Vox populi, vox Dei – the voice of the people is the voice of God. Democracy reigns supreme. The customer is always right. Give the people what they want. Whatever modern context you want to put it in, it remains a 300 year old philosophy that is as important today as it was then.
If you are into that sort of thing.
I myself prefer the cerebral and prophetic words of one of the great intellectual Prime Ministers of New Zealand – Jim ‘Spud’ Bolger – when he made this profound statement: “bugger the pollsters!”
On Saturday I told you what the ten most popular ITBOTN posts of 2018 were, today I’m telling you to never mind all that populist nonsense, because now I am going to subject you to some of my many personal highlights, in chronological order, as told through the lens of my camera. Because a picture is worth 1,000 words and I’m damned if I’m writing a 10,000 word post on New Year’s Eve.
I hope you enjoy them now more than you did at the time given you didn’t click on any of them anywhere near enough to get them into the statistical top ten. You absolute bloody philistines.
My football year literally couldn’t have started any earlier. At 12:01am on January 1 the Nerazzurri kicked off v the Golden Barbarians at Kahoe Stadium in the Far North – and moments later a goal had been scored by Stefano Virgili. It’s not every year you get to photograph the first goal in the world! I also played in the qualifying matches earlier in the evening but the less said about that the better – unless you want to talk about my two goals.
One of the most moving moments of 2018, by far, was at this indigenous international clash in Papakura where male and female New Zealand Maori sides took on their Australian First Nations counterparts. The Mariya Corroboree, in response to the Te Ikaroa haka, brought me to tears and to be up close to it snapping photos was a privilege I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. The football was fantastic too with the kiwis winning both clashes!
A Waikato team won a men’s National League match versus Waitakere. At Waitakere! This is a rare and glorious occurrence that would ordinarily deserve to be celebrated in its own right. But not today! Because look I took this photo that’s an EXACT doppelganger of a Bernini fountain in Rome’s Piazza Navona. You’re welcome.
A year in review post wouldn’t be a very honest reflection if it didn’t include one or two lowlights – and my monumental SD card fuck-up at this game definitely qualifies. Extreme incompetence meant that despite taking some of the best women’s football photos of my life, none of them were saved! However I did get this great shot of a trademark Tessa Berger tackle on the absolute star of the game – Rene Wasi.
When I said you didn’t click on any of these anywhere near enough to put them in the statistical top 10, there was one exception to that. This epic Chatham Cup encounter missed out by just two views! It was a cracker of a game – easily the best I saw this year – and I have the referee to begrudgingly thank for one of my best shots of the year! He kicked me off the turf just before the penalty shootout so I stood behind the goal in a bit of a huff and this was the result.
As has been well established numerous times, I have a bit of a soft spot for teams from Hamilton. And Melville is a particular fav. It’s a great club, the successor to Waikato United, and based on the same street I virtually grew up on. It was so great to see them promoted back into NRFL men’s premier – and I think this trophy handover shot is one of the best I’ve ever taken!
In my opinion THE great story of 2018, apart from the Young Ferns’ heroics in Uruguay, was Birkenhead United’s second Chatham Cup triumph the same year that they lost most of the players that won it for them two years prior. And the Chatham Cup final rarely disappoints when it comes to me getting at least one good celebration shot!
I recently said on Twitter that working with Ella and Helena in 2018 has been the absolute highlight of my coming up to ten years blogging football and I meant it. The Return Fixture is a great example of something that didn’t break page view records by any stretch of the imagination but it was thoroughly enjoyed by a lot of people who mattered – including but by no means limited to the three eggs who made it.
This one is for the entire National Women’s League, really, exemplified by this photo of two of my favourite footballers in the whole wide world going at each other like the super fierce competitors they are. The double round league was a triumph for the women’s game in New Zealand and led to so many positive outcomes both on the field and off it. Time to start campaigning for three rounds in NWL 2020!
10. Central v WaiBOP
I might as well finish with what is probably my biggest lowlight – the number of times WaiBOP threw away leads during injury time in the National Women’s League!
So that was 2018. See you in the new year!
Categories: Other Football Topics
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.