Sometimes simply spilling your pint in celebration is just not enough when trying to capture the emotion that football brings. Going further, going under the skin and lasting a lifetime, many fans take to the tattoo to share their support for the game. We give you 'Inked'.
Every marking has a story and a reason, from the designer to the unpolished detail - It's a raw celebration of real character and first up for this visual spectacle comes from Nottingham Forest fan, Keane Pearce Shaw. Named after a godly combination of Roy Keane and Stuart Pearce, it's the perfect place to start a journey of this magnitude. Somewhere real, somewhere pure and somewhere Britt Assombalonga will surely one day live.
Tell us about your football tattoos, what have you got?
Psycho 3 on the back of my neck for the legend that is Stuart Pearce. Nottingham Forest flag on my middle finger. A really bad portrait of Pierre van Hooijdonk on my arm. And a Subbuteo man.
What moment inspired the tattoos? Were they spur of the moment or thought out?
As you can see they're all pretty shit. Most of my tattoo's are made up on the spot, so I never know what I'm going to come out with. For the Van Hooijdonk one, My friend shown me his Euro 2004 sticker earlier in the day, and I'd always wanted a Forest player, so that was that. The Psycho 3 one, my dad has got the same thing in the same place. As a kid I'd always see it on the back of his neck when we was on holiday or something, and thought it was so hard and prominent. I have no idea where he got it done. Maybe prison? ha And the Forest flag on my middle finger just makes sense really doesn't it. A Forest Flag. On My Middle Finger. Done.
Where did you get it done, when and who by?
Most of my tattoos were done by a guy called Steve Donahue (@learntohate81) in his living room. He whips out an old masseuse table and we just spend the afternoon with a few cans and see what comes out of it. His style is really distinct, very sketchy and sometimes prison like, which I love. He's a massive Bradford City fan and has a HUGE tat of Bradford Town Hall on his back. Pretty incredible.
What did your parents/family/partner think?
I don't think anything surprises them anymore. I set the bar quite high with my first ever tattoo though. I was 15 and snuck off into town one day to get one for my recently passed Grandad, with his date of birth and year of death on my wrist. When I got back home and shown my mum (who was already livid), she quickly pointed out that I'd got the year of birth WRONG. I was a whole 20 years out. I got 1965 not 1945. So ever since then it's all gone down hill really. Or up hill. Whichever way you look at it.
Have there ever been times you've needed to cover it up?
Not really. Only when I worked for American Apparel in the USA. They made me wear long sleeves and trousers as they were going through a clean cut phase. They're bankrupt now anyway and the CEO is..well, questionable. So f*&k em.
What do your mates think about it?
Similar to my family I think. Nothing surprises them. One of my mates is really into it, and we had a bet one year whether Britt Assombalonga wouldn't or would score more than 15 goals in the season, and whoever lost would get his FULL NAME tattooed on them. He got injured after the first few weeks and was out for the season so the bet was null and void, otherwise I would have probably been repping his name across my back to add to the collection.
Do your tattoos ever need explaining?
Not getting more, and not getting Britt Assombalonga on my back.
Any plans for any more?
Well Steve has moved to Barcelona now, so I'm in search of a new tattooist. Shout out to anybody with a tattoo gun, will accept beers as payment and has no idea what they're doing, give me a call!
Photography by Jack Hirons.
Got a football inspired tattoo? Let us know: email@example.com