I love football and have spent many years photographing the action on the pitch. I recently thought of trying to create a new way of capturing life at a football match and this would highlight the fans and debris that is left behind on the terraces.
My local team is Cheltenham Town and I spent many a year from when I was a teenager watching the Robins play home and away. Luckily Whaddon Road, home of Cheltenham Town still has some terracing behind one of the goals, so every home game I head for the SpeedySkips Terrace with my mobile phone to try and capture the excitement, despair and debris of a football match. As using digital cameras can be a little difficult to get into a ground and can be quite intimidating, I’m happy to use my Samsung Galaxy to capture the images as everyone has a mobile phone and for me it’s all about fitting in, blending into the background to get a true atmosphere of being on the terrace.
I look to create a story, sort of documentary photography of the day, which can start from getting images of the away fans arriving off their coaches and heading into the away stand, before moving to the main area of the stadium car park, to capture people milling around. When I eventually get through the turnstile and onto the terrace, I’m always looking for that interesting shot, fans getting ready for the match, food and drink being consumed and discarded trays and bottles being dumped. As the match kicks off, it’s keep one eye on the pitch and the other on the terrace around me, seeing if an interesting shot comes into play, the near misses and goals are the true authentic images to try to capture for the atmosphere as the fans are either delirious or frustrated. When there’s a lull in the play, I look around to see if there’s anything else that looks remotely interesting, I even look down and then am drawn to footwear, how many pairs of white trainers can you see in one place??? It’s a sneak peek at football fashion, which fits in really well with the title of the project.
After the match has finished it’s all about waiting for a few minutes and capturing fans leaving the terrace, before I walk along it and see what catering debris has been left, it can be anything from forgotten burgers to empty chip trays and soft drink bottles.
For me combining the two, photography and football is a great afternoon out and I find very inspiring. A different way to look at a football match and to offer a new view of life on the terraces.
Please find a selection of images from matches this season.