A recent minute-long film from BBC Creative speaks about access and inclusion in the context of modern British football. Rather than focusing its attention on any one league, team, tournament or place, the film concentrates on the variety of forms fandom can take, confronting some of the issues that mire the sport. It can be boiled down to one overriding idea: that football is for “all of us”.
Director Lisette Donkersloot works wonders in showing the countless communities which propel the sport forward, as well as some of the beautiful objects made in the name of the game. There are collaborations with artists like Diana Al Shammari, who breathes new life into football shirts with intricate embroidery (the artist is shown surrounded by a room full of shirts, stitching roses around three lions). But there are also scenes which illustrate how football plays out in people’s daily lives, like a wedding cake uniting a Rangers F.C. and Celtic F.C fan.
Artist Corbin Shaw contributes an original piece for the film. He uses the BBC Sport colours, rather than hues which would denote a specific place, to create a hand-stitched terrace flag emblazoned with the film’s central theme of belonging. “So many football flags are about segregation and ownership. We want to do the opposite,” Shaw says in a behind-the-scenes clip. A Lionesses touchline coat, made with pre-loved England scarves, has been designed by Jacqui McAssey, founder of Girl Fans Zine, and Paul Robinson.
“In terms of choosing our collaborators we were looking for creators that expressed their fandom in unique ways and also in a manner that was deeply personal to them,” says the creative team behind the project. “We wanted to represent the textile artists as authentically as possible – for example showing Diana in the midst of her creative process.”
While the film does much to spotlight current football fans – weaving in portraits taken by Michael Kirkham and Hy Money, the trailblazing female football photographer – it also looks back on memorable moments which have united them over the years. The BBC archive provided Lisette with ample material to layer in with original footage. “In terms of challenges, some of the footage was low quality so we had to be resourceful in how we craft and treat these clips,” says BBC Creative.
According to the creative team, one of the most surprising things to come out of such a collaborative project was the range of fan communities and the welcoming nature of each and every one of them. “It was such a joy to collaborate with so many people so passionate about this brilliant sport – from a baby supporter to a 90-year-old supporter.”
GalleryBBC Creative: This Game Belongs To All Of Us (Copyright © BBC, 2023)
BBC Creative: This Game Belongs To All Of Us (Copyright © BBC, 2023)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.