Season 3. Game 1.



An excellent turn out for the first game of the new season (six-a-side) and a warm welcome to new team Strategic Optimism FC.


“Comprised of various perennial students, the Strategic Optimists derive their name from the now largely dissolved University for Strategic Optimism. Operative primarily around 2010-11, the UfSO was a nomadic university with a transitory campus, based on the principles of free and open education, collective learning and psychogeographical forays into enemy territories. This name was considered an appropriate moniker in terms of the team’s triolectical footballing talents – mainly reliant, as they are, upon an often dissimulative optimism.


Containing a number of dedicated psychogeografikal researchers, SOFC deemed such ludic explorations an appropriate extension of their ongoing investigations.

SOFC, who contain two Romanian players, also played on Sunday in solidarity with a day of global protests in 75 cities worldwide. Bedecking their goal with improvised banners, SOFC showed their unity with those opposing a project allowing multinational firm Gabriel Resources to decimate the Romanian village of Rosia Montana, creating Europe’s largest open-cast gold mine, complete with highly toxic cyanide lake.”


Sunday’s game pitted the two ever present die-hards, D3FC and Polsky Budowlancy against the newcomers and, as might be expected, play began at a leisured pace; the two regular teams trying to get a feel for the skills and tactical guile of the Optimists and they in turn trying to figure out what the hell three sided football was all about.



Five minutes in and the Optimists were a goal down, the entire outfield having accidentally abandoned the goalie to a two team, concerted attack. Quickly establishing the need for a dedicated defence, the newcomers now settled back while Polsky and Deptford took the play to each other. Against the run of play, Polsky shipped two quick goals toward the end of the rotation and the closing whistle saw Deptford with a handy 2.1.0 lead.


The second rotation began with a planned alliance between the Poles and SOFC get off to a shaky start as Mihaela, one of two ladies playing for the Optimists, quickly bluffed an excellent shot on the Polish goal which veered just wide of target. The alliance remained unfazed by this momentary onset of cunning and Deptford soon found themselves surrounded by a ten player assault. Shots rained down on the area but as has been noted here before, six-a-side games can oft result in maddening goal mouth frustration as the sheer numbers of players in the box can thwart any chance of the ball making it through. Body blocks and missed chances mounted, but finally, a delightful diving header found a gap and the Deptford lead was no more.


This also did for the Polsky Optimist alliance as the Poles and D3FC now teamed up again. Numerous missed opportunities kept providing the newcomers with a lifeline but with the rotation closing a crafty Polish switchback put another past the Deptford goalie to see the Optimists take an unexpected lead. D3FC now went seeking revenge and it was Polsky facing the ten man attack. A sublime shot from the centre point, deflected neatly by an Optimistic shoulder, lifted the back of the Polish net and SOFC entered the third in winning ways. 3.2.1


The last two seasons have never seen a team in the lead at the start of the third carry this to the end – but the recent game in Istanbul a fortnight ago (1) dispelled this nascent orthodoxy. Could the Optimists repeat the maneuver? Their two opponents were going to do everything to ensure they wouldn’t. As the Deptford goal had been besieged in the second, so now the Optimists were hemmed in in the third. Balls ricocheted away as a series of fearless blocks kept the goalmouth dry. Two of the Optimists were forced to retire after being practically flattened by the onslaught (fortunately a number of subs were on hand) but inevitability showed its hand and with the rotation passing the half way stage the gap was found – 3.2.2.


Polsky have little time now to try and do anything about their losing situation. Goals are proving hard to come by in this six-a-side and SOFC are looking to slow it down. If Deptford can be taken out of the shared lead they can perhaps be lured into an assault on the Optimists again. If 3.3.3 can be reached with a minute or two to go then a chance still exists. So feigning an attack on the leaders, a planned Polsky play sees a long ball whipped over to the Deptford goal as two Polish forwards rush towards it. The goalie has only a single defender and there’s space to shoot. The opportunity isn’t wasted and now the Optimists must prepare themselves for the inevitable. 3 minutes to go. 3.3.2. Can they hold on?


Rather than try to fill the goalmouth the leaders bring out the ball to their front line and hold it there. An excellent series of strategic ball killing plays time out the clock and do justice to the Optimists moniker. The orthodoxy is broken for the second game in succession and the newcomers take the honours.


