that would belong on them content-wise. It’s easier to make the concept comparisons and put the things that I think belong on there that I write myself, so I understand what he’s actually doing. With Trey, and I said this to him too, I said ‘You can’t just make the man’s rnb record! You’ve got to give it to the girls!’ We’ve all heard people say ‘I want the old 50.’ How do you respond to that in 2014? To stay in one spot is to not grow. You didn’t do anything! You didn’t evolve in any way. There are things that you do immediately coming in, and in music culture you become the song. If you come in with a hit record, you’re a hit. Then, what kind of hit record is it? Because the same things they say about me, like
“I’m already in the financial state that it wouldn’t matter, like, what am I going to make from the actual record?” ‘Oh, I want the old Fif!’ That means they want the reaction connected to it and they want to feel like they felt when I first came in. Because things were crazy enough around me at the time for me to be genuinely crazy on the record [laughs]. Without any fabrication to it, it was crazy! You see it in the newspapers, all of the situations that come around, whether it’s people getting shot in front of the radio station, or getting stabbed at the award shows or whatever it is. You’ll see all things coincide. There are people who want to take credit away from you, is it important that you succeed again to prove how much of your success was your own? People are always going to say things. They’re going to take credit for everything. Even Tony Yayo would say that he put G-Unit together, but he was in jail when the record was on! [Laughs] You know what I’m saying? He did it! [Laughs] They all were a part of it, they’re all part of what developed into what it became later, but they weren’t the driving force of how it got to that actual point, and you’ll say that if anybody can take credit for the sh*t I’ve done in the past, then they can’t for the things I do moving forward. Do you feel the pressure to come out and recreate that 50 Cent can’t lose atmosphere? That’s all that I can gain out of it! I’m already in the financial state that it wouldn’t matter, like, what am I going to make from the actual record? Even with me going to shoot a music video for every song prior to the actual release, people will know that Beyoncé just did it on her last album and somehow it goes unnoticed that I did it in 2005. So I’ve been on that page. When I put out the first two records from this project, Hold On is 50 Cent and Don’t Worry About It production-wise is actually what’s working in the clubs. I put them out and the guy who loves Hold On doesn’t care for Don’t Worry About It and the guy who loves Don’t Worry About It doesn’t care about Hold On. 50 Cent’s album Animal Ambition is released June 3 with Street King Immortal to follow later this year
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO LAND A SYNC? / 70
Flux Pavilion Producer/Artist His hit single I Can’t Stop has synced across a number of platforms, most recently in The Great Gatsby. Flux’s remix of Skrillex’s Recess is out this month.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO LAND A SYNC?
With acts the world over catapulting to fame and those PRS cheques looking ever so bulging following a spat of lucrative sync deals in TV, film and advertisements, it’s never been more desirable to land a sync. Alya Mooro picks the brains of some of the experts in the field – from artists who have had their fair share of syncs, to songwriters, producers, music supervisors and even the Head of Sync at Sony/ATV to try and gauge what, if anything, is the secret ingredient to birthing a sync-able track.
“The songwriting market has changed so much, that when you write or produce a piece of music, you really hope it gets synced,” explains British singersongwriter Alex Clare, whose own career took a massive turn when Microsoft picked up his single Too Close for a global commercial. “Nowadays, with limited radio play and limited other media outlets, getting a sync is like getting a magic lamp,” he continues. And isn’t it just! Even for artists who may be more established, getting a sync will expand the range of people who will be exposed to their craft. As Flux Pavilion, whose single I Can’t Stop featured most recently in The Great Gatsby, explains: “By being part of a bigger project that sits outside your own world you have the opportunity to reach people that have no idea of your existence. I can guarantee there are people that have watched The Great Gatsby that would never have heard my piece of music otherwise.” Pair that with the fact that a lot of brands have bigger platforms and budgets to break artists than labels do, and it’s a win-win. But getting a sync isn’t just a matter of wanting it; we speak to some of the people in the know to find out how it’s done.
Matt Schwartz Producer/Songwriter Multi-instrumentalist record producer and songwriter. Matt has written and produced for chart-topping acts including Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams.
“Uplifting lyrics about life / love are generally preferred.”
Alex Clare Singer-Songwriter Singer songwriter whose track Too Close was used by Microsoft in a global ad campaign. His new single War Rages On is set for release next month.
“If a song fits the scene, it fits.”
Rob Lindquist: Vocal content plays into a song’s suitability. A song’s vocal content won’t make it 100% un-licensable, but can limit the opportunities greatly; there are certain topics that just aren’t requested for obvious reasons.
