Lions fans in fo­cus for book


The con­tri­bu­tion fans are mak­ing to the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions’ tour is the in­spi­ra­tion for a new book.

Bri­tish pho­to­jour­nal­ist Ken Ske­han and his wife, Val, have spent sev­eral weeks trav­el­ling around New Zealand com­pil­ing the sto­ries of rugby fans, en­ti­tled Fo­cus on the Fans: Lions Rugby Tour 2017.

‘‘I thought the time was right to res­ur­rect the idea of a cel­e­bra­tion of fans and what they bring to elite sport,’’ Ken Ske­han said.

He be­came trans­fixed on doc­u­ment­ing sport from the fans’ per­spec­tive af­ter he penned a sim­i­lar book de­tail­ing sup­port­ers’ ex­pe­ri­ences at the FIFA World Cup in Germany in 2006.

‘‘In those days, no one took pic­tures them­selves. Cam­era phones were rub­bish, self­ies hadn’t event been thought of.

‘‘I had the idea of do­ing a book ... be­cause there were 32 na­tions in­volved, lots of pho­to­graphic op­por­tu­ni­ties, but also be­cause Germany said, if you don’t have a ticket, come along any­way - we’ll make it the world’s big­gest party.’’

In­tent on cap­tur­ing the essence of the fans’ ex­pe­ri­ence, Ske­han has called on Lions’ tourists and All Blacks sup­port­ers to tell their sto­ries and share their ex­pe­ri­ences.

‘‘What we’re re­ally look­ing to do is gather the fans’ thoughts, opin­ions, sto­ries about mishaps or some­thing funny hap­pen­ing, kind­ness that Kiwi hos­pi­tal­ity has brought up,’’ Ske­han said.

‘‘I’m try­ing to put to­gether a col­lec­tive per­spec­tive of the whole tour to­gether. Those that were here might look at [the book] as a me­mento and those who weren’t might look at it to see what it’s like and maybe come along next time.’’

Hav­ing de­voted so much time to ob­serv­ing Lions sup­port­ers in re­cent weeks, Ske­han has a fairly good han­dle on what a typ­i­cal Lions fan is - and no, it’s not a group of mid­dleaged men.

‘‘I don’t think there’s a sim­ple de­scrip­tion of a Lions fan, be­cause we’ve met ev­ery­one from the tini­est tot right up to peo­ple who have re­tired and on their umpteenth Lions tour and all points be­tween.

‘‘It’s the ex­pe­ri­ence of com­ing to the South­ern Hemi­sphere. It’s a big, big trip for many. The trip of a life­time. And they’re able to com­bine that trip of a life­time where they can see New Zealand in be­tween matches with the pas­sion that they have for rugby.’’

Those in­ter­ested in con­tribut­ing to the project can visit­cu­son­the­ for more in­for­ma­tion.

Richie Jermyn got a lion’s mane of hair ex­ten­sions for the Lions tour.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.