Simone Di Principe: Grass Roots

A new book documents the players of Hackney Marshes, the spiritual home of Sunday league football

Used to dump rubble after the Second World War, east London's Hackney Marshes has become known as the spiritual home of Sunday league football. Still common land, the Marshes feature around 80 pitches.

Grass Roots, a new book by the London-based photographer Simone Di Principe, documents the Marshes' players through a series of post-match portraits, interspersed with imagery of the grassland itself.

The project began when Di Principe was searching for a long-term project that would keep him engaged. As a keen footballer who had watched his father play at on the Marshes in the 1970s, it seemed a natural fit. Starting in August 2014, each Sunday Di Principe would lie in wait for the morning's matches to finish.

What Di Principe found was a thriving and diverse community, crossing language nationality. As he says in Grass Roots's introduction, written by Stuart Wright, "Working classes young men are coming together and it's a way for them, one day a week, to forget about their problems, their worries and express themselves on a football pitch."