THE FRIDAY FIVE – 18.4.2014

1. Echo and the Bunnymen – Lovers On The Run
2. U2 – Invisible
3. Coldplay – Magic
4. Luke Sital-Singh – Greatest Lovers
5. Neil Finn – Dizzy Heights

Special treat now for English readers …….. it’s your National Day next week. So, as is tradition, i’ll give you a chart

FIVE TRACKS BY ENGLISH ARTISTS

1. Oasis – She Is Love
2. Cast – Finetime
3. Tears For Fears – Break It Down Again
4. OMD – Enola Gay
5. Embrace – You’re Not Alone

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MATCH – 17.4.1999

As the 1998-1999 draws to a close, Match has three cover stars, a player each from Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, as Match attempts to predict who will win the Premier League.

Nigel Martyn is the subject of a feature called “My first ….”

His first record bought was by The Police, and his first concert was Status Quo in Cornwall.

In news, Michael Owen’s fame has reached America, with a feature of him appearing in ESPN’s monthly sports magazine.

Edwin Van Der Sar states that he would be interested in joining Manchester United. It only took him the six years.

Patrick Vieira, Gianfranco Zola and Dwight Yorke are interviewed about the title run-in, though Match doesn’t make any predictions.

Ryan Giggs and Zinedine Zidane are interviewed as Match previews the second leg of the European Cup Semi-final between Manchester United and Juventus, with the first leg at Old Trafford finishing 1-1.

In competitions, Match readers had the opportunity to win the new England kit.

Robbie Fowler and John Filan also get double page interviews, as well as Lee Mills and Ashley Westwood of Bradford City, as they aim to get promoted to the top flight of English football for the first time since 1922.

There’s more double page spreads, as Match interviews David Seaman, Michael Owen and Alan Shearer at the launch of England’s new kit, and have a full page feature on England kits through the years.

LONDON

Was in London last week for a short break, just as I was in February last year.

The reason I went back to London for a second successive year was simple, I had a lot of “Unfinished business” in London. I did and saw a lot of stuff when I was in London last year, yet there was still so much I didn’t do and see.

For that reason, London was always going to be my choice for getaway in February 2014.

Amazingly, I experienced travel problems before even reaching London as the airline moved my flight from a sensible 11am to 6pm. To fly out at 6pm would be a waste of a day. With the 11am flight cancelled, I got mine changed again to 6.45am.

The early start might be inconvenient, but at least I would get a full day in London.

A rearranged flight was only the start of my travel problems. Due to a Tube strike, I was going to have to go to my hotel by bus.

Due to the lack of transport options, Thursday was always going to be a write-off, but it wasn’t a total write-off. There were some Tube stations open, so I made the most of the ones that were.

Brixton was one of those open, so I headed there in late morning. I had a specific reason for wanting to visit Brixton, as I wanted to head to O2 Academy to try and get a ticket for Tom Odell on the Saturday night.

I’d tried online with no success in the weeks leading up to this, so I thought i’d try turning up at the venue. Turns out the venue box office is only open on the night of events.

It wasn’t a wasted trip as I had a walk around Brixton, Brixton Market, accidentally stumbling onto Electric Avenue, immortalised in song by Eddy Grant. Managed to get some excellent Street Art pictures when I was in Brixton.

From there, I headed into the City Centre and had a walk around, before heading back to the hotel for a brief sleep before heading East that night.

The reason why I was heading to East London was that I had an audience ticket for Life’s A Pitch on BT Sport. The studios are in Stratford, near the Olympic Stadium. I didn’t get to see much of the stadium though.

Just a pity it took nearly two hours to get from Stratford to Paddington by bus, thanks to Boris and Bob’s Comedy Act.

After a brief sleep, I was up early on the Friday morning to go on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour. Unfortunately, like the day before, I was frustrated by public transport, as delays on The Tube meant I missed the tour.

I was already en route to Shoreditch when I discovered the delays, so it was too late to turn back. Luckily, I had travelled through Shoreditch going from Stratford to Paddington, so had a mental note of where the Street Art was.

I had a walk around getting photos. If I go to London again, i’ll definitely try to go on a proper, organised, Street Art Tour.

From Shoreditch, I went into Oxford Circus and Leicester Square for a walkaround, before heading to Greenwich to go on the Emirates Air Line, a cable car journey across London Docks.

