The rapidly approaching start to the new football season – we kick off against Canvey Island next Saturday – sees a rush to re-equip the team with new shirts, shorts and other kit. It is also seen as an opportunity to ‘update’ the appearance of the team, so the new kit is always different to the previous season’s kit. The cynics amongst us will view it as the clubs (especially the huge premiership concerns) taking an opportunity to fleece the fans of more money as the fans do like to wear the same shirt as their heroes. Of course, the reality is that the kit is getting a bit threadbare by the end of the season and kit manufacturers change their designs and materials all the time. So the poorer clubs probably have little choice about changing the appearance of the kit each season.
So, for the Friendly against Ware last Saturday I was asked to come early to take the Annual team photo in the new kit which was being delivered on the day. I arrived to find David (our Vice Chairman) along with Dave (Manager) supervising the distribution of items of kit into kitbags. Working under the blazing sun as well as the supervisory eyes were Danny (Captain), Wrighty and Lewis. Some of the other players were training over the Glebelands at the back of the ground and would appear after the work was done 😉
Some players are still returning from their holidays and cutting it very fine for the new season. Whilst the club supplies the kit, players choose their own boots so it was fun to catch Mark and Marc conversing by the tunnel – I don’t doubt that the conversation centred on holidays but must have included a comment about Weathers’ new Yellow boots… ‘Fairies wear boots’ is one of my favourite Black Sabbath tracks… And I bet they’re yellow ones too 😉
Having got their Kit, the players started trying it on. There’s always guaranteed to be the occasional issue at this stage and Danny found the number hanging off his outer jacket. There were the occasional missing items that had to dragged out of the van and added to the kit bags too. Lewis made the mistake of loitering too long in his new outer top so I collared him to pose for the club shop 🙂
Finally, at around 13:35 (35 mins later than planned) the players started forming up for the team photo. This is always a difficult assignment for the photographer. Every team has its share of jokers. Jordan for example, who likes to stick his tongue out at the camera (and then complains that I never photograph him). Dave shuffles the players around to try and get a good balance of heights across the frame and selects who gets to sit on the chairs in the front row. So, when everyone is in position I call… “Ok, front row, hands on knees – Your Own Knees!” I don’t need to look to know that Murat has placed his hands on his neighbours knees! But he still has a trick up his sleeve (or more like around his waist) for he has yanked his shorts up to his chest and looks like an East European footballer from the Cold War era! When order is finally restored, I take lots of images knowing full well that Jordan will poke his tongue out and various other players will close their eyes in the bright sunlight. Even so – to get all players looking reasonbly awake I have to use one of the shots with Jordan’s tongue and carry out a face-plant from another shot! The finished result is below…
Now the hard work is over. I tell the guys to relax and I fire off a few more shots. Leon takes the chance to do a Bolt impression – he could probably outpace Usain over a short distance if they were both running with a football but in the 100 metres? No chance! It’s nice to dream though 🙂 Jordan pokes his tongue out at Ross (they’re both in the midfield and therefore competitors for places in the team) and Murat seizes the opportunity along with his neighbours tackle! Meanwhile, The Gaffer yawns – it’s been a long morning… I decided to give this one some retro-treatment 😉