2014 06 06 Cheers Boston

When planning trips – big or small – it’s important to get the most out of them and to return with as much sellable material as possible – especially when these trips are expensive as they have to be paid for!

Many countries are playing friendly games in the USA, and some of those teams I will not be sure of covering at the actual FIFA World Cup itself. One of those teams is Portugal who happens to have one of the best players in the world playing for them.

So at the time, flying to Boston for the day seemed a good idea. A very good idea.

The idea of waking up at 5am, leaving my airport hotel, sleeping on a 3hr flight to Boston, hiring a car for 20 hours, visions of being able to just concentrate on Cristiano Ronaldo for a good hour, return the hire car off back at the airport and then fly back to Miami whilst sleeping, really did seem a good idea, especially with the cheap American Airlines flight I found.

It’s fair to say the industry is now going off the rails, if I want to keep on this journey of mine, one train of thought I currently like is to “Value Photography” and use it as part of a company’s business.

People always say, “What makes a good picture?” – I always reply, “One that you look at” … There are 10,000 to reason why with this, but it’s what I believe. With this in mind, thinking outside of the box and coming up with images that make customers go, “Wow look at that”  – you have got their attention through photography.


With this rather cryptic vision in mine, I returned to the name sake of my home town in England to Shrewsbury in Massachusetts to take some pictures that I could use back in my home town in England for some companies who believed in my idea.

Whilst listening to a radio station based in Plymouth seeing signs for Mansfield, Worcester, Middlesex to name a few, I was thinking that whilst in Europe random cities and towns are twinned together, why isn’t there more council / government lead connection between USA locations and the originals in the UK.


On the day the world celebrated D-Day, I was stunned at the amount of actual monuments, American flags and ways of celebration there were in this town compared to mine. Equally, most of the businesses and branding ideas honoured the town that they were in.


There is certainly no “Shrewsbury Pizzaria” in Shropshire, they are just named like “Al Piccolino”. Fortunately I have good eyesight so I don’t have to go to the opticians, but I certainly know there is nothing called “Shrewsbury Family Eyecare”.

Another big cultural difference for me to think about when I can’t sleep on an aeroplane. In my Shrewsbury we have “Comet” and “Abbey” taxi companies – The Massachusetts way would be “Shrewsbury Taxis” surely?

Still feeling a bit rough with head cold, I went into the Shrewsbury Pharmacy. The ladies saying it was “cool” that I lived in Shrewsbury too but then refused to sell a foreigner any drugs because I had no US ID card.


I continued my little project of “LITTLE FANS” – Shrewsbury Town Subbuteo fans in and around weird and wonderful places.


Indeed, this blog is the first time that one of them has been published.

Today had been a good day, until it was game time. Feeling like an international manager who had three of his star players suffer broken legs and unable to play in the World Cup, my good idea of covering Portugal soon turned to a nightmare.

Unless you are a fellow photographer, you probably do not understand but here are the reasons the rest of the day was crap.

(1) Being raped for $40 car parking – Biggest US cultural difference I am yet to get my head around. I’d pay $5 or $10 but $40?

(2) Portugal turned up in their away shirt. Unless it’s England winning the 1966 World Cup in red, no one is interested in away kits



(3) Ronaldo is injured

(4) Hernandez is on the bench


(5) The subs warm up in front of the photographers, myself and 5 Portuguese sit on the side. Huge mother of an argument breaks out with some Boston Police Troopers trying to escort out a Portugal photographer after the event organisers are as much use as a chocolate fire guard. NO SITTING ON THE SIDE!

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 16.31.36

Diplomatically I try to get to the bottom of it by asking questions for the sole purpose of understanding why organisers can so spectacularly fuck up something that is done with such ease everywhere else on Planet Earth.

I don’t get any answers and there is sincerely no compassion or understanding that people have travelled over 3,000 miles for a 90 minute game to report for a Portuguese newspaper that has a readership of over 3 million people.

WHY.. can’t we sit on the side!?

Rules are rules and everyone is programmed to accept them, not question them, not to understand them, or indeed consider the concept that others may have better ways of doing things, let alone accommodating people’s requirements.

(6) I don’t like football for its statistics, but for me it is interesting when Sky Sports show that say 66% of play is in the middle third of the field. For this game it must have been 80%.  Nothing happens down my lens.

I smile when listening to the groans of the Portuguese photographers saying that their Picture Editors would never believe the excuses they gave as to why they could only offer 10 pictures when they normally offer 40 as quite simply there was no play our end. I offer the English Football Photographer Philosophy remark “You can only shoot what is in front of you” – one guy translates this to his Portuguese who all laugh.

One says, “I wanted to enjoy America before going to Brazil where I don’t want to go – now I want to go to Brazil!”

I understand him totally!

I could go up to about 14 points but in the land of Cheers, Dr Frasier Crane would have said that Cognitive behavioural therapy suggests positivity at all times.



Portugal score in the last minute. Mexico fans throw water bottles, coke cans – anything they can on to the pitch. The Stewards, Security Personnel, Police Troopers do nothing. The linesmen and ref look to them for almost help. Nothing is done. If this was at Stoke City the Daily Mail would have a field day. But it won’t get reported in the Daily Mail and no one will care.

Whilst people watching the crowd whilst the debris was removed onto the pitch, with my very own eyes two Mexico fans bump into a Portugal fan on the steps as they are leaving their seats. Suddenly there is mass panic and walkie-talkie messages indicate that European hooligans are going to have a fight in Sector 44.

The United States of America is one of the best countries in the world to go on vacation / holiday. The land of milk and honey.

But bottom of the league for the working professional football photographer – and in a land where consultants are paid fortunes, sadly in this sport, no one wants to listen on how to improve anything.

Cheers Boston, I’m heading back to the land of Miami Vice.

(with extra cheese on top)

One response to “2014 06 06 Cheers Boston

  1. Craig Chilton

    ‘Rules are rules and everyone is programmed to accept them, not question them’

    This is so true Matthew. People are conditioned to accept things as ‘the truth’. The ability to think for oneself is an outdated concept i’m afraid.

    Great blog as usual, take care in Brazil!!

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