New season gets underway

he 2014/2015 season kicked off yesterday at Deptford Green. This season takes the three sided football experiment to its natural next stage – playing a regular set of six teams in a league format with full fixtures and an evolving league table. The league will be called the Luther Blissett London League – and the Luther Blissett Trophy will be awarded by the man himself on the final day.

Towards the end of last season turn out had reached an average of 30 players – with an amazing 41 coming along to play in our final game. As we had started regularly playing across two pitches the time felt right to move from the free for all, one off games of previous seasons to the experimental rigour of fixed teams. How this would alter the flavour of play had been a regular topic of conversation – and the opportunity to put it to the test had at last arrived.

By playing across the two pitches we had already subdivided ourselves into six teams – though participation had been a fluctuating affair. At the conclusion of the final game, the forty players present were distributed equally across the six. From now on players would be part of a regular team. Would the game dynamic move from the self levelling balancing act we had seen before to one in which the positional imperative of the table might create and cement more durable alliances?

At the recent world cup in Denmark (attended by Polscy, PFFC and D3FC)  – and about which more later – the scoring and organisation of the table was hotly debated. Do we count goals for as well as against? Do we invert points so the least are awarded for the best results? The system was gradually honed over the last couple of weeks and on Sunday afternoon, before the first games kicked off – the following was agreed:

In keeping with Three Sided Football’s principle of allocating victory to the team which concedes the fewest goals, there will be no points for a win, one point for coming second and two points for conceding the most. If a game is fully drawn (e.g. all teams conceded an equal amount of goals), a single point will be allocated to each. If  there is a winning draw (e.g. two teams concede the same amount and the third concedes more) then a single point will be awarded to the drawn teams and two to the one which conceded the most. If there is a losing draw (e.g. two teams concede the same amount and the third concedes less) then two points will be awarded to the drawn teams and no points to the team which conceded the fewest and thus won the game.

Points allocated on the basis of the above will form the principal method of ranking the teams. Total goals conceded will form the secondary method of ranking the teams and in case these two ranking methods are unable to separate the teams, a goal difference – determined by subtracting goals scored (less own goals) from goals conceded – will form the third and final method of ranking.

The mathematics of a six team league mean that it takes twenty games for every permutation of the six to play equally against each other. Divided over the two pitches, this requires ten match days. We will therefore continue to play on the first Sunday of everyday month from September through to June – being the ten match days required.

A fixture list was drawn up to distribute the six teams as evenly as possible across these match days – with an attempt being made to ensure no two teams play against each other on more than three consecutive occasions. The fixtures were prepared on the basis of using letters (e.g. a b c d e & f) – rather than team names – to determine the arrangement – and on the day of the first matches, representatives of each team pulled out a letter from a bag containing one each of a b c d e and f. The letters on the fixtures list were thus transformed into actual games – and as you can see from the chart below – we began the season by playing Philosophy Football FC against Aesthetico Athletico against Polscy Budowlancy – and D3FC against New Cross Irregulars against Strategic Optimists FC.

Both games resulted in winning draws. The first rotation saw both Polscy and D3FC being hammered by an alliance of the two opposing teams – letting in three goals apiece. Careful defensive play saw both get back into the game as the original alliances splintered.  While the Poles were finally unable to find parity despite some excellent play, Deptford were gifted an unexpected winning draw through stout defensive play and measured assists. 14:15 Sept results The first table of the League Season therefore sees Aesthetico and Philosophy sharing honours at the top – separated by alphabetical advantage alone. New Cross take third following a deluge of goals scored during their game against D3FC and the Optimists. (Laurence Galpin being the striker to watch). Deptford take 4th place. Polscy and the Optimists take 5th and 6th position on 2 points. 14:15 table Following the recent article about Three Sided Football in Mainichi Shimbun in Japan, a TV news crew from Japanese Kansai TV came along to film the new season. Their intention is to introduce Three Sided Football to Japan in the hope of encouraging a Japanese team to enter the next World Cup in Germany in 2017. We will post a link to their film about the first games of the new season as soon as it is available.

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News from down under

Word reaches the Deptford League of the blooming of three sided football on the other side of the globe. Barnaby Chiverton reports from a windswept pitch in sunny Melbourne on the inaugural game on Aussie turf. Pythagoras 3FC v Athletic Geometry  v All Sartres


aussie 3sf


Follow the action at

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February 2014 & FIFAtv.

