Over the last 6-7 years Guildford City FC has been delighted to have Paul Burgman as part of the club acting as official club photographer. Paul, who lives in the iconic Joseph’s Road, formerly worked in Fleet Street for several national daily newspapers. Personal circumstances caused a career change, and it was at that stage that Paul was introduced to the club. Since then he has generously donated several thousand match photos to the club for use on website, social media and match programme. Now firmly ensconced as a supporter in his own right, we look forward to seeing Paul again in the new season.
Burgy we don’t believe we say thank you enough. So from players past and present, management and committee THANK YOU. Below Paul reminds us of some of his City adventures.
SOME time in 2013 I was asked by the treasurer of Guildford City club if I knew any local firms that could assist the club with the hire of a couple of minibuses for the 2013-14 season. I foolishly said that I would look into it…
A few weeks later I had found a company that could do us a great deal on 2 seventeen seater minibuses for the away games, and Methold Vehicle Hire turned out to be a great friend to the club over the following seasons. Having found a company, there was a issue with getting someone to drive them, many people don’t have the right to drive 17 seaters (unless over a certain age) so I ended up driving one of the buses, and seeing that I’d be driving to almost all of the away games and as I hadn’t picked up my camera kit professionally since my wife died, I figured it wouldn’t do any harm to chuck it in the boot.
Anyway, playing in the Bristol & District League, sorry, Calor Gas League Southern Division One South & West, meant thousands of miles at 62mph down the M4 or A303. First trip was a slog down to Mangotsfield, a new team, new manager and a new club photographer. We only had one minibus from Metholds that weekend, as someone else had booked one elsewhere, which it turned out smoked like a trooper & leaked diesel. City lost that game, a trend that would seemingly never end.
Despite having some great players City could barely buy a win, but the team had great spirit, a high degree of professionalism, (shirts & ties for home games, club tracksuits for away) getting to the ground to travel in good time, eating sensibly at meal stops, polite & courteous to the club & staff & they liked my my music choice in the minibus so they can’t have been all bad.
Anyway the first few weeks were all about the team finding their feet & settling to the level of football required, it turned out to be a much harder task than expected, combined with huge travel requirements. Most away games required players to leave home at 10.00am to get to the home ground in time to travel. Mid-week games were even worse as we would get back to the Spectrum at gone midnight and the players would still have to drive home. Fair enough if you are a full time footballer, not good when you have a day job as well.
Anyway December saw me get the wettest I have ever been, away to Thatcham Town, it peed down 30 seconds after the referee blew his whistle pausing only briefly for half time, & then redoubled it’s efforts in the second half. The same month saw a 300 mile round trip to Bridgwater, though this time we had a fleet of 9 seaters, which weren’t limited to 62mph, which was just as well with the recent management change came a problem with time-keeping.
February saw City beat Bishops Cleeve at the Spectrum, & get thumped at Merthyr.
March City do the double over Bishops Cleeve and saw an epic trip to Taunton Town on a Tuesday night, City 2-0 down at half-time, and won 2-3 made for a happy journey back.
Any-hooo 4000+ miles was a step to far and disappointedly City were relegated after two seasons at Step 4. However another season in that league covering that mileage would have been impossible to manage financially.
Anyway that was my first season with Guildford City, and was probably the most memorable, if not necessarily for the right reasons. The following seasons I was not available as often as I had commitments elsewhere, mainly at Brentford, Fulham & QPR, but I still enjoy my visits to GCFC when I can, “Up The Sweeney”
The following are a few of my favourite photographs in recent years, not necessarily the best, just some that stick in my mind, despite all efforts with the mind bleech.