Cambridge Rules sculpture begins to take shape

You might remember last month we documented our trip to Portugal to watch the granite that will form the Cambridge Rules 1848 sculpture on Parker’s Piece being extracted and cut.

Well, as you can see from these images, the artwork is now really starting to take on the form people will see in Cambridge in Spring 2018.

Just to remind you, the stone was cut into nine pieces, four of which will remain on Parker’s Piece and the other five travelling the globe to places which reflect the global spread of the game from Cambridge. In the end, the work on the stone should end with it looking like… this!

So as you can see from the artists’ impression, the next step is to get the rules translated into different languages and engraved onto the smooth faces of the granite.

“It’s great to see the granite begin to take shape,” says Cambridge Rules 1848 artist Alan Ward. “It’s already been a fascinating process and we’re really pleased with how it’s coming together. Now the work with the words starts, which is obviously really important to the finished piece.”

Exciting stuff!

Cumprimentos De Portugal, Dia 3

With the stone cut for the sculpture – it will now slowly make its way back to the UK when we’ll begin etching the original Cambridge Rules in many languages – our final day in Portugal gave us the opportunity to look more closely at what football means to its people. Here’s our last twitter-based tale of the day.

If you’re in northern Portugal exploring at the history of football, you have to start at Boavista Futebol Clube. This is one of the oldest clubs in the country, one of only two teams other than the big three of Sporting, Benfica and the city they call home, Porto, to win the Primeira Liga.

And, given that they were founded by an English factory owner and his Portuguese textile workers, it felt somehow apt that our project, based on the way football spread from a small corner of an open space in Cambridge to the world, should pay a visit.

IMG_3624We were really grateful that Boavista actually opened their museum especially for us. The trophy cabinet is quite something – they’ve won the Primeira Liga once (2000-1) and the Portuguese Cup five times. The chequered black and white of their shirts is everywhere – naturally they’re often referred to as Os Axadrezados (The Chequered Ones). We didn’t actually tweet all the pictures we took, but as you can see they take the black and white and their other, slightly more fearsome nickname, As Panteras (The Panthers), very seriously.



IMG_3655They even took us on the pitch – the Estadio Do Bessa is a fantastic 28,000 capacity ground. We can’t resist showing you the steep sided, cauldron-like stadium. It seemed calm on a Wednesday morning, but when rivals Porto come to visit it must be a magic atmosphere.


All of this was possible thanks to Rodolfo Silva, the stadium manager. He’s posted elsewhere on the site – he used to play in some of the age groups for Boavista. And they’ve always had a good youth policy, bringing through the likes of striker Nuno Gomes – who would go on to a fine international career and play for Fiorentina, Benfica and Blackburn Rovers.


IMG_3695So that was Boavista – and we were really touched with the gift of some scarves – but for the sake of city balance, we did have a quick squizz at FC Porto’s dramatic Estadio do Dragao on the way back to the airport. We loved the stickering away fans had done at the stadium, and as dedicated football ground archaelogists, the remnants of the old stadium still visible were intriguing.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our trip to Portugal, which reminded us once again how embedded football is in culture and society. The stone, too, looked fantastic. Next week, Alan and Neville will write more in depth pieces about their experiences. For now, though, até mais!







Cumprimentos de Portugal, dia 2

Hope you enjoyed our Twitter-based tales of our first day in Portugal getting acquainted with the stone which will become the granite sculpture in Parker’s Piece. Day 2 in Portugal started off with media commitments! After appearing in Cambridge News and BBC Online, Neville spoke to Dotty McLeod on BBC Cambridgeshire’s breakfast show about the trip, the stone, and the football stories we’ve already discovered. We’re on about 2hrs 25 mins in…

Then it was off to the quarry. There was only one word for this incredible place. So we used it.

We then watched as our piece of stone was drilled through so it can be split.

The point of splitting the stone is at the heart of the Cambridge Rules 1848 concept: we break the stone into nine parts, four remaining on Parker’s Piece and five travelling across the globe to places where football has become embedded in life and culture.

The stone was split by Helder, an FC Porto fan.

And whenever Helder takes a break, he’s able to shoot the breeze about all things FC Porto with fellow fan Manuel, who oversees the whole operation.


Later, back in the relative calm of the factory office, Elena and Belarmino read the original Cambridge Rules and translate them into Spanish and Portuguese. The glory of football, however, is that it’s the same whatever language you speak.








Saudações de Portugal

As you may have already seen, now that planning permission has been granted for the Cambridge Rules 1848 sculpture on Parker’s Piece, we can get on with the business of actually making it.

