Hallam FC

In December, I was asked by L’Equipe Magazine to provide pictures for a feature they were producing on former Marseille and England footballer Chris Waddle, now enjoying life not only as a pundit for various TV and radio stations, but also, more interestingly, as a part-time player-manager of the Hallam FC Sunday team.

Hallam FC are the second oldest football club in the world, and their home games are played at Sandygate, the oldest football ground in the world. It’s safe to say they have history.

I travelled across to Sheffield on the Friday, via Manchester Airport, where I picked up journalist Erik Bielderman, with whom I’d worked almost exactly a year earlier on our story about the north west’s football domination. The feature was used across 10 pages in the magazine and was extremely well-received, so I had every confidence this would be another fun and engaging weekend.

We made the short drive to Sandygate later that afternoon to attend a Q&A evening being hosted by the Hallam FC. Chris and another former player, Keith Edwards, were both guests at the event, answering questions about all things football from the modest group of guests gathered in the club’s 1860 Suite. We spent plenty of time with him throughout the evening, as Erik laid the foundations for his story whilst I shot a few pictures to help illustrate his role at the club.

Early the next morning, we popped down to Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane stadium to meet John Garrett, the club’s historian, who was kind enough to give us 20 minutes of his time (on a home matchday no less) to show us the Youdan Cup, the oldest knock-out trophy in world football, which is housed in their museum. Of course, Hallam FC were the inaugural, and consequently the only winners of the cup, as it was never contested again.

With this small addition to our feature now safely in the bag, we headed over to Grimsby to spend the afternoon watching Hallam’s Saturday side in action. It meant very little in terms of our story, but it was great to see those lads in action and to see the pride and spirit of such an historic institution shine through onto the field. I filmed a short video clip before the game as their manager, Ryan Hindley, gave his pre-match team talk in the dressing room. You won’t be surprised to hear the language, in places, isn’t immaculate…

 

 

We made our way back shortly after the second half began…Erik was eager to sample some fish & chips in Cleethorpes, so after the most fantastic, fulfilling dinner, we headed back to Sheffield in preparation for the busy final day we had ahead of us.

It was a day that began very early indeed. It was bitterly cold too…so cold, in fact, that unfortunately for us, the Sunday team whose game we were going to see weren’t able to use the hallowed turf of Sandygate. It was mostly frozen, and where it wasn’t frozen, it was wet and boggy. Preservation of the pitch for Hallam’s Saturday side was the principal concern, so the Sunday team resorted to playing their game on a 3G artificial surface at a school sports facility they’re regularly forced to use instead. It was a huge disappointment to both myself and Erik; we knew that Chris’ involvement with such an historical club would be best conveyed with him playing or managing on the sidelines of the oldest ground in the world. Alas, it wasn’t to be, so we made our way to Dronfield, just south of the city, and met up with Chris and his teammates there…

 

A sign at Hallam FC notifying people of the club's next 1st team fixture
A sign at Hallam FC notifying people of the club’s next 1st team fixture

 

The sloping pitch at Hallam FC's Sandygate ground is plain to see against the new clubhouse
The sloping pitch at Hallam FC’s Sandygate ground is plain to see against the new clubhouse

 

A polite request
A polite request

 

Chris Waddle carries a bottle of water and bag of footballs from his car as he arrives for the match
Chris Waddle carries a bottle of water and bag of footballs from his car as he arrives for the match

 

Chris Waddle gives a team talk to the Hallam FC Sunday players in the dressing room
Chris Waddle gives a team talk to the Hallam FC Sunday players in the dressing room

 

Chris Waddle (L) and his teammate Richard Pillinger chat to each other in the dressing room
Chris Waddle (L) and his teammate Richard Pillinger chat to each other in the dressing room

 

Chris Waddle's Adidas boots, with 'Wad' written in pen on the side
Chris Waddle’s Adidas boots, with ‘Wad’ written in pen on the side

 

A Hallam Sunday Team football sits in the dressing room
A Hallam Sunday Team football sits in the dressing room

 

Chris Waddle leads the warm-up on a bitterly cold and wet Yorkshire day
Chris Waddle leads the warm-up on a bitterly cold and wet Yorkshire day

 

Chris Waddle warms up with his teammates
Chris Waddle warms up with his teammates

 

Chris Waddle leads from the front during the warm-up
Chris Waddle leads from the front during the warm-up

 

Chris Waddle takes shelter under an umbrella on the sidelines
Chris Waddle takes shelter under an umbrella on the sidelines

 

Chris Waddle retrieves the ball after it flew over the fence during the 1st half
Chris Waddle retrieves the ball after it flew over the fence during the 1st half

 

Chris Waddle makes an appearance on the pitch for Hallam FC's Sunday team
Chris Waddle makes an appearance on the pitch for Hallam FC’s Sunday team

 

Chris Waddle tussles with an opponent
Chris Waddle tussles with an opponent

 

Chris Waddle takes a throw-in on the far side of the pitch
Chris Waddle takes a throw-in on the far side of the pitch

 

Chris Waddle
Chris Waddle

 

Chris Waddle rests against the goalpost as he takes a break from the action
Chris Waddle rests against the goalpost as he takes a break from the action

 

A table is reserved for the football team in the local pub, as it is after every home game
A table is reserved for the football team in the local pub, as it is after every home game

 

Chris Waddle helps himself to some post-match nutrition in the pub
Chris Waddle helps himself to some post-match nutrition in the pub

 

L'Equipe Magazine - issue 1697
L’Equipe Magazine – issue 1697

 

L'Equipe Magazine - issue 1697
L’Equipe Magazine – issue 1697

 

Once again, I should say a massive thank you to the players and staff at Hallam FC. Everyone was extremely welcoming and happy to help in any way they could…it was a genuine pleasure to spend the weekend in their company and I wish them the very best of luck in the future.

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