In the summer of 1992 just as a revolution was started to unfold in the English professional game a group of young men from inner city Bristol form a Sunday league football team. Few of the original Easton Cowboys could have envisaged the extraordinary journey that team would make over the next two decades, a journey that would see them play soccer in a low level Mexican war zone, cricket games in South Central LA and take them to the dusty fields of Palestine.
This is the improbable story of the Easton Cowboys and Cowgirls, a punk-inspired, community-minded club that truly is like no other in British sport. It traces their development from that single men's football team to a multi-sport self-funding semi-legendary local institution with links around the globe. Freedom Through Football is an eye-opening, inspiring tale with an unlikely cast of characters - ski-masked Zapatistas, rampageous can can dancers and an up and coming street artist named Banksy.
Posted by Ian on 17th Oct 2012
Here is an amazing account of the 20 year history of what started out as just a group kicking a ball about - because that's what they loved - and which evolved into being so much more. What comes across in the book is that sense of 'nothing can stop you - just do it'(if we can play football in Easton, why not with other amateur players around the world?); also the strong bonding and the social conscience that motivated them; their policy of inclusivity and non-discrimination over potential players so long as they could play well, which - though admirable - inevitably led to problems.
The look of the book too is great, being very accessible in how it is visually broken up and the photographs - including some of early work by Banksy - are excellent.
Posted by Sid on 29th Aug 2012
Don’t be put off by the title, for this book is about much, much more than football (which, incidentally, is now just one of three sports currently played by the various club teams). The Cowfolk, as they are collectively known, are a community-based sports and social club from the heart of inner-city Bristol, who have helped redefine what’s possible when you get a group of amateur sportspeople, professional drunks, activists, misfits and ne’er-do-wells (alongside a few ordinary, decent, everyday folk) together.
The book charts the first 20 years of the club’s history from 1992 to the present day, warts and all. There are tales of dodging army check points in Chiapas during a visit to play teams in the Zapatista communities, taking part in cricket matches in Compton LA against ex-gangsters, heading to the West Bank and literally leaving their mark on the Israeli apartheid wall, and organising Alternative World Cups attended by people from as close as Bedminster to as far away as São Paulo (via Lithuania and the South African township of Diepkloof). There have been a few sad losses during the journey (and quite a few happy additions too), the occasional harsh word, partings of ways, fallouts, fall-ins, love affairs, babies and hangovers. But mostly, it’s about being a part of something that exemplifies everything that is good in human nature.
The book is 229 pages, nicely supplemented with plenty of images (many previously unseen) and extra info, with an additional 32 pages of colour pics (including a couple of that Banksy fellow hanging out with the Cowfolk in Chiapas and doing some rare hand-painted pieces in the villages).