Got some good views due to it being a clear day, but it wouldn’t be an essential thing to do in London to be honest. It would certainly be a unique way to spend a night out, if it wasn’t for the fact that no booze is allowed.

From there, I headed in the direction of one of London’s most famous landmarks, Wembley Stadium. But it wasn’t Wembley I was visiting, it was the nearby Fountain Studios (where X-Factor is filmed) for Alan Davies Apres Ski, for which I had an audience ticket.

It was a very stop-start recording which got never really got going, to be honest, which is a shame as I like Alan Davies.

Saturday morning was spent in Camden. I went to Camden for a morning last year and loved it. Had a walk around Camden Market, and got some Street Art photos.

Saturday afternoon was spent in East London, watching Leyton Orient v Peterborough.

When in London, i’d hoped to take in a concert. Each concert I wanted to go to, I seemed to be thwarted.

Phoenix are a band I love, but inconveniently, were doing a gig in London the day before I arrived. Foster the People and Bombay Bicycle Club were doing XFM Sessions, but I couldn’t get a ticket.

Del Amitri were doing a gig in Hammersmith on the Friday night. I like Del Amitri, but not enough to spend 30 quid seeing them.

I wanted to see Tom Odell on the Saturday. I turned up at the venue to try and get a ticket. The Box Office was sold out. There were plenty of touts outside flogging, but the prices were extortionate. Looking at the volume of people already queing up to get in, it wasn’t worth it for what would be a crap view.

Luckily, on the Saturday night, I had a Plan B, a comedy gig at Bloomsbury Theatre headined by Katherine Ryan and Tom Rosenthal.

On the Sunday, I had a lie-in before heading to White Hart Lane for Spurs v Everton. After that, I headed into Oxford Circus to watch the United game (the less said of which, the better) before spending some more time in the City Centre.

That night, I discovered Prince was doing an impromptu gig in London, but, like the other gigs this week, I missed out on a ticket, being elsewhere when the queue was forming.

Monday morning, my last day in London, was spent in the City Centre again, making the most of my final day in the city, before heading to Gatwick and flying home.

And that, was my trip to London, an enjoyable experience despite the transport mayhem and being unable to get concert tickets.

Where will I be headed in February next year? Who knows.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1-0 EVERTON 9.2.2014

Having been to Brisbane Road the previous day, I took advantage of there being a game on the Sunday of my visit, at White Hart Lane.

With Everton the visitors, the game gave me a chance to add them to my UEFA 100 Club list as Number 31.

Being there as a neutral, I didn’t want to take sides and hoped it would end in a thrilling draw. The fact that this would have helped United is purely coincidental. Though, United probably should have helped themselves against Fulham later that day.

Managed to get a returned ticket two days earlier but had to pick it up from the ticket office on the day of the match. Getting to the ground, was an adventure, getting off at Seven Sisters Tube Station and having a long walk. Luckily, I didn’t get lost by following the crowd.

Curiously, there are three club shops at White Hart Lane.

Got into the ground in plenty of time. If you’ve seen a match at White Hart Lane on TV, I was sat at the bottom left of the TV screen. The downside is, you couldn’t see the ball when it was at the other end of the picth.

For most of the first-half, that’s were Tottenham were playing, trying to get Aaron Lennon into the game as much as possible.

Everton were the better team in the first-half but not dominant. For all their possession, they didn’t have many chances. You could tell how much they were missing Lukaku.

Every misplaced Spurs pass was met with groans, as they got restless.

In the second-half, Spurs went 1-0 up when a quick free-kick put Adebayor through. In his current form, there was only one result.

From there, Everton never looked like getting back into the game. The second-half mirrored the first for Everton, for all their build-up play, no end result.

Steven Naismith tried a dummy and ended up beating himself, the ball going out for a throw, much to the pleasure of the home support. This began a period of running battles between Naismith and Tottenham’s support, with Naisith determined to get the ball and make something happen, and Tottenham fans quick to taunt him when it didn’t.

Much to the annoyance of Spurs fans, Naismith was subbed soon afterwards for Aiden McGeady. In McGeady, Spurs fans had a new victim, chanting “You’re just a shit Steven Naismith” at any opportunity.

Photo Album

LEYTON ORIENT 1-2 PETERBOROUGH UNITED 8.2.2014

Was in London last weekend. While there, I decided to take in a game. The game I chose for the Saturday, was Leyton Orient v Peterborough.

