GNG HLF History Project

Grassroots community football is an integral part of life in Leicester. In every local community across the city, there will be teams of players, supporters and volunteers sharing in their love for the ‘beautiful game’. Football can bring people together, often in moments of great joy, sometimes in disappointment, and occasionally in crushing pain. Without the commitment of these dedicated enthusiasts, none of these football clubs would survive. This Project is a celebration of those people and the time they spend bringing the game to others in Leicester.

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Football Club (GNG FC has thrived from its humble origins as a parks-based team to becoming a thriving community football club, with a club centre and grounds. The Club started in 1969 when a group of young Asian men were playing football in Spinney Park, Leicester. They decided to start a football club with the support of their local place of worship, a Sikh Gurdwara, called Guru Nanak Gurdwara. On this project GNG FC worked with a team of young people, local artists and elders to chart the story of the Club. They use personal memory, video, photographs and archival material to peel back this unknown history and attempt to think about the broader impact of grassroots community football across Leicester.

With support from Heritage Lottery, they received an award in November 2017 to document this history of the Club, its members and the importance of the Club today.

History of the club

The first ten years

GNG FC was established in 1968 in Spinney Hill Park by a small group of young Asian teenagers. The first decade was hard as the group set about learning how to run a club, adapting to mixing in parts of Leicester they had never visited before, keeping up with the training and regular fixtures. and having to catch busses or even walk to games. However, with the help of others, such as mothers who would wash the kits, and friends who would help build and carry the goals and other bits of the kits they slowly made progress, with some success. By the mid 1970s GNG FC had become local Cup winners and were seen as a strong team within Leicester’s grassroots football community.

The Club returns after a Decade in Slumber

During most of the 1980s the club declined as many of the early pioneers moved away, or had families or were growing older. However, by the early 90s, after a series of changes with the management team and players, and development of the youth teams, the Club’s fortunes began to change. They started to win tournaments again, and had a series successful tours in India. By 2005 the future of GNG FC was looking bright again.

A Club for the Future

After the successes of 2005, GNG FC became a important part of the community grassroots football community. By late 2010 the club began looking for potential sites for grounds, and after a few years they secured a site. Their current based at Riverside is now a important community resources. Although the Club retains a close link with the local Gurdwara it looks after a much larger community from different ethnicities and faiths. The development of women’s teams, younger teams and workshops around health and well being has meant the Club is now thinking about community grassroots football and its broader role in the city. The work will continue into the future.