CHRIS speaks with such pace and energy that it is hard to record every word he says.

He is talking about how delighted he is to be doing the art work for Lewes FC Women’s match day posters this season.

“Ah yes,” he says, sparkly-eyed and buzzing.

“Equality FC. Lewes are achieving both on and off the pitch, aren’t they?

“And football, like the creative arts in this country, is a great social leveller.

“If you’ve got talent and you’re given a fair shot and a bit of encouragement, you can do it”.

Chris reconsiders and corrects himself: “In fact, Lewes is doing what should be done, what is right, and it seems great because it’s not being done anywhere else.”

Chris is referring to the fact Lewes FC is the first club in the world to pay their women’s team the same as the men’s, thus making the previously uneven playing field more level.

Fresh from a two-year stint leading the award-winning illustration BA for students at Southampton Solent University, Chris is looking forward to fulfilling his new commission as Lewes FC Women’s new season kicks off.

The team has earned a much-coveted place in the FA’s new Championship League, and are looking forward to welcoming the likes of Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester United to their home ground, The Dripping Pan, over the coming months.

So what’s the brief?

“Well”, says Chris, “It’s exciting.”

“My brief from Lewes FC Women is that there’s an inspirational woman on each poster who comes from the locality of the away team they are drawn against, as well as one of the Lewes footballers.”

He grins and adds: “In pop art style.”

So football and art will collude?

“Yes. Often football posters can be rather dull, but Lewes has led the way for quite some time with quirky, playful, and eye catching posters for matches.

“My role is to add to that and illustrate really interesting women - Amy Winehouse and Jacqueline Du Pre to name just a couple.”

Pictured right are posters featuring singer Kate Bush, for the Charlton poster, and actress Kathy Burke for the Arsenal poster. Chris is pictured with other work, left.

It is clear Chris admires the club’s groundbreaking attitude towards equality: “Being mixed race and having to go to school in new, mainly white environments with each new foster placement was difficult.

“Being called a wog or a n***** at school is very stressful and you were always trying to find your place.

“Fortunately I had a series of fantastic art teachers who really encouraged me.”

Pop art has always been anti-elitist, using commonplace imagery identifiable by everyone.

Similarly perhaps, football is ‘the people’s game’ and Chris sees a connection between his work and the work of the 100 per cent fan-owned football club.

“Sports, like art and music, are brilliant ways to get out of your environment and change your circumstances,” he says.

“My journey’s been challenging and difficult but really wonderful.

“The artistic path for me as a young person, and the way in which I was recognised and coached by my art teachers, correlates with the paths of many young football players.

“For me getting into Manchester Poly to do art was like a young footballer getting into Manchester United.

“And I can see that Lewes are opening new paths with football - for those who may not always get an equal slice of the pie.

“It’s a small club with big ideas, and everybody is benefitting because of that sense of vision in its ethos.”

It sounds like Lewes is making strides no other football club is making both on and off the pitch.

And there is no doubt that through this sympathetic collaboration with Chris on the match day posters, the beautiful game just got that bit more beautiful.