FPA Member Profile

John Sibley – Action Images / Reuters
All Images © John Sibley / Action Images / Reuters



  • Freelanced for local newspaper
  • 1991 Action Images / Reuters to present
  • FIFA World Cups (6)
  • UEFA Euro Champs (6)
  • FA Cup Finals (approx 24)
  • UEFA Champions League (18)
  • Premier League Matches (approx 3000)
Q&A with John Sibley

What came first, sport or photography?

One change for the better to improve football photography for the next generation of photographers?
“Develop a decent career path for young photographers coming into this industry.”

Do you have a favourite memory or anecdote from your time as a football photographer?
“Aston Villa v Tottenham – Villa Park, 25th January 1995: Villa ‘keeper Mark Bosnich collides with Jurgen Klinsman 26 minutes into the match, knocking him spark out. I gave my film to my technician and he returns pitch side at half time after processing and scanning the film to tell me that I have an amazing shot of the incident, and that lots of newspapers have told our picture desk that it’s going to be their back page image. At the end of the match I phoned our picture desk, expecting a flood of praise for nailing the most newsworthy image of the day, only to be told about what had just happened in the second half of the Crystal Palace v Manchester United game. Their three words summed up what was to become one of the most infamous incidents in English football: ‘Cantona kung-fu kick’. My shot from Villa Park made no back pages in the morning.”

First football match photographed?
“The first ever ‘proper’ match with paying spectators was at Thurrock FC sometime in the late eighties for my local newspaper.”

Favourite footballer to work with, and why?
“Friendliest subject to photograph was a French player called Franck Queudrue, who was playing for Middlesbrough at the time. I shot him for Mitre, his boot sponsor. He gave me loads of time for photos, even happy to drive around the industrial part of the city with me looking for locations. When we finished shooting, he suggested his favourite Italian restaurant for lunch and paid!”

Favourite football ground to work at, and why?
“Arsenal. Great positions, facilities and staff”

Canon, Nikon or Sony?

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