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Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium

Picture Title: Father and Child in Sky Blue
Father and Child in Blue
Father and Child in Blue

I only went to one match at Main Road, and that was with a Farnworth lad called Carl Baxter when I was still at school. This was in the Wigan Casino days, and I’d been a few times to Blackpool Mecca with him. But standing on the Kippax Street, amongst the hardest looking bunch of skinheads I’d ever seen, was more than a bit unnerving.

As football fans go, I’m something of an oddity, in that I’d overcome any partisan allegiance by the age of ten or so, and I’ve since paid to watch the skills of Duncan Mckenzie, Jay Jay Okocha, Georgi Kinkladze (possibly the most gifted I’ve ever seen), Eric Cantona, Peter Barnes, Nicholas Anelka and many other talented individuals.
And as a kid I’d shell-out extra pocket money to go in the seats at Burnden Park, just for the opportunity to chat to away fans and be fascinated by the many different accents.

Last year I was shooting some pictures at Goodison Park, when a dad walked past with his young son, and his lad was wearing the same design football socks as my own first pair. I think my dad bought an Everton kit for me because he liked Alan Ball, and that father and son seemed to represent much of what is still good about football.
It was also a jolt to my mortality – how has so much of my life flown by so quickly ? (One minute I’m running around in Everton socks, next I’m…….)

Freezing my tits off outside the Etihad Stadium on match night  (it can be a bloody wind-tunnel !), alert to the photographic possibilities, when these two – very late for the kick-off – wandered into my shot and completed a quality picture.
I let them walk on a little, so that the stadium dwarfed them almost into insignificance…. and yet without them, the huge hive of light, money and activity that is the modern football stadium would mean nothing.

Father and Child in Blue
Father and Child in Blue

Who are they?
I haven’t a clue, and when shooting pictures like this I prefer not to know. You see that’s the thing – unlike ‘the selfie’ and disposable, celebrity-obsessed garbage – good pictures achieve their own merit, irrespective of who’s in them.
Here,  this anonymous duo represents much more; they are every father and child who ever went to a football match.
Or at least all those who ever wore sky blue!