Stories From the Ground: Painters FC

Jonathan Tomlinson



A talented bunch in all aspects of both the arts and the beautiful game, Painters FC consists of product designers, typographers, graphics designs and a number of students from University of Arts London. A group of friends who considered how tough leaving university as a creative can be, Painters was set up as a response to keep a network of friends together to support each other as they advanced into the real world.

Painters went on to secure two promotions in two seasons when they first came on the scene. An impressive start saw them going from strength to strength and attracting a series of talented players. Last year they won the Graham Rodber Shield Final in a 2-1 thriller - a real achievement for a team who don’t have that many years behind them. On a cold Sunday in Battersea Park, Painters were playing at home so we paid them a visit and smugly looked on from the sidelines as they got covered in mud.

How did Painters FC come about? 

Leaving university can be quite a tough time for a lot of people and people can drift apart quite easily. We felt like having something like the club to tie everyone together would be a really good thing and I think it helped a lot of people out during that transitional period.

A few of us started the club after graduating from uni in 2017. We wanted to bring together other students and creatives from around London on a social level but we also wanted to take Sundays seriously.

What’s changed since 2017 when the club was founded? 

Despite it being our fifth year of painters, this is only our second year playing in Battersea. Originally playing at the spiritual home of Sunday league football, Hackney Marshes, we made the tough decision to move south in 2019.

The move south has enabled our club to grow further. Battersea has now become a hub for the side with training, matches and of course post-match pints south of the river.

We’ll never forget our roots as a club and will be forever grateful for the guidance and encouragement from all members of the league at Hackney Marshes.

Do you have any rituals before the game? 

Last minute scrambling for an 11th player after a late drop out. That seems to be our closest pre-match ritual!

What’s the most memorable game for Painters FC? 

Our most memorable game was beating Newlands F.C in the Graham Rodber Shield final this summer. We came up against an incredible team, but we turned the game on it’s head in the last ten minutes. Limbs. Being top of the league only for it to be null and voided due to covid, we made sure this silverware was ours. 

What’s the ultimate dream for Painters FC?

Our ultimate goal is to keep this going for as long as possible. Everyone involved with grass roots knows how hard it is for teams to maintain that level of commitment, especially as we get older. We want to keep this really strong connection we have for as long as possible. And obviously, win more trophies.

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