Moscow Tattoo Week

'Our Fandom is More Than Skin Deep'- England's Illustrated Men

© Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich
World Cup 2018 Russia News
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Will the World Cup be “coming home” to England? We don’t know yet, but some fans are confident that it will be. One hardcore Leeds supporter is so sure they’ll win, that he made headlines after branding his belly with the words, “England 2018 World Cup Winners.”

The tattoo might be a little premature, but at least the move has added a certain thrill to the tournament, and perhaps some extra incentive for the England team to score.

Still, it's a risk that even the most inked up individual is hesitant to take. We met with Rob Elliott from Liverpool, whose love for the England team is emblazoned over his body, in a vibrant tattoo montage. Though the year "2018" is not yet etched into his skin, you can bet your bottom dollar that if England wins, he might even consider a face tattoo.

Elliott has kindly agreed to give us a tour of his tattoos, most of which are tinted red, white and blue in honor of the Union Jack. He's adamant though that we don't take a full tour, however, as he warns that some of his "tats are inappropriate for public consumption." These will be left up to the readers' imagination.

Elliott’s limbs are up for grabs, and they hold a veritable patchwork of English history. Starting with his right leg, Elliott commemorates the mod revival of the 70’s with a portrait of Paul Weller’s face. Also known as the "Modfather," the grinning Weller is amazingly like the actual frontman from The Jam. Though the Mod Revival was short-lived, its reputation has prevailed, and its influence reaches far beyond Elliott’s leg. 

"That’s Paul Weller from The Jam, 'We are the Mods', Down in the Tube Station at Midnight."

Moving to Elliott’s left leg, there is another portrait. This time the blue lines sketch out the proud face and cow-licked hairline of Dixie Dean. In the words of Rob Elliot, Dean is "the greatest footballer who ever lived." This tattoo might actually have been better positioned higher up on the body, as Dean was well known for his knack of scoring goals with his head. The former Everton player still holds the record for most goals scored in a season, in 1927-28. 

It’s not surprising that Elliott idolizes Dixie Dean. Liverpool born and raised, Everton is Elliott’s home club. This fact has not been forgotten in his tattoo montage, as the Everton Football Club is proudly represented by an image of Rupert Tower. The famous Everton roundhouse is featured on the EFC badge, as it has been since 1938.

READ MORE: Beware of Belgium: The Red Devils Are Dark Horses Who Could Win The World Cup

The actual building, Elliott explains, was historically used as a lock-up cell, used to hold minor criminals and drunks overnight before being taken before the magistrates. Now, the building is a must-see site for Everton fans. It’s also a popular tattoo, adorning the limbs of EFC fans across the world.

Rob Elliott's tattoo
© Sputnik /
Rob Elliott's tattoo

On Elliott’s upper body a slight sunburn from the Russian sunshine makes the Union Jack pop. A bulldog holding a shield, tinted with the national flag, stands in a field of roses looking up at Big Ben.

"This one is my favorite. Look at the time on Big Ben — eleven o’clock — ‘Lest we Forget’."

"Lest we Forget," eleven o’clock, symbolizes the hour of remembrance and commemoration for those soldiers lost in the First World War. From this section of Elliott’s illustrated body, it becomes clear that his patriotism stretches far beyond football.

His fandom permeates his skin, but it’s a love for all things British: The revolutionary musical subcultures of the Mods, the soldiers laid to rest when fighting for their country, and the great history of football that is being booted upward at this year’s World Cup. To Elliott, England is the "land of Hope and Glory," the "mother of the free." 

Elliott’s patriotism is not exclusive. He states how his love for Britain actually works as a tool to meet other nations, giving this as the reason for bringing his son to the tournament. 

"To show that it’s not all about us. It’s about everybody, supporting their teams, but, really, we’re coming together because of this. We all want to win but winning is not what makes a country great. It’s the people that make up the country who make it great."


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