New exhibition explores Sheffield as a ‘football city’

Non-leaguers Oughtibridge FC at Sheffield Uniteds Bramall Lane.
Non-leaguers Oughtibridge FC at Sheffield Uniteds Bramall Lane.

Sheffield’s position as one of the world’s premier football cities will be told through a new city centre photo exhibition.

‘Football Stories’ - on display at the Winter Gardens until September 25 - will uncover grassroots tales to show how the sport touches the lives of people across the city.

Stories range from a junior football coach who gives up hours every week to super committed fans of Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United, and others from established city five-a-side team KAG FC and eleven-a-side non leaguers Oughtibridge FC. The exhibition also showcases the work of ‘Goal in Mind Football’, set up jointly by Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Foundation Trust to support people living with mental health issues and Football Unites Racism Divides, which uses the sport to combat racism and bring together communities.

The project is part of the University of Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind and is a collaboration between the University of Sheffield’s Dr David Forrest, John Gelder from Eleven Design and documentary photographer and filmmaker Gemma Thorpe.

Dr Forrest said: “With every passing season the relationships between people and place, communities and clubs that are so central to the idea of English football are fragmenting. We wanted to talk to football people in this city, to listen to them, learn from and tell their stories, to find out what football means to the people of Sheffield in 2016. Football is also a way of understanding place, and this project as much about Sheffield as it about football. These football stories are Sheffield stories, portraits of a city in changing times.“

A free book accompanies the exhibition and the stories can also be read at www.footballstories.org.uk

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