How I watched football 2014-15

When you get in the habit of watching live football, any live football, to the point of consuming live football, every season runs the risk of stumbling to a conclusion. A desperate scramble to watch tenth tier league cup finals and rearranged reserve team play-offs in order to get one last hit before the reality of the football-free, barbecue-smoke backed summer months hit home. For me, and 33,279 others, there was no danger of this season petering out in such a way. That’s because, ahead of us all the way through, firmly in our calendars since last summer, our end-of-season boss level awaited; Wales versus Belgium… and it didn’t disappoint.

This was, and always will be, the season of Wales. Together, stronger; from no-hopers to worthy defeaters of all-comers, in just six matches. I’d long vowed that for Wales’ Euro 2016 qualifying campaign I would be there for every minute, and so far so good. All those minutes are here in this gallery, from Pyrenean sunsets to Israeli incredulity; ending with what can already be referred to as that night in Cardiff. My 49th match of the season, and quite simply the most incredible, bewildering atmosphere I have ever been part of at a football match. Still now, the goosepimples rise just from typing reference to it.

Given all I experienced through 540 minutes in the company of the national team, everything else from this season pales in significance. Though on occasion Doncaster Rovers were brilliant, too often they were painfully and forgettably nondescript. When the cost of admission was justified it was largely down to one man; James Coppinger, 449 games into his Rovers career and still my favourite footballer, despite me being far too old to justify having one. Against Barnsley in February he plucked a ball out of the stratosphere with a one touch turn so deft his marker was left wandering round the East Stand concourse before he could realise what had happened.

With Rovers a hard watch at hard prices non-league gleefully satisfied the cravings between international weekends. And it offered up a mixed-bag too, from a heaving, packed out Champion Hill on non-league day to a crowd so sparse at Lewisham Borough that the chairman came over to introduce himself, purely because he didn’t recognise me.

Wherever I went, from Tooting to Tel Aviv, I made sure to take at least one photo with my phone of the games I saw. And those photos are here, a document of the most incredible season my nation has seen in decades, and all that helped fill the gaps along the way.

Match 1 | July

Doncaster Rovrs Belles defender Lyndsey Cunningham wipes the rain from her face during Doncaster Rovers Belles FAWSL match with Millwall Lionesses

Millwall Lionesses 0-0 Doncaster Rovers Belles
FA Women’s Super League 2, Eden Park Avenue (Beckenham Town)

Match 2 | July

A Tooting & Mitcham United defender clears off the line during their pre-season friendly with Kingstonian

Tooting & Mitcham United 2-1 Kingstonian
pre-season friendly, Imperial Fields

Match 3 | August

The Harrow Borough goalkeeper retrieves Dulwich Hamlet's winning goal from the back of the net

Dulwich Hamlet 3-2 Harrow Borough
Isthmian League Premier Division, Champion Hill

Match 4 | August

FC Clacton defend a Sporting Bengal United corner in front of a backdrop of Canary Wharf in their FA Cup extra preliminary round match

Sporting Bengal United 1-2 FC Clacton
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round, Mile End Stadium

Match 5 | August

Jamie Coppinger salutes the travelling Doncaster Rovers fans after his team's victory at Colchester United

Colchester United 0-1 Doncaster Rovers
League One, Colchester Community Stadium

Match 6 | August

Jess Sigsworth tries to meet a Doncaster Rovers Belles corner during her team's 5-1 win at Pxford United Women in FAWSL2

Oxford United 1-5 Doncaster Rovers Belles
FA Women’s Super League 2, Northcourt Road (Abingdon United)

Match 7 | August

Vicarage Road, Watford ahead of the League Cup defeat to Doncaster Rovers

Watford 1-2 Doncaster Rovers
League Cup 2nd round, Vicarage Road

Match 8 | August

A pre-match read of the first edition of popular STAND fanzine of 2014-15 season

Doncaster Rovers 0-2 Oldham Athletic
League One, Keepmoat Stadium

Match 9 | September

Fans celebrate as Dulwich Hamlet take the league in their Non League Day match with Hampton and Richmond Borough

Dulwich Hamlet 2-2 Hampton & Richmond Borough
Isthmian League Premier Division, Champion Hill

