This shoot was a real treat as I was asked to capture the player preparations from inside the changing rooms. This really was a privileged position to be in and I witnessed the players arrive and go about their business in quite a relaxed manner right through to the intense atmosphere created just before they ran out onto the pitch.
As I’m sure that you all will know the Leicester Tigers are one of the leading teams in the Aviva Premiership and their home is the Welford Road Stadium just on the outskirts of Leicester City Centre. The stadium has three modern stands and a very traditional one affectionately known as The Crumbie. The player’s changing rooms are located deep in the belly of the Crumbie and they ooze history and nostalgia. You can’t help be affected by it as this is the very room where some of the greatest players known to the game have prepared for matches.
The best thing about the experience was witnessing how the fans, who sit in the stand directly above the changing rooms, affect the players and help create an incredible atmosphere. About ten minutes before kick off the fans will start stomping their feet as if they’re beating a drum. It’s hardly noticeable at the beginning but gradually builds into the most fantastic ‘THUD, THUD, THUD!’. The walls of the changing room seem to shake and this coupled with the players motivating each other created such an incredible and pumped up atmosphere that I nearly threw my camera on the floor and ran out on to the pitch with them!