Woodhouse Moore takes up 26 Hectares of Hyde Park, most of which we see in the bubble of the skatepark. If you ever manage to get yourself there pre 10 a.m you’ll see Park runners, ultimate frisbee purveyors, mediaeval combatants and the occasional football team training for their local league.
In 2021 Hyde Park Women's Football Club had their container broken into. This held more than just balls, cones and whatever else their teams used as equipment but also the youth teams. With everything stolen the 25 have had to borrow postgame kits from both youth and men’s teams. Already unfunded and volunteer-led the group have put together fundraisers in the forms of raffles and Pub Quizzes at one of our favourite places Hyde Park Book Club.
The team's self driven DIY style caught our attention via Instagram and we decided to do something about it. As skateboarders Hyde Park is somewhat where our community thrives and as a skateshop we found that extending our support to HPWFC was the right thing to do.
We interviewed the team manager Izzy, to learn more about the team, how to get involved and the future of HPWFC.
Intro and interview by Fraser Doughty
Photography by Erin Cooper-Jones
Who are you?
Hi! I’m Izzy, the manager for the women’s side of Leeds Hyde Park FC. I joined the team just after it was set up in the summer of 2020 and I’ve loved every minute of it! When I’m not playing football I teach languages in a school in nearby Wakefield.
How long have you been playing football?
Over 20 years! I started playing in the garden with my dad when I was five, and he quickly signed me up to the local team and I’ve never looked back.
Everyone seems to have another role than just a player, what else do you do for the team?
At first I was a regular player for the league team within the women’s club, but after we reopened after the winter lockdown in early 2021 I felt that I could bring some of my experience to the club, and after I while I took on the role of manager, overseeing both the league team and the wider club as a whole.
What drew you to this particular team?
I wanted to play football in a league after having left university rather than anything more casual like a five-a-side team, but still have a relaxed feel to the team. Leeds Hyde Park is perfect for this because we really try to strike that balance between playing competitive matches on a Sunday and having a good time at training throughout the week (as well as the occasional night out too of course!).
What does Hyde Park mean to you?
Hyde Park is the area I’ve lived in or around for five out of the six years I’ve been in Leeds and I love it because there’s always so much going on or someone around who’s up for doing something. Lots of the local businesses are really trying to foster a community feel to the place, and hopefully we as a club are contributing to this vibe too!
How have you managed to raise money for the team?
We have our regular income from charging our members on a “pay as you play” basis (£2 a session if you want to come along!), but we have also held specific fundraising events since we first formed a year and a half ago. Highlights include our summer charity tournament, where we raised over £500 for the club – we had recently had our storage container burgled and lost hundreds of pounds worth of equipment, not just ours but the youth teams’ stuff too, so we were thrilled to be able to raise so much money for the wider club.
What distinguishes HPWFC to other clubs?
I think it’s got to be how welcoming we are – new members are always telling us that they immediately feel like a part of the team even after only a few sessions, which is exactly the atmosphere we are trying to create!
What happened to the original kits, from talking Adel it seems as if you’ve always been borrowing bits and pieces?
Yeah, we’ve never really had our own proper kit to be honest. Leeds Hyde Park FC as a club has been around for a few years now but the women’s team is only in it’s second year, so it’s taken a while to get properly set up. In the meantime we’ve pulled together what we could, whether that’s wearing bibs to play in, or putting on the men’s team’s shirts right after they’d finished their own match – on a summer day that was a sweaty one, as I’m sure you can imagine!
Have you got any in-game stories, I heard you used to tape numbers to your shirts?
Haha yes we’ve had a few wobbles along the way with kit, which is why we’re so grateful to Welcome for sorting us out with this fab new gear! One thing that really sticks with me is that one of our players didn’t have any proper football shorts to wear, so our chairman found her a pair of electric blue swimming trunks instead – and she actually wore them for several games! I’ve also been known to grovel to the ref on multiple occasions to let us have two number 19s on the pitch at the same time because we were playing with such a mismatched kit that we had no other choice! Ah, those were the days...
Can anyone join? How can people get involved?
Yes! We consider ourselves to be a women+ team and welcome anyone who feels that they identify under that umbrella term. We’re also super keen to have beginners sign up as well as people who have played before, and so our sessions usually have a dedicated coach for beginners so that they can learn the basics and really build their confidence at the start of their football journey!
We run three training sessions a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) which are open to everyone and anyone, and our league team have matches most Sundays. We’ve recently started setting up friendly fixtures for our development team too, so there’s plenty of chances to play matches for those who want to do more than just the training. All the details are posted in our Facebook group so feel free to join and then you’ll have all the information at your fingertips!
What's the plan for 2022?
