Category Archives: Football

The Richmond Cup


We’re updating the grassroots pictures in our advertising portfolio and, as part of the project, I spent a recent Sunday at the launch of The Richmond Cup in south west London.

My priority was to get strong match action but I also kept an eye on what was happening off the pitch. The light was good and the football was competitive and entertaining.


Chingford Boys


Back in February I got a call from The Sun newspaper: Did I have pictures of Tottenham Hotspur star Harry Kane with David Beckham from ten years ago?

I had no idea they’d met, but it seemed Harry was one of the kids from David’s old school in Chingford that attended his football academy launch in March 2005. We were official photographers for the project and covered the event so I had a trawl through the archive.

The Sun wanted a traditional ‘head-on’ shot of the two of them to camera and, funnily enough, Harry had been one of the two kids stood either side of the England captain in the team photo for the press pack. I’ve never seen the point of shooting the same angle as everyone else so all my pictures of this were from the sides and even the back. I did spot Sun snapper Dickie Pelham in one of the latter so gave him a ring and suggested he might already have the shot, which he did.

Even though I didn’t have the picture the paper wanted, I did have quite a few frames that would have been exclusive given the free access I had on the day. Here’s a few of them:

14 March 2005, The David Beckham Academy Launch, The Chainstore, London Current Tottenham Hotspur player Harry Kane (boy with shaved head) meets David Beckham. Picture: Mooneyphoto14 March 2005, The David Beckham Academy Launch, The Chainstore, London Current Tottenham Hotspur player Harry Kane (boy with shaved head). Picture: Mooneyphoto14 March 2005, The David Beckham Academy Launch, The Chainstore, London Current Tottenham Hotspur player Harry Kane (boy with shaved head) meets David Beckham. Picture: Mooneyphoto05031401_0478 14 March 2005, The David Beckham Academy Launch, The Chainstore, London Current Tottenham Hotspur player Harry Kane (boy with shaved head) meets David Beckham. Picture: Mooneyphoto14 March 2005, The David Beckham Academy Launch, The Chainstore, London Current Tottenham Hotspur player Harry Kane (boy with shaved head) meets David Beckham. Picture: Mooneyphoto

A more recent snap of Harry by Jon Super and courtesy of PA Images:

Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England, Tuesday Feb. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

World Cup 2002 with England

I’ve just answered some questions from the blog FormFiftyFive about the World Cups I photographed with England. The first was Japan 2002 and time has flown but fortunately I have the archive to go through and refresh my memory.

I’ve picked out a few favourites which had limited publication at the time and, as the tournament ended in disappointment with the quarter-final defeat to Brazil, they haven’t been out much since.

They were shot on film and mostly processed by my colleague Julian in hotel bathrooms. I remember him turning at least one bath a lovely blush pink with the bleach. The uncut rolls of film were then scanned for editing purposes with no individual corrections at quite low resolution so they’re a bit rough – a bit like old-school contact prints. Still, I quite like the softness of them compared to the punch of the digital files I’m used to seeing.

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2002 World Cup

King of The Lane

I photographed Ledley King’s testimonial at White Hart Lane on Monday night and had some really good access to the players. Ledley was club captain when we published our two behind-the-scenes books with Spurs and I know him from my time with the England team. It was a great night, a pleasure to photograph and just up the road on the bus.

The club has posted a gallery of the best pictures and it’s been interesting to read some of the comments about them from fans:

Ledley King Testimonial

This is my personal favourite – Ledley and his son Coby walking out onto the pitch before kick-off.




Football Fans

We’ve been busy with two World Cup advertising campaigns for the last few months and hope to shoot a third around the England v Peru game at Wembley in May. So far, we’ve had to create set-ups of football fans and get powerful, emotional and believable photographs of the kind of moments we expect to see in Brazil this summer.

Our experience at real football games over the last 20 years has been a real asset in modifying the production design we developed in early 2012 for McDonald’s Olympics campaign. We continue to rely heavily on our archive of tens of thousands of images from our time building The FA’s Photo Library and working for sponsors and Premier League clubs as we plan the current job.

This is a selection from some of the recent searches I’ve done, for styling or props research (among other things). The first, of the Japanese lady with the postcard, is special because she just happened to be holding up one of our photographs when I spotted her.

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Stadium Training in Portugal

I’m going through our England football team archive to find my best 100 pictures of a particular player. I photographed hundreds of training sessions during the six years I spent inside the camp and this selection is from the build-up to the four Euro 2004 games England played at the tournament.

