PRE-SEASON in football can feel repetitive from one year to the next – but JMP are with Bristol City in the United States covering a pre-season with a difference.
JMP’s senior photographer, Rogan Thomson, is with the Robins for every step of their pre-season trip to Florida – and we caught up with him to hear what he has been up to in the States.
“It’s been a very busy but rewarding week,” said Rogan. “Our role has been to supply the club with images to push out on their social channels, showing the breadth of activities the players are taking part in, from brutal training to more lighthearted team bonding.”
Rogan and the City squad are staying at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, a purpose-built sports complex with a hotel on site.
And he has been struck by the camaraderie within the City squad ahead of a Sky Bet Championship campaign where they will look to improve their league position for a sixth consecutive season after finishing 8th last time.
“It has been a privilege to be here with the team and get a real insight into the phenomenal amount of hard work going into preparing for the season,” said Rogan.
“It has struck me what a good group they are, with a fantastic team spirit. They genuinely seem to get on with each other and the new players have been welcomed in seamlessly.”
While it might sound glamorous being in Florida for pre-season – and Rogan is certainly not complaining – the working days have been long and the weather has ensured our man in the States has resembled “a sweaty mess” every time he has ventured outside.
“The media team’s daily grind has meant 8am breakfasts and structuring our day around the ever-changing routine of the team, usually with multiple training sessions across pitches, gym and pool,” he said. “Time for editing is a struggle so we’re finishing most days between midnight and 1am.
“It’s incredibly hot, and even more humid. Being a sweaty mess every time we go outside to work is now the norm! City played Derby County in a friendly that was called off at half-time due to the thunderstorms which seem to roll in every day at around 4pm no matter how sunny the day has been.”
In summary, Rogan has enjoyed every minute of the tour, which has allowed some Florida-based Robins fans – and even some from the UK – to get a glimpse of how the team is shaping up for the 2019-20 season.
“It has been nice to hear the stories of fans who attended the game and open training sessions,” he said. “Some have travelled from UK, some live in the local area, and some have travelled across America to be here.
“It’s been a great trip, which has provided completely different photographic opportunities which we don’t get during the season, so it has been very rewarding.”