IT IS one of the most iconic Oxford United images from the past 25 years, but it could so easily have been obscured by a substitute’s backside.

Paul Moody and Stuart Massey’s jubilant celebrations after the former sealed a 3-0 win at Wycombe Wanderers during the run-in to the 1995/96 season are instantly recognisable.

But for Jon Lewis, it was a telling reminder that in photography, timing is everything.

“I nearly didn’t get the shot,” he said. “I put myself between the away end and the dugouts, but that’s where the warm-ups take place.

“You normally had 20 minutes after half-time before they started coming out and what you’d always find is players would deliberately stretch in front of you for a joke.

Also read: David Fleming on his favourite Oxford United photos

“I remember thinking I’d give it a couple of minutes before I moved.

“Luckily there wasn’t a Wycombe backside in the way.”

But even though he had got it on film, it was not until Lewis was back at the Oxford Mail’s offices getting the pictures developed that he realised it was a memorable shot.

He said: “The match had chucked up a couple of other decent pictures.

“I went away quite happy I had got pictures of all the goals.

“I think it was John Gaisford who said ‘that’s a cracking picture’, when I got back to the office.

“I knew it was unusual as far as celebration pictures go, but it’s the fans in the background which help it as well. There’s a joy about it.

“The club did a deal with the paper to put it on a t-shirt.

“I’ve still got one, that was my payment because as a staff photographer, the copyright belonged to the paper.

“I was just chuffed they used my picture.”

Lewis spent 23 years at the Mail from 1994 and was on hand for many of United’s big moments in that time, including three trips to Wembley.

Also read: Oxford United proud of varied relief effort in lockdown

And the key to getting good pictures is positioning – and patience.

He said: “In the best matches you got almost into a groove with it.

“The trick is to trust that things will come in.

“Usually if you are in the right place as far as the light and the background goes then it’s just waiting for something to happen.

“I’ve never described myself as a proper fan, because I haven’t paid to get in, but it’s easy to get caught up in the moment.

“It happens sometimes where you find yourself holding your breath at a corner.

“You have to remind yourself at times to take pictures.”


Oxford Mail:

  • December 5, 2009: As a photographer, you always like players who are predictable and exuberant. 
    James Constable comes to mind, he was brilliant because when he scored he always leapt high into the air. 
    When players scored regularly you’d get to know how they celebrated.

Oxford Mail:

  • March 22, 2006: I remember being called to get up to the Kassam Stadium because Firoz Kassam was leaving as chairman for the last time. 
    The takeover had been an ongoing saga. He wasn’t prepared to pose for pictures, I do remember that, but he gave a wave and that was fine. It summed up the situation.

Oxford Mail:

  • May 16, 2010: The Conference play-off final was a brilliant day for the club, although I didn’t have a great time photographically. 
    I was given a black vest, which meant I could go on to the pitch at the end. 
    But it was more of a pain during the game, I was basically getting in everybody’s way and trying to get something different.
    I think we all missed Chris Wilder’s knee-slide celebration, but in this group shot with his coaching staff and chairman Kelvin Thomas you could see how much it meant.

Oxford Mail:

  • April 3, 2016: Another trip to Wembley, this time in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
    United lost to Barnsley, but this goal set up a big finish. I thought Danny Hylton was brilliant as a player. I was gutted when he went – and to Luton of all places.

Oxford Mail:

  • May 7, 2016: Pitch invasions always make great pictures. 
    You did have to be careful when individuals came on in protest, because the police could come and take your pictures as evidence. 
    But there were no such worries with this happy one to celebrate the promotion after the win against Wycombe – you just had to make sure you didn’t get run over by the stampede.