Out & About

A lot of the work I’ve been doing lately has involved a particular emphasis on the goings-on outside a football stadium prior to the match itself. As an outsider, it’s all too easy to arrive at a ground, get sucked into the 90-minute bubble and then head home, but for the supporters of that club, that 90 minutes is just part of their day. You could say the action that you see on the pitch plays the leading role in a football fan’s matchday play, but it’s the supporting cast that are so often forgotten. The walk to the game, the pre-match beers…pulling on the bobble hat, tightening the scarf around your neck, rolling up the programme to get it your back pocket, the steam rising from the cup of tea bought from a local van parked up on the corner outside.

As with any country or culture, the English do things their way, the way they know how, the way they’ve been brought up, the way they saw it done when they were younger. European fans are the same, and will no doubt have their own matchday rituals and routines. An interesting project of mine recently asked me to show what the English do, and how they do it…and to relay the results to a French audience.

I spent a week with L’Equipe Magazine journalist Erik Bielderman documenting football in the north west of England, trying to discover the secret of the region’s success…a region which has won more than 50 league titles, in comparison to the 19 won by their London counterparts.

We needed to show football in terms of it’s history and position within each club’s town or city…it allowed me the chance to step back from the touchlines and 400mm lens, and to explore what goes on off the pitch, even on days when something’s happening on it too…

 

An Everton fan walks to the ground
An Everton fan walks to the ground

 

A young Everton fan waits outside Goodison Park before the match
A young Everton fan waits outside Goodison Park before the match

 

Everton fans cram into the Gwladys Street End, as old wooden letters indicate the seat rows
Everton fans cram into the Gwladys Street End, as old wooden letters indicate the seat rows

 

Pillars restrict the view of fans in the old Gwladys Street End stand
Pillars restrict the view of fans in the old Gwladys Street End stand

 

An empty playground next to Burnley's Turf Moor stadium
An empty playground next to Burnley’s Turf Moor stadium

 

A man walks down Harry Potts Way past the blue gates to Burnley's Turf Moor stadium
A man walks down Harry Potts Way past the blue gates to Burnley’s Turf Moor stadium

 

Burnley's Turf Moor stadium, seen from a nearby housing estate
Burnley’s Turf Moor stadium, seen from a nearby housing estate

 

Blackburn Rovers' stadium, Ewood Park, seen from a nearby back alley behind a row of terraced houses
Blackburn Rovers’ stadium, Ewood Park, seen from a nearby back alley behind a row of terraced houses

 

A sign for Deepdale Road, close to Preston North End's ground
A sign for Deepdale Road, close to Preston North End’s ground

 

Buidling work continues on derelict houses close to Anfield stadium, home to Liverpool FC
Building work continues on derelict houses close to Anfield stadium, home to Liverpool FC

 

The shutters are down on the red-fronted Kop Snack Bar outside Anfield
The shutters are down on the red-fronted Kop Snack Bar outside Anfield

 

The names engraved on the base of the Barclays Premier League trophy reveal a domination by the Manchester clubs
The names engraved on the base of the Barclays Premier League trophy reveal a domination by the Manchester clubs

 

A flag seller wanders around alone outside Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, the day before another home game
A flag seller wanders around alone outside Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, the day before another home game

 

A fan wearing a Manchester United replica shirt coupled with Sesame Street trousers
A fan wearing a Manchester United replica shirt coupled with Sesame Street trousers

 

Colourful graffiti adorns a row of otherwise-mundane terraced houses in Burnley
Colourful graffiti adorns a row of otherwise-mundane terraced houses in Burnley

 

A man struggles along the pavement as he makes his way towards Turf Moor in Burnley
A man struggles along the pavement as he makes his way towards Turf Moor in Burnley

 

A man smokes a cigarette outside a working men's club in Burnley
A man smokes a cigarette outside a working men’s club in Burnley

 

Burnley fans walk to the match under dark clouds at Turf Moor
Burnley fans walk to the match under dark clouds at Turf Moor

 

A Burnley fan with his face painted in claret & blue, with footballs for contact lenses.
A Burnley fan with his face painted in claret & blue, with footballs for contact lenses.

 

Seemingly-oblivious to the fans walking by, a pair of girls struggle to find their way outside the stadium
Seemingly-oblivious to the fans walking by, a pair of girls struggle to find their way outside the stadium

 

A Burnley fan puts his head in his hands as he reacts to another missed opportunity for his team to score
A Burnley fan puts his head in his hands as he reacts to another missed opportunity for his team to score

 

Burnley fans celebrate as they leave the stands following their victory
Burnley fans celebrate as they leave the stands following their victory
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