Gary Calamar: The first thing I look for is a song that will work in a particular scene, and if it’s the right vibe for the show. Sometimes you want a song where the vocals are up front and will help the scene with its lyrics, and other times you want something that will create a mood and add a texture, the viewer may not even know it’s there.
Hiten Bharadia: Uplifting lyrics about life and love etc. are generally preferred. It’s really important that the lyrics don’t conflict with the ad, but enhance it; general themes are sunshine, life, beach, party, love...
Rob Lindquist: Sometimes, for theme songs and other important scenes, very big songs are sought, but otherwise, if a song fits the scene, it fits.
Matt Schwartz: I produced Champion by Clement Marfo. The lyrics suited perfectly to all kind of sporting events on TV to the extent that it’s still being used on all kinds of shows two years later. Clement Marfo: The songs I tend to write are uplifting and motivational - Champion and Us Against The World, two of my most heavily synced tracks fit that bill perfectly.
Alex Clare: They used a song of mine called Whispering for [TV show] True Detective, which is a detective drama/thriller. The song has like a whole spooky guitar sound and lots of atmospheric, melancholy vocals, so I think it kind of helped set the tension for that. James Cooper: The best sync placements work in a similar way to movie scores, when music and picture work together to tell you the story… when it works, you just know. It’s right when you watch it back.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO LAND A SYNC? / 72
Hiten Bharadia Publisher Managing Director, Founder and songwriter at boutique UK music publisher and artist development agency Phrased Differently.
Rob Lindquist Licenser Creative director at Music Dealers, a music licensing platform which provides pre-cleared music and custom song creation for content creators.
“Buzz can be super-important.” Matt Schwartz: Generally a credible act is likely to get more syncs. People like to be associated with “cool,” so either the act is credible, or the track is. Credibility is, of course, in the eye of the beholder. For some; Miley Cyrus or Pitbull may be credible, for others; Skrillex or Pharrell. Rob Lindquist: Buzz can be super-important! Often clients want to know what the artist is doing now. What are their social media numbers like? Are they touring? Who are their fans? A strong brand, fan base and online following can help give an advantage over other artists. James Cooper: A big trend in advertising over the past couple of years has been covers of well-known songs by contemporary artists. John Lewis has been at the forefront of this trend. Big back catalogue songs generally lend themselves well to advertising, with familiarity being great shorthand to convey mood and positive association with an audience.
“Add a cutting edge ‘cool’ factor to a campaign.” James Cooper: Some brands opt to align themselves with new and emerging artists. Breaking a new sound or band can really help connect with a scene and add a cutting edge ‘cool’ factor to a campaign. Toby Williams: New genres are filtering down and appearing in advertising - you can see elements of trap and UK bass music filtering through to ads, and so-called “EDM” has been showing up for a while now. Alex Clare: If you want to get a product out there that’s current and relevant at that time, they want a piece of music that kind of goes with that. When Too Close came out it was very much the flavor of the month – a cross of dubstep and soul, which wasn’t really being done at the time.
Toby Williams Music Supervisor At Leland Music, an independent music consultancy service that sources, develops, creates and licences music for brands, ad agencies and film companies.
Clement Marfo Rapper/Songwriter Hip hop recording artist. Clement has had massive sync success with tracks featured on Match of the Day, WWE: Royal Rumble, Snooker, Sky Sports and more.
“It’s all about the release.”
“It’s all politics.”
Alex Clare: [My debut album The Lateness Of The Hour, from which many songs have been selected as syncs] is quite an anthemic album. There’s a lot of high-energy stuff especially with Too Close and Up All Night, it’s all about the release; they kind of build up and up and up. They start off with an air of tension and then the song releases into big choruses… it’s very powerful.
Clement Marfo: As much as I am a keen believer in hard work, luck plays a significant role. I am fortunate to be assigned to one of the hardest working publishers and when they believe in you, that is a bonus.
Clement Marfo: The sounds of trumpets, imagery of thousands of spectators chanting and waving the Union Jack flag, the imagination of feeling unstoppable, undefeatable, 10ft tall unfolded to what became an anthem for Champion. The signature sound we create is this dynamic, anthemic stadium sound that appeals to quite a wide demographic. Flux Pavilion: A mentor of mine has always said there are only two types of music: good music and bad music. To me a good piece of music has to have a personality and character. I think I Cant Stop has that kind of universalhook that helped it reach out to different places.
