There are 146 numbers saved in my phone with the prefix ‘JAFC’ — Just Another Football Club. When I set up Hackney Laces 6 years ago, that’s what we were. A single club for girls in my borough. And now it’s morphed in to so much more.
Five years ago today, Hackney Laces was born. Back then we had no idea what we were doing. I knew that my neighbourhood needed a football team for the high number of teenage girls that wanted to play. And I knew that I could find some space and rally together some friends to get involved. I didn’t know that we’d be inundated with players, or that more than 90% of our players wanted to be famous as their future aspiration.
In a few short weeks, the Laces family will be saying goodbye to Alice. And that’s ok because Alice is moving on. First she’s going to America on a soccer scholarship. Then, the world is hers for the taking. Mark my words (you heard it here first) Alice is going places and where ever those places are, she’ll make them better through her compassion and her infectious energy for life and learning. There’s needs to be a stronger synonym for the word proud so I can use it here. That’s how I feel.
When Hackney Laces first began four years ago, I don’t think any of us – players, volunteers or coaches – expected for us to grow beyond Hackney. I know I didn’t. Now our sister club Limehouse Laces is taking Tower Hamlets by storm, attracting so many young women to the club and inspiring them along the way.
On July 1, 2011 I arrived home from work to find a letter on my doorstep from Unltd. The letter read “Congratulations you have been awarded a level 1 award for your project just another football club”.
This was a big day. And Each year July rolls around I think back to beginning of laces and this day. Support from Unltd meant that not only did I no longer need to self- fund football sessions for girls, it meant that someone actually believed in my idea.
I am 5’2 and half. If I stand really tall I can be 5’3. this makes me about two whole feet too short to reach up to the top bar in a football goal. Why is this information relevant you might ask? Because most weekends, Saturdays and Sundays I (and I’m sure many other football players, parents and coaches) have the rather frustrating task to putting up the football nets on full 8 foot goals.
Football and type are two very wonderful things. This limited edition book designed by Rick Banks looks at football and fonts and the ways they have connected over time, from the numbers and fonts used on the back to shirts to the meanings people prescribe to typography used in the game. And, to make it an even cooler project, it comes with a choice of five different colours, each numbered like a premier league shirt and all proceeds go directly to the Football Foundation – a brilliant organisation that supports grassroots football in the UK. I’m so stoked for mine to arrive.