We’re hoping to have a strong mid-table finish for our league team at the end of the 21/22 season, and then push for more when the season starts again in September. I would love for us to be able to have two league teams next year, and there certainly seem to be enough players around to make it happen, so that will be a big step up for our development team, who I’m sure will rise to the challenge! In the meantime, we’ll keep playing friendly matches against local teams, and hopefully get some of our less experienced players involved in these matches too! We’ll always be trying to recruit more and more players throughout the year too – who knows, maybe we might even have enough for three league teams...
Skateshop Roundup 2021 - Legacy
We present to you a yearly roundup not by us but by our friends (competition), yearly roundups can be contentious content at best, a mere list to flog leftover stock or designed to push you the consumers onto a brands website page. This list unlike above is done by our friends/competitors over at some of our favourite skate shops in the UK. 2021 has been another weird year. Read below, agree, disagree and shout at your screen keyboard warrior.
UK skateboarding's original (and only?) professional twins Ronny and Danny Calow founded Legacy in 2011. Two fun facts for you the people, Legacy screen print their own apparel in the back and have shared the joys of employing Josh Blasutto who they still sponsor.
photo : Greg Somerset
Best thing about 2021?
Favourite shop lurker?
Best Board graphic of the year?
Death OG Skull
Best Shoe of the year?
Do people even have an opinion on this?
UK skateboarder of the year?
Best Video of the year?
Local Skatepark hero of the year?
Best Instagram fodder of the year?
The best shop quote?
"But, Welcome have it..."
Most skated spot?
The thing you’ve done more than skateboarding?
Supposedly if you don't know your history then you're doomed to repeat it, and that's something we see a lot in skateboarding. We're not the first here and we probably won't be the last, skateboarding is eternal, shops are ephemeral.
Having worked within the UK and Global skateboard industry for more than two decades Mark 'Fos' Foster has a good view on the current state and the history of UK skateboard retail, and with that in mind he created a graphic for us acknowledging our local forebears - Air, Wisdom and Exit.
In an effort to initiate our #content and synchronise branding for the Welcome x Fos collection we spoke to the Heroin Skateboards & Snot Wheels creator about some stuff.
1. What was your first experience of a skate shop?
Split Skates in Manchester, legendary shop. You were scared to take your parents there because they’d be cranking Black Flag and loads of the T-shirts had the word "Fuck" on them. It was kind of a "right of passage” I think really. They had 500+ boards in all the time, you could choose any colour of Natas that you wanted. It was incredible.
2. What makes a good skate store?
The staff really, if you have good people who are passionate and knowledgeable about it all then they’re the ones who push to get the good brands and the customers can see that they’re backing them and in turn feel like they’re being directed in the right place.
That, and having a good range of Heroin boards.
3. How many collaborations do you think that you’ve done altogether?
As an artist, maybe 40 or 50. With Heroin Skateboards maybe 20 or 30.
4. Other than this one which was the best?
I liked the Emerica x Fos Ridgemont shoe.
5. Any regrets?
No time. I have friends who sit around and mope about stuff that happened in the past “They shouldn’t have done this, or they did this and are bummed” I don’t think it’s a good mind set to have.
6. Why haven’t you stopped?
Cos I love this shit, why would I stop? What would I do, get all fat and hang around the same pub for 30 years talking about how much I used to love skateboarding, or actually go out there and skate?
7. Do you believe in life after love?
Ha, I do. See number 5.
8. If your team was utilised for personal security who would you pick as a lead bodyguard?
Deer Man of Dark Woods.
9. Would it be worth cryogenically freezing Dead Dave so the future can have him for experimentation?
I think it’s the only way that the human race has any chance of survival.
10. What’s the secret to having a skateboarding brand like Heroin last so long?
It helped with a super sketchy name so that all the mums go, “I’m not buying you a board that says that on it” and about half of the shops go “We’re not carrying that” so it gets rid of all the crybabies right from the start. Then you can focus on doing whatever the fuck you want with the brand for 20 years and having fun with it. I love doing this shit, I’m sharing my vision of skateboarding with the world. If I can bring attention to the Osaka Daggers, Barrier Kult and Dead Dave, then it's a win for me. Also Heroin was never about one or two riders, it is a culmination of everyone that rides for it at a certain time. So someone can leave, and that would be disastrous for some brands, but it doesn’t even bum me out really, we had about three or four guys leave a few years back and it allowed me to put Zane and Dave on.
Both of those guys went Pro this year, it’s been great. People really decide their own level of involvement with the brand, Chopper has ridden for us for 20 years, other guys just last a couple of years, it’s all fine. Pulman rode for us (The first time) from around 2000-2007 or so, he had two great video parts and a few boards out. It’s a great legacy. I think it helps having partners like Power Distribution and Baker Boys, who really let me run the company however I want and trust me.
11. True or false? Snot wheels are made from recycled magic sticky hands?
That’d be telling...
Farran Golding sat down on the phone with AVE to get the history behind that famous curved green bench!