Matt Schwartz: Who you know is also very important. If you’re surrounded by a team who have the right connections, or if you or them know the director, producer or music supervisor of an up and coming movie, then it helps. As someone wise once said, “it’s all politics” - this is probably the most important factor. It is possible for random songs to be picked for a movie or a TV campaign, but in my experience it’s a little like winning the lottery.
BEHIND TH LABEL / 74 The Butterz Team (Butterz)
BEHIND THE LABEL Over the last few years the power in the music industry has shifted, where major labels once dominated, there has been a fresh injection of music lovers releasing music they love independently. Not because they were ticking boxes to send their artists straight into the Top 10, but because they were passionate about the music. Nardene Scott hears how Black Butter, PMR Records, LuckyMe and Butterz are spreading their sounds far and wide and what it took to get to this point.
BUTTERZ Hosting their weekly radio show on Rinse FM whilst at university, Elijah & Skilliam thought they could do more with all the new music they were coming across, and within a year they did just that, as Elijah recalls - Butterz Is The Label. We started Butterz in 2010… after doing a year on Rinse FM playing grime records that weren’t released yet, we just decided to start something to have a banner over all the projects we work on; records and events and merchandise. Skilliam and me are friends from university and we’d known each other for five years. It started with a release from Terror Danjah. Swindle and Royal T followed and they helped us build what it is now. Because I’d been buying records… I kind of subconsciously took things in like, what you would do, what you wouldn’t do, what your dream releases would be, how you want artwork. I’d say in grime [an influence] would be BBK, like the way JME puts things together, he always has a good eye, he preaches independence and that’s one thing that we’ve always stuck by. Nothing has changed, none of us even have managers, it’s just what you see is what you get. The person that puts out the records, is the person that does the accounts, it means we do things a bit slower but we’ve got full control, there are no outside parties. I don’t have any music industry experience… I’ve never worked a proper job, so it’s not like I’ve ever been employed by anyone else. I did a marketing degree so people would say that’s the reason why Butterz makes sense, but I’ve always had an eye for these things, not because I liked labels and I liked records and music and grime; I had a different way of presenting things. It was a feeling that I could contribute something new. Elijah’s & Skilliam’s Fabric CD is out now, look out for the Butterz Outlook stage and boat party, Bestival with RBMA then Sonar and there’s always music, you just have to stay tuned @Butterz
PMR Working his way up through Polydor as an A&R, Ben Parmar soon decided he wanted to do his own thing, thus creating PMR, the label that has brought Disclosure, Jessie Ware, Julio Bashmore and more to the masses.
I’d been working for a major label… for seven years and I got a bit frustrated with how they approached developing artists. I really wanted to get involved in other areas. I quit my job because I found this kid called Jai Paul, his music blew me away and I felt really inspired. The bosses at Universal were a bit confused, so I explained that I just felt like it got a bit stale and people were chasing after the same bands and having to pay too much money to sign them. I just wanted to really believe it was possible for me to work in music and with music that I love. They said you can start your own label. I was in a position where I was managing Jai and Julio Bashmore and Battle For Middle You just blew up. I didn’t know how many people were gonna like it, it wasn’t about what I thought could sell or what the mainstream wanted, it was just about what we loved and those were the principles. It’s a reality of the music business now… it’s harder to sell records and have hits, the landscape is shifting and the way people consume stuff is changing. When you work in music, brand association and things of that nature are important and how a lot of artists are able to make money. There’s a huge value to music, and I feel like we’re just at a point where the business is evolving and streaming is now becoming such an important part, so we have to embrace all of that. I was quite reserved in terms of pushing the brand to the forefront for the first couple of years because that’s not really my nature; I wanted to really build a story. When we signed Meridian Dan… I think I was surprised as well; it wasn’t like we set out to do it. I’ve always been a fan of grime, whether it was Dizzee and Wiley in the early days or Dynamite and So Solid. But [German Whip] appeared and I just couldn’t stop playing it, I heard it once, sought it out and then met him and he was so impressive, in terms of what he wanted to do. He played us more music that was really strong and we were just sold on him, his vision and the music. Regrets… that’s a daily thing. It’s a competitive business. You need to have a strong vision… for what [your label] means and what you want to achieve through it. Keep your eyes on @pmrrecords and look out for a compilation album dropping this year.
