To celebrate the first Birthday of In Off The Post, I have drafted in one of our favourite YouTubers, Smiv to talk about his love for football - Sunday League Football, to be exact. If for some bizzare reason you don't know who Smiv is, and aren't aware of the rapid rise in popularity of Palmers FC, then click the link at the bottom of the article. Over to you Smiv:
I grew up playing Sunday League Football from the age of 5 right through to the age of 18, spending those years with Little Thurrock Dynamos (LTD), based in Essex. It became the foundation of my whole upbringing and looking back I wouldn’t change a thing! Now fast forward 10 years. I’m 28, things aren’t as fun anymore. You lose the care free lifestyle and suddenly, bills need to be paid, girlfriends need attention and everything else gets left behind. Which is why on the rare occasion when your friends all get together for a lads afternoon in to watch the football with a BBQ containing various meats, beers from every continent and more betting slips than what you’d see in the bookies you HAVE to be there. It’s a break from the norm and you find yourself reminiscing about the good times. That very day was the day I decided reform one of the most prolific Sunday League Football sides in Essex to see if we really still had 'it'.
Naturally being the most organised I made the phone calls and managed to get a core group of that team behind it. Nick, Wozza, Liam and Myself along with Tommo and Wayne who played for different clubs growing up gave us our founding members. Following that, school friends plus younger and older players we played with at LTD soon joined and suddenly we had 18 players. I ran a video production company and I thought it would be cool to see my logo on a football shirt so I offered to buy the kits, naturally I went for orange and black as a tribute to the LTD days. Nick then managed to secure the home ground at Palmers College which left us needing a team name.
I approached LTD and gave them the history lesson and asked if we could carry the name of LTD as their wasn’t an adult side representing them. They wanted money, £1700 to be exact for kits and pitch hire. The problem was we’d already been organised by getting the kits and pitch sorted, all we wanted was to carry the name. The door was shut. We tried submitting various names to Essex FA including Little Thurrock FC and Dynamos FC but these were turned down as they were “too similar”. With time running out, we needed a name. My dad, manager of that successful LTD side I grew up in suggested Palmers FC. Why? because our home ground was Palmers College; nothing fancy, nothing amazing but that my friends is how Palmers FC was born.
We entered the Thurrock Association Sunday League which was made up of 5 divisions. The premier followed by Division 1 through to Division 4. As a new club we were put into Division 4. We finished
that season in 3rd out of 12 teams battling it out with 5 other strong teams who all got promoted to Division 3 with us, and that’s when the fun started. It was around August 2014 when I decided to revamp my old YouTube channel. I used to make comedy sketches and vlogs back in the day and, after a successful start, that channel got hacked and I lost everything. Deep down though I never really enjoyed making that content so to start fresh, with an angle and having fun with it was something I was looking forward to. The new channel would be home to anything football including an interactive betting series, plenty of FIFA and something called Sunday League Football.
Our first season made me realise that not only is there that odd moment of magic that you wouldn't see on the biggest stages of world football but there’s a lot of really funny things that end up as a just a conversation down the pub. No longer would those conversations need to be treated as memories that people would need to picture because the idea of filming them and having them live forever was something I was about to do. I had a spare camera which I didn’t use anymore and thought I’d put it to good use in the coldest, muddiest conditions early on a Sunday morning. I never intended on these videos being popular, all I intended was for us the enjoy watching them back.
We’re gonna fast forward again, the channel has hit over 50,000 subscribers, the lads have been viewed over 4 million times and are getting stopped in the street for photos. We’ve caught the attention of bigger channels such as Copa 90 and also been featured on Soccer AM. Somehow, someway I’ve created the buzz of what it might be like to be a professional footballer, just minus the wages and the perfect football pitches. Viewers have also demanded to wear our shirts so we built the store and posting Palmers FC shirts out all over the world every day.
Why has it become so popular? I’m not too sure myself but a lot of the comments are based on peoples own experiences of Sunday League Football and the videos seem to be relatable to anyone who played it growing up. People often ask me what’s next? Honestly, I don’t know as I never expected it to get to this point so who knows where it can go. All I do know is our mission will always be the same, to be everyones 2nd favourite team.
Check out Smiv on YouTube.