(1) Philosophy Football FC invited Mark from D3FC to play with them in the first three sided football game in Turkey. Played on Saturday 14th Sept on the shores of the Golden Horn, the match pitted the Philosophers against Dynamo Windrad from Germany and Ayazma FC, the Turkish writers and artists football team. The event, held as part of the Istanbul Biennale, was organised to support the launching of an International Three Sided Football Federation. More about this important development in the evolution of the game in a later post.


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2013/2014 Season kicks off this weekend

The new season starts this Sunday 29th September, in conjunction with the Deptford X arts festival. Kick off is 2.00pm on the Deptford Green Hex in Fordham Park.

This year the regular Deptford League games will be played on the first Sunday of every month, running from Nov 3rd to Jun 1st 2014.

There will be a parallel series of ‘Performance Event’ games and multi team Rotorende throughout the year – some of which will attempt to recreate classic games from 3sf past.

The first, inspired by the game in a pine forest at the Altyus Art Strike Biennale in 2009, will hopefully be set amongst the mature trees of Southwark park on Oct 13th (stay tuned for confirmation).

We are also looking for a seriously undulating pitch in which to recreate the 1994 WNLA game played in Glasgow amongst the rolling dried out slurry dumps of the Dundas Hill Moonscape. Philosophy Football FC, who will hopefully be playing in our regular league games this season, have also challenged us to join them in a game played in the first deep snowfall to land on London this year.

Watch this space.

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Istanbul Biennale

Philosophy Football FC, who we have played in a number of tournaments over the last year (Deptford X, 1st International, Plumstead Rotorende, The Jorn Memorial in Regents Park), have been invited to participate in a Three Sided Football match in Istanbul later this month. The match, being organised by InEnArt as part of the Istanbul Biennale of Art, will pit The Philosophers against Dynamo Windrad from Germany and Ayazma FC, a team of Turkish writers, artists and actors. As well as demonstrating an alternative forum for co-oporation and collaboration, the game is intended to convey solidarity with Istanbul’s creative community while they are experiencing severe restrictions on their freedom of expression and action during the recent government clampdown. Since the stalemate that resulted from the demonstrations this summer in Taksim Square concerning the proposed closure and development of Gezi Park, numerous protest actions have taken place in Istanbul to keep the flame of opposition alive and the game is intended to contribute to this programme of defiance.

In parallel with playing the game, Philosophy Football intend to use the occasion to launch a call for the formation of an International Three Sided Football Federation. As the game has grown over the last twenty years, and especially during its rapid expansion since 2010, it has become clear that many of the groups who have experimented with this expanded version of the beautiful game have developed their own rules and methods of organisation. While such disparity is in many ways complementary to the ethos of the game, the playing of matches between teams drawn from these different groups clearly requires a unification of the methods of play for their games to be compatible. The foundation of a Federation is intended to not only synthesise the various permutations and interpretations of the game into a unified structure, but to draw up a philosophical statement of intent, a declaration of the principles of collaboration and experimentation which lie at the heart of the game.

Philosophy Football have invited Mark from D3FC to play with them, as part of their team, during the match and to take part in the discussions surrounding the development of the Federation. The Biennale have agreed to host this conference as part as the parallel series of events coinciding with the main event at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art and InEnArt have prepared this animated introduction to publicise the game.


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September 1, 2013 · 10:47 pm

Regents Park Review

The end of season clash between all the teams who have taken part in the Deptford League this season was a roaring success and I’m proud to report that D3FC were worthy champions. A close fought Rotorende saw the two philosophy teams pipped to the post by their own internal competition and goal difference gave Deptford the lead. Sun Tzu would have been proud.

Three-sided football13A

Sachin Nakrani from The Guardian came to watch and posts his report in Tuesdays paper:

Andy Hall took a great set of photos:

Three-sided football

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4th May Tournament in Regents park. All Welcome

The Asger Jorn Memorial tournament will be held in Regents Park (by the hub) on Saturday 4th May at 11.00am

The tournament will be a six team Rotorende with two full spirals. Each spiral will be of six rotations of ten minutes each as follows:


We seem to have 6 teams confirmed (see below) though we will be integrating anyone who arrives on the day. All are welcome!