BEHIND TH LABEL / 76
BLACK BUTTER We’ve literally featured everybody on the Black Butter roster, Rudimental, Gorgon City, Clean Bandit, Kidnap Kid, etc. so it was only right that we spoke to Olly Wood, one third of the brains behind the increasingly important music label about their meteoric rise. I was working with Rack N Ruin… he suggested I meet his mate Henry, and we hit on the idea of starting a new label because the others were genre specific and also had another mate called Joe. We had £5,000, Rack N Ruin was the first artist to release via the label, Jessie Ware did the vocals on that track, a couple of releases after that, we signed some of Rudimental’s music, (they were Henry’s mates) and we were focusing on the management side of things, and then we got Feel The Love and all of our lives changed. It was important… to get a strong brand from the off. The simplicity of the Black Butter name happened to be staring at us one day when I opened my fridge. Maybe the secret of a logo is no matter what size it is, you’re gonna recognise it. What we did really is employ radio pluggers because there wasn’t a direct scene to tap into; still to this day we put all of the money back into promoting. So with the management company, publishing company and on the whole, the record label is an advert for the acts, and adverts cost money, so we breathe a sigh of relief if we get that money back.
Gorgon City (Black Butter)
“Even though it was only four years ago, back then the majors were all asleep at the wheel, they didn’t have a clue that the tide was changing and I think that we were just perfectly positioned.”
The other one that put us on the map… was the Ho Riddim. We got Swerve to remix it and Henry got P Money on it and it turned into that anthem. Even though it was only four years ago, back then the majors were all asleep at the wheel, they didn’t have a clue that the tide was changing and I think that we were just perfectly positioned. Every time the labels have got involved in any underground scene, it’s like 6-12 months before they destroy it. You can see it coming, untalented people are starting to be promoted heavily and that is the beginning of the end. It’s when they think there’s a formula that it’s becoming calculated rather than artistic. I guess our mantra is that we just keep it about the music. It took something my dad said to me… (Laughs) when we had the Feel The Love demo and we knew it was gonna be big. I was like, ‘Dad, abundance is coming’ and he was like, ‘Oh, you do talk a lot of boll**ks’ and then it went number one, I was like, ‘In your face.’ He went, ‘Well, it did take you 12 years though, didn’t it?’ Immediately, I was like oh yeah, so my advice to anybody out there is if you can’t face the idea of doing it for 12 years without any recognition, do something else. I don’t think everybody is built for it; they’ve got to be up for taking risks and have ridiculous passion, like, the idea of doing anything else hurts you. For more pearls of wisdom @ollywood and of course the music check black-butter.co.uk
Cashmere Cat (LuckyMe)
The longest running label in our round up, Scottish born LuckyMe has supplied some of the most experimental music to creep out of the UK over the past decade and speaking to co-founder Martyn Flyn, we discover the now international label still thrives off of that organic vibe. Music. Art. Parties.
On a day-to-day basis… it’s me and co-founder Dominic Flannagan who run everything. He’s based in London, I’m still up in Scotland, it’s still a small team. We also have the arts side of what we do with Pete Marsden. He just did the stuff for Channel 4, we had a video premiere on there and we did a few things for them before like a TNGHT video [Bugg’n] and some things with Cid Rim. More than the music… [art has] always been synonymous with what we do and we kind of formed around Glasgow Art School when Dom was at school there. So there’s always been a dual element to what we do, whether it’s artwork or video projects it’s just putting it all together, not to say that there’s a distinct house style, but the visual stuff is just as important to us, and it tying into the work with music artists. It’s all very collaborative and a lot of people that we work with we’ve known a long time. We were formed around a core group of artists that we continue to work with like Jacques Greene who we’ve known a very long time, Machindrum and people like that. Scotland wasn’t a place known for hip hop… and that’s what we were into when we formed the label, a lot of experimental hip hop was being produced at the time and we were like we need to get this out there, we should be rep-
resenting this. We had a club night initially and it naturally formed around that, our releases were quite sporadic in the beginning. Now we’re a bit more established in what we do, we can put out more but the idea is still based around friends and music and people that are making music that we’re excited by. Label wise Warp were a big influence… Numbers and Stones Throw, which are obviously born of a kind of hip hop but they do a lot more varied things and have a freedom to put stuff out and people don’t question it. It doesn’t have to be straight up one sound, and I like that, it’s interesting that you can follow the label as well as the artists. The artists are the most important part, but I think the label can be represented in so many different ways. We’re still learning the business side of things… I think you do these things naively wanting to get records out by your friends and you begin to understand how things work and the best way to get things out there. General organisation and making sure things are done the right way, that’s from production to mastering and making sure things are pressed right, because we’re pretty much still doing vinyl for all of our releases. Make sure you follow the journey at @luckyme and thisisluckme.com
DAVID SHORT / 44
ON THE RISE When David Short took up a course at LeSoCo he had no idea where it would lead. By gaining key skills during his time there, he has risen through the fashion industry, winning an FAD (Fashion Awareness Direct) award and interning at top design houses. We discuss his plans for what’s next.
