September 2011 marked the start of my time as the official photographer of Redbridge FC. It was a great time to join the club as they were just embarking on what was going to be the greatest FA Cup run of their history. It was an exciting time for me, the first time as an official photographer, pitch side at games with more than just one man and his dog, which I was used to spending Saturday afternoons in local parks, developing my sport photography skills.
In this post I look back on what was an amazing season and select my favourite 10 images that I feel summarise my first season at Redbridge FC. In reverse order :-
10. The Passion of Non-League Football!
The passion of non-league football was clear to me during Redbridge’s FA Cup tie against Dunstable Town. This was the only time I have seen the ‘Press Box‘ used at Oakside and this guy is sure passionate! The screams into his dictaphone as Redbridge took the lead, still haunt me to day. Who he is and where he’s from I have no idea but he certainly got most of the crowd’s attention. I’m guessing that Stuart Hall and Jonathan Pearce must be his inspiration!
9. Nowhere to Hide When the Camera’s About!It’s always nice to capture the moment that not everyone sees. The local derby between Redbridge and Romford in December 2011 provided one of those opportunities, which I managed to get as the Romford keeper stamps on Redbridge’s Mitchell Das in his attempt to get to Redbridge’s players.
8. FA Cup Visits Oakside Redbridge FC’s cup run was starting to get some attention, fuelled by the fact that Tony Adams’ nephew was in goal and Jimmy Greeves’ grandson often headed the front line. This resulted in a visit of the actual FA Cup visiting Oakside, accompanied by a photographer from the Sun newspaper – my first contact with a ‘real’ photographer that I’ve met at subsequent games and also on the tube as he headed home from a Premier League night game!
7. The ‘Rooney’ Shot There was an image of Man Utd’s Wayne Rooney scoring with an overhead kick against Manchester City taken by Mark Pain (crowned sports photographer of the year at British Press Awards for a sensational Tiger Woods picture) in February 2011that received a lot of praise in the sports photography world. This was the closest I got to it this season, with Mitchell Das going close with an overhead kick.
6. My Player of the SeasonI was asked early on in the season who my favourite player was and there were a few, Ryan ‘Rhino’ Murray, Adam Rafis, Ben Bradbury to name a few. However, it was Billy Sendall that stood out for me then and continued to throughout the season, maybe it was because he plays in the same position I used to and I could better appreciate what a good job he was doing. Well, I couldn’t have been too far wrong as he picked up Manager’s Player of the Year and Player’s Player of the Year for the 2011/12 season.
5. Football LeagueMaking the 1st Round Proper in the FA Cup meant that Redbridge had the opportunity to meet some pretty big teams from the Football League, let alone when they made the 2nd Round! They drew Division Two high flyers and big money spenders Crawley Town. It was my first time photographing at a League Ground and I enjoyed every minute of it – even meeting ex-Redbridge photographer George! Unfortunately, the scoreline was flattering to Crawley who came out 5-0 winners on the day with a superb performance by Crawley’s hit mad, Matt Tubbs.
4. Blood, Sweat and TearsFor me, this image sums up the passion that Manager Terry Spillane instilled in the Redbridge Team during the 2011/12 season as well as showing the strength and commitment of the Redbridge skipper, Glen Golby.
3. International PhotographerWhilst not the best photograph, or the most technically impressive – this image makes number 3 in my list purely because it was my first international sale. This image appeared in Finland’s top sports magazine, Veikkaaja, as they ran a piece on the magic of the FA Cup. They liked the misty-mess in the image! At one time I thought the game was going to be called off as the fog came down and you could hardly see from one side of the pitch to the other.
2. Front Page!Imagine my surprise when I walked in the newsagents on Sunday morning to see if any of the images I sent over to The Non League Paper of Redbridge’s win against Conference side Ebbsfleet in the 4th qualifying round of the FA Cup, and it was my image on the Front Page! They did manage to hide Billy Sendall’s pants though! I also have to give a special thanks to Adrian Rixon for this photo, who pushed me into the changing rooms
1. National Daily Publication This has go to be my favourite photo of the season – not only does it sum up the passion of the game, it was my first image published in a national daily paper. This image, of James Robinson (Jimmy Greaves’ Grandson), celebrating Ryan ‘Rhino’ Murray’s opening goal against Ebbsfleet from the Conference in the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round game on 29 October 2011. This image appeared across two pages in the Daily Telegraph’s Saturday sports supplement. It would not be a fitting way to finish this summary of the season without a specific mention of the following people who made me feel really welcome down at Oakside;
- Adam Dennehey
- Adam Silver
- Adrian Rixon
- Terry Spillane
- Harry Lawson
- Len Cordell
- Katie Thwaites
Here’s to a successful 2012/13 season!
All images from Redbridge’s 2011/12 season can be found
by clicking HERE