Written by Gary Bradley – @GBRphotos
My Morton journey began way back in the later 70’s when a certain Mr Andrew Ritchie had just joined the Club. I was a fresh faced pupil of St Columba’s High in Gourock when my friend, Chris McLoone, invited me to go to a game. I think it was against Montrose but I could be wrong. I remember the atmosphere as I stood down the front of the shed and loved every minute of it.
From that point onwards I was hooked, scarf was aqquired, songs learned and my life long affection for the Blue and white hoops had begun.
Throughout my school days I watched Morton all over Scotland, financed by my part time job in Prestos, where I packed shelves 3 evenings a week after school. In these early days my hero was Andy Ritchie, followed by Jim Holmes and Bobby Thompson. The night we beat Airdrie to win the League was a special special night. The fans sung long into the night as we looked forward to playing the big guns the following season.
There have been many ups and downs during my 40 odd years of following the club, highlights for me would be the affore mentioned Airdrie game, being top of the Premier League in 79 of course that game against Peterhead to win the 3rd Division (even though I only made the after match celebrations due to having to work}
Lowlights! Seeing Bobby Thompson banned for so many games due to a certain Rangers player feigning injury in the Butt’ incident at Cappielow, Fearing Morton would die due to Hugh Scott destroying the club and the year we flung a huge lead away and the club being under that betting scandal.
Nowadays as I reach ‘bus pass’ age my love of the club has moved to being on the pitchside capturing the action as my love for Morton was mixed with my hobby of photography. This came about due to me not being able to afford to attend many games due to my role as a Carer (my partner Ann Marie has MS) and I wrote in to see if i could try capturing match images. Morton said yes and I have never looked back.
Its great seeing images I shot appearing on Morton’s website, program and social media and it helps to make me feel part of the club. I sometimes miss my ‘spot’ up in the cowshed, but being so close to the action brings a whole new perspective to my viewing (and a lot less sweary words). In my early days of this role I had to try and remember I could not have my ‘fan’ head on when it came to wanting to slag other clubs etc, Jonathan Mitchell had to remind me a few times due to my miss spelling of the word Mirren, was sure it had two d’s in the middle…
On a matchday I usually spent the first half concentrating on our defending half as its usually the attackers that get most coverage due to the goal scoring and celebrations etc, so i just love to capture the defenders doing what they do best. Second half I spend capturing the attacking action. ‘Watching’ the game through a lens is a challenge as you simply can not switch off for a second, as there is always something happening, off the ball incidents, fan or manager reactions etc.
After a game comes the longest part of my role. Cutting down and editing my game images to get ready to submit to Morton or social media. I have two Cameras and they each take ten shots per second, so as you can imagine thats a lot of images taken over 90 mins.
Average shoot for me is about 2000 images and it takes me a good few hours to sort out the best ones, but I really enjoy doing these edits because it lets me replay the match in my head and of course visually.
I also try to cover the Reserves at home and more recently I have started to cover the Morton Ladies when possible.
I have many favourite images from my time photographing Morton but my favourite is this one (attached) taken at Falkirk when we well and truly got our own back on Ray McKinnon. I just love the emotion of the faces, happiness shines out from everyone in the frameand for me it was just one of those precious moments which summed up what Morton means to me.
Gary Bradley. (GBR Photos).