Outtakes

Stuart Clarke explains why he is spending 10 years photographing football grounds
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Indy Lifestyle Online
"I was deeply involved in football from an early age, and I thought this was my perfect canvas: 150 or so major football clubs offering games of all levels that I could scoot around to. At the end of 1989, I set myself 10 years to do it as my major topic.

The selection of images here ranges from scenes at big clubs such as Aston Villa and Everton down to grass-roots level, such as Coniston, and the underdog clubs that I love, such as Bury. The gents' toilets at Villa Park clearly suggest a game that's over a hundred years old. It's kind of reassuring. But then you see the Bury picture, of the ladies' retiring room, which has been knocked down since I was there three years ago. In the Coniston picture, the mountains are ever-present in the background, but some of the characters in the picture won't be playing for the team any more, and one or two of the trees have been felled by storms. In the Sunderland photo, all those supporters standing up against the rail look as though they're from a bygone era, yet it was only 1996. What I've touched on in the Everton picture is the business of people turning up late - it was taken only a few minutes before the biggest game of the season, against Liverpool." Scott Hughes

Stuart Clarke's touring Homes of Football Exhibition is at Bristol Museum until 24 May and Kilmarnock Dick Institute until 11 July; it will also be in York, Wrexham and Falkirk this summer. Its permanent home is now open at Ambleside in the Lake District (tel: 015394 34440). Website: www.homes-of-football.co.uk

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