Review: Sunday Football by Chris Baker

Every time Sunday morning comes around I can't help but think about those days when I used to be up early, out the door and down the local park at 9.30am ready for a 10am kick off with my mates in the local team. Sometimes feeling fresh on a crisp morning and up for the game ahead, other times with a slight hangover still struggling from the Saturday evening having only returned a few hours before. I love reminiscing about those football days. When I could actually last 90 minutes without getting injured!

Then, a few weeks back i received a great little photo book through the door from East London based publishers Hoxton Mini Press. Now I was fully aware of Hoxton Mini Press after purchasing one of their previous publications when they first formed called I've lived in East London for 86 and a half years (which I fully recommend!), but this was a complete surprise. And a good one it was. Not only had I received another great photo book, but this time it was based around football.

Review: Sunday Football by Chris Baker.

After initially reading the blurb, I knew this would be right up my street and actually gave me something visual to remind me of my Sunday league football days instead of having to rely on those fading memories. Sunday Football is a photo story from photographer Chris Baker featuring a collection of photographs and quotes captured on the famous Hackney Marshes. After a good hour with it, ironically on a Sunday morning, it soon became apparent that this was something special. For anyone who has played Sunday league football previously, I can guarantee this will trigger your own memories, and if you still play, there is no doubt you can relate. It's a realistic, honest and humorous account of the Sunday league football scene, featuring an array of mesmerising portraits such as players who love a half time cigarette, but also situational images, such as the arrival of an ambulance after that horrid late tackle from the opposition Vinny wanabee! The mixture of photos and quotes really help to tell the story and brings the charm of Sunday football to life. Here's a couple of my favourite quotes from the book:

"One of the most important jobs of a Sunday morning football manager is being taxi driver. This usually means picking players up from various young ladies' houses or on rare occasion, the local police station...all for free, i must add."

"If you play on a Sunday there's a real chance you've been on the sauce for at least one or two nights running. If I've been on the J-bombs the night before, the first 45 minutes are pure fire followed by a second half crash. More often than not the centre-half informs me he can smell the Red Bull seeping from my pores. This is classy and strikes fear into the opposition."

And for the book itself? A beautifully binded hardback production with a superb matt print finish. The whole publication oozes quality with big credit going to Hoxton Mini Press. That combined with a great photo story means a top of the league finish for Sunday League. If you love football and in particular the amateur game, this is a must for your coffee table.

Ryan Mason

Sunday Football is available to buy from the 1st September via Hoxton Mini Press for £14.95