18 06 2012 Euro 2012 Drive to Donetsk (again)

Back on the road…

© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

It looks lovely doesn’t it!?

Well not when you are falling asleep when your role is trying to keep the driver awake, playing crap Russian pop hits and doing it for what seems like the 20th time – the wowness wears off!

Enthused two weeks ago, we now wish we were flying helicopters or microlights just to change things around.

The next time I come here will be in an aeroplane. However with the thunder storms we have been having, perhaps it will be less bumpy on the roads than in the sky!

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I would not choose to come to the Ukraine for a holiday (though we have yet to sample the Red Riviera – so who knows) – but as much as I hated history at school, when we are passing huge Cold War monuments I wish I had a tour guide to tell me what I was seeing.

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History lesson or not, ff I am to sell these pictures, I will have to do much research and establish exactly what I discovered! One travel agency I submit images to, loves them. My job now is to caption and state where they were captured… I could be sometime.

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A tank is a tank, but what it was doing there, I will have to find out!

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Beside a place of worship, I found some Ukraine graves. Again who these people are, what they did, I have no clue. Only that they were remembered with much fondness.

Today was a sad day anyway.

The English football media lost a great man. Danny Fulbrook.

 http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/view/257510/Roy-Hodgson-s-tribute-to-Star-man-Danny-Fullbrook/

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/posts/view/257418/Danny-Fullbrook-Frank-and-Fearless/

The England media conference started off with Roy Hodgson and Steven Gerrard saying some great words. Everyone knew Danny. He will be sadly missed.

Some of the hacks start to think that Roy Hodgson is not just a coach but a great football ambassador. I agree.

After being a photographer of art with the boys from Canon.. at game time a sports stock library photographer and some would say ‘shooting editorial’… today I was back being a ‘pap’… supplying hungry tabloids with material to chew and get their teeth into.

All the newspapers wanted was Wayne Rooney. “UKWAYNE” was The Sun headline. He was plastered all over todays newspapers. Every single movement he made was captured by about 40 photographers when we reached the  impressive Shaktar Donetsk stadium..

Because of the rain, the Ukraine nor England could not train on the pitch. To satisfy the hungry media, to keep the excitement of Euro 2012 alive on the news channels, to fulfill the needs of the sponsors – England HAD to walk around on the pitch for 10 minutes in front of us.

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Ethics do count. Those on the official England trip snarling at a photographer who broke the rule of protocol by snapping Coleen and Kai in Poland. It is considered acceptable for someone to do this, but not whilst ‘IN’ the England camp.

One photographer told me that the official England trip costing £27,000 had resulted in just over an hours worth of training session in Poland AND the Ukraine. Yet split second moments had graced the tabloids and fuelled the excitement and interest of the National Team playing in this tournament.

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As used by the Daily Mirror, Andy Carroll dug his hands into the shoulder of Wayne Rooney. The ghosts of the Cold War wondering what was going on as machine gun fire from us on the sideline echoed around the empty Donbass Arena.

Today we only ‘worked’ for twenty minutes. Throw in 6 hours travel, two hours hanging around, another two hours doing ‘office work’ an easy ten-hour day was rewarded by us all meeting up in a random hotel. We had not really had the chance to meet the guys just covering the England team – flying from Poland to the Ukraine every time there is a game – and of course back again.

I am currently the LAST photographer on UEFA’s priority list. In no way do I expect to be first… (that’s the job for Carl!!) …of course I’m grateful for the accreditation at least.

Thankfully get a cheeky phone call from a dear colleague at UEFA saying they will ‘bump’ me up the rankings and apologise for the error.

Tomorrow will be the last match for some. If England fail to qualify, it will also be the last game for others. Planes will await them on the runway to take them back home.

For us covering the whole tournament, we all move to different hotels, new and different surroundings. New routines… like trying to find things to do for four days in between fixtures! Expense sheets will be in tip-top shape come the Quarter Finals.

We are all happy. Very happy. We have seen the weather forecast. No rain for at least a week.

England awaits…

England expects…

I need a good game tomorrow…  covering this tournament is EXPEN$IVE!

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One response to “18 06 2012 Euro 2012 Drive to Donetsk (again)

  1. Matt, they’re not cold war monuments, they’re 2nd WW monuments to the huge losses Ukraine suffered. When you get back to kiev (Kyiv) go check out the museum underneath Bubba (Mother Ukraine/Russia, that massive statue metal statue holding the sword and shield.) It brings it home how much the Ukranians suffered and how many German soldiers died. And, while doing museums, don’t miss the Chernobyl.

    That’s two days sorted!

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