It’s been another great year for sport and for Offside Sports Photography. Below are our best 24 shots of 2014, as chosen by Mark Leech.
Over the course of 2014 we saw the World Cup in Brazil, Glasgow host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the inaugural staging of the Invictus Games, Wimbledon, the Ashes and much, much more.
Alongside Leechy’s own work from the past year, this curated “best of” list also features images by Offside’s other key men: Simon Stacpoole, Marc Atkins, Paul Roberts and Ryan Smyth.
Football, as ever, features prominently, but there’s also plenty of great pictures from the worlds of Rugby, Athletics, Swimming, Tennis and Darts.
Simon, Marc and Paul all ventured across the Atlantic to Brazil in the summer to snap the World Cup. The Netherlands undid Spain, England fell behind Uruguay and Costa Rica, and eventual winners Germany dismantled the hosts in one of the most eventful and enjoyable tournaments in living memory.
The Germans also showed their class in the women’s game with a victory over England in a historic match at Wembley in November: the first to be staged at the ceremonial home of English football by the women’s national team.
Another champion in 2014 was Novak Djokovic, who won his second Wimbledon title to help keep himself up at the very top of the world rankings. Mark was on hand to snap some great images of SW19.
The last year wasn’t just filled with good times and glory however. Rains came early on in 2014 and doused England in heavy water from on high leading to some spectacularly washed out images of the sporting landscape.
Perhaps it was fitting that the year also ended with some photogenic images taken of football played in another kind of adverse weather condition: snow.
The Premier League is unlikely to need much in the way of dramatic meteorology for another exciting finish, with Chelsea’s early lead having already been whittled down by a resurgent Manchester City, and Manchester United threatening to become a New Year threat.
Could the opening months of 2015 in England’s top flight match the brilliance of Liverpool’s unlikely spurt in early 2014 to chase down City, Chelsea and Arsenal to finish second? That finale could be difficult to match.
But regardless of what the New Year in sport brings, you can be sure that Offside will be ready to shoot the action, as usual, in our own special way.