Archive for April 18th, 2011

The Bit of Spade Work!

18 April 2011

Contributed by David Garreth Toms

Long before I began my PhD in 2009, I would pick up a copy of the Waterford Soccer Monthly from time to time. My favourite part, perhaps predictably, was the old photographs of teams from the 1920s and 1930s. There is often something otherworldly about photographs of sports teams from that era. Thinking more on it, it is the formality of the occasion of having one’s photograph taken – after all, the photographic image was not then as ubiquitous as it has since become. The rigidity of the subjects (out of technical necessity) also ensures photographs from that era have an idiosyncratic strangeness to them.

This piece isn’t really about the photographs that appeared in the Waterford Soccer Monthly (WSM) though. Instead, it is about the old-fashioned digging around, the donkey-work of historical research. I remembered those photographs when it came time for me to begin research on grassroots football in Waterford city as part of my thesis. Typically, the old copies of the WSM had long been consigned to the bin in my house. So it was with hope that I e-mailed the editor of the magazine, and sure enough he kept his entire back-catalogue. What’s more, he had original scans of many of the photographs I was looking for, and much more besides. Read more