New Cross Irregulars
Polscy Budowlancy
Scottish Comedy FC
Philosophy FC (1)
Philosophy FC (2)

The pitch is just two minutes from the main sports Hub building. The nearest tube is Baker Street, which is a 15minute walk from the pitch. Parking is permitted on the Outer Circle (though its £5/hr). The No13 bus goes every 8 minutes from Aldwych, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly etc up to less than five minutes from the pitch.

Confirmed Regents Pitch

Teams will be allocated a position within the starting lexicon (eg A, B, C, D, E or F) by drawing letters from a bag.
Teams are five a side with fixed goalies.
Pitch is a 30m sided hexagon with three 12ft x 6ft goals
Standard corners and throw in rules apply
Penalties awarded for a foul by a defender within a D shaped hemisphere 10m radius from centre of the goal. Penalty awarded to the fouled player.
No offsides.

If we have enough additional players to form a seventh team we will extend the spiral by the additional rotation.

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The Silkeborg Interpretation redux

During the Cut and Thrust: Reconsidering Asger Jorn seminar, which took place at the Museum Jorn in March 2012, Joao Leao, Senior Systems Specialist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, made clear in layman’s terms the link between three sided football and the triolectics of complementarity. Hilde from the blog makes a valiant attempt to report:

the antiworlds

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In the beginning…

After much searching, I have managed to unearth the original flyer from the inaugural Three Sided Football game held in Glasgow at Winterchool’94.
Organised by Richard Essex (Fabian Tompsett), the game took place on a very cold Glasgow Green with many of the players in no fit state to play. Needless to say, neither Fabian nor I can remember the scores.

glasgow flyer

Fabian’s nurturing of the game over the last two decades has been vital to its success today, and although Jorn may well have originally speculated upon the idea, the praxis of three sided football as a living critique of the “spectacle of non intervention” is really due to Fabian alone. Following the success of the Glasgow Green game Fabian was also instrumental in organising the game played during the Hackney Anarchist Week in 1996 (of which more later) and in aiding the AAA to integrate 3sf into their training programme for acclimatising themselves to a liberated life in zero gravity (to get used to thinking beyond two dimensions as there is no up or down in space).

As reports of these games slowly filtered through the internet the seed was sown.

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Asger Jorn on Three Sided Football

Asger Jorn has oft been credited with inventing our curious version of the beautiful game, but its been a long slog to finally track down the specific text that began it all. With thanks to Teresa Ostergaard Pedersen at the Jorn Museum in Denmark, we can reveal the following application of triolectics (complementarity) to the then current international political situation. From page 38 of his 1962 book Naturens Orden;

“Dialectics is based on a belief in polarisation, or the two way, contradictory, incessant association of syntheses, which in turn set up dualities. That there is some truth in the device of duality cannot be explained away, as long as you have not explained away electricity and magnetic polarity. But when this principle is transferred to politics, and the internal national polarisation between right and left is removed, then a country needs to seek its polarisation beyond its own borders (outside of itself). That such a polarisation between East and West can be of high dynamic value to business development on both sides in a kind of naive competition or cold war, there can be no doubt. It’s just like a football game where both parties are seeking to win.
But let’s imagine a new kind of football where instead of two teams and two goals there are three teams in the game and three goals. What will now happen when the three teams start playing against each other. Firstly you will quickly discover that it is impossible to control the way the two attacking enemies decide to shoot at their opponents’ goals. It therefore becomes necessary to reverse the rules, so victory becomes negative, and it is the team that has defended best, and which has conceded the fewest goals, which becomes the victor. The victory was defensive and not offensive. In this way the game then corrects itself and makes sense. It will not be an exciting football game at all. A third power can in this way serve to neutralize a tension between the two powers. It is thus seen that bilateral opponents are always aggressive or belligerent, while the triangular is defensive. While this in itself represents the transition from the dialectic to complementarity, it should not be left unsaid that, if it is so, Denmark is not particularly complementary in nature to the two great powers. Whether a triangular relationship is static or constant, will depend therefore on whether there is an increasing tension. If so this may just lead to a genuine blowing off steam if possibilities/risks in the bilateral relationship are released by the duel’s ceaseless energy. There is in these considerations absolutely no political advice. The only thing I am looking to find out is what happens.”

