Football’s Muddy Dance

A new book by Erik Kessels features a series of found photographs of football matches gone by, which demonstrate the balletic qualities of the beautiful game

Described as both ‘the artbook for football fans’ and ‘the football book for art lovers’, Muddy Dance is a collection of vernacular photography compiled by artist and ad creative Erik Kessels.

The book features photographs of footballers performing dives, jumps and leaps. With no footballs in sight, the emphasis is instead placed on the elegant forms that the players unconsciously form with one another during a match.

The origin of the images is not revealed in Muddy Dance, though there is a list of player names featured at the end and footie connoisseurs will likely recognise some of the kits worn by the players.

What is clear is that the photographs are from a time long before the slick modern version of the game that we are seeing on our screens during the Euro 2020. But regardless of their age, the images offer proof that there has always been style and grace to a game of football.

Muddy Dance is published by RVB Books;