Even though it was in the Third Tier, it was the most appealing game on offer. Before going, I narrowed down my choice to either Brentford or Leyton Orient. I chose Orient for the simple reason that they were easier to get to. As it turned out, Brentford’s game was postponed.

This game was a promotion battle, with Orient starting the day 3rd, and Peterborough 7th, both wanting promotion, with Orient aiming automatically, Peterborough via the play-offs.

The stadium was easy to get to from The Tube, and I managed to get a ticket no problem. I was a bit surprised by this, considering it was a top of the table clash.

My ticket was for the South Stand, behind the goal. If you’ve seen a game at Brisbane Road, it’s to the right of the TV screen.

If I go to Orient again, i’d prefer to go to the other end behind the goal. The view wasn’t bad, but you were too far from the pitch for my liking.

The weather all day was going from one extreme to the other, either rain or sunshine. There was a Double Rainbow over the stadium pre-match.

Managed to kill some time in the pub underneath the stand, which is no doubt convenient for Orient supporters.

In the first-half, both teams cancelled each other out. Orient had the best chance when a volley hit the post. Such was their luck, the rebound hit their attacker straight on the hand before he could get a chance to put the ball in.

In the second-half, with Peterborough attacking the South Stand, Orient fans were more than happy to mock Peterborough’s attacking mistakes. The favourite being “All that money and you’re shit”

With 20 minutes to go, Orient took the lead, with a header from a free-kick. Their fans were now in a party mood. Postponements for Brentford and Wolves meant a win would take them top.

With each passing minute, Orient fans started to sing “WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE” – It was asking for trouble. Out of nowhere, Peterborough got an equaliser with a free header from a set piece on 87 minutes.

Brisbane Road was stunned. Soon after, they were stunned again when Peterborough scored a winner on 89 minutes.

An enjoyable game with a dramatic finish. A massive improvement on my last three games in London, 0-0, 0-0, 0-1.

Photo Album

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 14.7.1979

Match action from England’s recent visit to Sweden is the cover of Shoot, as they try to fill in the gap durign the pre-season of 1979.

In news, Brian Clough has drawn praise from pundits in the Soviet Union after Nottingham Forest’s European Cup win, and Northern Ireland have announced a tour of Australia for the summer of 1980.

Pierce O’Leary of Shamrock Rovers was linked with a move to Coventry City, potentially, the first League Of Ireland player to move to an English club for a six figure fee. Staying in Dublin, Pele was a surprise visitor to Dublin for the friendly between Republic of Ireland and Argentina.

Distillery were facing expulsion from the Irish League if they couldn’t have a new ground by the start of the 1980-1981 season.

And finally, Coventry City became the first Football League team to visit the Faroe Islands, beating a local team 6-0.

The volume of British players in the US meant the NASL got a page of coverage, the lead story being that George Best had went missing for a week.

Gordon McQueen, writing a column, expresses his concern that the games between England and Scotland could be banned due to crowd violence, expressing his anger at a Scottish fan who invaded the pitch with his side 1-0 up, causing a delay. England went on to win the game 3-1.

McQueen also spoke about an 18 year old called Diego Maradona, who faced Scotland and was described by McQueen as “Another Pele in the making”, but was disappointed at the lack of TV coverage of the game, due to a dispute with the BBC.

In letters, a Shrewsbury Town fan complains about the lack of acknowledgement given to boss Graham Turner for his success at the club. A reader from Perth wrote in to complain about the BBC being biased towards Rangers.

A young manager starting out in the game is 32 year old Howard Kendall, and his appointment at Blackburn Rovers gets 2/3 of a page coverage.

RC Strasbourg get a full page profile, with a team poster on the other side.

To fill up space with no football, we get a full page of footballers on holiday, including a picture of Phil Neal throwing Phil Thompson into a swimming pool.

Part 8 of Shoot’s review of the 1978-1979 season reveals that Barcelona want Bobby Robson to be their manager. It only took 17 years for them to get him.

Derek Johnstone’s Scottish football column is accompanied by a picture of him playing video games with his wife.

Wigan Athletic, having just completed their first season as a league club, feature in an article asking if they will “Do a Wimbledon” – Wimbledon (promoted to the Football League in 1977) got promoted in their second season.