Match 10 | September

Time for tea at Watford Ladies FAWSL2 home match with Doncaster Rovers Belles

Watford 1-3 Doncaster Rovers Belles
FA Women’s Super League 2, Broadwater (Berkhamsted)

Match 11 | September

Wales fans walk towards the Estadi Nacional ahead of its opening match; Andorra versus Wales

Andorra 1-2 Wales
UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifier, Estadi Nacional

Match 12 | September

Greenwich Borough host Chessington & Hook United in the FA Cup, at Dartford's Princess Park

Greenwich Borough 1-0 Chessington & Hook United
FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round, Princess Park

Match 13 | September

A Meridian VP player, upset at being subbed, watches on as his  team concede a late goal to Seven Acre & Sidcup

Meridian VP 1-0 Seven Acre & Sidcup
Kent Invicta League, Meridian Sports & Social Club

Match 14 | September

A supporter arrives at Craven Cottage for Fulham versus Doncaster Rovers in the League Cup

Fulham 2-1 Doncaster Rovers
League Cup 3rd round, Craven Cottage

Match 15 | September

Definitely no smoking in the Bescott Stadium, Walsall

Walsall 3-0 Doncaster Rovers
League One, Bescott Stadium

Match 16 | October

Pre-match food for Wales fans ahead of their game with Bosnia

Wales 0-0 Bosnia Herzegovina
UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifier, Cardiff City Stadium

Match 17 | October

A sunny day on the South Wales coast as Port Talbot Town defeat Bangor City

Port Talbot Town 2-0 Bangor City
Welsh Premier League, Victoria Road (‘The Sand Siro’)

Match 18 | October

A ball left abandoned in the netting at Cardiff City versus Llandudno in the Welsh Womens Premier League

Cardiff City Women 2-1 Llandudno
Welsh Women’s Premier League, Leckwith

Match 19 | October

Wales players celebrate David Cotterill's goal against Cyprus

Wales 2-1 Cyprus
UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifier, Cardiff City Stadium

Match 20 | October

Doncaster Rovers playing against MK Dons at the Keepmoat Stadium

Doncaster Rovers 0-0 Milton Keynes Dons
League One, Keepmoat Stadium

Match 21 | October

A London Underground train passes The Hive, during Doncaster Belles' 9-0 victory over London Bees

London Bees 0-9 Doncaster Rovers Belles
FA Women’s Super League 2, The Hive

Match 22 | November

Disappointment for the Clapton goalkeeper as his team concede to FC Romania

Clapton 0-5 FC Romamia
Essex Senior League, The Old Spotted Dog Ground

Match 23 | November

Children clamber to see what's happening in the ground as Weston Super Mare's FA Cup tie with Doncaster Rovers is postponed

Weston-Super-Mare P-P Doncater Rovers
FA Cup 1st round, Woodspring Stadium

Match 24 | November

Supporters on the open terrace at Stade Marien, Brussels

Royale Union Saint-Gilloise 0-2 Sprimont-Comblain
Belgian 3rd Division, Stade Joseph Marien

Match 25 | November

Wales fans enter the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussells ahead of their game with Belgium

Belgium 0-0 Wales
UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifier, King Baudouin Stadium

Match 26 | November

A drink rests on the terrace at Dulwich Hamlet against Kingstonian

Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 Kingstonian
Isthmian League Premier Division, Champion Hill

Match 27 | December

Fans head into the Keepmoat stadium for the second half of Doncaster Rovers versus Gillingham

Doncaster Rovers 1-2 Gillingham
League One, Keepmoat Stadium

Match 28 | December

The County Ground, home of Swindon Town, ahead of their game against Doncaster Rovers

Swindon Town 0-1 Doncaster Rovers
League One, County Ground

Match 29 | December

A Boxing Day derby in Kent between Whitstable Town and Herne Bay

Whitstable Town 4-1 Herne Bay
Isthmian League Division One South, The Belmont Ground

Match 30 | January

A queue at the turnstile at Champion Hill for Dulwich Hamlet versus Leatherhead

Dulwich Hamlet 4-1 Leatherhead
Isthmian League Premier Division, Champion Hill

Match 31 | January

Substitutes huddle in the dugout at Ladywell Arena as Kent Football United take on Lewisham Borough