The night before a match, the players train at the stadium to get a feel for the pitch. Press photographers and television have the first 10 to 15 minutes of a session to get their pictures and I wait until they leave before my cameras come out.

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Defeat in Moscow

Five years ago I was taking pictures behind-the-scenes for the England football team. The ones published below, taken over three days in October 2007, tell the inside story of a Euro 2008 Qualifier away to Russia.

I’d photographed three tournaments since World Cup 2002 in Japan, covering nearly seventy games with the players and staff. We were coming to the end of the qualifying campaign for the European Championships and the trip to Russia followed five successive 3-0 victories. We’d beaten them a month earlier at Wembley and the mood was good.

Two days before the match, the squad trained at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College in Manchester. It had the same artificial playing surface as the Ludzhniki Stadion in Moscow and the kids from the infants school next door spent their playtime watching the session.

Later that night, our plane landed in the freezing snow of Moscow Airport. The day after, we stayed in the hotel and prepared for evening training at the stadium.

I had team staff accreditation for the match as I’d been assisting Martin and Tom in the Kit Department. The dressing room was big and bright (which is not always the case on away trips) and full of opportunities for me as players prepared to face the opposition. For the first 45 minutes of the game, I found myself next to the England bench which was a new experience.

England lost 2-1. Five weeks later, we were beaten 3-2 by Croatia in the rain at Wembley.

We missed out on qualifying by one point and manager Steve McClaren (among others) lost his job.


My First England Game


On 29 May England drew 1-1 with the Republic of Ireland at Wembley. The newspapers remembered how the last meeting in Dublin 18 years ago was abandoned when England fans rioted.

Back in February 1995 I was just starting as a sports photographer and had done a few jobs for Empics, the Nottingham photo agency. I had a meeting there with Ross Kinnaird just before the Dublin game and heard which hotel they’d be staying in so booked myself into the same one.

It was the first time I’d shot the national team. I’d managed to get a photo pass from Andy Oldknow at The FA who we worked with as the governing body became more commercial.

On the night of the game, I met the Empics photographers Ross and Steve Morton as they were preparing to leave the hotel. I said I’d give them anything interesting I shot.

After nearly half an hour of the game, I had almost nothing and couldn’t believe how dark it was. My international debut had started badly. Then the Irish scored and it went seriously wrong. Fans were coming onto the pitch as the players left it, objects were being thrown from the top of a stand and police and stewards moved in. The game stopped and confusion started. A photographer was seriously injured by a missile and some of us packed up. Others focused their long lenses on the crowd and some moved onto the pitch towards the fans, police and stewards.

I hardly remember taking my best picture. These days I would have seen it on the camera’s LCD but back then I was shooting film. Scuffles flared up and I shot a few frames of one in particular with my wide lens. I bumped into Nick, the Empics technician processing the film, and gave him the roll I’d just shot.

It took ages to get back to the hotel but when I did, Ross told me he thought I might have got a big picture which had been wired with a few others. The neg was thin (I’d forgotten to tell Nick I’d uprated the film) but it was a good frame of three England fans attacking a steward in front of a Union Flag. I was so relieved it was sharp.

I woke up next morning and put the television on. The riot at Lansdowne Road was headline news and, as the papers were reviewed, my picture was on the front page of nine out of ten of the UK nationals.

A Dublin landlady had also seen the newspapers and called the police – the three fans were asleep upstairs in her guesthouse. They were arrested and convicted with the story continuing for a couple of days in the tabloids.

At least one of the men I photographed said it had ruined his life. I only hope it was a temporary, if very public, low point.

That Goal against Greece

Yesterday, I spoke to Dickie Pelham from The Sun after reading about his award-winning photograph of David Beckham’s celebration nearly twelve years ago at Old Trafford. His injury time equaliser meant England had qualified dramatically for the 2002 World Cup in Japan.

I’ve been thinking back to our pictures from the game. At the time, we were running The FA’s Official Photo Library so four of us were covering the match. I asked Ed Sykes to shoot from up in the television gantry for an exclusive aerial view and he came up with this absolute belter.

While The Sun would probably want a picture with the ball leaving his foot, I think the player often makes a better shape just before or after.

I love how this frame isolates Beckham from the other 67,000 or so people in the ground. For a few seconds, he really was on his own.


Dickie Pelham’s Picture