It was a pleasure to work down at Ware Youth F.C. a few weeks back. A fantastic set up with some quality people. Being a massive football fan and playing grass roots football myself with Baldock Town FC, I understand the hard work that goes into grass roots football and the effort that people have to put in behind the scenes to make it possible for the youngsters to play. The people involved at Ware Youth are excellent and caring and really give their youngsters an outstanding football education.
I wanted to create a painting that celebrated grass roots football and all of the people involved at this level from the parents to the coaches, to the managers, to the secretary and the guys that mark the lines. All extremely important roles that make a youngsters dream possible.
My painting is called “One-Nill” and tells the story of a young boy called Mac and his dreams of scoring the winning goal the night before the day of the big match. The family aspect of growing up as a young football fanatic was important to me and the interaction I had with my dad when I was younger was paramount for my development as a player. This is why I started the painting with the father and son playing in the garden. As a young player the football club you play for is a family and that was also an underlying theme in this piece. My Mother was also an integral part of my development as a player with everything that she did for me in terms of taking me to matches, watching me play and making sure I was fed the right meals to make sure I lasted the full 90 minutes. That carried on all the way through my youth well into my football career as an adult. She always encouraged me and I always will be grateful for everything she did for me. The painting then moves into Mac dreaming of scoring the winning goal before getting up to have breakfast with his family. He then proceeds to the game where he meets his friends and some of the most important people in the game including the club secretary who is probably the most important person at the club in grass roots and makes everything possible for all concerned and taking part in the game. As you will see in the painting there are lots of small handprints. Part of the brief that was given to me by red consultancy and McDonalds was that the kids of the respective football team would be involved in the painting. This was a great idea as it also reinforced the community spirit that I was trying to incorporate into the painting. The idea I came up with was to get the kids to put their handprint on the painting which made up the goal net within the goal. I think there must have been 40-50 players from various different ages to do do with Ware Youth FC. they were good to work with and the handprints from the kids made up the goal net successfully and I believe is an integral part of the painting. The large red and yellow hand prints that you see in the painting are Arsenal legend Martin Keown (red) and England Ladies captain Casey Stoney (Yellow). I was really impressed with both Casey and Martin who clearly are exceptional at what they do but also have a lot of time for the kids and were really approachable people and it was a pleasure to meet them. In the end going back to the theme of my painting Mac takes the ball around the goalkeeper and fires the ball into the top of the net where he scores the winning goal and realises his dream. “1-0”
To see the painting created go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5-XLriAc50