Get Rid! or Cultures of Sound in Grassroots Football is a project that has grown out of my engagement with grassroots football in Oxfordshire. Without a particular plan or framework in mind I will be making sound recordings of my experiences as a youth team coach; as a spectator at matches in the North Berks or other local grassroots adult leagues; as a groundsman marking out pitches; and as a member of a club committee. Grassroots Football refers to football played by amateur football clubs at youth and adult level so I won’t be visiting Didcot Town any time soon – other than for entertainment – as they are too far up the league pyramid.
Since I began making recordings for this project – and as noted above there has been no particular pattern at play – one of the most notable aspects of the experience has been the verbal culture of communication between players, coaches, officials and – when present – spectators. I am fascinated by the transformation of quiet parish council run local parks into sites of conflict and exuberant communication during the matches I have listened to.
This recording was made during the North Berks League Division Four match between Long Wittenham Athletic Reserves and Berinsfield Reserves (07.01.2017). I was driving through Long Wittenham and noticed the match taking place. I didn’t have my sound recorder to hand so had to make do with my iPhone 5s so there isn’t as much depth in the recording as I would have liked. Just before we arrived Berinsfield scored and Long Wittenham were under pressure while I was making this recording.There is a partial transcription below that provides a taste of the on pitch verbal culture accompanied by teenagers on the nearby swings discussing earlier matches in the FA Cup Third Round.