The Joy of 'Real' Football

Over the last few months I have been trying to incorporate a new passion of mine alongside photography.

If anyone in the UK has just finished watching 'Class of 92: Out of their League' you will undoubtedly relate to this. It is the reason I felt the need to blog about it... If you didn't watch this programme, then get it on BBC iPlayer, it is a great 2 part documentary about the Class of 92 (Beckham, Neville, Neville, Scholes, Giggs, Butt) buying and running a football club (Salford City FC)

Watching Premiership football has become an expensive and difficult activity, lack of tickets and then £45-£50 ticket prices have forced the average football fan to seek more palatable options. I had a season ticket for Manchester United for approx 8 years, and loved every minute of it. I got to see some magnificent games and players (most notably Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney, and the list goes on). Since having kids I have given up my ticket and missed those magical days/nights at Old Trafford.

My eldest boy is now old enough to play football at a reasonable level. He plays for a local team Hawarden Rangers FC. They are an outstanding local team that have nurtured and developed some great players over the years (Michael Owen, Ian Rush, Barry Horne to name a few) Through watching my son train and play every week, I have developed a real love for the club, the way that it is run, and everything that it stands for. This has lead me to volunteer wherever I can... This is where the link to photography comes in.

It started with taking shots of the kids training (to only be shared with a closed group on Facebook) and has now developed into taking photographs of the senior team.

Watching the senior team has been a revelation to me.

Lower level (I am sure that they won't mind me saying that) football has such a different feel to the big money game. You can almost feel every tackle from the close proximity to the pitch, you can hear every debate with the referee (not always the best thing if you have a younger kid with you!!), and most of all you feel a connection with the players, coaching staff and people that run the club. Add to all of this the fact that you can attempt to take a proper 'sports page' photograph and you can understand the magic combination - Photography + Football = :-))

The kit that I typically use is a Nikon D800, 70-200 f2.8 with a lightweight monopod.

Here are some snaps from a recent game that I attended, enjoyed, and photographed!! 

I would encourage everyone that has a love for football to get to their local club and watch a game, no matter what level it is. And if you can take your camera with you, then all the better!!