Lewisham Borough 1-2 Kent Football United
Kent Invicta League, Ladywell Arena

Match 32 | January

Clapton fans pack the Scaffold for the visit of Harringey Borough

Clapton 1-2 Harringey Borough
Essex Senior League, The Old Spotted Dog Ground

Match 33 | January

Corner flag and ball during Doncaster Rovers 1-0 win over Barnsley

Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Barnsley
League One, Keepmoat Stadium

Match 34 | January

The huge terrace at Carshalton Athletic's War Memorial Ground

Carshalton Athletic 3-1 East Grinstead Town
Isthmian League Division One South, War Memorial Sports Ground

Match 35 | February

A redundant pitch roller next to the 3G pitch at River End Stadium as Tottenham play Preston in the FA Women's Cup

Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Preston North End
FA Women’s Cup 3rd round, New River Stadium

Match 36 | February

A man walking towards Crawley Town's ground for the game with Doncaster Rovers

Crawley Town 0-5 Doncaster Rovers
League One, Broadfield Stadium

Match 37 | February

Kyle Bennett takes a free-kick during Doncaster Rovers 3-0 win over Yeovil Town

Doncaster Rovers 3-0 Yeovil Town
League One, Keepmoat Stadium

Match 38 | March

A man approaches Priestfield Stadium, just ahead of Gillingham versus Doncaster Rovers

Gillingham 1-1 Doncaster Rovers
League One, Priestfield Stadium

Match 39 | March

A cup of tea rests on the terrace wall as Redbridge players come out for the second half of their game versus Tilbury

Redbridge 2-1 Tilbury
Isthmian League Division One North, Oakside Stadium

Match 40 | March

Dulwich Hamlet players and fans celebrate going 3-2 in front against East Thurrock

Dulwich Hamlet 3-3 East Thurrock
Isthmian League Premier Division, Champion Hill

Match 41 | March

Ticket office at Maccabi Kabilio Jaffa

Maccabi Kabilio Jaffa 1-2 Hapoel Kfar Shalem
Israel Liga Alef, Hatikva Neighbourhood Stadium

Match 42 | March

Entering the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa, Israel

Israel 0-3 Wales
UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifier, Sammy Ofer Stadium

Match 43 | April

Supporters watch on as Doncaster Rovers host Bradford City at the Keepmoat Stadium

Doncaster Rovers 0-3 Bradford City
League One, Keepmoat Stadium

Match 44 | April

The well-kept home of Cray Valley Paper Mills FC

Cray Valley Paper Mills 1-0 Lordswood
Southern Counties East League, Badgers Sports Ground

Match 45 | April

A man prepares half-time food at Leyton Orient vs Doncaster Rovers

Leyton Orient 0-1 Doncaster Rovers
League One, Brisbane Road

Match 46 | April

Heading into the Keepmoat Stadium for Doncaster Rovers' home match with Fleetwood Town

Doncaster Rovers 0-0 Fleetwood Town
League One, Keepmoat Stadium

Match 47 | April

Empty seats at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium

Team Coppinger 7-4 Team Tomlinson
Exhibition Match, Keepmoat Stadium

Match 48 | May

Tunbridge Wells have a team photo taken ahead of the Cup Final with Greenwich Borough

Greenwich Borough 2-1 Tunbridge Wells
Southern Counties East League Cup Final, Park View Road (Welling United)

Match 49 | June

Wales fans celebrate after they beat Belgium 1-0 in UEFA Euror 2016 qualifier

Wales 1-0 Belgium
UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifier, Cardiff City Stadium

by Glen Wilson

For more photographs from this season, follow popular STAND on Instagram, where all Glen’s football photos can be seen.

10 thoughts on “How I watched football 2014-15

  1. Great photos glen. Can I ask what camera and lens do you use and are your photos edited on photoshop or similar. Great use of limited focus, large aperture. Love that phot of cop pinger at Colchester.

  2. Absolutely fantastic article. The fanzine is great, too.
    Mind if I ask where you’re based? (Roughly anyway – don’t want to seem like a stalker!) I’m from Folkestone, see – me dad’s brought me up to support the Rovers (clearly a top bloke!) – and I dunno about you but I don’t come across too many Donny fans down this way!
    Anyway, keep up the great work. RTID.

    1. Thanks Craig. I’m in Lewisham, but have family in Kent – hence the trip to Whitstable Bay.

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