Going to see a game of football in London is out of the equation for many a cash strapped student. An outing to Stamford Bridge on a Saturday afternoon, as nice as it sounds (or not), is simply too expensive for most of us humble fans, reverting instead to the local pub for our football supplement. Agreeable though it may be, there is something about going to see a live game of football that can’t quite be reciprocated in the confines of a 50-inch flat-screen and a five-pound pint. This predicament raises the question of what impoverished students, in need of a live game of football, are to do? The answer presents itself in the form of SE Dons, the team who are revolutionising Sunday-league football.
Based in Lewisham, the Dons are at the forefront of YouTube football team phenomenon,
documenting the trials and tribulations of their Sunday-league antics on camera and showcasing their footballing exploits for the world to see. Having so far amassed over 150 thousand subscribers and over 42 million views, the sky is the limit for SE Dons. The baby of grime star Don Strapzy, SE Dons has gone from being a bog-standard Sunday-league team to becoming one of the best amateur football teams in the country with many of their first-team squad playing semi-professionally on Saturdays alongside their Dons duties.
Their YouTube content has a very distinctive feel to it. The grittiness of Sunday-league football blended with grime music and comedy serves as the perfect footballing cocktail. The club captain, Big G, a domineering ‘6ft 6 Ugandan’, regularly inspires the team to go the extra mile with his galvanising half time soliloquies. Their fan base is growing by the day, featuring the likes of Declan Rice and Jesse Lingard, while their newly released merchandise sells out in a matter of hours. They currently ply their trade in the Orpington & Bromley District League, having lost only one game in 15 this season.
The Dons offer a panacea to the curse of shallow pockets. Other than transport costs, a trip to watch the Dons will cost you nothing but time. And time well spent. Not only was the quality of football on show surprisingly high when I went to see the Dons for the first time, but none other than Stormy also made a cameo appearance midway through the second half, adding to the awe-inspiring spectacle that lay before me. The Dons frequently attract crowds of over 500 on a weekly basis, with two and half thousand fans turning up to one of their cup finals last season, a testament to their appeal.
If you’re itching for something to do on a Sunday, then why not join me in making the trip to the Dead End to see the Dons dismantle yet another helpless opponent. The movement is growing fast and isn’t set to slow down any time soon. Sunday-league football is making a comeback with SE dons firmly at the helm.