Sunday league football: The rich & divine backbone of English football

Hackney Marshes Playing Field

Hackney Marshes playing fields- one of the countries most historical settings for Sunday league football. With over 88 football pitches marked out, Hackney Marshes is without doubt considered to be almost iconic, in regards to the affiliation of Sunday league and amateur football.

If you have ever visited Hackney Marshes on a weekend morning during the English football season (which I haven’t!) there has to be such an aura to the setting. Perhaps one would be able to describe it as an aesthetic. Regardless of what the setting may be propped up by, there is no doubt that scenery is something to behold.

Typically when one thinks of Sunday league football they immediately picture probably the worst typical British weather. Pelting it down with rain, surface knee-height in mud and just an overall freezing morning. Sunday league football and torrid weather naturally go together.

Almost a universe away from the glamour of professional football, Sunday league football is almost deprived of the privileges that professional game has become accustomed to. Teams are forced to change into their kit outside on the pitch, even if there is a changing room on the field, it is then a matter of find the tightest of  spaces to change.

Officiating can be a divisive issue in amateur football, one not too many would like to prosper either. While there are thousands of referee’s who almost put their neck on the line to ref matches, more often than not a spectator shall have act as a linesman and run the line. As one voluntarily runs the line, they are more than aware of the suspicions plaguing the minds of the opposition players and coaches.


“Who’s putting the nets up?”- probably not a question too many will want to hear but none the less it has to be done. In a sense one could almost say that part of the parcel in being a Sunday league player is becoming a matchday official. Putting up the nets, running the line and clearing the playing surface are all weekly tasks.

Once again looking between the lines of reality in the difference of the game, professional footballers have a catered pitch with rolled out turf ready for them. In contrast to Sunday league footballers who have to almost create the setting with the goal nets for starters and then clearing the playing surface. In my opinion this is what almost creates such a unique essence to the amateur game, those playing have to set the scene.

Warm-ups are an essential and vital part of any sport. Despite the almost shortcomings of Sunday league football, this is something that shall not be forgotten in the game. Some teams may opt to replicate a more professional warm-up or alternatively they may choose to smash the ball at the keeper, until kick-off.

Prior to kick-off comes to event of introducing yourselves to the officials. I have played Sunday league football before and I am going to state the truth, for the majority of players; more often than not the referee is usually unpopular. Part of being a ref in the amateur game is brandishing cards, the violence levels in Sunday league football are notoriously beyond aggressive.

Regardless of whether the ref is right or wrong for booking you, he more than likely will leave the pitch with some unkind comments lodged in his mind, which have been yelled at him over the course of the game.

Many forget that Sunday league football is a rich part of English football. For some footballers is shall be where their journey begins, for others it will become part of their life.

No matter how you view the amatuer side of the game, always remember that it is the backbone of English football.

Thanks for reading! Make sure you follow me on Twitter @AaronPatel97.





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