Wigan did indeed “Do a Wimbledon” in terms that they reached the top flight (in 27 years compared to Wimbledon’s 9) and won the FA Cup (took them 35 years compared to Wimbledon’s 11)

FOOTBALL IN 2014

So, Thursday afternoon will see me attend my last football match of 2013. Once that is over, i’ll be looking back at the year, looking at the stats, and oddities witnessed, and choosing my Top 5 games been to.

But this blog, isn’t about looking back, it’s about looking forward. So here, are my football wishes for 2014.

Obviously, I want United and Linfield to win as many trophies as possible, and Northern Ireland to make a winning start to their Euro 2016 campaign.

But what else will I wish for in 2014?

LINFIELD

Getting way too far ahead of myself, having a pre-season wishlist of Stranraer away. Would also love an away game against Dundela, haven’t been there for a while.

I’d love to visit the recently redeveloped Clandeboye Park for a Linfield game. Hopefully an Irish Cup Quarter-Final, a pre-season friendly, or Ards avoiding relegation and Linfield visiting in 2014-2015.

Bangor, unfortunately, haven’t applied for a Premiership licence. Of the clubs who can get promoted, I hope either Carrick Rangers and Institute go up, preferrably Carrick.

An early match to look forward to in 2014 is Linfield’s trip to Warrenpoint on January 4th. Always love visiting new grounds.

Talking of new(ish) grounds, i’m looking forward to seeing the results of the Windsor Park Redevelopment. I’m hoping this blog will become a photo diary for the Redevelopment process.

EDINBURGH

Every August I go to Edinburgh, primarily for the festival, but I like to catch a football match when i’m over. The last two years have taken me to Easter Road, so i’m guessing i’m due a trip to Tynecastle.

I get the feeling it’s an absolute cert that it’ll be Hearts v Rangers on the weekend i’m there, meaning trying to get a ticket will be difficult.

Even if the fixture list sends me to Easter Road, i’m hoping to visit Tynecastle to get a look at the plaque, unveiled earlier this year, dedicated to the Hearts players who died in World War I.

When i’m in Edinburgh, i’m hoping that this will be the year I go and see The Spartans, hopefully by then they’ll be in SFL3.

CARDIFF

Undecided about this one as yet, but i’m tempted to visit Cardiff in August for the European Super Cup Final, regardless of who is in it, hoping to pick up a ticket when i’m over.

As well as visiting a new ground, it would be my first visit to Cardiff since the Wales v Northern Ireland World Cup Qualifier in 2004. It was such a great trip. Wish I had a camera in order to have taken some photos of it.

While i’m there (the match is on a Friday night) i’m tempted to go to Bristol on the Saturday to do the Street Art Tour, then go and see whichever of City or Rovers is at home that day.

MANCHESTER UNITED

As far as the rest of the 2013-2014 season is concerned, i’m hoping to get over to Old Trafford for another game this season (I’ve already been to the Crystal Palace game in September)

Hoping to go the Olympiakos game in March. Haven’t confirmed anything yet, but hoping I can get sorted to go to this game in the coming weeks.

NORTHERN IRELAND

The first big event for Northern Ireland in 2014 will come off the pitch, with the Euro 2016 draw. I’m actually hoping to go to Euro 2016, regardless if Northern Ireland qualify, basing myself in Paris and hopefully visiting Lens and/or Lille.

Anyway, here’s my hopes for the draw. I’d love us to draw England, but with the game at Wembley to be in March 2015. I’ve already been to New Wembley, but i’d love to go there for a Northern Ireland match.

I’d love us to drawn in the same group as Gibraltar, and to play them at home in the first game of the group.

It would be Gibraltar’s first competitive international, and it would be nice to go to a historic game.

As a bonus, would it be too much to ask for the August international date to be used for a friendly against Scotland at Easter Road?

LONDON

Heading to London for a short break in February, and hoping to take in a game while i’m there. Of the games taking place that weekend, Leyton Orient v Peterborough on the Saturday looks the most tempting, though Brentford v Crawley Town is my back-up game.

Spurs are at home to Everton on the Sunday and tempted by that. Had a look for tickets online last night and they are 58 quid. Not sure if adding Everton to my UEFA 100 Club is worth that. Think I might stick with Leyton Orient.

When I was looking forward to 2012, I didn’t imagine i’d be watching Northern Ireland playing in Amsterdam.

When I was looking forward to 2013, I didn’t imagine i’d be going to a Scottish Cup Semi-Final.

