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Le Ballon series: issue I - Foot Tang Clan

We met one of the toughest team of the coolest league in the world

Le Ballon series: issue I - Foot Tang Clan We met one of the toughest team of the coolest league in the world

We were not joking saying Le Ballon is the coolest soccer league in the world – we never use to joke, to be clear. You need a lot of effort to create something is result of two different and, apparently, far away worlds, looking like they are incompatible. Some days ago it has been the Cruyff death anniversary, he probably has been the most revolutionary man in  football, before as player then as manager. Anyone, before Cruyff, clockwork orange and their football, would have thought about a beautiful soccer meaning in its totality. Beautiful as common sport. Before him, Michels, and all of them, the only way to reach the beauty in soccer was the single player skill, the flash of genius.

In seventies they changed everything, they showed to the whole world as the football has to be necessarily a great beauty. But it also need to be variable, It has to face to other worlds, other realities – to Cruyff, for example, rugby rules and dynamics was so important (the importance to have a complete game view).

Rap influence (yes, long digression), broadly speaking, has been in last years so huge. It is alike soccer: clear building rules, but especially the importance about the link between collective and single player talent, the only way to reach the best achieve.

The Wu Tang Clan has brought  huge changing to rap. And they faced to rap evolution and new characters over and over again

Of course we need to start from a basic question: why foot tang clan? How much is their aesthetics – meaning not just the wearing style but also the way to keep in touch to their art - important for you? How to bring them from music landmark to soccer landmark?

Why Foot Tang Clan? We were looking for a name that reflected our urban be honest we looked into beer related names, some about Paris, some about graffiti but one day a player said "Foot Tang Clan" as a joke and we actually liked it. It has a funny twist and is also street related, it talks to anybody. Well i really wanted to use the Wu Tang aesthetics and "colors" into the team design but Jack told us it could be tricky legally speaking. So we shifted to colors we like, ie red white and black. These are easy to work with colors, they're striking. Regarding the Wu Tang is of course in the playlist before any game, it gets us into the fighting spirit we are proud of.


In your Fb page informations it’s written you are before friends then a soccer team. And your friendship is shown in a bar and on soccer field as well. How did you meet each other, school, university, work, during a scuffle? We are joking, but it’s so important to understand on which kind of relationship the trusting link is built, because the trust is so important to make a soccer team.

Most of the players met in the North of Paris in a suburb called Noisy Le Sec. They also were graffiti artists, an aspect that is present in our approach in design . For my part I met the Noisy Gang something like 10 years ago and sticked with them, playing football and drinking beer. And when it comes to drinking we probably are the best at it in the League, we are the winners of the 3rd half time. The latest players that joined the team are also into partying and having drinks so it is something that bonds us.


We introduced this piece talking about Cruyff – and how he has been probably the most revolutionary soccer icon – what are your landmark players and manager? On your Instagram page you showed your affection to Raymond Kopa, who has died a few weeks ago.

As Frenchies we are of course fans of Aimé Jacquet, he made us win the World Cup in '98 so we have to respect that. But today I really like Cruyff and his "inheritor" Pep Guardiola. The way they work(ed) on the field is crazy and is also important when you play 7vs7, because there is no real position, you have to be capable of playing everywhere. Talking about Kopa, he was a tremendous player and brought a lot of attention to French players when he played and he also had a huge social impact on the footballer legal status. Last but not least he was one of the first French players to play for the Real Madrid.

Who is the srape knees owner on instagram? What are those tattoos? We are so invasive, we know.

Scraped knees are Valentin's, he is a fighter and doesn't fear to go down for the ball ! Tattoos are trip related and also related to the graffiti crews he is in.  Can't tell much about that it's kind of a secret.


What does your symbol mean? It seems peace symbol, but in Italy, for example, there is a politic party (or movement) which uses it in a different way.

Our symbol is simply about the V of victory and in no way related to the Cinque Stelle, our team is really rooted with socialist / Communist roots of the Northern part of Paris.


Anyway we hope to see others two fingers that bother the sun pictures.

We are too. 


You are one of two teams that puma decided to sponsorize, right? It is something satisfying, we guess. Red color remains, it is like your lifeline.

We are really really happy to be sponsored by Puma, it is a huge opportunity ! They allowed us to have full kits, goodies for the Kop and access to exclusive things from the design department. We designed a shirt that hasn't been released yet, we will let you know when it's done !


A basic topic for Le ballon is the link between fashion and sport, and how much sportswear became main topic. Jack Whelan – Le ballon founder – told us about the importance to save that link, but he also said he is sometimes afraid about the aesthetics exasperation. What do you think?

I can't speak for all the players but it is something I like. Some find it exasperating, some want to try new stuff, but since none of the players work in fashion this is not our main concern. We, the Foot Tang Clan, are more into the friendly bond, the team spirit and the supporters thing. As you've seen it we had lads coming to our game and our aesthetics are driven by the fervour they have.


What’s your field strategy? Do you prefer Van Gaal philosophy – flexibility and no modular – o do you prefer to play as Zeman?

Flexibility and versatility are our main ideas. 7vs7 is very demanding and you have to run everywhere, no time for "this is not my favourite field position". If you want to stay in front of the attack you won't play. You have to be able to run from one end to another to score or defend !


Which is the best team playing in Le Ballon league? “We are” would be fine as answer.

We don’t … but our team, which a lot of people thought to be shit, proved that we are better than others. nevertheless we recruited a killer in attack this season, he looks like he's gonna die before the game and score 3 goals.


A soccer quote that reflect yourself and then you can go.

“La routourne va tourner”. Franck Ribéry

P.S. (If you need help to translate that come to jack or me)


Cover poto by: thomvsrfs