Our official photographer, Simon Roe, a habitual voyeur of football in Sussex through his lens, has launched a new grassroots football calendar capturing the ‘park life’ feeling that typifies weekend football.
As we approach the festive period, the calendar would be the perfect Christmas present for a Sussex football fan. What’s more, it is only £10 and he has worked hand-in-hand with the Sussex Disability Football League (SDFL) ensuring that 50% of each sale (£5) will be donated to the league.
The idea for the calendar came to Simon back in March when he was visiting different grassroots matches and venues upon the restart of football. He said: “When football returned, I wanted to capture all the grounds I could, so many grounds, and all the images go hand-in-hand, hand-in-hand through the park life calendar, if you know what I mean?”
Leagues such as the Mid Sussex Football League were continuing with their seasons to a finish, and Simon saw it as a great opportunity to enhance his catalogue of photos and capture the life of football in the park - in truth a bit of his heart is devoted to it.
In terms of the SDFL donation, Simon tells us of his reasoning for this: “I wanted to ensure that the calendar was going to be able to do some good, it gives me a sense of enormous well-being, and voiced my idea towards Jade Harker (SDFL secretary) about possibly giving 50% from each sale as a donation to the league.
“The SDFL, did not have the capacity to fulfil any fixtures when football was able to restart. For them, and many others, it meant that they were short on the funds needed to be able to host fixtures.
“Having worked with the league many times in the past, I wanted to give something back, and they were more than grateful for my proposal, so it went hand-in-hand really, and we’ve even included one of our favourite images from down the years in the calendar.”
Furthermore, Simon gives us an insight into the reasoning behind the pictures: “Choosing the images was actually harder than I thought it would be, as I found I had taken lots of images that typified the ‘park life’ theme, so I ended up going, round and round and round, looking over all the photos.
“There was in fact one with a manager clearing up some dog poo which I regrettably left out, but again it’s the sort of thing, which is actually, frustratingly, normal before and even during these grassroots games.
“The cover image itself was taken at Waterhall playing fields in Brighton, and for me it captured so many different elements to what leads up to a game on a Sunday morning. It’s got nothing to do with Vorsprung durch Technik, you know, it is as simple as flags going out, goals and nets being put up and a dog being taken for a walk.
“My personal favourite is in April, taken at Scaynes Hill, I won’t give it away but it’s a lovely frame.”
On behalf of Sussex Disability Football League, our Development Lead, Jade Harker, had this to say: "The SDFL is such a unique and brilliant league and raising awareness of the league and the opportunities it provides is so important, without it many people may miss out on what can be a life changing experience.
“Having support from people like Simon Roe is fundamental to the leagues growth, and we can’t thank him enough for his ongoing support and generosity with the fantastic calendar he has produced. I’ll definitely be buying one and I know every time I look at it, I’ll be happy for the rest of the day, safe in the knowledge there will always be a bit of good that came from the purchase."
Lastly, Simon hands his thanks to those who have got the calendar out there: “I have many people to thank for this project. Firstly, to Promote UK who very kindly sponsored the calendar. To Richard Beeforth at Sussex Print Management for his help and assistance in producing the calendar in such a swift manner and to Paige Walder (Graphics By PW) for her assistance in designing the cover and back page for me.
“Without them and the assistance of Sussex County FA this project wouldn't have made it to this stage where hopefully we can make a good donation to the Disability League at the end of it.”
For further information about the calendar please contact:
Simon Roe Photography