In life, like in football, you never know what’s going to happen next. Here’s to more football watching in 2014. Hopefully, I might enjoy some of it.

2013 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

The summer might have ended, but that wasn’t the end of my photo adventures.

My first weekend saw me having a football double bill, Northern Ireland’s World Cup Qualifier against Portugal, followed by Linfield’s trip to Ballyclare to take on Ards, my first ever trip to Dixon Park

The following weekend, was another first, my first trip to Old Trafford to see a David Moyes Manchester United game, against Crystal Palace.

The weekend after that, was Culture Night, then a trip to Ballinamallard to see Linfield, then back to Belfast in time for Manic Street Preachers.

The day after the Manics, I was headed to the Cathedral Quarter to see the new Street Art painted as part of Culture Night, now that the dust had settled.

In fact, there was so much Street Art, I missed some, and had to come back the following Saturday. Later that day, I went to see Linfield take on Coleraine.

To end the month, I headed to East Belfast to get some Street Art shots, the Newtownards Road also getting the same treatment as North Street on Culture Night

Northern Ireland v Portugal

Northern Ireland v Portugal Photo Album

Ards v Linfield

The Butcher

Manchester United v Crystal Palace

Manchester United v Crystal Palace Photo Album

Manchester

Culture Night Belfast 2013

Culture Night Belfast 2013 Photo Album

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

Manic Street Preachers Live At Ulster Hall

Manic Street Preachers Live At Ulster Hall Photo Album

North Street – A Culture Night Legacy

North Street – A Culture Night Legacy Photo Album

North Street – A Culture Night Legacy Part 2

Linfield v Coleraine

East Belfast Street Art

2013 IN PICTURES – MARCH

March began for me with a trip to Dublin to see Linfield take on Shamrock Rovers in a Setanta Cup game. Unfortunately, I missed the first couple of minutes of the game, as I would have loved to have got the stadium in advance of kick-off to get some shots, and get a good shooting position.

The less said about the match, the better.

Three days later, I was at the Waterfront Hall (amazingly, it has been open since 1997, and this was my first concert attended at it) to see Stereophonics in concert.

Got a good shooting position and some good shots. An excellent concert as well.

That weekend, I went out and got some Street Art photos in Ormeau Park.

The following weekend, I was in Manchester to see United take on Reading. I didn’t know it then, but it would be the last time I would go to a United match managed by Sir Alex Ferguson.

On the Monday, I was at a freezing Seaview to see Linfield lose 3-0 to Crusaders. I should have just stayed in the house and watched it on TV.

The following Friday, I was hoping to go to Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland take on Russia. Unfortunately, it was postponed due to snow. In March.

I went out to try and get some snow photos. It wasn’t very photogenic snow. The photos of it weren’t particularly great.

The following Tuesday, I did get to see Northern Ireland play, against Israel, in a 2-0 defeat.

Shamrock Rovers v Linfield

Shamrock Rovers v Linfield Photo Album

Stereophonics Live At Waterfront Hall

Stereophonics Live At Waterfront Hall Photo Album

Anco

Manchester United v Reading

Manchester United v Reading Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Snow

Snow Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Israel

Northern Ireland v Israel Photo Album

Niko

2013 IN PICTURES – FEBRUARY

February began for me in London, as I decided to go for my now traditional weekend away at the start of February. I went to London, and absolutely loved it.

I went to two football matches on the Saturday (Loftus Road and Craven Cottage) and then spent the Sunday in Camden, and got some photos of the Street Art in the area.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to do the London Street Art Tour, which I would have loved to have done.

Unsurprisingly, I was camera happy during my weekend in London.

Upon my return to Belfast, I was met by snow, so out with my camera I went.

Over the remaining three Saturdays, I went to Linfield matches, having mixed results with my phototaking, the most successful, was the trip to Dungannon on 9th February.

Towards the end of the month, I went to The Odyssey to see The Killers in concert. Absolutely fantastic concert, and managed to get some great shots.

Queens Park Rangers v Norwich City

QPR v Norwich City Photo Album

Fulham v Manchester United

Fulham v Manchester United Photo Album

Camden Street Art

Camden Street Art Photo Album

Snow

Snow Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Glentoran v Linfield

The Killers Live At The Odyssey

The Killers Live At The Odyssey Photo Album

Linfield v Portadown