How did going to college at LeSoCo set you up for the fashion world? I was able to pattern cut and sew and learnt all about CAD design, so I was already a step ahead of other candidates in my skills when I was applying for university by being taught by industry experts at LeSoCo. I entered the FAD 2010 junior awards where we showcased our designs at London Fashion Week. An incredible experience for a 16 year old! Talk us through what you have learned on your placements at Victoria Beckham, Roksanda Ilincic, Religion, etc.? I’ve learnt a lot and gained many skills and some valuable industry contacts.
What would you say to guys feeling hesitant about applying for a Fashion course? Don’t be! I would advise that you are passionate about the subject, as it is very competitive, and it’s such a broad industry that there are so many different roles worth investigating. What does the future have in store for you? I am about to begin a placement at Tom Ford. After I graduate next summer I would like to study an MA in womenswear, and after that we’ll just have to see what happens! Find out more about Fashion courses at LeSoCo at their Open Day on 14 June, more details here lesoco.ac.uk
“I’ve learnt a lot on my placements and gained many skills and some valuable industry contacts.”
COLLEGE RULES 21 Jump Street was 2012’s most welcome surprise; a remake of a late 80s TV series no one remembers, starring a slimmed down Jonah Hill and an out of character Channing Tatum. Not quite a comedic match made in heaven, but guess what; it was great. And now they’re back with 22 Jump Street. Words Julius “Peps” Pepperwood
With both Hill and Tatum enjoying their most resurgent and award-laden years to date, a sequel to 21 Jump Street wasn’t quite guaranteed. However, the pair clearly enjoyed working together – seriously, their chemistry is unbelievable – and audiences loved the first film, so the age-defying undercover officers must step up once more. They’ve already conquered high school; so impersonating college students is a no-brainer. With a much-expanded role for Ice Cube – reprising his angry black sergeant satire – and the promise of Hill and Tatum impersonating cartel gangsters, we’re already looking ahead to 23 Jump Street: Exchange Students, to be swiftly followed by the fourth film, The Unemployment Years. Fingers crossed. 22 Jump Street is in cinemas nationwide from 6 June
THE BIG REVIEW / 82
7 Surprise guests Pharrell brought out in what was, hands down, the highlight of the weekend. Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg and Nelly were some of the most notable. Did we mention he brought out Jay Z for weekend two? The gift that keeps on giving.
3 THE BIG REVIEW: COACHELLA
Approximately the number of corn dogs we had per day while at Coachella. Hot dog deep fried in cornmeal batter and served on a stick – get in my belly!
Last month our feature writer Alya Mooro jumped aboard the 11-hour flight to Los Angeles, California to make her yearly pilgrimage to what she touts as the best festival of them all. With a ridiculous line up, which included Outkast, reunited following a near decade-long hiatus, scorching temperatures and many a buff and ready festival body (no beer bellies here!), Alya breaks down Coachella in numbers. Photos Thomas Hawk for Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
The degrees it reached at Coachella. Obvs we had to have a few ice-cold beverages to keep us cool.
Approximately the number of blow-up sex dolls we saw being batted around the crowd like beach balls. No, we didn’t get it, either.
Seconds Beyoncé outshone little sis Solange when joining her onstage for a surprise appearance.
RWD Film Previews
The number of complimentary pizza slices and Jägermeister shots we guzzled at Lacoste’s desert pool party. Weekend one’s place to be.
Approximately the number of celebrities that stood front and centre at Outkast’s reunion. Attendees included Cassie (drool!), L.A Reid, Odd Future in its entirety and David Hasselhoff – yes, really.
The number of times we had to blow our nose to get all that darn sand out after Saturday’s freak sand storm. It even made us miss Nas (and surprise guest Jay Z) – yes, it was that bad.
Million tweets were sent out into the Twittersphere by the end of weekend one alone. A whopping 250,000 of those were just about Pharrell and Outkast. Judging by our own contributions, we think O M and G made up quite a few of the characters in those tweets.
Minutes Future took up of Outkast’s return to the stage after their long hiatus by talking about (and performing songs from) his new album. Hey, Future, we wanted hits from the past! The number of minutes Outkast were late in starting their set. Doubly annoying considering their mics were cut at 1am sharp.
