Next up in our series of Meet The Player Interviews we sat down with multiple ‘Goal of the Season’ contender Terry Rickeard (and Newcastle United fan) to chat about his Football Aid experiences so far – as a professional photographer, we also managed to obtain a snapshot into what life is like behind the camera lens on a match-day in the English Football League (EFL) and Carabao Cup.
Let’s begin …
Firstly, can you just start by giving the readers some background on your “football” career, can you tell us a bit about yourself and an overview of the clubs you have played for?
"I think “career” might be a bit strong. Lol. I’ve always played some Saturday / Sunday league to keep fit. However, if you mean ”career” as in the definition “to move swiftly in an uncontrolled way” then I’m still going strong! ;-) "
Similarly, can you tell us which footballers you loved to watch when you were growing up? Also, are there any players in the modern game that you particularly like to watch?
"As an 80s and 90s child and Newcastle fan, it had to Beardsley, Gazza, Waddle, Shearer. In the modern era it had to be the trio of Messi, Xavi and Iniesta. I have those three to thank for getting my other half into football and the city breaks to watch them that followed! They’ll always be legends in my eyes for that!"
Moving on to your experiences with Football Aid, you have made 52 appearances and rank fourth in the all-time hall of fame. In addition, as a player, you are part of an exclusive club whereby you have played in 5 different countries with Football Aid (England, Scotland, Wales, Italy & Portugal). How did you first hear about Football Aid and what are your early memories?
"I believe I just Googled it wanting to know if any teams rented out their pitches. A few weeks later I was playing at the Millennium (Principality) Stadium and the now ‘old’ White Hart Lane.
I remember someone who was a regular at the time giving me the tip that he plays centre back in Football Aid games as you get more touches than any other position on the pitch, with the added benefit of the position often being a bit cheaper than centre forward! ;-) "
What are your favourite Football Aid moment(s) and highlights so far?
- "Getting to walk up the steps at Wembley to collect a trophy and medal with my teammates. Very special!"
- "The effort Wolves put into the game when I played there. SIX legends in total! Being put through our paces in the warm up by Matt Murray, which included drills we would just never get to do elsewhere. When the club buys into the event it really does show."
- "The first Sporting Lisbon game that went very much in the order of: night out > Football Aid game in the morning > Champions League final in the evening > out all night > flight home > bed."
What is the best stadium you have played at?
"Got to be Wembley! That being said, I did the photography for the Marriott Bonvoy/Football Aid game at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu Stadium earlier this year and oh my word!!"
You are highly respected within the Football Aid network, and you are always a popular teammate to have in the changing room. Can you tell the readers who is the best Legend/Ex Professional you have played alongside, and/or been Managed by, and why?
"Alan Kennedy – This guy is a winner! The referee’s whistle sends him into a sort of hypnotic state. Whether it’s a European Cup Final penalty shootout or a Thursday night Football Aid game, he wants to win! And if you don’t learn this quickly, he will definitely let you know. The echo around the stadium will ensure you get his message three times! Fantastic experience to see the winning mentality of a former Liverpool legend.
Denis Law – I got to spend the first half at Man Utd on the bench sitting with him, chatting football and telling a few jokes. Sometimes the smaller experiences turn out to be the best!
Kevin Gallagher – Even something as simple as taking a selfie with the whole team (like he does) can make the day of the lads playing
Terry Butcher and Mark Wright – Italia 90 centre backs telling stories about Gazza, Sir Bobby and Stuart Pearce.
Colin Hendry – He was great! Played the game at Man City at 100mph and put in some crunching tackles. He really gave everyone a ‘genuine’ Premier League experience that evening!"
Do you have any pre-match superstitions/rituals that you like to do before playing in a match?
"None. I normally just hope the shirt is big enough! Been a few close calls.I do like to chat with my teammates before the game and particularly with anyone who might look a bit nervous. The best games tend to be when you get to know your teammates and remember to enjoy the occasion regardless of the final score."
On Monday, 20th April 2015 at Wembley, you played in the first ever Football Aid match at the home of football. As an England fan, how did it feel to play on the hallowed turf at the home of your beloved nation?
"It was definitely my favourite. It was one of those events that had everything and all came together on the day. The stadium, the pitch, my teammates, the England legends and that walk up the stairs. Those stairs weren’t as tiring as you’d imagine after 90 minutes!"
Apart from the games at St James’ Park, are there any other events you look out for at the launch of the new Football Aid season in September?
I’m most interested in what new opportunities Football Aid are involved in. The new Marriott Bonvoy partnership is an interesting one, given last year was with Real Madrid and Man Utd. I look forward to seeing how that progresses longer term.
In more recent seasons, you have been spotted at Football Aid events (and EFL matches) in a different capacity. Can you give the readers a little insight into your new passion, and explain how your involvement as a photographer at Football Aid (and the EFL and Carabao Cup) matches first came about?
"Two of my favourite hobbies are football and photography and so I decided to get my licences for the various levels. I’ve been lucky enough to take photographs of games involving Chelsea, Spurs, Man Utd, Man City and even Atletico Madrid. I also spent a season following Newcastle United when they won the Championship. It was interesting with Newcastle as I had no idea how much the pros love having their photo taken so they can share on social media. Just goes to show even the pros are looking for that special profile pic!
(Photo TJR Images - https://www.tjrimages.co.uk/)
I’ve been helping out more and more over the last few years at Football Aid matches, including the new Marriott Bonvoy games, so I hope to continue that. When doing the photography, I always try to consider what I would want from an image as if I were playing in that match. It’s really important to me that I capture that ‘Living the Dream’ moment for players."
Lastly, do you have any advice / recommendations for any supporters that are thinking about taking part in a Football Aid event?
- "Don’t be put off by thinking you’re not good enough or because you haven’t played for 10 years. There are a range of different standards in every game. Football Aid games are for everyone and the overall experience is about far more than the 90 minutes!"
- "Professionals are always taught to play the game and not the occasion. However, I’d say the opposite is true of Football Aid games. Get out there and enjoy the full experience!"