Leeds had been the career starting point for the young Welsh man, and played a pivotal role in developing him into the man appreciated and loved by most football fans. The first game to be played at Elland Road following his untimely death was always going to be a poignant one.
Outside, tributes had been left at the Billy Bremner statue from the first few hours of the story breaking. A week later, and the tributes were still pouring in. Inside Elland Road, his family had been welcomed to the club and were in the old directors box. As the players came out of the tunnel and the remembrance minute began, the emotion was clearly too much for many of his relatives.
The entire stadium rang to the sound of applause, and a chorus of ‘There’s only one Gary Speed’ soon followed. The match turned out to become a side event, with the crowd vocally active throughout the 90 minutes – indeed, ‘Ohhh Gary, Gary Gary Gary Gary Speed’ echoed heartrendingly around for a good constant 10 minutes. The atmosphere was respectful and emotionally charged, and served as an excellent reminder as to how much football can touch thousands of peoples’ lives. Money and scandal does not come into it on days like today, football for the love of football.
Fittingly, Robert Snodgrass scored a second half brace to seal a 2-0 victory over Millwall on this most sorrowful of days.
Only a dramatic turn in events in other games, could have possibly given Nottinghamshire a chance at the title – but come they did! Results elsewhere meant that reaching 400 runs, and taking 3 Lancashire wickets would secure the title of champions.
Once the 400 marker had been reached, the sides quickly swapped around and Lancashire came out to bat, but their heart was clearly not in it, and the 3 required wickets fell in quick succession!
Some of you may recall the pre-wedding shoot I did with Helen and Richard a few weeks ago, for those that don’t, you can see it here. Well, today was finally the day.. their wedding day.
It’s been a long few days, so I’m not up to writing much more than to say that the day turned out better than could have been expected, and it was great to see them finally tie the knot with such splendid surroundings! The ceremony shots will require a little bit of work, a nightmare to get the right white balance and exposure but right now… time for bed…
A grey, damp Wednesday evening in Manchester (nothing short of the norm there!) was to play host to a Friends Provident t20 match between Lancs and Northants. The grey clouds had threatened a downpour all day but thankfully managed to hold off on the whole, with just a few small showers. Nothing that ever endangered the cricket though! Lancashire strolled home with this one, winning comfortably.
I attended a media session for the England Lions cricket team, which gave the opportunity of photographing the team training. It meant a drive down to Derby’s County Ground, but it was good to prepare for the Summer’s cricket at Old Trafford, and also to get up to date on some new faces!
I was lucky enough to be at Elland Road (home of Leeds United FC) for this promising tie between two of the world’s best rugby league teams. What a tie it turned out to be! With Rhinos taking the early lead, Storm fought back and easily managed the win in the second half.
The following photographs are from the Sedgley Park v Manchester tie on 05/12/2009. Geoff from the club also asked if it’d be possible for me to take a team photo in front of their advertising board, which I was happy to oblige to!