As some of you know, I’ve been trying to find a way to get fan photos from Arsenal matchdays on the blog for about two years. I started with a Flickr group but that sort of died out over time and I really didn’t know any of the members so communication was weird. And I was able to get a few special episodes, like this one where Thierry Henry met with the NYC Arsenal supporter’s group. But I never could find the right person/people and I’ve had to shelve the idea for a while.
Last time I was in Europe I managed to meet up with one of the better known Arsenal fan photogs, one of the Tollington Gooners, a cat who goes by the name Ras. You may have seen him from time to time on twitter (he tweets @RasDamAFC) and on Flickr. If you’ve ever met him you’d know that he’s a giant man with a soft voice and a undying passion for the Arsenal. His knowledge of world football is impressive and he was one of the first to change my mind on bringing David Moyes to Arsenal. He also brings a camera with him whenever he gets to go to Arsenal matches which sadly isn’t “all of them” and after some convincing, he agreed to share his photos with all of us. And I am over the moon that we can add this new occasional feature to the 7amkickoff family.
But before we get to the meat, a couple of words about these photos. First, the stewards at all these matches are told to stop people from taking photos during the match, especially if you have a large camera or what they consider “professional” gear. It’s a stupid rule. Fan photos like these promote the game and the club because they give people like my American and Asian readers a glimpse into the pre-match fun and what the atmosphere is like at the games.
Worse, many of the big cameras are only nominally better than small point-and-shoot digital cameras these days and the same stewards almost never mess with people shooting photos or video with those little cameras.
All of this is to say that, generally speaking, it’s very difficult for fan photographers to get any action shots of the game. In fact, any in game action at all from a fan’s lens is a special treat.
Anyway, I’ve probably already spoken too much. Let’s get to the photos!
As is customary, Fulham away always features a boat ride down the Thames. Saturday was a sunny Spring day and that only made it better.
Not “London Bridge” the other one…
TOWER BRIDGE! And with a Red Bus…
Not far from “The Shard” which is… uhh… a thing.
I guess they park gun-boats near it. Do you see the guy at the top? Must be a Gooner.
No Arsenal match would be complete without friends. I know two of the people in this picture, both Tollington Gooners and good people!
I have no idea who this human is but she has a nice shirt.
Sun, beer, friends, Arsenal — Not necessarily in that order!
Sometimes it gets silly.
Really, one of the nicest guys you’ll meet. Offered me a ride… TO WALES.
Getting close to Craven Cottage, other Arsenal fans are nearby! It’s like the British version of Lake Havasu? Uhh… not quite but still looks like a diabolical good time.
Arsenal fans are all gathered at their entrance.
Anticipation before kickoff. You can see the tension on people’s faces. So much at stake.
Classic football ground. That picture could have been taken in 1970, if not for the electronic hoardings.
13 minutes in and Sidwell sees red for a nasty challenge on Arteta.
Santi Cazorla, five foot one, five foot two with the mohawk. Cazorla is one of the smallest players in the League, he’s also one of the best. Imagine what he’s had to deal with to get this good, stay this good, and (knock wood) avoid major injury. A tough little player with two magical feet. If anyone deserves the PFA its him.
Enoh was Fulham’s pint-sized midfield defender. I thought he had a good game, despite the constant fouling!
Arsenal celebrate after the goal. Mertesacker went over and collected Walcott. Great camaraderie.
Half time comes and goes and the next bit of action from Arsenal, is Giroud’s red card. The Fulham fans don’t look too interested, really.
Another fantastic photo here. What is referee Andre Marriner saying to Jack? Why does it look like Jack is shoving him out of the way? WHY IS WENGER IN HIS WINTER COAT?
Jack comes over to the away fans. Shirtless, natch.
“Why does he have his shirt off, dad?” my 5 year old just asked me.
I love the look on Sagna’s face. Priceless.
And that’s it for today. Please let me know what you think of the new feature in the comments below. Also, THANKS RAS, YOU ROCK!
Bonus: Do you know who the guy in the middle is?