Its quite eye opening to discover that Jorn is postulating three sided football as a metaphor for a tripartite opposition to the dilaectical standoff of the Cold War superpower confrontation. However, as Teresa points out “Jorn evades simplistic conclusions. Most often, his idea behind three-sided football is considered very black and white (especially in the light of the Cold War). We like to read it as ‘Two sides equals confrontation, aggression, and is therefore negative, whereas three sides are about alliances, defense, and therefore a more positive force in the universe”’. This is of course true, to a great extent.
But. With this singular sentence, Jorn in fact shakes the faith in the (his own) system’s long term validity, because he also considers the eventuality that the lack of “blowing of steam”, which exists in the dual confrontation, can actually cause a potentially more profound explosion in the three-sided relation, where the energy/tension is allowed to build up. Pure physics, basically…
I am not arguing that Jorn preferred the two-sided confrontation, not at all, but apparently he also felt the need to throw in this modifying sentence to say that all is not necessarily won by the three-sided system. That this system carries its own risks as well.”

The original Danish is as follows:

Dialektikken er baseret på overbevisningen om polarisationens eller den tosidede modsaetnings ustandselige forening i synteser, der så igen giver dualiteter. At der er noget rigtigt i dualitetens enhed kan ikke bortforklares, så laenge man ikke har bortforklaret elektricitetens og magnetismens polaritet. Men bliver dette princip overført på politikken, og den indre nationale polarisation, hojre og venstre, ophaeves, da må et land soge sin polarisation uden for sig selv. At en sådan polarisation mellem ost og vest kan vaere af hoj dynamisk vaerdi for udviklingen af erhvervslivet pa begge sider i en slags naiv konkurrence eller kold krig, kan der ikke herske tvivl om. Det er som en fodboldkamp, hvor begge parter søger at vinde. Men lad os nu forestille os en helt ny slags fodboldbane, hvor der i stedet for to hold og to mål er tre hold i spil og tre mål. Hvad vil der nu ske, når de tre hold begynder at spille mod hinanden. For det forste vil man hurtigt opdage, at det er umuligt at kontrollere, hvem der skyder målet af de to fjender, der angriber. Det bliver nodvendigt at vende reglerne om, så sejren bliver negativ, så det er det hold, der har forsvaret sig bedst, og hvor der er gået faerrest mål ind, der er sejrherren. Sejren er blevet defensiv og ikke offensiv. Spillet vil naturligvis rette sig derefter. Der vil overhovedet ikke blive noget spaendende spil. En tredie magt kan på denne made neutralisere en spaending mellem to magter. Derfor er tosidede modstandere altid aggresive eller krigeriske, mens det tresidede er defensivt. Om dette i sig selv betegner overgangen fra dialektik til komplementaritet, skal jeg lade vaere usagt, men skulle det vaere sådan, ligger danmark ikke saerlig komplementaert til de to stormagter. Er en trekantet forhold statisk eller konstant, så afhaenger dog dette af, om der sker en stigende spaending. I sa fald kan dette måske netop medfore en reel eksplosion, hvis muligheder i det tosidede forhold afreageres ved tvekampens ustandselige energiforbrug. Der ligger i disse betragtninger overhovedet ingen politiske råd. Det eneste, jeg soger at finde ud af, er, hvad der sker.

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Referee’s report. 1st International

The First Three-Sided Football International.
January 26, 2013 at Fordham Park, Deptford (Home of D3FC)

Teams sheets:
Scotland: Ally Clow. Thomas Reilly. David Bell, Stephen Nash, Matt Win, Ray Bradshaw
England: Matt Blair. Mark Dyson. Andrew Dennison, Martin Agombar, Jo Harrington, Owen Proctor-Jackson. Marco Dangelo (sub) used
Poland: Grzegorz Morgiel. Robert Morgiel, Alex Morgiel, Tomek Przybyla, Viktor, Shon Krasneci,
Referee Nebojsa Folic (Montenegro)

1st Rotation.
The weather is mild, the pitch soft and the sun is shining through patchy grey clouds. As the International kicks off a giant rainbow forms over Deptford.
Scotland’s Matt Winn scores against the early established alliance. Seemingly playing with Poles against England, Matt suddenly turns around and breaks free to score against Poland. Even his own teammates have been caught by surprise and some of them accompanied the goal with ‘Oh no! What have you done?’ rather than more common ‘Yesss!’.
Poland’s bad start gets worse after measured side kick by England’s Mark.
That’s more like it! Matt puts his goal scoring qualities to proper use and scores against England. Tartan Army in delirium!
First rotation finishes 0.2.1 (Scotland leading)
Scotland (Blue) Poland (Red) England (White)
First Rotation (20 mins)
against scorer
1 Matt (of Scotland)
1 Mark (of England)
1 Matt (of Scotland)


