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Eleven Portraits of Football in Sheffield

“Through the last 13 years there’ve been marriages, breakups, jobs, but the one constant has been KAG FC.”

Every Monday night at Goals, over in Norfolk Park, a 5 a side team called KAG take to the pitch and, as captain Adam Oxley proudly puts it, they “go to battle”. Talking football with Adam and team manger Zander Mills is a joy: they speak with infectious enthusiasm about what they call “unbreakable bonds”, forged over the 13 years they’ve been playing together. Despite the fact that KAG have had up to 60 players don the “amber and black”, Zander tells us that one quality has been a constant: “it’s not that we have to win, it’s that you have to be bothered when you lose”. KAG really are more than the sum of their parts: they play for each other.

Zander and Adam are the last remaining ‘KAG originals’ and they take dedication seriously. “We’ve never had to cancel a game”, Zander proudly declares. Their commitment on the pitch is matched by their enthusiasm off it. “We have an array of merchandise.” The pair then reel of an impressive list: “there’s the kit, the logo, the Latin motto – (fortune favours the bold – Fortes Fortuna Adiuva), the website and social media of course, the KAG Subbuteo team, scarves, bobble hats, a computer game, a six foot flag, mugs, even little boot bags”, which Zander admits haven’t been the most popular of items.

At the end of each season they exchange trophies, as a way of recording the successes and challenges of the campaign, and giving each other a pat on the back. A phrase keeps coming up in our conversation: “the KAG family”. The lads’ devotion to the cause, and to each other, is compelling.