For our Autumn collection, False Start, we dove into the world of London Grassroots football, where we found that playing football was more about community spirit & friendships than winning trophies…
The Gun FC, East London’s proper pub football team; a collective of creatives with a knack for the beautiful game. After 4 ½ years at the team, Alan Bond, reflects on his time as part of the family…
How did you hear about The Gun FC?
New Years Eve (December 31 2014), I was on a night out in Corsica Studios and was introduced to Angus Cowen who told me that him and a group of mates had started a pub team in Hackney. I had recently moved to London and said I would like to come down to play. Three weeks later I played my first game, scoring the winner and the lads really welcomed me in. I thought this will do for me. I ended up staying on Angus couch for a few months and became good mates with all the lads.
Why did you decide to join the team?
I grew up around pub football teams and Sunday league football where I am from in the North and loved that this team was built on these traditions. The link to the pub on Well Street and the social, community side is massive and as for pub teams in general, there are not many left. I had stopped playing football and wasn't entirely sure if I had finished playing for good. The Gun brought the love back for me as I had always wanted to play on Hackney Marshes because of how iconic it was for park football.
Besides exercise, what’s the best thing about being on the team?
The people you meet. Football is about the memories and making friends. My personal journey in becoming the Manager of the club and then having the chance to build teams and see them go on and win titles built purely upon creating an environment to enjoy football has been very rewarding. In the past season, to have the opportunity to work with players such as John, Mathias and Antonio - three excellent technical footballers who each have a desire to get the best out of themselves - is something I have really enjoyed and I look forward to seeing their football career's progress over the years.
What does being part of this team mean to you?
I have moved on this summer after four and a half years as part of the team. The Gun has been a huge part of my life. It became a family. For a long time I was working in a job I didn't want to be in and in the past had suffered from severe mental health issues so the football team was my release and kept my mind ticking over everyday. It gave me a platform to channel my passion for the game and I'll be forever grateful for that.
What makes this team different to others?
Firstly, the fact that its a pub football team. Its an example to other groups of people to do the same and link up with pubs to start community teams. The Gun is a special place in itself so to have that as a base and a home, you feel very lucky and proud to represent it. Since the club began in 2014, the journey of the club has been documented. Vivek Vadoliya, Peter Banks, James Starkey have used the team as a personal project so there is a history element to the club which I think is unique.
What’s the biggest difference joining the team has made to your life?
It allowed me to express my love for football on and off the pitch. Not only did The Gun give me a chance to play football again but a platform to get back into writing and develop skills in photography. The friends I have met through this team as well. The impact it has had on my social, mental and physical wellbeing has been massive.