Talking the Beautiful Game

Goal Click - Russia

We are showcasing the fantastic work of our friends Goal Click. Here is a little bit about them and what they are up to.

Goal Click was created in 2014 as a new global football anologue photography project. The ambition of Goal Click is to find one person from every country in the world and send each of them one disposable analogue camera. The photographers take photos that symbolise football in their country, leading to a football photography exhibition and creating a unique football community. 

The project aims to show football’s similarities and differences around the world, the issues, the passion and emotions it creates and the way football can unite people in unstable parts of the world. Goal Click is now officially active in over 50 countries.

You can follow Goal Click on Instagram @goalclick or Twitter @Goal_Click

Russia

Our Russian Goal Click photos come from Sergey Novikov, a professional photographer. Since 2011 Sergey has been documenting the world of Russian amateur football through his “Grassroots” project with the aim of finding the most picturesque football pitches in the country. For his Goal Click photo series Sergey travelled to the Ural Mountains, Russia's "spine" where Europe and Asia meet. He explored seven towns (Perm, Uralsky, Chusovoy, Lysva, Kachkanar, Degtyarsk and Rezh) in two regions of the Ural Mountains, Perm Krai and Sverdlovsk Oblast, documenting the life of the real football underdogs - amateur clubs from local leagues. 

Quotes from Sergey Novikov

The main economic activities in The Urals are mining and metalwork, which deeply impact social life and football, including the names of the stadiums and clubs. Of the seven local stadiums that I visited three were named “Metallurg” and two were called “Gornyak” (“Miner”). The harsh nature of provincial Russia is displayed on the football pitches. The economic crisis in the country affects many parts of football, including financial support of the teams, the condition of pitches and even the availability of medical care at the stadiums.

Just two cities in Russia attract the money, Moscow and St Petersburg. All other cities, towns, regions and countryside are quite poor. Life there is like 30 years ago in Soviet times. They have the same stadiums, the same citizens, the same interests in life and the same beliefs in politics and economics. The Stadiums are very old. It’s very Soviet. It’s quite rustic, quite old-fashioned, the benches are wooden, and there is no money. For the changing rooms, they often use any buildings that are near the stadium. I have seen changing rooms in a church. Many have not been looked after and need some paint!

The most interesting story for me is Degtyarsk, because this was a very rare game. Degtyarsk is mining town where there is a huge mountain of industrial waste of the mining corporations that overlooks the pitch. The stadium has been out of use for a long time. They don’t have a local team. But before elections in September they arranged a game for a local team named “Gornyak” against the team of the nearest town.

I try to bring attention to amateur football in Russia. Usually there are only 200-300 people watching football live in the stadium, there is no TV broadcasting and no photographs. Many people do not even know which teams play in their region, only the main team of the city. In the countryside even the taxi drivers do not know where the stadium is in their town! 

Football is a miniature of the country. It is a reflection of the economic and social situation in Russia. Russia will host the World Cup in 2 years. We will construct 10 new stadiums. We are not reconstructing other stadiums. All the money goes on the major infrastructure but not in the regions.

But in every corner of the country people play football. It is a national sport. The local football team is a tool to unite local communities. In a small town on a Saturday and Sunday people do not know what to do. Shops, drinking parties and football are the main attractions in the town. It is the same as other small towns in Europe.

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