There are famous examples, there are infamous examples, there’s your Ronnie Rosenthal, your Ryan Giggs and <insert your team’s worst ever missed sitter here> there’s your Marlon Harewood when on loan at Ipswich some years ago. Step forward Robert Edmans. [Just click on the photos to enlarge]
Last weekend we saw Chelmsford City beat Dartford in the FA Cup. They scored four but it should have, undoubtedly, been five. The one that got away was caught in all it’s glory by Simon and Matt so let’s have a look at it a bit closer. Above left we see the milliseconds after Edmans had rounded the keeper, found the goal gaping and side footed it … errr … goalwards. You can see the joy and elation etched on the faces of those directly behind the goal who think it’s going in. Even some to the left are lost in the moment of glory, however, you can see some fans further back and in line with the direction of the ball whose hands are not high and stretched wide, they are moving down to the top of their heads.
We’re not necessarily here to rip it out of Rob Edmans though, just seconds later he set up Chelmsford’s last goal with a beautiful cross, but these photos seem to capture more than the miss. These photos capture the moments immediately before and after the miss and they display the plethora of emotions through which players and fans alike go during each and every match. These photos, as much as any do, show exactly what football means to people and the range of emotions also belies the theory that football supporters are a homogenous, stereotypical mass.
In the next photo (above right) you can see Edmans has sunk to his knees as it dawns that the ball might not nestle in the onion sack. The inverse Mexican wave on the terrace has now spread from left all the way across, as hands come down to heads from above. Some of the fans are starting to express anger, some despair, some disbelief and some, perhaps the sharper or less passionate fans, are already wetting themselves with laughter, safe in the knowledge they are 3-1 up with 2 minutes left. This gamut of emotions is what makes football great, so wide in just one tiny fraction of a football match.
In the next photo (left) the majority of the fans have seen the funny side, they have realised they’ve just seen a bad miss but know it shouldn’t cost them. Still though, some are furious. The keeper is glancing to the bench with a hint of mirth and a smidge of relief but Edmans is still stuck in time, internally replaying the shot over and over and, almost certainly, wondering how he missed.
And now (right) it’s all sinking in for the rest in the scene, Edmans is still on his knees, still lost in a long moment of contemplation. Behind him, the keeper is perhaps now baffled, a gallic shrug belying his emotions but is the gesture expressing disbelief that Edmans missed or is it enquiring what his defence were doing to let him through in the first place. The player in the foreground, no17 Matt Lock, covers his mouth as if to force himself not to shout disbelief at his team mate. Similarly, Antonio Murray, no9, has turned away as if to pretend it never happened and even the Dartford outfield player has adopted the ‘speak no evil’ pose of a man not wishing to intrude on private grief.
And for last we save perhaps the best. Edmans has now given up his inner fight and is prostrate on the floor, accepting that he has in fact somehow missed that. The four fans pictured show the range of emotions, from disgust on the left to a wry smirk to hilarity to disbelief on the right.
So, a big sorry to Rob Edmans for featuring his miss, we hope he forgives us. Our interest was less in his misfortune and more to do with the various captured ways he and his fellow professionals affect us fans. This is a stark example but these emotions run through us every minute of every game to greater or lesser degrees. Even neutrals.
We’re no psychologists and we know photos like this appear quite regularly but we thought they photos said something, even if we aren’t entirely sure what that is, and wanted to share them with you. And we’ll leave you with this final photo, feel the joy. A big thanks to the players and fans of both Dartford and Chelmsford City for making our day, it perhaps wasn’t the best game we’ll see but it was one of the best days out we’ve had.