And the first step, obviously, is to get the stone. Alan and Neville are in Portugal this week watching the granite being extracted and worked on, as well as exploring the football stories in the area around the quarry in Lamego, about 90 minutes east of Porto. Alan will report back when the trip is over, but for now, here’s the story so far as told via Twitter…

So, first of all, we had to make sure we travelled past FC Porto’s fantastic ground.

Then it was off to see the old quarry’s abandoned football ground where Penafiel, a second division team, once played. As we’ve all also been involved in the story of Bradford Park Avenue’s abandoned old ground, it held particular resonances.

More pictures here, complete with Alan’s shadow…

It was time to take a deep breath and see the stone for the first time at Granitos. Everyone there was so friendly and helpful, and, naturally, football fans…

You might have already seen the man who cut our stone on Cambridge Rules 1848 – Nelson has posted to say he’s a Benfica fan.

But there are plenty of sporting rivalries at the factory. Belarmino is the boss and supports Sporting Clube De Portugal, while Elena follows Celta De Vigo, just across the border in Spain. She’s so keen, the badge is on her hard hat.

There was just enough time to walk the 365 steps up to Estádio dos Remédios, home of Sporting Clube de Lamego. The President, Delfim Duarte Santiago, told us all about their 80 year history.

And we got a scarf!





Final designs for Parker’s Piece sculpture revealed

Late last year we were delighted to get planning permission for the exciting new sculpture commissioned by Cambridge City Council, marking the place at which the rules of football as we know them today were first played: Parker’s Piece, Cambridge.

So here are the final designs for you to have a look at. Etched with the 11 Cambridge Rules in many different languages, the stone will be cut into nine pieces, four of which remain as a permanent marker on Parker’s Piece. The other five pieces are to be sent as tokens of exchange to five countries across the globe, the location determined by a story which echoes how football spread and how it has grown to encompass race, nation, class and gender.

It’ll be installed in Spring 2018, and Alan and Neville are currently in Portugal watching the stone being extracted. Find out more about their trip soon on this website.



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Written in Stone 02 03 16: Our Story So Far

Since launched on 15th of last month, we’ve been delighted by the interest and response to our call for your stories and photographs about the beautiful game. We’ve had everything from a retro Fluminense shirt from a street market in Rio de Janeiro to a picture of Shanghai Shenhua supporters at the 2015 Chinese FA Cup Final. Closer to home, the stories of a schoolboy keeping the mud flicked up from George Best’s boot at Portman Road, Ipswich and the excitement a Spurs-supporting teenager felt when he realised they had a famous footballer in the family are all highlights of our ever growing archive of what football means to the masses.

Meanwhile, the opportunity to create your own football card on the site has enticed fans from teams as far apart as non-league Bath City and Club Atletico Talleres de Cordoba in Argentina.

We always hoped that the Cambridge Rules 1848 project would have this kind of impact, and now the website is online and work on the physical, sculptural element of the commission has begun, we’ve also begun to enjoy some media coverage too.

Naturally, given Cambridge Rules 1848 is commission from Cambridge City Council, Cambridge News were intrigued by the launch of the website, which they called an “exciting public art project for Parker’s Piece.” Later in launch week, Alan went to ITV’s studios in Salford Quays to talk about Cambridge Rules 1848 for a news story broadcast on ITV Anglia later that night. “The design [of the stone] is meant to reflect that at that point, the rules were cast in stone forever,” he explained.

The BBC have also been encouragingly supportive of Cambridge Rules 1848. After a story on the BBC News website highlighted our celebration of football’s global reach, Alan travelled to Cambridge to appear on Dotty McLeod’s BBC Radio Cambridgeshire breakfast show (go to 1hr 47mins). He did so from a freezing cold Parker’s Piece at 745am – but it must have hit some sort of chord: we had a Cambridge-based stonemason get in touch!

Then Alan was off to appear on BBC Radio Norfolk’s football magazine show The Scrimmage to talk about Cambridge Rules and encourage his fellow Norwich City fans to contribute to the site. Which they certainly have – we particularly like the tale of a teenage boy being wowed by the crowds at a record-breaking FA Cup tie in the 1960s.

And the interest continues. Arsenal FC got in touch this week to say they would be featuring Cambridge Rules 1848 in a future match-day programme, and so far we’ve had visitors to our site from most of mainland Europe, both North and South America, Africa and the Far East.

So if you haven’t contributed yet, please do. It’ll only take a few minutes – and just like the rules on the stone, your story will be immortalised forever in the world’s widest football archive.