Goodbye Football Tree

by tim bradford on July 9, 2008

TreeA while ago (I can’t remember – was it three years or six months?) a wicker sculpture was placed on top of the remains of one of the old trees that had died after the 2003 drought. It seemed to be saying that the tree could continue to have a life after it had died.

Every day my two year old son and I walk through Clissold Park and go up to touch the Football Tree.

“Football Tree!” my son will say. We’ll then both have a quiet think about how great football and trees are, and walk on.

But the Football Tree is no more. The other morning as we approached it as part of our daily pilgrimage, we saw the wicker sphere lying smashed on the ground. Next to it was an iron pole, part of a nearby fairground display. Still fresh in the air was the sense that someone had decided that good stuff was rubbish and had to be ruined. Was this part of the artist’s planned trajectory for the sculpture – to hire a gang of bored and drunk idiots to destroy it?

My son said he wanted to fix the football tree. I told him that it couldn’t be fixed because it was a metaphor for the world’s problems. Or the problems of bored and drunk idiots hanging around in parks at night. Or the England football team’s problems. Or the problems of sentimentalising outdoor installation sculpture

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