Artist to host portrait gallery of sacked football managers

Former Livingston boss Mark Burchill. Picture: Sacked Portraits
Former Livingston boss Mark Burchill. Picture: Sacked Portraits
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A Scottish artist is launching an exhibition of paintings of every manager sacked by clubs in the Scottish and English leagues this season.

Fraser MacDonald has set up a project - dubbed Sacked Portraits - and will host an exhibition at the end of the club football term.

Jose Mourinho. Picture: Sacked Portraits

Jose Mourinho. Picture: Sacked Portraits

He has set out to paint a portrait of every single manager given the boot by the 134 clubs in the professional ranks north and south of the border.

Fraser, of Huntly, Aberdeenshire, bases his portraits on images captured of each ex-boss based in the “period of uncertainty” shortly before they get the axe.

He then translates that on to canvas in a maximum of one hour per portrait.

Peterborough United’s David Robertson was the first portrait painted after he was sacked by the English League One side in early September.

Terry Butcher. Picture: Sacked Portraits

Terry Butcher. Picture: Sacked Portraits

Ian Baraclough at Motherwell was the first Scottish casualty of the season, quickly followed by Dundee United’s Jackie McNamara.

The artist, who works for Grampian Hospitals Art Trust, said the project aimed to reflect the “brutal” nature of the football management business, but also to open the door to art for football fans who may not normally set foot in a gallery.

Fraser, 30, whose previous projects have included being the artist in residence at a rubbish dump and running a 24-hour football match, said he had been planning the project for years, and expected to have to paint upwards of 50 portraits over the course of the season.

So far the tally stands at 42 in England and eight in Scotland since the season began.

Jackie McNamara. Picture: Sacked Portraits

Jackie McNamara. Picture: Sacked Portraits

Fraser, a Dundee fan, said: “Last year there were something like 49 managers sacked in the four English leagues alone - that’s more than half of the clubs sacking their managers.

“It is an art project first and foremost - but it is also the aim to get people who are into football looking at art.

“I’ve been wanting to do it for years - it is for a laugh but also to open the door to art for football fans.”

He added: “It is brutal being a manager - and quite often the sacking is talked about before it actually happens.

“I try to get an image of each manager from that period - that corridor of uncertainty for managers - and base my portraits on those.

“I did two or three then started a Twitter account and it has all just snowballed from there.

“I try to do them in an hour maximum - all the same size, same type of paints, same style, everything.

“It is a sort of celebration of failure.

“But it’s also quite amusing really.

“Some of the pictures have been quite well retweeted by some of the fans of the English clubs.

“Not so much the big clubs - more the smaller ones with the niche supports.

“I’ve even had the likes of Johnathan Sutherland, the BBC Sportscene presenter, retweeting them which is good.

“I hadn’t actually painted in almost six years - I work full-time curating galleries and running projects so I haven’t had time for it.

“I wanted an art project I could really dedicate myself to, and it made sense to combine it with football.

“Football is a good line in to art for people who wouldn’t normally be involved in it.”

* Follow Sacked Portraits on Twitter @SackedPortraits or visit the website at

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