At the wrong side of half a century, Noel reckons his footballing days are so far behind him they’re in the old Vauxhall Conference League, languishing with Halifax Town. He tells tall stories of his time on the school team in the days of leather footballs, short shorts and quartered Jaffa oranges at half time, the days when the ‘ard centre half played with his socks rolled down to show he didn’t need shin pads, he felt no pain.
So when I said I wanted to photograph Sunday league footballers as part of my arty farty portfolio to portray the 21st Century City of Leeds, this time at play, he volunteered to carry the kit. My camera kit that is, he no longer has a football kit, except in his dreams.
First stop were the playing fields at Armley, which are usually teeming with so many games you can almost hear Blur’s Park Life blasting away in the background. But it was cold and wet and the (non)-paying public had stayed away. The players visibly strutted when they saw what they assumed was a proper photographer with a big (ish) fancy lens. The goalie even posed, though when he let the penalty in, I had to sing under my breath:
‘You’re not posing any more….(any m-o-r-e) – you’re not posing any more….”
Noel’s footie feet were itching to touch the ball, while I was trying my best to avoid it – that’s the problem with trying to get action shots, you’ve to follow the ball through the lens – no peripheral vision, dammit. He did manage to help the game along by putting the corner flag back up after two players skidded into it and nearly did themselves serious injury as they clearly were not from Noel’s School of Hard Knocks.
I faffed with the camera’s fancy settings, taking multiple shots that made a satisfying professional, whirry-clicky-paparazzi-type noise. I may even have looked the part with an assistant to hand me lenses and carry the umbrella. But I always had to return to the arty farty, composition, shapes, quirkiness. It’s official, I’m not a sports photographer. But I had fun trying! And Noel never did get to kick the ball….
Spot the ball… I think it was heading for my lens….
Take my photo, luv!
You’re not posing any more (any m-o-r-e!)
The arty farty shot