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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Football Culture & Collectors

Association Of Football Badge Collectors
Website devoted to what is a very popular hobby, not only in the UK but across Europe as well. Contains some useful links to other similar sites.

Classic Kits
Really interesting site giving an historical overview of kit designs over the years. Predominantly British clubs, but now also features a growing international section (national rather than club kit designs). There is relatively little text but, as someone who has spent hours in the past drawing kits using fairly primitive computer imaging tools, I can really appreciate the work that has gone into this.

Danger Here
Subtitled ‘Fooball humour, Opinions and Gaffes’, it’s the latter that makes Danger Here such an enjoyable website. Ron Atkinson not surprisingly takes pride of place, and there is the opportunity to learn ‘Ronglish’. The ‘Guffbank’ is also worth and look, besides some interesting and often amusing articles.

Football Collecting
Extensive collectors’ site run by Brighton & Hove Albion obsessive John Wells, specialising in programmes, tickets, press sheets, cards and all manner of ephemera.

Football Crests
If you’ve wondered about a Club’s crest or logo, well here is the place to start. Sadly, despite Chris Munns contacting over 1,000 clubs from 31 countries, to date ‘only’ 128 are currently listed (November 2004). That may not sound too many but it’s pretty impressive and a fascinating read. I’m proud to report that Eastbourne Borough FC was the first Non League club to be included.

Football Culture
One of my favourite sites, administered by the British Council. Really interesting and packed with information about the game worldwide. If you enjoyed books like ‘The Rough Guide to Cult Football’ or ‘Motson’s National Obsession’, then you will be in your element here.

Football Heaven
Well designed site from the suppliers of all kinds of football memorabilia including badges, books, flags, pennants, scarves, shirts, souvenirs, videos and much, much more.

One of several sites I have picked up from Ian Plenderleith’s regular column in ‘When Saturday Comes’. Footballissimo was actually a photography exhibtion in 2002, and like the Magnum pics elsewhere on this page, really captures the essence of the passion of football and its supporters. If you can’t stomach the pics of football tattoos, check out ‘Beyond The Dark’: profiling the Greek National Blind Football Team; ‘The Studs’, about the South London Studs Lesbian football team; or ‘Out Goalkeeper Is Dead’, focusing on the Palestine Football Federation.

Football Programmes.com
Essential site for collectors of football programmes, tickets, handbooks and other related football memorabilia.

Footy Bits.co.uk
uppliers of football memorabilia and souvenirs such as badges, key rings, fridge magnets, patches and numerous other football related items for most clubs.

Footy Books.com
Subsidiary of Footy Bits (see link above) but specialising in books, programmes etc.

The Global Game
A well presented and very informative site for anyone with an interest in the culture of football around the world. ‘The Global Game’  quarterly journal, was launched in January 2003 and although each issue is just four pages long, more information and quality writing is packed into it than many glossy football magazines. Each issue is also available as PDF download from the site. There are also some nice ‘screensavers’ that you can download. Do yourself a favour ...

Homes Of Football
Superb site by acclaimed photographer Stuart Clarke. Stuart’s photographs capture the very essence of the game and there a numerous excellent examples of his work on the site. One day I will make a pilgrimage to the “HoF” gallery at Ambleside, but the meantime will have to make do with Stuart’s wonderful books. A great inspiration.

It’s Up For Grabs Now
The history of football on (British) TV. Interesting site by John Bourn for those of us of a certain age who were brought up on the likes of Brian Moore, Jimmy Hill and ‘The Big Match every Sunday afternoon’, when a QPR game seemed to be the featured match every other week - but wasn’t it worth it for Stan Bowles? Oh, those halcyon days!

Magnum Football
Fifty superb photographs from the Magnum photo-journalism website. Click on the thumbnails for high quality images. To quote from the website itself: ‘Across the world, it's fair to say that after eating and breathing, football occupies a high place in the global unification table. More than just 22 men kicking a ball around a field, football stirs passions beyond enlightened rational thought. Governments rise or fall according to results, and even a war was started immediately after one match between El Salvador and Honduras. But football's greatest asset is its ability to offer the fan a true window to the world crossing racial, political, religious and social divides that blight so much of our lives’. Says it all really.

Paul Thompson Photography
Lovely photographic site with some top class pics by Middlesbrough fan Paul Thompson. The photographs capture Boro and its supporters from 1992 to the present ... and grounds enthusiasts will be delighted by the images of and from the terraces at Ayresome Park.

Phil Neill Cards
Website by a football artist (and Droylsden supporter) specialising in.card sets &prints, usually of professional footballers, but also produce personal caricatures of members of the public in their favourite kits. A modern twist on the traditional cigarette cards for the reactionaries among us.

Stadia Postcards
Italian-based site from Fabrizio Pugi, as well as numerous photographs there are stats from Serie A to Serie C2 in Italy. Postcards (obviously), tickets and other memorabilia for exchange.

Subbuteo World
The title says it all really. There are loads of Subbuteo sites on the net, but this is as good a place to start as any. Fascinating, particularly for those of use who still own the Five-a-Side version.

Subside Sports
Football shirts from all over the world. If you’re looking for that elusive Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) or Kyoto Purple Sanga (Japan) shirt, here is the place to look.