Following the amazing response to the BBC film about D3FC (see last months post), our game in February was so well attended that we were able to set up two pitches side by side. D3FC, Philosophy A and Polscy played in one game and Strategic Optimists, Philosophy B and new team Athletico Aesthetico played in the other. News of our endeavours has even reached FIFA who asked whether they could come and watch three sided football being played and make a film about it. The resulting short documentary really captures the spirt of the game.

Strategic Optimists repeated their last minute victory in the January game with another slick performance – keeping a clean sheet to win 2.2.0 against Aesthetico and PFFC B, while the game between Polscy, D3FC and PFFC A was notable for the incredible defence Polscy put up in the final rotation.

The 3rd had started with Deptford down by a single goal – PFFC & the Poles sharing the lead 3.2.2. Shortly after the start of the final period a delightful deflection from the overhanging branches of the large Plane tree by the playground tricked the Philosophy goalie and the Poles took pole position. (Setting up two pitches has pushed us to the very edges of the park and the presence of trees is now an unavoidable feature).

Every element of gamesmanship was now deployed to keep the lead. Feigned injuries, repeatedly kicking the ball 100m out of touch, running to a far corner and holding the ball dead – you name it – it was tried and tested. Even with the ten, game hardened players of D3FC and Philosophy A, no gap could be found. The delirium of victory was palpable and as the whistle blew the Slavic Defence entered Three Sided Folklore.

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3SF World Cup (part 1)

vm jorn fodboldThis has been a bit of dream project for some time now. In fact ever since the  Deptford X tournament during the London Olympics in summer 2012 we have joked about the day when three sided football would become so popular that there would be a need for a World Cup.


After the Regents Park Rotorende the idea was raised again – and it got us thinking about the origins of the game within the situationist project – a project which has at its heart the desire to oppose the passivity of modern life within the capitalist spectacle by the concrete organisation of lived experience – of transforming dreams into candid reality through direct action. So we had to ask – why dream of the day when a world cup would be possible when all it takes is for us to organise one ourselves – right here – right now.


But what should such a World Cup be – where would it happen – who would play? And as we were speculating on these essential issues along comes the kind of bolt from the blue that good ideas thrive on for their verification. If you are familiar with this blog then you have probably come across various exchanges we have had with Museum Jorn in Denmark – the keepers of Asger Jorn’s collection and the tenders of his flame. Back in 2013 they asked us whether we intended doing anything to mark the 2014 Centenary celebrations of Jorn’s birth. We hadn’t – as it happened – but then again we figured there would be nothing lost if we proposed they host the first ever Three Sided Football World Cup – in Silkeborg (where they are based)  – in conjunction with the programme of events they had planned. Well its taken a couple of months for them to respond, but they have now got back to us to say they want to do it – and they have asked if we would like to organise it.


Game on – stay tuned.

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News travels fast

Dan Curtis from BBC Stop/Start reports on our January game.

Three-sided football: A game of alliance and betrayal


It seems like a typical Sunday afternoon game of football, but there’s a big difference – there are three teams on the pitch.

Deptford 3S Football Club is playing Philosophy Football FC and Strategic Optimists FC, at the same time.

This is the complex and curious game of three-sided football, an invention of Danish Situationist philosopher and artist Asger Jorn.

Played on a hexagonal pitch, the rules are similar to normal football, but it is the team that concedes the fewest goals, rather than scores the most, that wins.

This leads to all sorts of tactical subtleties, as BBC News discovered at a match in New Cross in London.

Video journalists: Dan Curtis and Tom Beal.

Click the hexagon to watch the film

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Time Out

As reported in the last post, Alexi Duggins of Time Out came along to play in the November game. His report has just been published.


Full report here:


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Season 3. Game 2



The Deptford Green Hex was packed to the gunwales this afternoon for our second outing of the 13/14 season. Philosophy FC brought along a very strong team, the Poles were out in force, SOFC had their best turnout yet and D3FC had an eight man contingent. We even had Alexi Duggins of Time Out (with camera crew on board) to sample and report on the special football brew that Deptford now forments.


