Lucy Monkman - Dulwich Hamlet Women
I’m Lucy or Monki as some people may know me. I play for Dulwich Hamlet Women, previously known as AFC Phoenix. I’ve played football since I was around 5 or 6. I stopped playing for around 6 years in my teens then took it up again in my 20s.
Who is in the photos? Where were the photos taken?
This is the first team of AFC Phoenix. Now known as Dulwich Hamlet for the new 19/20 season. This was our final season before our merger with the men’s side as an independent club. All the photos were taken at league games
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the photos?
I wanted to capture the team spirit. My teammates are all close, with some real characters in there. We’re all very good friends outside of football and often goofing around, yet take winning seriously.
What is your favourite photo?
My favourite photo is the team circle on the pitch. This was half time in a very important game against a team who were also one of the favourites to win the league. They were an extremely physical and aggressive team which we had trouble with the last time we met them. We drew against them, even though they dropped down to ten players with a red card. In this photo I think we’re at least 2 goals up and our forward Kasey is encouraging us to keep our heads. But everyone still has a smile on their face despite the pressure!
Are there any good stories connected with the people you photographed?
One of our midfielders Rosie is new to the team this season. But she has fit right in and become an integral part of the team, she’s very much loved in our squad and we’re really happy to call her our teammate. She’s worked really hard this season; you can see her knee strapped up after coming off.
One photo was a cup match away. I don’t know why I took it but I wanted to make sure I got the half ripped St Georges flag in there. The ground wasn’t in the best of states, which can often be the case when teams don’t get the best of funding… and I guess I felt the ripped flag was quite symbolic of that.
What are the opportunities for female footballers in London / UK?
The opportunities have improved in London for female footballers since I was young. There wasn’t too much recreational or competitive football for women/girls when I was younger. You were pretty much playing with boys for a long time and even when you did reach club football it was disjointed and not very well run even at some of the big clubs. Grassroots still has got a long way to go, but it’s growing and got better. The good thing about it now is there is a place for every level; whether that be for fun, amateur, semi pro or pro. Unlike other countries we do have those options.
What role does football play in British society?
It plays a number of roles I think. In its purest form I think it’s a strong communal tool in society, like any sport! But football seems the most loved by our nation. It brings people together and it brings communities together. I’ve made friends for life and learnt so much about people and myself because of football.
What does football mean to you?
To me football is escapism. Of course I have good and bad matches, good and bad training sessions and there’s emotions attached to those scenarios. But if I boil football down to how I started playing and why I started playing; it goes back to when I was a kid, playing on the street and hitting the ball against a brick wall for hours, for fun! And it’s the only thing (music included) where I can mentally completely escape whatever else is going on in my life. When I’m in a game… it’s 100% about the game, I’m not thinking about anything else. Because I’m concentrating and ultimately there’s still that kid in me having fun.
What is the future for UK women's football?
The future for women’s football as it stands looks extremely positive. But we need to make sure that the excitement that has been built up until this point doesn’t fade away. Of course there will be peaks around tournaments; but we don’t want this spike to be a media hype that will disappear once the World Cup is over. Ultimately we want this to be something to build upon. The talent is there, but it needs support and the stories and history around the women’s game need to be told for us to progress.
What do you expect to change after the 2019 WWC?
I hope to see more girls and women be encouraged and inspired to be involved in the game on every level not just as players but as coaches, backroom staff, officials, media…the whole scope. I think this World Cup will be a great showcase of the game and I hope because of that more brands and companies will invest in it.