Introducing is a feature on Box To Box looking at a handpicked selection of magazines, fanzines, websites, blogs, teams and individuals who produce great quality content on football and football culture.
In our latest feature we speak to Michael Kirkham, who is behind the excellent Urban Goals photography project, an evocative collection of images that capture life in inner city Britain and football’s role within that environment. It has received a great reception, not only for the nostalgia it inspires but also for the way it demonstrates the social inequality still prevalent in working class areas across Britain.
To someone who hasn’t heard of it, how would you describe Urban Goals in one sentence?
MK: Urban Goals is a photographic series that is both a stirring memento of lost youth, and stark reminder of the social inequalities still faced in Britain today.
What is the story behind the creation of the project?
MK: You see these goals everywhere in Liverpool, I’d pass them all the time. There was no escaping the emerging pattern with the locations of the goals, places where economic truths are laid bare. I thought about how increasingly disenfranchised the kids playing in these goals are from society. What are their goals in life? Their urban goals. The painted goalmouth, such a simple, yet iconic symbol of inner city life framed this perfectly.
What is the unique selling point of your project?
MK: I think maybe it’s the broad appeal it has; it has that nostalgia vibe to it as well as the more serious underlying message.
Out of everything you have done through the project so far, what are you most proud of/what has been your most enjoyable moment?
MK: The best thing has been the emotional response from people. I’ve had emails and messages from people with whom the project has struck a chord, jolting a memory and reminiscing on their childhood. I love that. People have sent me in photos of them playing in their own urban goals as kids, it has been great.
What next for Urban Goals?
MK: Well I’ve a few trips around the UK to finish the project and then I’m hoping to get a book published.
Do you remember what made you first fall in love with football, could you pin point it to a single moment?
MK: I was born in Liverpool, it’s hard to not be in love with football when you’re born in this city. I guess a moment that stands out though would be seeing Liverpool bring back the FA Cup in 1986. My dad, a red, was made up. My mum, a blue, not so much.
Out of all the football websites, magazines, podcasts, projects out there, what are your personal favourites?
MK: There’s so many. I love Lost Footballs, great idea. These Football Times always produce great articles. Mundial is ace too, their Twitter and the magazine. I’m not massive into podcasts but have dipped my toe into them and found Athletico Mince really good.
If someone wanted to collaborate with you at Urban Goals, how would you suggest they went about it?
MK: They could tweet in a goal or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
To someone wanting to start up a similar project to yours, what would be your words of advice?
MK: Researching and planning can never be underestimated. Believe in what you’re doing and stick at it.