European Champions League Night at the Etihad

October 18, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

European Champions League nights are very busy, there are so many photographers around that its difficult getting a good spot even arriving at the stadium 2.5 hours before the game. Particular things to remember when choosing where to sit include the availability of Ethernet sockets which are often all taken if you don't get there early, but also remember that there is a fifth 'official' who always walks up and down the left hand side of goal so if you position yourself that side he is going to be in an awful lot of your shots - and probably ruining a lot of them.

Unlike Premier League games the Photographers pits behind the goals are not used for Champions League games, so you have to sit behind the advertising hoardings among the many stewards who control the crowd. This makes for very cramped working particularly if you need a laptop out to edit, caption and send messages. I was also sitting just in front of thousands of Napoli Ultras who look a bit menacing, so the stewards are vital !! You also need to watch your gear as the fans can get quite close. The benefit of not being in the pits is that you are not affected by the 'crown' of the pitch which often cuts players boots out of your images as you are much lower down.

Its not impossible to move ends at half time although the general chaotic state of the place made me conclude that it was best to view both halves of action from the same spot. Also, as it was very busy there might not be a good place for you at the other end.

Connectivity via Ethernet is superb if you can get a socket, if not wifi is very difficult. The club wifi worked very well pitch side until the crowd started to gather for the game then it went into unusable mode. My O2 mobile hub also proved useless yet again so that will soon be going back to the shop.

Man City are a very hospitable club providing photographers with a parking space, good food before the game and good stadium access. 

It was certainly a very challenging experience working in such cramped conditions with the noisy Ultras just at your left ear and fighting for connectivity to send your pictures down the wires but the view of the game from a photography perspective is excellent.


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