In 1969, a group of young Asian men were playing football in Spinney Park, Leicester, and they decided to start football club with the help of a local Gurdwara. The story of the Guru Nanak Gurdwara Football club (GNG FC) from its humble origins as a parks-based team to becoming a successful community football club, and finally to developing its own club centre and grounds is a fascinating, but ignored, Leicester tale.

Afterall, the history of GNG, the club and its people is also the story of the changing social identities and cultural dynamics of Asian and other communities from Leicester working together to build dynamic inclusive spaces for themselves.  

The project will document the story of GNG FC over the past 50 years. With assistance from local researchers and photographers, and a group of young people involved with the club, the project will record the experiences of people involved with the clubs over 50 years, archive material, and develop learning and exhibition material. Some of the stories, such as its 1973/74 City league Division 6 trophy, 2002 racially motivated attack on its players, 2014 opening of Riverside grounds, and the 2015 Asian Football club of the year award are well known, but other stories have not been recorded and will soon be forgotten. This project is a great opportunity for us to document and remember the long struggle and achievements of the GNG FC story. 

The story of GNG football club will be set against the backdrop of the social and cultural history of Leicester city over 50 years, and the project will therefore contribute to people’s broader understanding of heritage in Leicester, and the importance of football, and sport more generally to social cohesion and community development. The project will therefore provide a different understanding of the diversity and diverging experiences of people, of their football affiliations, social mobility, well-being, integration and racism during the last five decades.

The project is coordinated by GNG FC, and they are assisted by local researchers and photographers Kajal Nisha Patel and Jagdish Patel. We have already started researching and archiving material, and are running workshops with young people who will be taught video, documentation and oral history skills. They will be assisting Kajal and Jagdish to develop the archive, exhibition and learning materials. The work will be displayed across different venues in Leicester after May 2019. 

The project is funded by the Lottery Heritage fund.