Shamrock Rovers devotee Jon Daczkowski is passionate about his football club, his photography, and preserving the role they play with his photographs.
“Having a visual history of fans and fan groups is necessary,” says Daczkowski who relishes the bond between team and the terraces and says supporters make all the difference.
“I think genuinely the link between the players and fans, that they can push a team forward is what brought me into appreciating fan culture,” he says.
“Watching fans parade through cities on match day and celebrating derby victories like it’s New Years was so moving for me.”
Daczkowski is from Dublin where he still lives, although he spent time in Hamburg where he names Hamburger SV as his “German team”. “When living in Hamburg I could hear the Volksparkstadion from my house, they were that local for me,” he says. Daczkowski also follows Poland’s MKS Chojniczanka, but it’s Shamrock Rovers and his League of Ireland documentary work that occupies him now.
“In general these photos are just what I pick up on as I go to games and footballing events,” he said.
“I think it’s quite funny how in many stands in Europe you’re not supposed to bring a camera in as it impedes on the culture. But I think having a visual history of fans and fan groups is necessary for growth of fan scenes, something Ireland with a developing scene can benefit from.
“Though I don’t recommend you bring a camera into many grounds if you’re a tourist, you’ll look like a target to many ultras and heavily involved fans.
“I absolutely hate when the YouTube football vloggers go into singing / ultra / away ends and sections with their GoPros recording and narrating, and not immersing themselves.”
Robbie Keane and Damien Duff were early heroes of Daczkowski, both coming from from near where he grew up in Dublin. Duff’s 2002 World Cup shirt is Daczkowski’s earliest Ireland jersey, while his first game was an international, Ireland against Slovakia that ended 2-2.
It was a point and shoot camera given to him by his mother that first got Daczkowski into photography five years ago, and he says now that whatever your equipment “if you know how to use it well, you’ll get the shots you want.”
“I went around Dublin City Centre on the annual Culture Night,” he recalled, “and took photos when I saw anything of interest. I think this is the start of my documentary style.
“This hobby turned into a passion and now a job.”
Daczkowski started working as a football photographer last year, in March for Irish Football Fan TV, and continued to do so up until August this year when he joined Shamrock Rovers’ media team, though he still contributes to Irish Football Fan TV.
“My current favourite photo is Rovers celebrating our most recent home victory over local Dublin rivals, Bohemian FC (top of the feature).
“I think documenting the reality of football is huge, to highlight the fans and prove that people care for these local clubs more than anyone who supports a club abroad or follows the “big” sports of Ireland,” he said.
“I find that I associate almost everything on a daily basis to football. If I see a pair of trainers or a cap, I think what jersey goes to match.
“I think there’s a great deal of importance of bringing your football club into daily life and exposing people to your club. Wearing T-shirts, items of clothing in general and accessories featuring aspects of the club is something I try to implement as much as possible and feel it’s something I can get great satisfaction out of.”
If you enjoyed that, you may also like Hertha BSC football fan culture, where photographer and supporter Kasimir Weichert focuses on fellow fans of his beloved ‘Die Alte Dame’, the culture around the club and within the historic Olympiastadion Berlin.