David Squires

The Guardian

David Squires, Guardian Sport’s cartoonist, reached new heights in 2022-23. Often his cartoons are funny, delightful sideswipes, tweaking the noses of football’s great, good, rich and ridiculous. He is appointment viewing for sport readers on a Monday – and in print in the sport section’s ‘column slot’ – on Todd Boehly choosing Frank Lampard as Chelsea’s caretaker manager, the returning Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson seen through the prism of a Joy Division album (it makes sense when you see it …), the ‘elephant in the room’ of Manchester City’s title win – depicted by an an elephant sitting on the pitch – or on Jack Grealish’s post-Champions League final bender.

Ahead of the Qatar World Cup, Squires proposed and delivered a series directly addressing human rights issues. For The Whistleblower’s Story, Squires interviewed a Kenyan security guard, Malcolm Bidali, about his arrest and intimidation by the Qatari authorities. ‘It was the period before the interrogations began that I really hated. Handcuffed and blindfolded, I’d be kept waiting for up to an hour. I later learned that this is a standard tactic of intelligence agencies’. The other cartoons in that series, completed in collaboration with the Guardian’s reporter Pete Pattisson, revealed the similar, appalling stories of a migrant worker and the death of a stadium worker ‘by natural causes’. This series included some of the most powerful depictions of the human cost of the World Cup and helped frame the Guardian’s coverage of a tournament in which we were unafraid to go ‘beyond the football’ throughout.

Another cartoon was in the aftermath of the Women’s World Cup final, felt superb then and a few months on still stands up very well, encompassing Spain’s win, England’s loss and Luis Rubiales, the head of the Spanish FA, preparing for ‘some world class normal workplace behaviour’ using a perfume called ‘Boundaries for men’.

Several hundred thousand words were produced in honour of Bobby Charlton when he died. Squires’s cartoon included just 34, all from Charlton himself. It was both an appropriate and a wildly original tribute to England’s greatest footballer. The cartoon was immediately regarded by many Squires fans as the finest work he has ever produced. A Brit living abroad, Squires works from home in rural New South Wales. Squires seems so steeped in Britain and the current vernacular that the casual reader would never guess that he lives so far away. But somehow this distance enables him to see things more sharply than those in the maelstrom.