45 166 The total number of acts that took to the Coachella stage over the three-day weekend. They included Disclosure, Banks, Pharrell, Outkast and Nas. Woah.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Edge of Tomorrow lkoko
“Monkey business” 20th Century Fox Director: Matt Reeves Starring: Gary Oldman
“Cruise does it all“ Warner Bros Director: Doug Liman Starring: Tom Cruise
Following the undeniably epic Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar and his gang of primates prepare for war with what’s left of the human race in what has to be the most unexpectedly anticipated sequel of all time. We can’t wait. Release Date: 11 July
Tom Cruise loves a high-concept sci-fi blockbuster and Edge of Tomorrow offers the pintsized star the opportunity to suit-up, kill and be killed as an inexperienced officer fighting invading aliens on a death loop. He may be weird, but don’t bet against Cruise. Release Date: 30 May
A Million Ways To Die In The West
Transformers: Age of Extinction
“Family Guy goes west” Universal Pictures Director: Seth MacFarlane Starring: Seth MacFarlane
“Dinosaurs > Cars” Paramount Pictures Director: Michael Bay Starring: Mark Wahlberg
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane tickled audiences in record numbers with his first featurelength film Ted, so expect AMWTDITW to hit those same spots, if the trailers are anything to go by. Anticipate American Dad in real life. Release Date: 30 May
While it’s unfortunate that Michael Bay is still at the helm, we can at least take solace in Shia LaBeouf’s ejection from the franchise. Age of Extinction will see transforming dinosaurs join forces with the transforming cars, and why the hell not? Release Date: 11 July
SPEAKER’S CORNER / 84
THE DEATH OF TIKI TAKA?
Equally obsessed with football and music, Southampton supporting blogger and journalist Aniefiok Ekpoudom takes a look at whether the world champions have reached the end of a long and successful road this summer. So is Tiki Taka dead?
All Andres Iniesta recalls of his historic strike during the dying embers of the 2010 World Cup final is hearing ‘the silence.’ In that moment on a steamy South African evening, Spain tore up the football hand book. The game was now in the midst of a new era. Technique had trumped physicality and Tiki Taka was here to stay. The road to success has been an arduous one. In an era in which European football was dominated by the French and the Italians, the 90s and early parts of the prior decade saw Spain cast the lot as perennial underachievers – they were stocked with an endless list of talented individuals who fell short when beckoned onto any and every international stage. By 2006 though, enough was enough, the late Luis Aragonés was to be the catalyst for change as he forged a new core of players. Aragonés gradually did away with the old guard and built a team, as opposed to simply fielding a string of gifted individuals. This side would go on to claim Spain’s first international trophy in Euro 2008, with
a philosophy centred around a dizzying display of short passes and a patient retention of possession. Defensively they matched these uncommon tactics with a daring high line and an intense pressing system deployed in those rare occasions when possession was relinquished. The results were stunning and Spain swept to victory in a dominant final against the Germans. But despite Spain’s success, all cycles, no matter how glorious or pioneering, must ultimately come to a halt. Four years on from that night in South Africa and the time has arrived for La Furia to defend their title. This time around there is a little more at stake, too. The rigours of Tiki Taka - formulated by Johan Cruyff and perfected by Pep Guardiola – have seen the style lose its air of invincibility, and with the World Cup fast approaching, we all eagerly await the answers. So is Spain’s cycle at an end? With the country’s global conquests running
parallel to the domestic domination of Barcelona, it’s notable that the club side appear to have seen their tipping point come and go. Pep Guardiola, reflecting on his decision to depart the Catalan club, earlier this year admitted, “Gradually I found it more and more difficult to motivate myself and to motivate the team. That is when you know it is time to walk away.” Spain’s return to Brazil will surely tell us if Tiki Taka has run its course on the international stage as well. Vicente Del Bosque has the option to adapt, and in Diego Costa and Javi Martinez he certainly has the players to accommodate the increasingly physical and direct makeup of the game. Or of course he can remain steadfast with the ingredients that have brought Spain success. Rumours suggest that the 63 year old will retire at the end of the tournament, and with a European team yet to win a World Cup in South America, perhaps the great Tiki Taka system will retire with him. Follow @_Aniefiok_ and check-out his blog chroniclesofneef.com
“This time around there is a little more at stake, too. The rigours of Tiki Taka formulated by Johan Cruyff and perfected by Pep Guardiola – have seen the style lose its air invincibility”