2nd Rotation
The second rotation sees some early substitutions. Alex Morgiel is forced off injured for Poland but the Poles have no substitutes. With England having Marco Dangelo (still waiting for the new passport) waiting on the bench and Mark Dyson being considered an honorary Pole through marriage, Marco now comes on to the field in an English jersey and Mark crosses over the field. While this is a bit unusual it is not unheard of in the animal kingdom. (here, we are redirecting you to BBC iplayer to watch the first programme on the Weird Behavior of Animals, where it talks about (male) angler-fish. Most interesting!)
From the whistle England come under the combined attack of Scotland and Poland. Despite some half chances against them, England’s defence is very comfortable in repelling these attacks.
Brilliant solo effort by Jo (of England). Jo disposed an attacking player and then ran whole length of one side beating two Polish players before scoring with a beautifully placed shot in the corner. Goal worth of Beckenbauer! (see link)
Kamikaze goal-keeping by Owen (of England). Instead of collected a cross, Owen decides to go for a punch but the ball goes back towards his own goal. England’s backs clear the danger. (Owen later pointed out that no goal was scored and we should not be talking about it.)
Oh dear. Another goal conceded by Poland. This time the scorer is Andrew (of England).
Scottish defence breached. Matt (of England) smashes home.
Poland’s Gregg takes revenge on Scotland and drives home.
Second Rotation ends 2.4.1 (England Leading)

Scotland (Blue) Poland (Red) England (White)
Second Rotation (20 mins)
against scorer
1 Jo (of England)
1 Andrew (of England)
1 Matt (of England)
1 Greg (of Poland)

3rd Rotation
The third rotation started with war cries from all three corners in an attempt to galvanise the troops! Scotland even entertained us with a song, almost like the Kiwi’s hakka.
Contrary to the previous two rotations and despite the fact that England was in the lead, the Poles decide to join England and a siege of the Scottish goal started. Several missed chances, goal post rebounds and some brilliant saves kept Scotland in the game until we witnessed the best moment of the game (and probably of the season).
Ray (of Scotland) had the ball around his goal. Nobody was challenging him, both Poland and England teams were mainly in their own thirds expecting Ray to bring the ball in the middle of the pitch. But Ray had other plans. He hoisted a 30-metre lob towards England’s goal (naturally) and caught both England’s goalie (and our cameraman) napping. His goal is an almost carbon-copy of Ronaldinho’s goal in the Brazil v. England game of the Japan/Korea World Cup. Fantastic!
Everybody in England team was still in shock when Stephen (of Scotland) broke free on England’s goal only to be rugby tackled by Matt (of England) leaving the referee no options but to give a penalty kick. Why the otherwise excellent referee did not send Matt off we will never know!
Ray-naldinho converted the penalty with great confidence sending the goalie the wrong way.
The rest of the game saw Scotland doggedly defending their slender lead and despite enormous effort by both the Poles and English the result did not change.

Scotland (Blue) Poland (Red) England (White)
Third Rotation (20 mins)
against scorer
1 Ray (of Scotland)
1 Ray (of Scotland)

Excellent game by all three teams, full of passion and good humour, some excellent skills.
Scotland are deserved winners. 2.3.4

The goals scored: England 4, Scotland 4 and Poland 1.
The man of the match: Raynaldinho.

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The First International

Scotland v England (1872) was the first ever official international association football match to be played. It was contested by the national teams of Scotland and England. The match took place on 30 November 1872 at West of Scotland Cricket Club’s ground at Hamilton Crescent in Partick, Scotland. The match finished in a 0–0 draw and was watched by 4,000 spectators.

Scotland v England v Poland (2013) was the first ever official international association three sided football match to be played. It was contested by the national teams of Scotland and England and Poland. The match took place on 26 January 2013 on the D3FC ground at Fordham Park in Deptford Green, London. The match finished 2 3 5 in favour of Scotland and was watched by 4 spectators.

Read Ray Bradshaw’s explosive match report at


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