English Football Culture

A Brighton & Hove Albion football fan at Torquay United 1st January 1997. © Stewart Weir 1997

Prior to the beginning of Brighton & Hove Albion football club’s 1995/96 season I was asked to produce the action images for the club programme. In July 95′ I approached the club about the idea to produce a behind the scenes photo documentary about the club and the answer was yes.

I began documenting behind the scenes events within the club’s home The Goldstone Ground, on the training pitch and at home and away games. Within weeks of starting the photo documentary the club fell into a crisis both on and off the pitch. I was eventually banned from entering the ground but still managed to get into every game with the help of the club’s staff who were against their tyrannical employers.

The story that evolved over 2 seasons from 1995 to 1997 was beyond anything Hollywood could have dreamed up. I was lucky enough to fall into a story and document it in a way that had never been done before about an English football club. A book called More Than Ninety Minutes resulted and a series of exhibitions throughout the UK. I’m presently looking at the idea of doing a 2nd book of images from the archive of 7,000 negatives (the image above is unpublished). 200 images made it into the first book so I have a lot of editing to do.

Fourteen years later the club has a new owner and a new world class stadium. But the story began in 1995 and was it not for the club’s fans back then they would not have a team to support now.

 

 

Ueno Park, Tokyo

Ueno Park, Tokyo. The Sleeping City. ©Stewart Weir 2002

I never saw the cat. I don’t know why but it wasn’t until I saw the negative that the cat made his presence known and made this image one of my favorites.

I find it very difficult to edit my own work but easy to edit others. I’m far to emotionally attached to my work and so battle daily with making a decision. Editing is part of the photographers daily routine whether its looking at contact sheets, a computer screen or in your head. Sometimes I’ve feel almost OCD about it, churning away like a hamster on a wheel.

Some images just jump straight out and grab you like a lunatic and they become burnt into your memory and never forgotten. When this happens you have an image that will stand the test of time. When I saw the cat thats exactly what happened.