Faced with so many players, the temptation to swap over to a four team rotorende, rather than a three team standard, was considerable. Discussion between the teams however decided on a standard game with 8 players per team; six on the pitch at any one time and two rotating subs able to swap over when fitness – or injury – determined. SOFC graciously stood down as a team and distributed themselves amongst the remaining three, secure in the promise that if this kind of turnout happens again then they are guaranteed a show.


Philosophy are clearly going to be the team to watch; not only have they brought their brightest and best but their recent games in Regents Park and Istanbul have given them a serious tactical edge. The first rotation certainly goes their way, with the scores at 2.2.0 as the first period comes to a close.


The break before the second unsurprisingly sees a D3FC delegation head towards the Poles and the expectation is of a joint attack on the Thinkers goal once play resumes. But Deptford get it wrong and a feigned alliance quickly sees the Poles unite with Philosophy to grab a quick third against the home team. Stung by the doublecross, Deptford resort to close defensive play to try and encourage The Thinkers and the Poles to play against each other. Happy with their three goal advantage though, PHFC have also closed play down and are now operating with a single lone striker and a four man defense. Their goal is looking impregnable.


A strange stalemate settles over the game. Whenever Deptford have possession they try to turn play against the Philosophers but, unable to trust the Poles (whose right back persistently rushes at the Deptford goal whenever he has the ball), their attacks break down as they feel unable to involve a Polish shirt. The last five minutes of the rotation are noticeably ‘lonesome’ (every team playing only for themselves) and the second ends at 0.2.3.


With the start of the third the Polish front three seem at last to decide that an all out burst on the Thinkers is now a necessity and Deptford tentatively send players out to join them. The attacks multiply and numerous shots are parried or sent off target. This is certainly the kind of play required to get the loosing teams back on level pegging. As the attacks multiply and trust between the Poles and Deptford begins to re-established, the Polish team again break the alliance. The Philosophy striker picks up a loose ball and heads towards the Deptford goal. Rather than help repulse his advance, the Polish captain and their right half connect with him in a wonderful one two and put the home side on four conceded. Frustration finally boils over and Deptford players begin a high volume critique of the Polish tactics; one half of the team cursing their Slavic inheritance and the other shouting words of passive aggressive applause; “Come on Poland, you can do it. We believe in you – you don’t have to always come second.” The Philosophers can only but be bemused.


Depford however are simply confused. 4.2.0 down and ten minutes to go. No way to beat the Thinkers now and every direct query to the Polish team just results in a big smile and a nonchalant shrug. The Deptford team dynamic starts to break down – half now attacking the Philosophers for all they are worth and the other half blinded by a red mist of revenge. For reasons best known to themselves, the Poles now launch themselves at the Philisophy goal but D3FC are unable to unite sufficiently. After it quickly becomes clear that the Thinkers goal is not going to give, a three man band of Deptford defiants turn the play and rush the Polish goal. Carelessly guarded by only the goalie and the right back the attack succeeds and the difference reduced to one.


As play recommences the Philosophers pull out of their defensive diamond and urge the Deptford renegades to join them. Against this mixture of PHFC skill and Deptford determination the Poles have no hope and a fourth is quickly despatched. 4.4.0. Only a few minutes to play. Philosophy are clear winners after a text book Sun Tzu masterclass of securing victory by luring the opposition into internal discord. The last two minutes finally see the Poles and Deptford unite in a secure alliance with every player focusing on trying to get at least a single consolation goal against the Thinkers – but in vain. The Philosophy goalkeeper plays a blinder and the final whistle gives them all the honours.




The writer of this report, who played for the Deptford team on the day in question, was eager to understand the reasoning behind the Polish strategy and decided to interview the Polish captain. What, I wondered, was the thinking – if any – behind the decision to keep attacking Deptford when victory could only be secured by allying with us? The response was suitably prosaic.


“We had originally figured on getting D3FC well out of the game – with PHFC collaboration – at which point we would turn on them and – with your support – start scoring against them. When it went to 4.2.0 most of us then did start attacking Philosophy – but Robert had a sore leg and didn’t want to leave his right back position to cross the field and attack them. So instead of just staying in defence while we got on with it – he decided to have a bit of fun and rush at your goal whenever the ball came to him. I did advise him of what the outcome would be but he didnt give a toss!”


McKenzie Wark recently pointed out in his essay ‘This Ludic Century’ that “play has to trifle, it has to be indifferent to what (…) is considered a win”. So maybe it was Robert, with his gammy leg, who was the winner in the end? 

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