James Porter lives and breathes the beautiful game. His Far Post FC project will see him visit all of the 92 Football League clubs in the UK to meet fans who follow their team through thick and thin. Here’s the main man himself to explain how his project supports CALM…
What is it about football that you love?
So many experiences and people I have met have been around football in general. Either playing on a Super Nintendo, Playstation, playing for my school or local team, watching on TV or going to matches. So many different tales to tell.
It’s the world’s sport for a very clear reason, it has effectively no barrier to participate. You don’t need a football pitch to play and in some cases, you don’t even need a ball. There are plenty of famous stories of players like Diego Maradona playing with an orange! Or kids playing with a can in the street.
It’s the world’s sport for a very clear reason, it has effectively no barrier to participate. You don’t need a football pitch to play and in some cases, you don’t even need a ball.
Football can break down barriers too such as language, race, tall or small, old or young, and thankfully more so now male or female. It’s a sport that transcends cultures and economic status. We know and it has an image of being divisive, however, for the vast majority of the world it connects people and brings so much joy. I have had conversations about football with people who I share no spoken language with but we still understood, player names and gestures can easily get you through.
Away from the minority of clubs and players who make vast sum’s of money football generally is at the root of most communities and has such an important place in societies and cultures all over the world.
Which ground has been the most interesting to visit so far?
I’ve targeted League Two clubs to start the journey for the most part, and they have all been great, to be honest. The noticeable difference initially is the feeling of community in the lower divisions. The fans seem and feel like they are part of the club in so many ways, this is really something you don’t feel at the top level. I’ve been overwhelmed by the staff at the clubs I have visited, club officials and stewards have been so interested in the trip and cause and really supported in facilitating anything I needed on the match day.
The noticeable difference initially is the feeling of community in the lower divisions.
Are there any grounds, in particular, you’re looking forward to visiting?
I’m genuinely excited to visit every ground but I have spoken to fans so far about some stadiums and places to make a note of! Being a Welshman myself I’m looking forward to all the Welsh football league clubs, I’ve been warned to take my thermals to Grimsby at Blundell Park is right next to the sea! The North East has a reputation for passionate fans and who wouldn’t look forward to a cold windy night in Stoke…
What’s your favourite football experience in your life?
I remember my first game as a five year old! I recall walking to the stadium with my Dad and my Uncle, I would imagine the attendance would have been maybe 35-40 thousand people but it may as well have been 35-40 million I was in awe of the energy and people. I’m from a small town in Wales and I had never seen anything like it. Inside the stadium was electric and the noise and joy when a goal was scored had me hooked.
I was in awe of the energy and people. I’m from a small town in Wales and I had never seen anything like it. Inside the stadium was electric and the noise and joy when a goal was scored had me hooked.
In reality, I couldn’t really see much of the game itself as we had been standing most of the game and I was about four foot tall, however, I remember every single minute of the day. The build-up outside the ground and the energy and noise of the match really stuck with me. The match itself was just a 90 minute piece of the overall day and that’s something I still really enjoy.
Why did you decide to spotlight CALM within The Far Post FC?
Within my immediate family, I have seen how suicide can affect lives, it is really a subject that needs open discussion. On this journey, I’ll be meeting people of various ages all over the country and I can hopefully play a tiny part in making this subject much more approachable to us all. I aim to show how football can be a forum of positivity and joy that we can all participate in.
— TheFarPostFC (@TheFarPostFC) August 3, 2018
Would you say football has provided you with a space to communicate and seek comfort?
Absolutely, In so many ways football offers a sense of togetherness and friendship whether you play with friends or watch the game with strangers, you’ll have a connection and something in common. You often just find a conversation happening in all of these scenarios even if you don’t know the people around you. It’s strange to think the high fives and bloke hugs I’ve had in terraces with complete strangers when a goal has been scored 🙂 imagine doing that on the train or bus to work!
How can fans get involved?
There are two ways to get involved, at a match and at home! On a match day, I’m looking to catch up with fans ahead and prior to the games when I visit so the best way for fans to get involved is to send me a tweet or message @thefarpostfc. I also tweet a week or so ahead of a match day to let fans know when I’m around so commenting and sharing names of people who may be interested in these posts is very much welcome. Feel free to throw in a #FPFC92 on any of your posts about your own experiences.
The message for fans at home is that I’m going to donate any profits made to CALM and the easiest way to support is absolutely free – the more people who watch, like, subscribe and share the videos the more awareness and funding.
Need support? Worried about someone? CALM’s free, anonymous and confidential helpline and webchat are open every day, 5pm-midnight. Get access here.
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