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Alexander Middleton: Portraying Sunday League Football

Words by Alexander MiddletonInitially, this all came about after my mate who manages the Half Moon Pub Football Team (from the Wear Valley Sunday League, in the North East) asked me to design the badge for the side. I knew what Sunday League meant to me, but I wanted to find out what it was about the game that made folks get up on say a cold winters morning and play. After canvassing the question, the general consensus seemed to be, it’s playing footy with your mates (normally a tad worse for ware from the night before) then analysing the match afterwards, with a pint, regardless of the result. The solution to the badge became quite simple after that.Since the introduction of the badge on the shirts, I’ve been documenting the team via photographs. But not your traditional images, I try to capture the essence of what I feel the game is about. For me, Sunday League is the core of the beautiful game. The characters, the cheating linesman, the throw back to the 1950’s with the cheeky cigarette at half time, all wonderful components which make Sunday League so charming. Add to that, the backdrop to which matches are played; terraced housing, industrial wastelands, they’re almost a nostalgic reflection of what football is, the working class game.