H'away the lads

H'away the lads, Newcastle United, 1990 Image copyright Stuart Roy Clarke

The world of football has changed in the past two decades. Players' wages and the cost of season tickets have spiralled, and many of the grounds have been upgraded, yet at its heart are the fans whose devotion to their clubs ensures the spirit of the game continues.

Photographer Stuart Roy Clarke has spent those years documenting the national game, visiting grounds around the country and recording the action on and off the pitch.

This began in part as a response to the tragedy at Hillsborough in Sheffield in 1989 which resulted in the death of 96 Liverpool fans following a crush on overcrowded terraces. Clarke knew then that the game would have to evolve, and set about documenting the changing face of the fans.

Clarke has captured both the spectacle of the game as well as the lengths people go to see their team. He's not looking for the traditional sports image, more the sideways glance that sums up the moment, and in time evokes memories of that time.

He has shot more than 100,000 frames on his Bronica cameras, on film with standard lenses.

Recently Clarke was one of the driving forces behind the new National Football Museum in Manchester, where his project is on show until December, plus you can watch a film of him in action. You can also catch a selection of the work in London at Chris Beetles Gallery. Here are a few of Clarke's pictures:

Image copyright Stuart Roy Clarke
Image caption The snow blows in suddenly on an FA Cup Saturday as John Motson of the BBC goes live before the nation. He's dressed for the change in weather.
Image copyright Stuart roy clarke
Image caption Clarke listened to the radio as a fire swept through a stand at Valley Parade in Bradford killing 56 people. A few years later he took this picture, describing how the almost golden steps appeared before him, "suggesting a path to a better place".
Image copyright Stuart roy clarke
Image caption "The play-off system introduced to invigorate English football brings about a special occasion atmosphere to the business end of the season, returning the game to the fans and not the owners," says Clarke, as this shot at Wolverhampton Wanders demonstrates.
Image copyright Stuart roy clarke
Image caption Against the backdrop of the big two, Hibernian in 1995.
Image copyright Stuart roy clarke
Image caption A refreshment kiosk stands at Leigh Railway Mechanics Institute FC. The team reached Conference National level football in 2000, but in 2008 were relegated to the Northern Premier League and renamed as Leigh Genesis.
Image copyright Stuart roy clarke
Image caption In 1990 Clarke photographed Doncaster Rovers who were struggling in the old Fourth Division.
Image copyright Stuart roy clarke
Image caption FC United of Manchester was formed in 2005 by Manchester United fans, in part as a protest against US businessman Malcolm Glazer's takeover. It has recently raised £1.6m from a community share issue to help fund the building of a new ground.