All or Nothing | Oliver Jackson

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Formed only two years ago, football club Woolworths FC compete in the Rochdale and Bury District Sunday League (Division Two). And Oliver Jackson‘s pictures will strike a chord with anyone who has ever laced up their boots for an often bruising weekend league showdown.

Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson
Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson

This is men’s amateur football in its purest form. The football culture, identity, community and camaraderie evident in almost every photograph.

“Currently I find a lot of top tier football quite stale at times,” said Rochdale fan Jackson. 

“It’s a shame that so many people sit at home watching on TV rather than going to support their local club down the road.

“I prefer the outlook and accessibility of lower league football.”

Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson

Jackson’s pictures cover the first two seasons of a club formed by friends in 2020, and make up his photo book, Woolworths FC – All or Nothing

The title of the book plays on the popular Amazon TV documentary series of the same name, which focuses on the fortunes of multi-billion pound sports teams. 

In Jackson’s photo documentary, you won’t find any images of players enjoying hour long pre-training rub downs, or players rocking trainers and watches that cost the same as a small car. This is 90 minutes of graft, followed by a few (10) pints, a cig and a game snooker. 

Then come the shots. Not a 20 yard grass cutter. A shot of the Sambuca or Tequila kind.

Classic post match recovery. 

Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson

“It’s a shame that so many people sit at home watching on TV rather than going to support their local club down the road.”

Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson
Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson
Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson

“The club name comes from our local pub – Woolworths Sports & Social Club,” he said.

“The first two seasons were tricky as the games were constantly starting and stopping every few months due to Covid restrictions. The plan for me was just to shoot every game / after the game and see what happens.”

A Rochdale fan, he has also taken in some  Manchester United games and as a goalkeeper himself lists iconic Dutch stopper Edwin van der Sar as an inspiration while growing up, while also savouring time watching Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo tear defences apart around 06-07.

Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson
Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson
Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson
Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson

Focusing on the Sunday League fortunes of Woolworths FC has given Jackson plenty of fresh inspiration.

“The kits, grass, varying weather conditions are all good,” he said. “Also the mix of pre and post match situations. I think in the Sunday league world there’s a lot to be uncovered still. 

“Everyone’s too occupied to remember taking photos,” he said, adding:”Just shoot what’s in front of you and don’t over think it. 

“The best camera is the one you have on you!”

Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson

Jackson’s pictures bring it all back for Woolworths FC manager Dean Smith.

“From the very first training session, it was clear that this group were not only willing to battle for each other and leave everything on the pitch, but also to learn and grow as a team,” he said.

“The photos tell the story. The whole story. The highs, the lows, the thrills, the spills, the pain, the glory, the laughs,” he continued. 

“With a combination of quality, determination and togetherness, every single

player contributed to a memorable first ever campaign for the club and the celebratory drunken afternoons in the Woolies beer garden after those hard-fought victories will live long in the memory. “

Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson
Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson
Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson
Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson
Woolworths FC All Or Nothing by Oliver Jackson
© Oliver Jackson

Jackson’s latest photo series took him to one of the most popular foreign destinations of any young footballer – Benidorm (an amateur footballer, of course). Jackson’s photographs in Benidorm Away give a typically candid, unfiltered insight into post lockdown joy and debauchery in the popular seaside resort. 

If you enjoyed that, you may also like John Bolloten’s Field of Broken Dreams, a focus on the harsh reality of inner city amateur football.

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