UEFA CUP IN PICTURES

As the UEFA Cup restarts tonight, this time next week, I shall be at Old Trafford for the second leg of the tie between Manchester United and Ajax.

That will be my 5th game attended in the competition since the 2009-2010 season, at various stages.

It’s sad that the competition is so maligned, as it’s enjoyable to follow. Not only that, the syndicated highlights programme on ITV4 and Channel 5 is the best football highlights programme on TV. Other broadcasters should take note.

I would really love it if United were to win it this season, purely so United could complete the hat-trick of European trophies after previously winning the European Cup (1968, 1999, 2008) and European Cup Winners Cup (1991)

Not only that, I have a UEFA Cup branded keyring. I am so cool.

So, I thought i’d share some of my photos from the last few years of the competition.

That season, I went to see the Second Leg of Linfield v Randers. If you think United playing in the UEFA Cup is a culture shock, it’s the same for Linfield playing in the competition as well.

Randers were 4-0 up from the first leg, but I headed down anyway, as I enjoyed the novelty of playing a home match away from Windsor Park.

As Windsor Park’s pitch was being relaid, Linfield used Mourneview Park for their solitary home match that season.

Mourneview Park is very friendly for amateur photography, so I managed to get some nice shots.

The following month, I was in Edinburgh for the festival. I arrived in the city on a Thursday afternoon, and by chance, Hearts were at home to Dinamo Zagreb that evening, so I headed to Tynecastle and managed to get a ticket.

Hearts were 4-0 down, but managed to pull back 2 goals to win 2-0.

Was a fantastice atmosphere, and if Hearts had managed to get a 3rd soon after their 2nd. They might have been able to get the tie to Extra-Time at least.

My next match in the competition was the following season in the Final in Dublin between Porto and Braga.

Was a poor game, but it was great to go to a European Final.

My next game came earlier this season, again at Tynecastle, as I managed to blag a ticket for Hearts v Spurs.

Was a fantastic atmosphere …….. for the first five minutes until Spurs went 1-0, then were 3-0 up inside 20 minutes.

After that, the match was a non-event, but still enjoyable to be at for a neutral.

Hope you enjoy this photo round-up, and that I can get some more photos this evening.

Hearts v Dinamo Zagreb Photo Album

Porto v Braga

Porto v Braga Photo Album

Hearts v Tottenham Hotspur

Hearts v Tottenham Hotspur Photo Special

Advertisements

GREAT VICTORIA STREET GRAFFITI

It’s been a while since i’ve blogged about Street Art in Belfast, but I spotted a new addition recently on Great Victoria Street, opposite Avis as you walk towards Shaftesbury Square.

Enjoy

Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 10.2.2012

1. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA ….. What A Life
2. The Naked and the Famous – Youngblood
3. Arcade Fire – Sprawl
4. The View – Blondie
5. The Beautiful South – Rotterdam

So, as it has been announced that Madonna is doing a tour in the summer, I thought i’d do a Madonna Top Five. It was bloody hard work.

Can’t say i’ll be going to any of her concerts. If I want to see an aul doll with too much make-up singing badly, i’d just head to Karaoke Night at The Globe.

FIVE MADONNA SONGS

1. The Power Of Goodbye
2. Rain
3. Dear Jessie
4. Like A Prayer
5. Ray Of Light

AJAX 0-2 FC UTRECHT 5.2.2012

Having been to a match in Rotterdam, I decided to go to a match in Amsterdam, with Ajax at home last weekend, I decided to take in their match against Utrecht.

Got to the stadium easy enough by tram, and got off at the relevent stop.

The area around the stadium is multi purpose with a concert arena, shopping centre, large stores and a cinema surrounding the stadium.

Got a ticket for behind the goal, and a free voucher worth €10 for food and drink.

Everything in the stadium is done via smartcard, the only money that passes is the money used to top-up cards.

I had decided to wait until the end of the game to get something, and all the kiosks were closed, Silly me.

If anyone is going to the Holland v Northern Ireland friendly in June and wants to chance using my voucher, just get in touch.

The match itself wasn’t great as a below-par Ajax fell to a shock 2-0 defeat.

Every misplace pass was met with jeers, and the stadium emptied when Utrecht went 2-0 up. If there was a protest in the carpark afterwards, it would have been just like being at The Oval.

I can also tick Ajax off in my UEFA 100 list. They are number 29. I’m going to see them again later in the month for their UEFA Cup clash at Old Trafford. Hopefully, i’ll scud them again.

My view was fantastic, but not the most photo friendly.

Photo Album

 

EXCELSIOR ROTTERDAM 3-1 VVV VENLO 4.2.2012

As you’ve guessed by the prevous posts, I was in Holland over the past week, doing an Amsterdam/Rotterdam double header.

When it comes to Rotterdam football, i’d already knew of the city’s two main clubs, Feyenoord and Sparta Rotterdam, but it was a pleasant surprise to discover that there is a third team in Rotterdam, and they also play in the top flight.

The fixture list was kind, as the game was taking place on the Saturday when I was in Rotterdam. Sparta Rotterdam were at home on the Sunday, but I was unable to make that game.

I booked a ticket online and did some web browsing before heading over, and I didn’t get a surprise when I arrived.

Excelsior are a very small club, punching way above their weight (think Wimbledon when they were in the Premier League) and kicked-off the game bottom of the league, but facing the team that were second bottom, VVV Venlo.

The stadium is very much like an all seater Stangmore Park, and that’s a compliment.

But the most Irish League aspect about the club is that they have their club shop in their social club.

I spent pre kick-off and half-time there purely to stay warm, it was “Wile caul” as they say in Coleraine.

The main stand behind the goal is known as the Robin Van Persie Stand, in tribute to the player who began is career at the club, before moving on to Feyenoord and then Arsenal.

Perhaps he should fly me over to all Excelsior home games as he had scored a hat-trick against Blackburn Rovers earlier that day.

That is where the clubs “Ultras” are based, and when the teams emerged, they waved flags and shot tickertape into the air.

Managed to get some OK views and shooting positions.

Excelsior deservedly won the match 3-1, a much needed win in their fight against relegation.

Photo Album

 

THE TUB

Or “De Kuip” as it’s known in Dutch, the home of Feyenoord.

Was doing an Amsterdam/Rotterdam double header so popped along to see it.

To give an idea of the stadium’s standing, it has hosted both the European Cup and European Championship Final.

Was easy to get to from the city centre, but it was locked to the public before you get to the turnstiles, so I had to make do with some long range shots.

Visited the club shop and got a cheap Feyenoord away top. Would have loved to have seen a game but the fixture list transpired against me, although I have already seen Feyenoord in action (1999 – a friendly at Windsor Park against Liverpool) and can mark them off my 100 Club list (1970 European Cup winners and UEFA Cup winners in 1974 and 2002)

Anyway, enjoy some photos.

Photo Album

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMSTERDAM SNOW

Was in Amsterdam over the past week for a short break, my STLFTEM for February.

I arrived, during the middle of a snowstorm. Amazingly, the whole country carried on as usual. No public transport delays or cancellations whatsoever.

Unsurprisingly, given my love for snow photography, I went and got some pictures. Enjoy.

Photo Album