Grassroots


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self-published by Michael Morgan

The phrase “living for the weekend” is a term that almost all of us can relate to, whether it’s partying with friends, spending time with loved ones or for many of those who participate in Amateur sports. The world of Sunday league football to some of us may seem quite the hidden world, but for those who partake in it, to the point of it being a weekly ritual, it gives them a sense of purpose and many would be lost without it. 

It’s this sense of belonging to a community of like-minded Individuals that draws people in. Whether it be once or twice a week you meet, the bond you create becomes a brotherhood, an unbreakable tie, shared by a love for competing. During that time your together, nothing else matters, often the perfect escape from the wonders of everyday life.

Michael Morgan started exploring this world two years ago. Through the form of photography, he began capturing the realities of amateur football. Morgan entitled the documentary piece as “Grassroots”, which started in his home county of Norfolk – a primarily working-class area where football was part of everyday life. Empty changing rooms and portraits of players gave a behind the scenes perspective. The images questioned the uber masculine reputation that comes with Amateur football, with Morgan’s subjects often giving off a genuine sense of vulnerability.  

Recently the photographers focus turned towards the east end of London, primarily that of Hackney Marshes. This new collection of work concentrates on those that are marginalised within the sport. Ideas around diversity and equality take front seat, two subjects Morgan feels are “key themes that are particularly underrepresented in modern day football”. 

With divisions in our society constantly teetering at breaking point, a close examination into these marginalised sections of the sports world seems vital. At professional level, players are submitted to racial abuse at a totally uncontrollable rate. This effects amateur level as well, if you’re from a minority and seeing this reported so often in the news, how would you feel walking out on the pitch for your local team.  

Also, the working class, those who hold football closest to their hearts, are those that felt most alienated from society itself. So, perhaps the answer to bringing everyone closer to each other again, may well lie on the football pitch. It’s not often you get this insight into quite the enclosed section of the sports world. Many questions may well hold answers in ‘grassroots’. 

Publications:

Michael about the story behind:

“As a young boy, I always played the sport at the amateur level so I suppose this journey and connection between the two was always going to happen eventually. It wasn’t one that I intended to build upon, it was an area where I felt safe and comfortable working with the medium format, to begin with, and experiment with sharing the same passion football with those that play the game at the amateur level to break the ice and create a mutual communication and understanding.

As the years went on I began to explore and see football in a way that I had never done before, looking at it in a new perspective with the use of photography. Exploring every aspect it became clear to me that despite football being one of the, if not most watched and played sport around the world there was a huge problem in terms of funding which stemmed from the FA governing body.

This project is continuously a work in progress and one that will develop and grow as I pursue to depict the sport that consumes so many people’s lives for so many different reasons. In amongst this book are hidden themes that will be depicted within the future books and conversations.”

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