17 December 2010 – no game but 15 mins of footy

I went to bed late. Very late. Was chatting to a couple of air stewardesses in my hotel. These lovely people always understand issues traveling photographers have with daily life… not being able to pay bills on time, not being able to conform to 9-5 life, not being able to comply with normal society! And equally I know and fully understand that their jobs are HARD HARD work.

They still let me down though! I have almost every person I wish to have on my facebook account. Some school friends, some newspaper colleagues to random people I have met around the world. The only person who is missing is or was my good mate Louise from Bridgnorth in Shropshire. She left my newspaper more or less at the same time as me. She went to work for Emirates as an air stewardess and sadly over time we have just lost touch. I have moved, changed mobile numbers, changed email addresses and to be quite frank I have no clue as to where she is! Sadly they had never heard of her either.

© MATTHEW ASHTON / AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

Anyway, I woke up knowing I had to do a press conference involving FIFA President Joseph Sepp Blatter. However, I first spent 26 minutes calling an 0845 number from my mobile in the UAE trying to sort out LloydsTSB Internet Banking. Although I have been with them for nearly 24 years, this week of all weeks they decide to suspend my accounts as they claim my address is not correct on their database. Hence I can not pay photographers, pay bills or check that clients have paid me – great!

My rants the previous evening were coming back to haunt me. And then to make matters worse, I received a ridiculous email from nPower telling me to conform with their wishes that if they did not receive a phone call from me by a certain time then I would return to a higher rate of energy payments. They are so going to lose my custom when I get home. Thanks for Facebook a few mates have offered their opinions on alternative energy supply companies!

It all seems pretty boring and mundane but hopefully highlights the ways some people think you are married with 2.5 kids, a dog, a cat and a £90,000 mortgage and take 2 foreign vacations each year.

Back to the UAE. Uncle Sepp as I nickname him was in fine form. Most English football fans probably do not want to know. He is the greatest politician to walk the planet in my eyes. Perhaps a bit too bold a statement but today highlighted exactly why he gets a bad press. His arguments about the World Cup in Qatar were spot on. His arguments for his philosophy for global football were so true to me. I honour him for his dreams, his spirit and drive. It is a shame only a select few actually get to hear what he has to say in real life and shameful the rest of the population just read a load of propaganda written by a scribe with a certain agenda.

© MATTHEW ASHTON / AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

He spoke superbly for twenty minutes about the UAE, the World Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup and his favorite subject African Football.

Then the journalists had their say. These numbskulls then proceeded to ask three questions about what the man had just been commenting about. The camera guys and photographers looked at each other rolling their eyes in disbelief.

Why ask someone something when they have JUST said it with such eloquence?

Later myself and others, often slaughtered by friends back home for being “Blatter Lovers”, witnessed the work of these dim journalists in action. It is no wonder people get the wrong end of the stick.

If Blatter was not under pressure then I certainly was.

Not in getting my pictures out – they went out very quick using a great wifi system – not that I was worried about yet another poor sales report (when things are great they are bloody amazing, but when they are bad you wonder when your next pound coin is going to come from)…

We all decided to have a kick about on the man made beach. I have been here a week and not have 5 minutes to lark about. I don’t know where the time has gone. Completely wearing inappropriate clothing I went in goal wearing black jeans and a purple t-shirt. Nothing wrong in that, but a certain Michel Platini was watching!

I was under immense pressure!!!

Even though I say so myself, I did make one stunning save and after a helicopter flew over head following Mr Platini making a call on his telephone, I wondered if I was destined for a late career in goal for Paris St Germain. Alas no.

For the record my team lost 2-1.

It was back to work as we focussed our attention on the Inter Milan team training for tomorrows final. We passed the stunning Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the eighth largest mosque in the world. I am not exactly Mr Religious but this monument is awesome. I hope we go and visit it tomorrow.

I spotted some locals having a kick about and sacrificed Inter’s first 20 minutes of training.

© MATTHEW ASHTON / AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

It’s not the best picture I have ever taken but it’s OK I guess. It gave me some more ideas for the next time I am here in the region.

Back to the FIFA hotel for another edit and transmission sending pictures out to clients. A kind soul on a German magazine called wanting some work done at the weekend. Without being able to monitor my agencies downloads from the online archive, I have no idea what is happening. Although its nice and relaxing, I prefer to know what is going on. I got a text from Italy saying I had 4 images in Italian newspapers from the Inter game the other night. At least my pictures are leaving my computer OK and reaching their destination!

Then it was food. For the past 3 months I have been on a health kick. Running and working out lots and eating basically nothing. Today felt like I was a heroin addict picking up a needle again.

I ate and ate and ate!!

No food for me tomorrow! – Or Sunday, or Monday. Leaving the FIFA hotel to return to my hotel on the coast, my stomach was bloated full of Indian spinach, steak and lots of other nice bits of yummy food!

Apparently it is snowing again back home. I have the terrible choice on what T-shirt to wear tomorrow…

 

© MATTHEW ASHTON / AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

Here is a mosaic I saw today

 

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2 responses to “17 December 2010 – no game but 15 mins of footy

  1. Nice blog mate. I am somewhat envious that you don’t have to worry about your next game being called off because of the winter weather we are enjoying over here. I am awaiting the 9am pitch inspections at Crewe & Port Vale in the morning. I just hope one of them is on as thats how I like you pay my mortgage. I can totally sympathize with not paying bills on time etc as a working sports snapper. The times I have tried to explain my work to people threatening to fine me for not paying something on time, agghhhhh!! Everyone should sample self employment then they would know what we were on about. Have a good one out there mate.

  2. im back at chelsea on sunday – my next nights sleep will be on an aeroplane!

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