A KINGSMEAD artist has earned plaudits nationwide for his role in the FA Cup final – including from the matchwinner himself.

Illustrator Phil Galloway was commissioned by the FA to create pieces ahead of Man City’s victory over Watford at Wembley on Saturday.

Almost 90,000 people took in the match at the national stadium, with many picking up a keepsake programme for which Phil had submitted two double-page spreads.

He said: “They had two quite large articles about the story of [City’s] Raheem Sterling growing up under the arch as Wembley was being built, and then [Watford’s] Troy Deeney who, 12 years ago, was paying £10 a week to play football.

Northwich Guardian:

Phil's work in the FA Cup final matchday programme

“The FA got in touch directly and asked if I was up for producing a few pieces. They weren’t initially thinking about it being in the programme, but they really liked them and ended up putting them in

“I thought I would get a little feature, which was exciting enough. It ended up being two double page spreads and that was just unreal.

“I am really just so honoured to be asked, and then to be in the programme – it’s a little piece of footballing history.”

As well as the programme pieces, Phil created the winners’ image and a picture of Sterling inspired his tattoo of him as a child looking up at the famous stadium.

Northwich Guardian:

Phil's FA Cup Final winners' image for Man City

After the game, the England forward posted the image for his followers to enjoy, sending Phil a personal message on behalf of himself and the treble-winning squad.

“Sterling has sent me a really nice direct message thanking me for it, and checking my Instagram and things like that which was really good of him,” Phil said.

Northwich Guardian:

“He said thanks on behalf of the team as well and that just topped it all off. I do it for the client and I want them to be pleased first and foremost, but there is always a little boy inside me who wants the players involved to love it as well.

“To be involved even in a little way is great – I think my chances of playing in an FA Cup final are probably dwindling, fast approaching 40 with knackered knees.

“The FA Cup is really special for people of a certain generation who have grown up watching it when it was 3pm kick off, with a big focus on the build-up and even things like the matchday suits. It was really exciting and a big day for everyone.”

Northwich Guardian:

Although he couldn’t get to the final himself, Phil was offered tickets by the FA which meant his brother and family could attend – enjoying a resolute carnival atmosphere as neutrals in the Watford end despite the 6-0 scoreline.

And Phil, who moved into full-time illustration three years ago from his work with special needs children, remains in high demand across the sports media world in recent times.

His work has been featured in various publications, including a renaissance-style piece for the men’s World Cup last summer, and a COPA 90 project for the forthcoming women’s World Cup.

Northwich Guardian:

Phil's work ahead of the 2019 World Cup turned heads

He said: “It’s been busy busy – this past year in particular has just gone crazy.

“More companies are coming alive to wanting illustration in a different way, and hopefully I am a little bit know for it now and they will come to me. I’m just honoured to be in this position.”

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