Every year around a week before the Ryman League season starts the new football kit arrives and it falls to me to take the team photo for the coming season. The kit is set out in size order and each set of kit is numbered. Then as the players arrive for the evening training session each of them is given a choice of numbers for the size most likely to fit them. Needless to say this prompts a bit of bartering by the strikers for the number 10 kit which is a bit irrelevant as the kit number doesn’t bear any relationship with the actual number a player will wear on the pitch! It’s best to humour strikers as they are the artistes of the game and can be prone to ‘Diva’ moments when they don’t get their way 😉 The defenders and midfield players don’t seem to be quite so shirt number oriented. The only players who don’t go through the numbers game are the goalkeepers – Bobby has got his flourescent green kit again this year and U21 keeper Jack has an all red strip. Every player signs for the kit as they receive it.
Then whilst the chairs are sorted out ready for the main photo I have to do the individual player shots for their profile on the club website. This invariably raises two questions from the players. “Why do I have to kneel down?” – because then we have the pitch as an uncluttered backdrop. “Which knee should I kneel on?” – either or both, it’s up to you though it’s probably best not to kneel on one that you’ve injured recently! This year was slightly unusual in that all the players wanted to see their photo after I’d taken it – I hope that doesn’t mean that they’re all going to be posers! The Gaffer asked that I send him a set of low resolution shots of the individual players as soon as possible – apparently he’s going to use them on the tactics board.
Then it’s time for the Team photo. It takes a few minutes to set up as the players are arranged according to height in three rows. I usually leave the flower arranging to Paul and The Gaffer and this year Sarah was there to help too. Then, once everyone is in position it’s time to point the camera and take a dozen or so shots in the hope that one of those shots will catch every player looking bright eyed and bushy tailed. Of course there is always at least one player in every shot with their eyes closed or stifling a yawn – and doing the shot in the evening sun tends to encourage squinting! In the end I found one shot where only two players had their eyes closed so I face-planted them from another shot. I also replaced the faces of a couple of others whose facial expressions were better in another shot.
So that’s the story of the annual Team photo. Today is the first game of the season against Leiston so I’ll be off up to the ground in an hour or so. I’ll leave you with some photos from the evening and some shots from pre-season friendlies.