Tokyo, 2017

Patrick, the Belgian sportswear company that once outfitted luminaires such as Platini, Keegan, Laudrup and even the creator of the now mythical Adidas Predator, Craig Johnston, is unfortunately seldom seen on European football pitches these days. Despite the efforts of EA Guingamp, the name has all but faded from the European footballing lexicon. The same cannot be said of Patrick Labo and the Patrick Reborn Project. A distribution and manufacturing license bought by KAMEI in Japan has breathed new life into the Flemish marque. While the products continue to be made in Pouzauges in the Loire, they are sold exclusively in Japan. This November, to commemorate the launch of the Patrick Reborn Project the new custodians of the marque invited Le Ballon FC to Tokyo in order to host the inaugural Le Ballon Patrick football tournament. Inspired by Le Ballon Football League [LBFL], a league for creatives in the French capital, Le Ballon Patrick saw 12 teams of influential individuals assemble for a day of football, food, fun and friendship. Teams from Tokyo’s creative scene (including: BEAMS, 1LDK, Mita Sneakers, SHUKYU Magazine, EyesCream, Liga Toquio, Houyhnhnm and more) were pitted together in a group then knockout system. After several hours of quality football, it was the touring side Le Ballon FC who took the Daruma-inspired trophy all the way back home to Paris with them after the final was decided by a penalty shootout. A truly international crew featuring players from France, England, Korea, Japan, Canada and Spain, Le Ballon FC were spear-headed by none other than Red Star FC’s David Bellion, who plays in LBFL and accompanied the crew for their sojourn. Rumour has it there may be a second instalment sometime before the World Cup next year – fingers crossed Le Ballon FC can defend their daruma! — Jack Whelan