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A festival of football is launching in Printworks this weekend

Alexandra Sims

London’s laser-filled, industrial superclub Printworks is clearing the dancefloor for a whole weekend of footy culture

First, a confession. Just over a month ago I’d barely touched a football and could count the number of professional players I knew by name on one hand (if that!). Fast-forward to the days after the Fifa Women’s World Cup and now I keep up with the Lionesses on Instagram and have even practised Lucy Bronze-style outside-the-box free kicks down the park. It may be the beautiful game, but uglier sides like multi-million-pound league politics, swelling ticket prices, the closure of lower-league clubs, racism, homophobia and huge gender gaps in both pay and recognition can sully its charm and, as in my case, make some people feel completely sidelined from the culture.

Enter Jumpers for Goalposts. As its name suggests, this football festival is riding on the buoyant wave of a successful ladies’ tournament to celebrate grassroots kickabouts, champion all the diverse aspects of footy across the game’s history and debate issues that stalk modern football. In the process, it’s hoping to prove that football really is for everyone, even late starters like me. 

A world away from grumbling about VAR down the pub, the festival is kicking off its first edition in Canada Water’s huge clubbing spot, Printworks, where a jam-packed programme awaits.

Fans who fancy a nostalgic look at twentieth-century football can hear a live recording of ‘Alive and Kicking: ’90s Football Podcast’ and check out an exhibition of iconic retro Admiral kits. You can make a footy zine of your own in a workshop using retro fan photography, or take a deep dive into the inner workings of the modern game in talks discussing everything from Football Manager and match stats to the game’s future.

Want to root for the underdog? There’ll be a panel with a director of Conifa, which represents teams from unrecognised nations, and a screening of ‘Next Goal Wins’, which charts the fortunes of American Samoa – one of the weakest teams in the world who tried to qualify for the 2014 Fifa World Cup.

And that’s not all. Throughout the weekend there’ll be freestyle classes, a marketplace packed with magazines and memorabilia, football performances, book signings, retro video games to play, shooting cages, food stalls, DJs, and a screening of noughties classic ‘Bend It Like Beckham’. Jumpers or not, this fest is definitely moving the goalposts by showing just how diverse and magical the world of football can really be.

Jumpers for Goalposts is at Printworks from Sat Aug 3 - Sun Aug 4. Tickets cost £35 weekend, £20 day. Get 20 percent off with the code TIMEOUT20. 

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